Did you ever have to choose between your relationship and a career?
October 5, 2016 3:37 AM   Subscribe

I recently graduated from the university and I'm currently looking for a job, but the career opportunities in my field are limited in the town where my boyfriend and I live now. How do I choose between staying with my boyfriend (and possibly regretting not moving to a bigger town where job offers are much better), or moving away and losing him? (F, 25)

I could possibly find a job in my field in this town, but I would have a much better chance of having a great career in the capital of my country approx. 2 hours away from here. A few days ago, I saw that a well-know international company that I would love to work for is hiring (in the capital), and that they require the experience that I have (I did an internship in this very specific field). Me and my boyfriend had some serious issues at that time (that I asked about here some time ago), which made me doubt whether this relationship was worth staying for, and I actually applied for this job, thinking that they most likely won't even reply. I was decided to move to the bigger town and we had a talk about our relationship and how I think the issues we had (though improved at this time) would most likely mean we'd break up sooner or later anyway. Well at this point my boyfriend started to be willing to seriously work on these issues and if we really manage to overcome them then this relationship definitely would be worth staying for. I know I made some mistakes too and am also willing to work on the relationship. In the meantime, this company invited me for an interview, which I think went well, and now I'm supposed to wait whether they'll invite me for a second interview with the boss. If I pass the 2nd interview, I'll get the job.

My boyfriend is now willing to work on improving our relationship, but he isn't willing to move (he has his own business here, so I understand that). If I get the job, I would definitely like to go for it. I suggested that I could move there and work for this or a different company for about a year only, and then come back and get a job in my current town (I'd have earned much more money in the capital and with the experience I'd gain, I'd have a chance of getting a better job in this smaller town). However, my boyfriend doesn't want a LDR, not even if we'd see each other during the weekends (I'd be willing to drive for 2 hours there and back every weekend for a year).

So what would you advise me to do? I don't really like the capital and would be moving there solely for better work opportunities. If I don't get this specific job, I could find a different, although maybe not as awesome job there. If I hadn't already applied for this job, I would most likely stay where I am and get an average job here while working on keeping this relationship. Now it seems that I'm almost hoping they won't hire me so that I could stay with my boyfriend, and at the same time I think that now that I've already applied, if they chose me, I'd go for the job anyway (which kind of makes me an asshole I guess, and I should probably end the relationship before I get a call from the company). Or should I decline the potential job offer? Had I known that he would be willing to improve the relationship, I most likely wouldn't apply for the job at all. Apart from those problems we have, I think that we really are compatible and could make it last. The thought of leaving him now absolutely breaks my heart. I know it was dumb of me to apply for the job before trying to really make it work with him, but at that time I was still unsure about the relationship and thought the right decision was to move and go for my career. Now I'm doubting everything and I'm stuck. I also want to sort this whole thing out ASAP for the sake of my boyfriend - if I'm going to move after all, I don't want to keep him from finding someone he could be happier with for longer than necessary.

So did you ever have to choose between your relationship and your career? How did you decide and do you regret it? What would you do in my situation?
posted by U.N.Owen to Human Relations (66 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Is living between your current town and the capital a possibility? Then you could live together, while still working in separate cities.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:51 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Even if your relationship with your boyfriend was perfect I'd tell you to pursue the job. This is a critical time in your career in a tough market. If your boyfriend is really compatible with you long term, you two will figure out how to make it work. If not, you will find someone else - quite probably someone who doesn't need so much prodding to prioritize their relationship with you.

I completely understand the feelings that you have and how terrible it feels to possibly be leaving when your boyfriend seems to be coming around, but trust me (and probably many other commenters in this thread) when I say that you will have a much greater likelihood of regretting your choice if you stay than if you pursue your career.

For what it's worth, I chose relationship over career when I was roughly your age. I'm lucky the career worked out (with a few moves and hurdles along the way) because the relationship did not. And our relationship was very strong initially, but the fact is that very few people these days end up with the person they are with in their early twenties - regardless of whether they plan to - because you're still figuring out what your life is going to look like and what your needs are.

