When He Doesn't Care, But You Care Enough For Both Of You - Relationship Advice
"When should I start thinking and taking decisions as an individual?"
I know the title of this email sounds a bit confusing but let me explain what I mean here by using my own story.
I've been in this relationship for 2 years now; he is doing his graduate studies and I am working, but we live far away from each other. Since the very beginning I have travelled almost every single weekend to see him. It takes approximately 8 hours to get there, but once I do, we are sooo happy to reunite at the end of each week!
He hasn't travelled much during this time together, usually because he says he can't concetrate somewhere else (I got used to it) During the 1st year we were together, besides working full time I was also doing a master's degree, so it was p retty hard to travel every weekend on top of work and studies; but you know...when you love someone you just don't care... To make a long story short, I have never seen him putting a great effort to see me. It was always me the one juggling in order to make everything work. He is very loving, and I do know he is not seeing anyone else, but I also know he is very comfortable the way things are, and I doubt he'll move any finger to change our current status.
This is to give you the framework of our relationship. We are both from different countries also. The thing is that I got this job opportunity at my home country, which according to everyone, it is the best thing that could happen to me. I agree. But I cann't picture myself without him. Not because "i'll die with him", but just because I can't picture myself with a life with someone else, or with a brilliant professional life and a lonely personal one. Perhaps I am getting old, I am 28 and I've come to realize i care abo ut having a family as well. I am not the same "kamikaze" I used to be! I presented my opions to him, tried to look at the different options we have in orrer to be together, and I clearly exposed that I see myself marreied to him and with children. not now, not in 1, 2 or 3 years, bur someday for sure. He said he is notsure about that. That he never saw himself married or being a father...I said perhaps I was the problem, perhaps he is not ready for me; buthe'd be someday with someone else. He denied that and said that sometimes he doubts about his "not getting married" position, and that is because of me.
HMy question is: given this framework, given his affirmation, can i infer he's not the one for me? should i discard these 2 years together and move on, just for the sake of my career? or do you think, there's any chance he'll REALLY consider the possibility of being together, finally: withou having to travel and carrying this "comfy" (which is not that much) style of l ife? Thank you very very much!!!
There's certainly a lot going on in your head and heart right now. I think you've got yourself a little frayed and it's affecting your thinking. There are a lot of "tells" in your words.
Much of your email reveals that in your mind it's either this or it's that. It's one way or another, and there's not a lot of play in the middle or gray area to take into a different direction. I think this comes from frustration. I am guessing you've been very available, compliant and accepting of your boyfriend's non-participation in your relationship or future planning and it's taken it's toll on your sense of grounding.
For example: "Should i discard these 2 years together and move on, just for the sake of my career?" It says that in your mind right not, f you aren't going forward with him, then you should "disregard" the past 2 years. That really shows you're at the end of your rope. We choose words for a reason. Discard means throw away, dismiss, forget. You could have chosen to say Should I move on from this 2 year relationship or Should I end this two year relationship. But you specifically chose wording indicating to throw away.
I'm not picking on you at all, I'm just trying to get a clear idea of where you're head is at right now. The other side of that sentence is "just for the sake of my career." This is, according to what you described, completely unfair and unbalanced. It's not like he is an active partner, promising you the future, sacrificing to be with you. So it's not at all "just" for the sake of your career.
You said you can't picture your life without him, that it would be a brilliant professional life and a lonely personal one. Again, all or nothing. This, or that. Obviously you could have a brilliant professional life if you were with him, or someone else, or as an independent and whole person who is not at all lonely. You could also have a good professional life, or a mediocre one, and be a crabby lonely person, in or out of a relationship.
You said that he told you he has never seen himself married or having children, and you said maybe he's not ready. The all or nothing you're relaying in that whole line of thinking you explained, is that what he said to you doesn't actually have value and merit to you. You just want to figure out how to make it be what you want. It's as if you don't think a person that doesn't want to get married and doesn't want to have children is making a choice you can accept.
He told you he has never imagined himself married or with kids. You said he wouldn't "move a finger" to change the current status of the relationship. He doesn't travel to see you, or put the effort and sacrifice into the relationship that you put in.
It seems from what you've shared that the two of you want very different relationships. He wants an easy one, something he doesn't have to sacrifice things for, something that he doesn't have to work at. You on the complete other hand, want a relationship that you have to do all the sacrificing for. You want to be the only one working at the relationship.
