Am I overthinking this or finally trying to excercise logic?
August 11, 2012 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Go with the flow or bail? I'm a 33 y.o. female, looking for something serious, have been single for over three years, just came out of a bad dating situation and boom! met an awesome dude. But he's moving in five weeks and intends to leave the country in less than two years.

I don't know if I've learned anything from prior situations and am trying to be wiser or if I'm just scared as eff to get involved with someone who may end up unintentionally hurting me.

I met this guy very, very recently. We had a great date last night. We did a lot of talking and were just completely open and honest about a lot of things. It was refreshing.

But he's moving to the suburbs back in with his parent (we live in a large city) to pursue an accelerated certification program (he's hoping a year, maybe 18 months max) and is planning to teach English in another country (most likely Asia).

Assuming he keeps wanting to hangout, is this a good idea? He said he's wanting to spend this next month+ enjoying the city as much as possible, but is also going out of town 3 of the 5 weekends he has left. He also mentioned he intends to come back in the city as much as possible after he moves.

This may sound WAY TOO EARLY (or just IS) to be thinking about anything beyond a potential fourth meet-up, but I honestly don't know whether to let this play itself out, or really take into account all that he's saying about the near and far future and not pursue this any further.

posted by patientpatient to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you are looking for something serious and he has made it clear that he is not (regardless of the reason) then it's a nonstarter. Listen to what he is telling you.
posted by headnsouth at 9:36 AM on August 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

I did this, thinking we could "keep it casual," and ended up secretly hoping he would stay in the country for me. He didn't. Not worth it. This guy is on a different trajectory than you. Be friends with him; date someone else.
posted by baby beluga at 9:37 AM on August 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

You enjoyed your first three times. Enjoy your fourth. Let it play out. If there's nothing to it, all will be clear soon. If there is something there, well, best to find out now as people's plans change all the time.
posted by inturnaround at 9:37 AM on August 11, 2012

Hang out again. You might continue to hit it off, you might not. He may move, he may not. Life is short, and plans change at the drop of a hat.
posted by Specklet at 9:38 AM on August 11, 2012

If "serious" is what you want, you are headed down a bad path. If you're ok with "casual" then this seems just fine.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:38 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is way too early to be worried about two years from now. People's plans change all the time because of a relationship, or they don't and people make it work. Enjoy dating and don't sweat things so far away.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:49 AM on August 11, 2012

Eh. Do you define serious as "marriage and babies (eventually)"? If you want that, you have to put yourself out there for that.

I was in a eerily similar position a few years ago. I can tell you with confidence that a guy who is up-ending his own life -- and whatever career track he's been on -- to go teach English in Asia in his early 30s is not a prospect for a serious relationship. He's just not. Yeah, maybe his plans or your plans will change, but this isn't like he's thinking of relocating to the NY office or you plan to take next summer off to travel before starting a new job. It's a radical lifestyle change -- a lifestyle that is pretty casual and transient. Single guys in their early 30s who are looking for a serious relationship - they are taking steps to make that happen.

I'd worry that since he's moving in with his parents for a while, that it'll be easy to slip into a relationship with him, even though it won't really go anywhere. So be careful of starting a fling.

MeFites mention the "sliding vs. deciding" thing often. It's relevant here. Separate from any particular guy, what do you want out of life? Take the steps toward the life you want.
posted by stowaway at 11:26 AM on August 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

"Take the steps toward the life you want."

That's never worked for me. I've never found that I had any particular control over outcome. My positive outcomes have generally been serendipitous.

On decisions like this, I like to step into a larger picture. I picture myself as a 90 year old, recalling my life. And I decide which course (assuming the worst possible result for both!) might give me the greatest regret for not taking.

I've been doing this for a long time now, and I get a clearer and clearer picture of my future 90 year old. What he always seems to tell me is to experience more, open up more, and stretch my comfort zone more. Risk pain for the pursuit of greater experience.

I'd imagine this is because I am predisposed to playing safe. If I was someone constantly flying off the rails with impulsive behavior, my inner 90 year old would be telling me something different.

So another way of looking at it is: do you generally play it too safe, missing good stuff? Or do you generally find yourself tilting at windmills and pursuing long shots? The fact that you're feeling a dilemma means your unconscious worries that you're repeating a pattern that's brought pain. So whichever type you are, consider taking the opposite tack here. Try something new.
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:52 AM on August 11, 2012 [12 favorites]

As others have said, I think you could really go either way, depending on the type of person you are. Plans *are* very fluid. Sometimes the thing you have with someone is so good that it makes you stop and reconsider. But I think you may be playing it forward a little too far in your head...

These things can work sometimes if the connection is strong enough and you have some time to build a connection with each other. I introduced one friend to another friend whose long-term plan (after a year) was to move to Europe and teach English. He really cared for her, but didn't want to sacrifice his plans and left. When he got there, he stayed a little while and realized he really wanted to be with her. He moved back and they got married. They're still happy years later and have a child together.

It sounds like the unspoken question you're asking is "Will it hurt me if I go on a fourth date, then a fifth with him and then he still leaves?" Only you can answer that question...

I'd say go for it, personally, but go into it without presumption that his plans will change. You can get a better sense of him along the way, and what he sees this English teaching as doing for his life goals. Is it his last hurrah before he settles into a permanent career path, is it a resume builder, or one in a series of travel/migratory plans he foresees having? Take him at his word on that and go from there.

However, if you feel like you're in a hurry and you're going to feel awful if he leaves, rather than appreciating the time you had together, then move on and make space in your life for someone whose plans line up more than yours currently.

Keep in mind though that everyone's plans can change, including people who appear to be more "grounded"... heck, maybe you'd decide you want to go with him on his adventure :)

My philosophy has generally been: if it's good in the present, then it's good, even if I can't yet see how it matches with my imagined "future". As often as not, the path becomes clear and possibilities I didn't imagine suddenly become the reality.
posted by iadacanavon at 4:27 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops, that should be "whose plans line up more *with* yours currently."
posted by iadacanavon at 4:31 PM on August 11, 2012

I regret all most of the times that I 'bailed' for seemingly logical reasons. How about you?
posted by porpoise at 6:32 PM on August 11, 2012

Reading your history it seems like you're someone who wastes a lot of time in dead end relationships. I think it would give you a huge self esteem boost if you ended this now and stuck to it. Sure, there's a chance that things with this guy could work out but I think the chances are greater that you'd meet someone who could give you what you need if you just moved on. You are probably worried about the risk you'd be taking by leaving him (what if it had worked out?), but consider the even greater risk you're taking by staying with someone who seems to be a bad investment...and all the opportunity you're missing out on. At a certain point in life you have to stop banking on potential.
posted by timsneezed at 9:52 AM on August 12, 2012

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