I think if you stay for your boyfriend you'll regret it.
posted by AV at 3:53 AM on October 5, 2016 [89 favorites]

I would say absolutely take the job if it is offered to you.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:59 AM on October 5, 2016 [17 favorites]

Apply for the job and see where that takes you.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:01 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I once pursued a relationship over an academic opportunity. Terrible mistake. Go for the job. If he loves and supports you, it'll be fine.
posted by marmago at 4:19 AM on October 5, 2016 [26 favorites]

Honestly, if he's not willing to make the effort to manage a short-distance (2 hrs isn't really long distance!) relationship for the near future, he's not worth staying for in the first place. Take the job; a relationship that can't cope with this small disruption is not one that will last anyway.
posted by AFII at 4:38 AM on October 5, 2016 [85 favorites]

I chose a job over a relationship when I was a bit younger than you are. It was clear to me that I wasn't interested in marriage in general and my relationship, while a good one, was probably not long-term material, so the factors were different for me. I moved countries, to a city I didn't know, but a job I needed to advance. I can't stress enough how important it was to my career and my life to get that particular set of skills and experience at that time. I think it's important to prioritize your ability to take care of yourself in the long term, and if the job comes through, you should go.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:43 AM on October 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

Job. Two hours isn't even long distance in my book.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:49 AM on October 5, 2016 [17 favorites]

I chose my husband with whom I have a solid marriage. We've been together almost 15 years. Even though I have a pretty good job, if I could do it again, with the confidence in myself that I have now, I'd pick the career I had planned, which I was unsure about at the time and still am. Either way it probably would be used to launch into something else. You can meet someone else, moreso in the capital and likely someone who will fit better with your life.
posted by alusru at 5:03 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I know it was dumb of me to apply for the job before trying to really make it work with him

Oh hell no it wasn't! You did an awesome thing that might take you on a really cool adventure. Don't shame yourself for following your ambitions, society does that to women enough, please congratulate yourself.

Also, I would step back from framing this as your choice because really, he has already chosen by saying he's not up for a long-distance relationship. This puts him standing between you and your life goals, which is not the place a loving partner is supposed to stand.
posted by greenish at 5:17 AM on October 5, 2016 [93 favorites]

If your boyfriend isn't willing to do an LDR for a single year while you are young, while seeing you every weekend, he is not worth it.

If he is serious that it is a deal breaker when he knows how important it could be for your career, drop him.

This is an important time for you to establish yourself in your career and you need to use this momentum while you have it.

I was semi long-distance with my boyfriend for 4 years (saw each other about 3x a month) while he was in a very stressful professional school and I worked in the big city, and we are currently engaged and living together. I am so glad I worked in a job I liked for those 4 years rather than moving to a more isolated place to be with him.
posted by loquacious crouton at 5:26 AM on October 5, 2016 [32 favorites]

Job. Pick the job.

I don't live with my boyfriend (it's unclear if you and your bf live together, but that's my assumption) but we live about 15 minutes apart. But, due to work schedules and such, I usually only see him on the weekends (maybe once during the week, if we can manage). So I don't think your offer is unreasonable at all.

It's fine if that's a deal breaker for him, but I think you've offered a good compromise that he doesn't want to take.

You can still love each other and not have it work out. That's OK. Sometimes despite everything, people's lives move in different directions.
posted by darksong at 5:38 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I agree 2 hrs is manageable, you could move yet see each other quite frequently. If he's not encouraging you towards what is best for you here, he's really not putting you first by clearing a path for your success, which technically benefits you both. Someone who isn't excited for you to pursue your dream job in this scenario ((2 hrs!) is not worth prioritizing.

There will be much worse hardships in life than a 2 HR distance, this fellow seems unable to meet the bare minimum required to successfully face challenges together.

I think this is your answer, right?
posted by jbenben at 6:15 AM on October 5, 2016 [14 favorites]

Agreeing with everyone else. You are young, this time in your career is important, and two hours really isn't that far.