If that's not what you want, then why are you in it.
He doesn't want marriage and children. You do. He doesn't want to put the relationship he's in as a priority, he doesn't want to have to change or sacrifice anything. You are willing to do all those things. You seem to want to put the relationship you're in as a big priority in your life. You sacrifice and work hard at being with the person you're involved with. Clearly, you both want different types of relationship.
Let's go back to should you throw your relationship away for just the sake of your career. That statement also indicates a sense of control that you don't actually have. It's as if you want to believe it's up to you to choose. He doesn't drive to see you or make the effort you do, he's telling you he doesn't want the future you want. But instead of your asking yourself if you should put up with that, you put yourself in a position of control and say should you throw your relationship away, and just for the sake of your career. You remove the part about how it would actually be because it's not a fair balanced healthy relationship. You make it just about this job opportunity.
It's a lot easier to be in control. It's a lot easier to say, "I chose to do THIS, I threw that away!" instead of saying, He didn't want what I wanted, he wasn't willing to prioritize me the way I prioritize him.
I think you're at a breaking point. You don't want to see the forest for the trees so you're going to be your own chainsaw until you don't have to see either.
To answer your question, no, you should not disregard your relationship of 2 years. You should use it as a learning experience. You should really think for a moment about what it would be like to be in a relationship where both partners want to work equally as hard on being together. You want to be in a relationship that you both prioritize in the same manner. You should remember fondly how wonderful it was to love someone who loved you back, but you should also think realistically about what it actually takes to be a Partner, not just a lover.
And, no, you shouldn't do anything "just for the sake of your career." Luckily, you aren't. Taking the right opportunity as it presents itself is probably the smart move. But you aren't throwing away anything the rest of your love life. No drama here. You're in a relationship that doesn't seem to be standing the test of time. You are fighting the thoughts that it isn't the right relationship. You want to think you have control over that, or that the choice of a good job trumps the choice of not being in a not-great relationship.
Let me present it in another way. If this was the greatest freaking relationship in the world, if he were jumping up and down, driving 8 hours to see you, promising you marriage, naming your babies, prioritizing you and proving his love and commitment every day, you would have already turned down that job. You wouldn't even be thinking about it.
Or, let me put it one more way. If he wanted his future to be all about you, and was that into you, and was working as hard as you do on the relationship, your taking this job wouldn't matter. It wouldn't end anything. He'd go with you, or you'd work it out. If my husband got this phenomenal job in another that he just had to have, I would go with him. He'd do the same for me. There's no doubt in my mind. We'd work it out.
To answer the title of your email, you should be making decisions as an individual because you aren't in a relationship that meets your needs and answers your efforts.
There's nothing wrong with this not being a forever relationship. That whole concept of only being with someone if it's the last person you will ever be with is unrealistic, a lot of pressure, and leads you to be self-sacrificing in an unevenly prioritized relationship, just like the one you're in. It shouldn't be all or nothing, throwing it away, or getting married. It should be a healthy growing experience that develops you as a person, and a woman.
Let go of the idea that if you aren't with him you will have a lonely personal life and a brilliant career. Unfair and unrealistic. It has drama written all over it. It doesn't have to be drama. It can be a normal healthy step in your life.
I think the drama and your all or nothing statements come from your frustration, and your denial of how uneven this relationship was. It's kind of just imploded inside of you and faked out your thought processes. You are too close to it now, you're muddied by perception. It's time to take a deep breath and step back. It's time to be a whole you, a healthier you. Take the job, move. You sound very young. This should be a wonderful time in your life. Very empowering and very happy. You have changes to go through. You're better equipped now to go out into the world with a clearer idea of the relationship you might want, farther down the road.
More by this Author
Veronica, your advice is brilliant. I've been reading this page for the last few days and feel so enlightened. Maybe you can enlighten me some more on my current situation? I've been seeing this guy (he is 25 and I am...
“Congrats on 450,000 hits on the blog! I hope 2008 is your best year ever. I am a long time reader of your blog, and now I am reading your hubs as well. One of the reasons I always read your relationship advice is...
Some things are clear. Opening his mail is a felony. Going through his dirty laundry if you’re the one doing the laundry, well then that has to be acceptable. But what about everything that falls in between? If...