Q: Hi Meredith,
About four years ago on a summer internship in Europe I met my current boyfriend, "Bob." We were both 20 and had the best summer of our lives. For the next three years we stayed in contact with monthly emails but were not together. Both of us had other relationships, etc. Our reconnection occurred during a family trip last year when I went off to visit him for a few days. That kind of jump-started a new relationship and we began talking on phone and online every day. We've visited each other many times since then and met each other's friends and family. He will be here for many weeks this summer (yay!).
That brings us to now. I am about to graduate and he still has one year of school and then another optional internship year, which he seems very interested in doing. We have discussed the future in that he knows that I am willing to go over there for a year or so with the understanding that I'd be working at a job that I am likely very over-qualified for (I'm a dual EU citizen so visas aren't a problem). He is adamant that when he's done with his obligations he plans on coming to the US to work so that he can be with me. We have discussed how we want to be together. We have the same world views, interests, career goals, love of travel, the list goes on (oh, and we're MADLY in love). There's a future here Meredith, I'm just not sure how to go about it.
I've been applying to jobs both here and in his country (which I love), but I'm so confused. Last week I found a job in my field at his school and applied to it immediately. When I told Bob about it, he freaked. He said that having me in his school would be too stressful. He said he would have to study all next year and would have to ignore me, and that he prefers a long-distance relationship now because I am a great "escape" from his stressful life. He said that I am the best thing in his life right now because I am not in the city and school that he hates. That totally threw me off, as he is well aware that I have been applying for jobs there and that I thought that this would be a great option until we can really be together. I've made it clear to him that I can't do more years of long distance. I think we both deserve someone who can be there for us. He is "looking into" coming over permanently next May (a year earlier than he had planned), but I'm not sure if he is just telling me that because that’s what I want to hear.
My questions are: Is he just a stressed student freaking out about commitment or am I just a place-holder until he isn't bogged down by school? Why would he invest so much if I'm just a place-holder? Should I move to his country for the next year even though it would be a back-pedal on my career? And more importantly, should I move even though it seems that he doesn't want me there? We have an entire summer together to look forward to, but after that it's a big black hole. Thanks for your help.
– One of us is on the wrong side of the ocean, New Haven
A: Honestly, if he doesn't want you over there while he's in school, I want you to end it. You're offering to move to another country so that he can work on his degree. You're not asking for an engagement or some unrealistic commitment. You just want to try the relationship without the distance. He should be thrilled.
You're not with him to be his escape. This isn't about him having somewhere cool to go while he's on summer break. You guys got serious and then he changed his mind. It's possible that the idea of you working in his building freaked him out, but he could have just said that. He could have asked you to find a job outside of his university so that he can maintain some boundaries in his life. Instead he told you to stay in the US so that he can ignore you without feeling bad about it.
You've got the summer and I assume you want to enjoy it after all of this planning. But please use it wisely. Get to know him better. Have some in-person conversations about the next year.
If he doesn't want you there and wants more "escape," you have to escape him. You're in this to be serious. If he's in this for a distraction, it's not enough.
Readers? Am I right? What about this summer? What should she do? Should she keep applying for jobs? Discuss.
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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.