It's great that he's stepped up to work on your relationship, but think about if you want to be with someone who wants to hobble your career development because he isn't willing to find some sort of compromise.
posted by smirkette at 6:15 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

However, my boyfriend doesn't want a LDR, not even if we'd see each other during the weekends (I'd be willing to drive for 2 hours there and back every weekend for a year).

If he is that unable to compromise, that raises some really big flags. What other things is he going to not compromise on? Take the job. There will be other boyfriends.
posted by kellyblah at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2016 [33 favorites]

Life is long, but your time to take the first precious steps to building your career is short. Your boyfriend may be your life time lover, or he may not be. But, there is only one YOU that you will always always live with, and if that you has better/more earning potential, then you will have so many more possibilities throughout your life. Take care of yourself first.

Couples can manage to stay together over long distance. I was long distance for ~5? years before finally living in the same city. If the easy proximity is what keeps you and your boyfriend together, your relationship may not be as strong as you hope it to be... in which case, please choose yourself first.
posted by ellerhodes at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Leave and take the job. Leave and take the chance. Leave and live a full, fantastic life.

I know I made some mistakes too and am also willing to work on the relationship.

Apply those lessons learned to your next relationship, which you will find once you are settled in your new home and kicking ass at your new job.
posted by headnsouth at 6:34 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

All of my close female friends have moved away for periods of time for either personal or career reasons, and they are all still with their boyfriends/now-husbands. One met her boyfriend right as she was leaving for a year to teach overseas, they are still together three years later. Another is the breadwinner and her now-husband moved with her multiple times, and she had to do a big stint overseas to keep her job, it was very stressful, at one point he missed his hometown so much he moved back before she could but they were committed to the relationship and to prioritizing her career, he took a lot of flack from his family for it because it was so non-traditional but now she has an amazing permanent job and they are settled where he grew up and starting a family. The third moved to India for 6 months because it was something she wanted to do for years, her now-husband was all for it even though he couldn't see her at all in that time and they just got married.

Take the job, I think even without the job it sounds like you need to move to the city. If you want an equal partnership this guy sounds too inflexible and entrenched in his own interests for that to be a possibility.
posted by lafemma at 6:35 AM on October 5, 2016

Yeah, a dude to whom you are not even married, who is willing to push you to not live a dream because of a two-hour distance is not a dude who is worth being with. You need a partner with whom you can team up to be better! This is not that partner. Besides, based on his behavior so far, maybe once you go, he will realize he could handle that distance after all. Of course, for me that would be too little, too late, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
posted by dame at 6:37 AM on October 5, 2016 [24 favorites]

Career, definitely. About a year into our relationship my now husband and I got into grad schools that were 6 hours apart. Before applying, my husband had mentioned that he wasn't a big fan of LDRs. But once I received my acceptance letter to a more prestigious program than the local one, he actively encouraged me to go. And just out of curiosity, when you say he doesn't want a LDR, has he said that's a deal breaker specifically? Or is he just verbalizing in a way that's not ideal? I'm assuming the former, but if not, he may just be a bit thoughtless in how he communicates, and could surprise you once you get the offer and it becomes more real.

He encouraged me for two reasons. 1) It was the best thing for me and my career to go to the more prestigious program. And 2) If we were going to be together long-term, what was good for me was good for us.

So it's a little concerning to me that he's not thinking big picture: 1 year of only weekends to advance your career seems like a good trade-off long-term for both of you...if he sees you guys going the distance.

Also, even more concerning: he didn't seem willing to work on the relationship to make you happy until getting what functioned as an ultimatum. So once the new job in the city is off the table, will he backslide? Or what about the next issue in the relationship. Is he going to willingly address problems because they make you unhappy, or is he always going to need something to directly impact him?
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:55 AM on October 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

Love is a renewable and abundant resource. Especially at 25.

