I'm in a relationship but unhappy where I live and planning to move. My boyfriend may not wind up joining me. Is it better to cut off the relationship or pursue a long distance relationship again for a little while?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm twenty six and a girl; for the past eight or so years I've been dating this fella five years my senior. He is the only guy I have kissed/dated/etc so my viewpoint's pretty limited. We were for a long while a long distance relationship, and three years ago I moved 2000+ miles to the Southwest to be with him. The time spent with him has overall been a good one; he's one of my best friends and I am constantly laughing and feel more or less at ease with him. There are of course some issues like all relationships, but we've dealt with them as best we can.
The big issue at hand though is that I hate where I am. He keeps telling me it takes a few years to feel settled in, but the climate and the sprawl of the place make me miserable most of the time. Beyond that, apart from the very casual friendships I have made at a night-job, I really have no friends here and it's made things unbearably lonely. So I'm really restless and feeling like I need a major change in my life. We've discussed this big issue a lot and he admits it can be a boring place and he doesn't think I should spend my twenties in a place that makes me sad, so he agrees I should move. But at the same time he couldn't move right away and possibly might not at all. I know it causes him pain to know he's not enough for me so at the moment I've been keeping mum about moving talk until things are a little more concrete beyond the daydreaming and saving money phase.
Things are falling into place that would make it possible for me to move up to Portland, OR; I am self-employed in the creative industry, and I know a lot of creative friends up there and loved the place when I visited. I've found post-college that I need a circle of creative people, and I do need friends. The internet helps, but still it's not the same. I'm saving to make the plunge within the next year, but as I do so I realize that it might be the end of my relationship. And this makes me torn on how to proceed.
Some details/issues/mitigating factors-
-He is a gamer. Big-time. He plays computer games every night, and left to his devices he'd be totally addicted to them. It's practically his only hobby, so it's hard to really do much else together besides eating, talking, sleeping, and watching tv. I would mind this less if we lived someplace where I was more mobile or had other things to do. Right now I work while he games, basically. I work a lot.
-He tends to take me for granted, but at the same time is very thoughtful and helpful when it counts so it does make up for it.
- we own a dog we both love very much, but who is slightly more attached to me. Since I work at home and am her predominant caretaker, I'm pretty certain he'd want her to come with me, although if he really wanted her I would give her to him.
-He has a circle of friends that he's accumulated since grade school, which I would hate for him to lose touch with.
-He doesn't have a lot of ambitions beyond staying above the poverty line and he owns a house that he got when he was 20 and this is his main investment (though it has several big repairs it needs before it could even be sold)
-His job is very much a niche and he's in a job he really likes, although it doesn't sound like he wants to spend his whole career there. Most jobs I've found for him are contract work or else require more knowledge/classwork/a degree and understandably that's concerning to him.
-He is not very motivated these days. Before I met him apparently he was a very angry person and that anger motivated him to work out, do more. But he's more laid-back and forgetful, so things like staying fit or taking classes have been put off here and there. His lack of motivation makes him complacent and sometimes boring. I feel like he really needs something to set him off and start being more proactive in his life, though I'm not sure a breakup is the best way to do it!
-I know he considers me the love of his life; I am not entirely sure I feel the same way. I love him dearly but at the same time sometimes pine for someone creative like me, or to be alone. As is, we are pretty different people and while this is good sometimes I'm not sure he understands me. At the same time this is the only guy I've been with, so part of me wonders if I might be alone for the rest of my life if I break up with him. Not enough to be afraid to go through with it, but I do wonder a little.
I know that there's still time to work this out, but I don't know what to do yet and I will be thinking about this for a while until we start talking about it when it is a little closer to reality. I love him dearly and best case scenario he'd come out to live with me and try something new to shake himself up out of this complacent mood he's been in. But all discussions seem to lead to excuses why that couldn't happen in the short term (the house, job, big change-- valid, but excuses all the same). But I really don't know what he'll do until I do it-- when I go on trips he misses me greatly and feels bored and realizes he takes me for granted. Perhaps if I move on my own and keep in touch in a long-distance way again, he may realize that being without me isn't as good. Perhaps not; it's a gamble. If we are to ultimately break up, I want to do it as kindly and amicably as possible-- he is a good guy despite his flaws, and really this isn't as much about him as it is about me and my restless and lonesome nature. It's not a DTMFA situation or anything. Ideally I want to stay friends with him, but I think he said a long time ago he probably couldn't stay friends with me if we ever broke up, so that's a painful possibility I'm willing to deal with.
So I guess what I'm wondering is what would you do, would you tear the band-aid off, chop off the limb and move on (sort of a be cruel to be kind thing?) Or would you see how things would go for a while in a long-distance format and then decide a little later when we both know more about the situation? I've done the long-distance thing, and it sucks but I know I can do it (whether I want to again, I'm still deciding). I can't decide whether breaking up or staying together for long distance for a bit to see where we stand is kinder to both of us. Either way it'll end up with us both sad for a time, but I'm divided on what will hurt more. And if I do break up with him, I'm not sure how to do it in a way that will sting as little as possible. Making him sad makes me sad, so if you have any advice on that too I'd love to hear it.
I'm sorry that this is long, but I wanted to give details. If you have been in a similar situation, I've set up an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org and would love to hear what you experienced or what you might do if you were me. Thanks everyone in advance!