Happy to be back from London and Germany. Thank you for putting up with our temporary long-distance relationship.
My trip taught me that Germans don't really have advice columns. At least not in the newspaper. And the people in London call me an "agony aunt" columnist. I'm kind of into that. That makes our commenters ... agony cousins?
Q: I just recently started dating this great guy. He's sweet, crazy adorable, ridiculously nice, super reliable, and very successful in his chosen career path. This was one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place -- the fact that he's such a hard worker and passionate about his job. On our first date he spent a lot of time talking about his job, which was a little bit of a red flag, but it really is a very impressive gig and he certainly had to pay his dues to get to where he is now. It's also worth noting that the job is new.
But now it's two months later and I'm beginning to feel like I'm competing with his job for his attention. He works odd hours anyway, but then he also spends his evenings out at work related events (which he does bring me to occasionally). Even when we're just hanging out, he's always connected on his phone or computer. The lack of time we have available to spend together has made the relationship progress very slowly, which is fine, but I don't know at what point I'm allowed to be like, "Hey! What are we? What's going on here? Focus on me!" I'm a young, red-blooded woman just beginning an exciting relationship and right now all I want to do right now is hang out with him, but I feel like I'm his second choice.
I wish I loved my job as much as he does. I like my job, but it only exists between 9 and 5 and then I'm out and ready to spend time with people -- and I'd love for that to be him more often. Am I wrong in thinking this? Am I just jealous? I don't feel like I have enough authority yet in his life to bring it up without scaring him away. I mean, he's worked all his adult life to get to where he is right now. I just showed up 2 months ago.
– Stuck in Limbo, South Shore
A: You can say something, SIL. He just started this job and needs to give it his all, but that doesn't mean you have to stay out of his way. This isn't about whether you have the "authority" to ask questions. It's just about stating your needs. You don't have to say, "Will you be my boyfriend? And put away your cell phone!" You can try: "I wish we could see each other a little more often. I'm excited about you." You might want to throw in that "red-blooded woman" line. (No one wants to say no to a red-blooded woman.)
I do want you to ask yourself whether he seems interested in your life. Is he asking you questions? Is he curious about your world? Your "Focus on me!" line made me shake my head. His behavior isn't a deal-breaker yet, but it's an issue. His work stuff would bother you less if he was truly interested in getting to know you during his free hours.
Have the talk and see what he says. Then reevaluate after another month. And please remember, you're just telling him how you feel and asking questions. You have the authority to do that with anyone, anytime.
Readers? Should the letter writer bring this up? If so, how? Will the job issue ever change? How much can she ask for at two months? Is this just bad timing because the job is new? 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.