Take the job, it's up to him if he wants to make it work or not.
posted by French Fry at 7:00 AM on October 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

please take the job if it's offered.

my wife and i lived four hours away from each other for the first four years of our relationship. we alternated driving every weekend (occasionally we 'switched' weekends or skipped one). we were both looking for jobs in the other's town- i eventually got a (perfect!) job in her town and we've been here five years now.

the same stuff that made us successful in a long distance relationship (sharing the load, trust, working towards being together) has made us successful as partners and parents. you mention not being sure if the relationship was going to work out- going long distance will quickly tell you if the relationship does indeed have long-term potential.
posted by noloveforned at 7:02 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree with dame. A partner who won't work with you, as a team, to achieve your collective goals/dreams isn't a partner at all. This guy is not compromising.

My own anecdata: I repeatedly forestalled career opportunities because my partner didn't want to leave town and didn't want a LDR. That decision became fuel for bitterness and hurt as that relationship spiraled the drain, and although I found the best job I could locally, now that the relationship is over, I'm left with a lot of that bitterness and more difficult career prospects to deal with in addition to the more normal emotion/psychological mess that comes from a difficult breakup.
posted by Zuph at 7:05 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

A two hour distance is a deal breaker for him, but he expects you to turn down your dreams because now he's willing to "work on it"?

Take the job, dump the boy (regardless of what happens with the job), and prepare to look back on this with a little bit of anger and disgust.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:30 AM on October 5, 2016 [30 favorites]

You are me in 2008. I was finishing up grad school and wanted to move to where my boyfriend was (1.5 year LDR). The economy was terrible and there were no good jobs for me in his city. After a futile search, I told him that I wanted to look for jobs in NYC (1.5/2 hours from where he was living). I was even willing to travel back and forth each week so he didn't have to. He flipped out and told me if I loved him, I would move to his city, and how could I choose a job over him. I was firm in what I wanted to do; he wanted us to get engaged as a way of keeping me close to him.

This conflict turned out to be signify something much bigger. It became clear that his expectation was that I would continually put my career on hold for his career, or for our family. That was not at all what I had in mind - I wanted to launch myself into my post-grad school career with a job that set me up for a successful future rather than "just a job" that kept me close to him.

What happened? My only regret is that he broke up with me before I could break up with him. I landed an excellent job in a different city 6 weeks later, one that has set me up for continued success in my career. That career eventually took me to NYC, where I met my fiance. My fiance spent all of last year in a master's program in another city 5 hours away - and we made it work because we both equally support each others' careers.

This isn't just about career vs. boyfriend - it's also about your career over your lifetime and if this guy will support you through the ups and downs, and geographical moves, of your career for the next 40 years. Good luck.
posted by theflash at 7:46 AM on October 5, 2016 [21 favorites]

It doesn't really sound like he's willing to work with you on what will make you happy. Has he put forth any solutions about how he would compromise for you in the future? Maybe he doesn't want to move now because of his business but in a few years he could be open to it for the sake of your long time career?

I was in a VERY long term relationship (10 years) from when I was about 19-29. When I was in my early 20s I had a dream gig opportunity in a different city in the same state. My boyfriend at the time was very against the idea of moving. He just said no, and had no solutions for the long term, to him it wasn't even a compromise discussion ever. I loved him so I stayed. But I wanted my career to grow and I also wanted to live in another city. I resented him and it impacted our relationship. After many years I got another opportunity and he relented and agreed, after we'd been together for 7 or so years. This move was across the country! I was thrilled and he was miserable. Eventually we broke up.

I often wonder what would have happened if I'd had the foresight and bravery to choose my career early on, rather than let our incompatibility in this way slowwwwly kill us from the inside.

My boyfriend and I now have been together for nearly 10 years, but I do not feel limited or like I have no ability to pursue opportunities. If he wants to do something that will change my life, we talk about it, and vice versa. And we decide together. I feel as though I have an equal stake, I'm not just a character in his perfect life.

