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I'm more educated

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 29, 2011 09:19 AM

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Q: I have spent the last year in the world's longest-distance relationship; the door-to-door trip is over 24 hours. "Rob" and I have known and taken vacations with each another for several years prior to engaging in the LDR. Rob is in his mid-40s, I am in my mid-30s, and we are both divorced with no children.

We are ready to take the relationship to the next level; we plan to move in together in the same city (the location is yet to be determined) with the intent of marrying if all goes well. We are both fortunate enough to have careers that, with some financial sacrifice, would allow us to work from anywhere. The question is whether we have enough of a foundation to take this next step. He is low-maintenance, kind, affectionate, witty, and intelligent. I can be a prima donna -- but I'm also fiercely fun-loving.

I am also more educated than he is. I hold a PhD while he did not finish his undergraduate degree. Although he is not ambitious (I am), he earns a high salary (mine is a bit lower) due to danger pay and has managed to put away a substantial nest egg (I have no assets). Any move would halve his salary.

Is it possible to plan a future with someone whose educational attainment is so far below mine and whose income, after the move, would be as unremarkable as his job? I love this man, but I worry that someone more articulate with a shinier career could pull me away.

– Not in Boston, Europe


A: So, are you saying that if he didn't earn a great living you wouldn't be in love with him? Are you saying that without that big salary he just doesn't offer enough? It seems to me that you fell in love with him because you liked spending time with him. You've been with him for years despite meeting people with shinier jobs along the way. You've stayed committed for a reason -- you haven't wanted to let him go.

You're coming off as judgmental in this letter, but I'm convinced that your anxiety is about something else. My guess is that you're having cold feet about turning this into a real, not-long-distance relationship. You realize that as soon as he relocates, you're in it for good, and that's scary. You’re coming up with a panicky list of reasons why it might not work out.

My advice is to visit him soon so that you can remind yourself that he is "low-maintenance, kind, affectionate, witty, and intelligent." Instead of making lists of the reasons it might not work, make a list of why you want to do this -- why you've stayed with him all this time.

I know you're scared, but all you have to do is focus on whether you love him. Jobs are fluid. He might wind up making more than you in the future. He might wind up getting his own PhD. The only relevant question right now is: Do you want more of him?

Readers? Do they have the foundation to move to be together? Are her concerns about his education and salary? If so, why didn't this stuff bother her before? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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