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He changed his mind about a move

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 2, 2013 07:59 AM

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Q: I've been dating a great guy for a year and a half. It's a long distance relationship on the East Coast. What started out as "I'll see how this goes because he seems awesome and what do I have to lose" has become the best relationship I've ever been in. He's made me a better person, and it's hard to imagine what my life was like before we met. We love each other's families, our families like each other, and we've discussed getting engaged when we finally live in the same place. He's said he would ask me today, but I want to live in the same place before we make that jump.

When I got a job opportunity on the West Coast, we decided that it would be a great adventure for the two of us. I have a great career, and at the time he was considering making a job change. He encouraged me to take the job, and we decided he would figure things out if he didn't find a job before he got out there. We both knew it would be hard, but we were willing to make it work because we wanted to take this step forward in our relationship. He said that it wasn't his first instinct to give up a job, but knew that this was a great opportunity and that he wanted to go with me. He said he understood the risk he was taking -- the risks we were both taking -- and was OK with it.

Fast forward a few months -- a month before we leave -- and he has now decided the risks are too much, not to mention things have gotten much better for him. Things at his current job are now good. He's getting the recognition I know he's always deserved, and people have come knocking. The problem is all of these opportunities are on the East Coast. Now he feels like he has a career. Now he doesn't want to move there without a job and assumed if he didn't go we would maintain the status quo. He never even gave thought to the idea that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't like the idea of a transcontinental relationship (much of the travel burden has been on me for the past year and a half, by the way) where I would be the one making trips because of the nature of his job. Now he says he has a decision to make ... a decision that I thought had been made months ago. He wants to go out for a few weeks over the summer and see if he can find something he likes, and if not he wants to go back East and take one of the jobs he's been offered. He has the flexibility to do that.

So here we are. I'm giving up my current job, my family, and my friends because I have a job waiting for me on the West Coast. It's a city I love. It's wonderful for my career, but the personal sacrifice I'm making is no longer offset by the gain we had planned on getting. I feel like a total fool for trusting the plan we had made together. I feel like he lied to me when he said he was OK with the risks. I'm not mad at him for having reservations (I'm scared, too), I'm mad he wasn’t honest about it. If I don't go, my career is done (I work in a small, close-knit field) but now I don't know if I can handle being there without family and friends on top of just losing who I thought was my person, the love of my life. He says I'm being "doom and gloom."

So ... my questions are: Are my feelings of anger and betrayal unreasonable? Is it unfair of me to be opposed to the idea of him coming out and checking out his options, which may leave me just as heartbroken and alone as I feel now? Is there any way we can recover from this? Can I ever count on him again?

– Coastal Confusion, NY


A: You have every right to be furious, CC. I understand how difficult this must be for him, but he made a promise. And if I am to believe your claim that you've done most of the traveling in this relationship and that your career advancement requires this jump (whereas he can pursue his career anywhere), your move should be the priority.

It sounds like he didn't really understand his own promise, and that as much as he wanted you to have this great experience, he was only supportive of the move because it was also what was best for him at the time. These questions about whether you can count on him in the future -- well, I just can't answer them. It seems to me that if he starts pushing to get a job on the West Coast, there's hope. But this will require a real job search, not just a three-week visit. He has to commit to the hunt.

If he's getting this many offers at home, he should be desirable to someone on the other side of the country. I'm OK with him getting to the West Coast later than you -- perhaps he needs some extra time to make connections out there -- but I'm not comfortable with his breeziness and indifference. If he doesn't seem to be hatching any sort of plan, you have to do some soul searching about whether you can continue this relationship.

Only you can decide whether you can recover from this. I'm not sure I could -- unless he started blanketing the West Coast with resumes and asking these interested companies whether they have any connections on the other side of the country. The point is, he has to get there.

Readers? Is she being unreasonable? Should she understand that things have changed? Should he have to move? Are you satisfied with his reaction to all of this? 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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