So. Long story short. Choose a job (and a life) that calls to you over a relationship that limits you.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:00 AM on October 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

Move, no question. He'll move with you, and if he doesn't, you're not meant to stay together. Don't settle for what you'll eventually conclude to be a provincial life, especially for a man. There's always going to be other men, but you only get one life.
posted by theraflu at 8:15 AM on October 5, 2016

So he became willing to work on things only after you mentioned moving to the big town and now is trying to leverage that and his dislike for LDRs into compelling you to stay and potentially giving up a great opportunity? He's not looking out for your best interests, he's looking out for himself only. That's not what you want in a partner. You want someone who encourages you to reach your full potential and is willing to make sacrifices to help you get there. Take the job if it's offered. Keep looking for great opportunities regardless of location. You're at a critical point in your career. Put that first and find someone who supports you putting that first.
posted by quince at 8:18 AM on October 5, 2016 [14 favorites]

I want to elaborate on my answer, because the more I thought about it, the angrier I got on your behalf.

You are already doing so much emotional labor to keep this relationship going. It's hard, and it's so much work, and you're directing it all toward him. So he can be a better partner, human, and adult. Don't you deserve to have that labor put to work on your behalf?

But you cannot change people. You can support them as they grow, but you can't do the growing for them.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:28 AM on October 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

I was in a similar situation as you at the same age, and I choose my relationship over my career. Everything worked out career wise and now I'm in a different field that I enjoy, but the relationship failed about a year after my decision to stay. I really wish I had chosen adventure over my relationship, especially since I had put so much money, time, and effort into obtaining my specific degree.

But, we make the best decision we can with the information we have at the time. I regret that I stayed because I completely ignored my gut feeling that the relationship wasn't worth it. It still hurt to break up, but I had only postponed the break up until I couldn't ignore how incompatible we were and by then, there were two more semesters of new grads in my already overly saturated job market. If the relationship had worked out and if I was happy in it, I'm sure I would have different feelings.

Another vote here for taking the job.
posted by pumpkinlatte at 8:56 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

If he has your best interest at heart then he will support you and even push you towards developing your career right now when you are young and able to take opportunities that you won't be able to take when you have more responsibilities (ie, when you are possibly married, and have children). Now is the time for you to be spreading your wings and growing as an individual.

If he keeps talking about what he wants (doesn't want to move, doesn't want a LDR), he doesn't seem to be talking about what is in your best interest, or what is in the best interest of the two of you over the long-term (ie, you having better career opportunities over the course of your lifetime due to having more experience from a job in another city). A year or two or three apart is a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of things.

Funny, I so rarely remember seeing questions from guys about whether they should hamper their career ambitions to suit their relationships.

Take the job.
posted by vignettist at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

Never choose the boyfriend (or girlfriend) that requires you to sacrifice yourself for their convenience.

Plus, unwillingness to have an LDR for a year is a sure fire sign he is not as committed to you as you think he is.
posted by Neekee at 9:36 AM on October 5, 2016 [10 favorites]

Two hours apart is NOT a long distance relationship.

However, your boyfriend saying not only is two hours a LDR but also something he won't do --

he's trying to end your relationship in a very cowardly way.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 9:39 AM on October 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Agreeing with everyone else that 2 hours is pretty minimal in the long-distance scale of things, and that should be fully and completely survivable if the relationship is healthy and strong. The fact that your boyfriend isn't willing to entertain being very slightly long distance (because 2 hours is not long distance) for a year in order to be able to see you make a positive career move and be able to keep dating you, then dude is not in this for the long haul. A year of living 2 hours from each other is a very small price to pay if it meant the difference between being able to keep dating someone you truly love and see a future with and having to break up.

Take the job. And regardless of the job, I would be breaking up with him. He has majorly let you down at the first very minor test of the relationship and he has shown you how little your career and your goals matter to him. Consider this a bullet dodged. You won't be wasting more time in a relationship with someone who clearly isn't as committed to you and your relationship as you are.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:43 AM on October 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Two hours is nothing. I have had longer commutes to my normal job, it certainly isn't LDR territory. But I guess if it isn't convenient for him, you should just do what he wants in case he dumps you.

This guy is telling you that your happiness and career are less important to him than his convenience. He isn't willing to put himself out one little bit to help you achieve your goals.

