As you've probably noticed, it's Out-of-Towners week here at Love Letters.
Q: Dear Meredith,
My boyfriend wanted me to move in with him a year ago, after I graduated from college and got a job near him. As much as I wanted to, I decided against it because we'd only been dating for a year and I come from a family that doesn't believe in living together before marriage. So I found an apartment four minutes away, and it's been the best of both worlds -- we've been able to live together, without the commitment.
He's wanted to find a better apartment for some time now, and at first planned on staying in town. But now two of our friends are looking for a place and he wants to move in with them, 35 minutes away. I completely understand that he'd want to live with them (after all, I haven't really changed my mind about us living together yet), but I'm scarred he won't want to see me as often.
In the past year, he's only stepped inside my apartment a handful of times (he says the building smells musty, plus there's no parking), so it's been mostly me going to his place. Also, he works days and I work nights, so I often go there on my way home from work. This has worked fine, but I feel like I'm going to be the one driving back and forth all the time after he moves.
Each time I bring this up, he shrugs it off and reminds me his future roommate needs to be near a commuter rail. I'm sure 35 minutes is nothing for most couples who don't live together. However, I have a lot of insecurities about relationships growing/falling apart and they're already popping up just at the thought that he wants to move a little bit away. Thinking about this is making me cry (rare for me). How do I better explain my feelings without sounding needy or like I'm trying to ruin his plans?
– Scared of Change, NJ
A: You are a bit needy and you are trying to ruin his plans, SOC. (Sorry. It's true. We love you anyway.)
My advice is to move to a place that's less musty and has great parking. Because you're right -- he doesn't want to stay at your place, which means that it'll be you doing the driving. Make this change for your sanity. Make it for his roommates, who won't want you at their place all of the time.
And please do some thinking about how you want this relationship to look in a year or two. Do you want to continue working nights or will that schedule make you feel left out of your boyfriend's plans? Do you see yourself changing your mind about the move-in? Instead of focusing on all of your fears, concentrate on your future. Figure out what you want and take steps to make it all happen. Some of this panic has to do with the fact that you don't have a plan.
Once you come up with a strategy, tell him about it. As in, "I'm going to look for a better apartment so you have the option of visiting me without being uncomfortable. And after another year with these leases, I'd like to revisit that move-in." It's more effective to explain your plan than list your insecurities. He'll leave the conversation with an understanding of your hopes, dreams, needs, and expectations. He'll know that you're working to keep this great for both of you.
Readers? Thoughts on freaking out about 35 minutes? Do you think she regrets not moving in with him? Do you think she has to move out of her current apartment? Where do these insecurities come from? Help.
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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.