How is that attitude going to manifest when you're married, or have kids? I hope you like being a SAHM/default parent/skivvy, because he won't be lifting a finger if it doesn't suit him to.
posted by tinkletown at 9:51 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also, you want to know what long distance is? For the first SEVEN YEARS of their relationship my cousin only got to see her husband twice a year for a month because they lived on different continents. THAT is long distance, and guess what? They love each other and felt is was worth that in order to keep being together. They survived that and are now living together and they happily married with two kids. That is SEVEN YEARS of HALF A WORLD apart and I will bet you both of them would say they would do it all over again in order to be able to be with each other.

And this person you're dating can't stomach 2 hours away for a year even though you volunteered to do all the driving every weekend and even though it would mean a major career boost for you?

Give me a fucking break.

I feel like you should be angrier at this.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:51 AM on October 5, 2016 [21 favorites]

I met my spouse 7 years ago when as he was leaving to go overseas to teach for a year. He briefly considered not going, but I strongly encouraged him to go. We made it work and was great for his career and our future together (although we didn't know that at the time. All I knew that it would be crazy for him not to go because of me)

I know it was dumb of me to apply for the job before trying to really make it work with him, but at that time I was still unsure about the relationship and thought the right decision was to move and go for my career.

I don't for one second believe it was dumb of you to apply for the job. In fact, I think it was brave and a great thing for you to do. I like your plan of taking a better job opportunity in the capital to leverage the experience to come back eventually. At this point in your life, I'd encourage you to be open to the possibilities and being flexible with your plans. If you get offered the job, great! Go on an adventure and see what happens with your boyfriend. If you don't happen to get the job, continue to apply for opportunities that excite you.

I find it a bit troubling that your boyfriend isn't willing to do a long distance relationship and support you in your goals. You getting career experience at this point is better for you as a couple than staying put, and 2 hours is certainly doable for a relationship. As a data point to consider , when I met my spouse I told him I didn't do long distance. Famous last words, as I changed my mind after he left and we got to know each other better. We were half a world apart for 3 years of our relationship and are happily married now.

I have given up better career opportunities to be close to my spouse, as my spouse recently did for me when we moved and he gave up a great job. No regrets there. However, I see the difference being that we both made sacrifices for each other and had previous opportunities to develop as a person away from each other. And we were at a point where we had the career capital (i.e. experience) to be able to prioritize this. You seem to be doing all the sacrificing (i.e. driving back every weekend, giving up a job to stay nearby).

As a new grad, the best thing you can do for yourself right now is to build the career capital you need for the future. If I were you, I would take the job and dump the boyfriend (I have a low tolerance for the shit your boyfriend is pulling and it would be a deal breaker for me. YMMV). Good luck.
posted by snowysoul at 10:19 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

You did the right thing at every step, here. Go you. Take the job. He's not willing to compromise even a little bit (moving to a between point, having a short-term LDR)-- why would you compromise your whole career?
posted by stoneandstar at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

This R isn't LD in my book. I'm not even going to touch on the relationship aspect as others here have done so very well.

I will say: at 25, the job you take now can affect your entire life-- not just your financial future, but your happiness. If it's in the field you want and pays well and sets you up for promotions, references, etc., this job can be the difference between living paycheck to paycheck, and having a savings for things like emergencies and vacations. It can be the difference between feeling stressed and stuck--with all the mental and physical health problems that go with stress--and a feeling of personal satisfaction and intellectual stimulation.

You may not feel this as deeply as us olds do, but trust me when I say: jobs are truly not easy to come by, and GOOD jobs, even harder. You are taking care of future you if you take your career seriously now and don't pass up what could truly be a rare opportunity. Compromises in relationships can be made, but an employer is just going to move right along if you don't act decisively.

Congrats on making it this far in the interview process! I want to encourage you to go all the way because who knows when something like this will come along again.
posted by kapers at 11:15 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

You say he is now willing to work on problems: how has his behavior changed? Does he still sulk in silence when he is mad or does he talk about it calmly within a day? Does he drop hints about his ex? Has he looked in your phone or other personal items again, or did he apologize sincerely? If his behavior has changed, and stays changed, then hooray! He needed a wake-up call and got it. I think you could take the job and keep working on the relationship long distance.

How did he tell you he didn't want a long-distance relationship? Does it seem he was supportive, or immediately dismissive? How does he handle when you want X and he wants Y?

If he isn't really changing, keep looking for work where you can find it.
posted by JawnBigboote at 11:28 AM on October 5, 2016

Take the job. Take the job. TAAAAKE THAAAAA JOB!

I turned down an amazing job across the country to try to make things work with my now ex-boyfriend. The relationship ended up being a complete disaster, and I often look back at that period in my life and wish that I had had the wisdom to talk to someone who would have pointed out to my the folly of my ways. Even the moment I made the decision to stay is imprinted crystal-clear in my mind, which goes to show how big of an impact that turning point made in my life. My career now is great, and I have a wonderful little family, but not everyone's that fortunate.

Regardless of where things go in this relationship, you're at a time in your life when you need things in place to secure your financial status, long-term career prospects, independence and stability. A great role at a good company creates the foundation for that. You're young, and while I understand how hard it is to leave someone you love - there are never any guarantees. Don't pass up an opportunity you know will benefit you for one that has failed you in the past and continues to give you doubt.
posted by Everydayville at 11:39 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I did a LDR for a year and a half, then moved thousands of miles for my then-boyfriend, now-husband. I moved from a moderately-competitive job market to an insane job market where it took me a year to find a permatemp position. My relationship was pretty strong, and the stress of the job hunt in the new city created a lot of resentment on both sides. I'm not sure an iffy relationship (as you have described it) would survive those sorts of difficulties.

Things have worked out ok (I decided that full-time positions in my field required more hours/stress than I wanted anyway), but I'm with everyone else in the thread. I think it's a huge red flag that he's not willing to live two hours away from you (I would have killed for that distance during my LDR) even though you are willing to do all of the traveling. Take the job.
posted by creepygirl at 11:53 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Apply for the job. Make plans to move to the city.

In 25 years, losing the opportunity to pursue challenge and interesting life options would be a great loss.

I suspect that if you step back and consider his actions, and none of his words, you'll see that he doesn't value you. I think it's time to move on.
posted by theora55 at 11:56 AM on October 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yup, I've always, always chosen the job. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like had I not (I am 33 and unmarried) but the good relationships can last a little distance and the ones that aren't meant to last will not last no matter how far away you are. Being a career woman is tough. I always asked myself what the men in my life would do if they were presented with a similar choice and the answer was always "they would pick the job," so that was always my answer as well.

Plus, your boyfriend has "started" to work on the issues and "if you manage to overcome them" this relationship would be worth staying for? You're in the relationship you are in right now, and you can never, ever assume that it will fundamentally change. This is always true, job opportunity or not. Go for the job.
posted by sockermom at 1:47 PM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, also: I waited years -- years -- for a guy to do the improving that he said he was going to do when he was scared he might lose me. And he kept just not only not improving, but getting actively worse. Change is hard. The promise of change has kept so many women in awful situations, over and over, so many of us. Lots of women have a story like "but he said he would try" and then spoiler alert: he doesn't.

Don't put things like your career, financial independence, autonomy, a sense of self-worth, the ability to really do good in a career path that matters to you -- don't put those things on the line for the promise of change.
posted by sockermom at 1:50 PM on October 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

Even if your relationship with your boyfriend was perfect I'd tell you to pursue the job.

Yep, you're 25. Move for career, try to make relationship work -- but don't sell yourself short for it.
posted by so fucking future at 2:15 PM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


A good career move now can affect your earning potential for the rest of your life. A boyfriend, even a perfect one, is never worth that substantial a sacrifice.
posted by a strong female character at 2:46 PM on October 5, 2016 [9 favorites]

Absolutely agree that you should choose the job. It sounds interesting and fun, but, even more, it will provide you with opportunities for growth and advancement that are soooooo important at this time in your life.

Honestly, your boyfriend gives me pause. It seems like he's trying to clip your wings, to do just enough so you'll take a step back from your own dreams and ambitions and plans to stay with him.

If he really loves you, he will want you to be your best self. He will want you to grow and be all that you can be, and will figure out a way to make that happen. He won't use your love for him, your desire for love and connection and relationship, to hobble or reduce you.

Regardless of whether you get the job, you deserve someone better.
posted by dancing_angel at 3:46 PM on October 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

My partner is looking for a job right now and I am 100% behind him moving away from our city if he has to. Last year I went travelling without him, too - we are a couple not because we happen to be near each other, but because we want to be partners and we want each others lives to get better because we are together.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:28 PM on October 5, 2016

"Never make someone a priority who views you as an option."

Don't settle. Don't coulda, woulda, shoulda your life.
posted by jadepearl at 9:36 PM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Before i even read below the fold, i was about to write something to the effect of "meh, 25 is peak relationship failure age".

And after reading the rest... yea, that.

Take the job. You're going to be bitter for a long time if you don't, after this all falls apart anyways because of his unwillingness to work with you. If anything, you offered him way too much compromise by saying you'd drive to visit him.

2 hours is a short enough distance that you guys could randomly hang out after work during the week. Shit, i've lived a 1.5 hour commute from my own house.

This isn't about the job, or the move. And honestly, screw that.
posted by emptythought at 10:33 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks to all of you who replied. I'm invited for the second interview! Although it still doesn't mean anything, this will be a great experience even if they don't hire me.

I had a talk with my boyfriend again and yup, he's absolutely not willing to have a temporary "LDR". He says that he's tried that with his ex-girlfriend (who actually lived less than 2 hours from him) and that it always leads to a break-up. He thinks that there's no guarantee that I will come back after a year and that it's likely that he or I will find someone else during this time. While these are all valid arguments as you never know what can happen, it bothers me that he doesn't want to at least give it a try. I know that he'd like to have a kid in the next 2 years or so, and so I don't really blame him for not wanting to risk wasting one more year with me, in case I don't come back or find someone there. I still think we could make it work but I understand his decision.

Anyway, I don't want to stay in the capital for the rest of my life and would like to come back to my current town after a few years (it's the biggest town in the country right after the capital). And though I know it's silly, I'm haunted by the idea of meeting him in the town some years from now, with his kids and all, while I'm a lonely career woman. I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.
posted by U.N.Owen at 1:58 AM on October 6, 2016

Congratulations about the second interview!

I'm haunted by the idea of meeting him in the town some years from now, with his kids and all, while I'm a lonely career woman. I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.

#1. You are going to meet many, many attractive men throughout your career. Men who are into you and your career and think you having a career makes you supersexy. You will also have friends and your own amazing home and maybe even a crazysmart dog and a cat with a clever name like Admiral TunaFace, Toons for short.

#2. Any guy that thinks driving 2 hours is far too onerous a task, even for love, is going to be a boring, poopface father. He's never going to want to take his kids anywhere and whoever is unfortunate enough to end up bearing his progeny is going to have to do all the lifting because Dad can't be arsed to do anything. You'll see him in public and one of his kids will have just dropped an ice cream cone and is crying, and he's going to be standing there, blankfaced, looking at his wife to fix it.

#3. I'm in my 50's and had a very serious career in radio, then a very serious career in public television, then a somewhat serious career as a writer. I've been a very serious educator now for 15 years.

As a wise person once told me when fretting over making some decision, "You can always change your mind."

But this guy is just not worth trying to hold on to.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:21 AM on October 6, 2016 [15 favorites]

I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.

There's no guarantee that the two of you will stay together if you don't choose your career.
posted by yohko at 2:35 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

You're not choosing a career over him, you're choosing yourself. He's not willing to compromise *at all*. Two hours being long distance is laughable, I commute that far each way five days a week! You're looking at options and solutions and he's all nope, you stay right here even if it means no career for you.

Say you stayed with him and one day something happened and you had to move (maybe your kid needed specialised health care or schooling only available in big city). Will he break up with you then because things will no longer suit him perfectly?

You're young. Put yourself first, a better partnership will come along. This guy will be a total drag in the long term.
posted by kitten magic at 5:15 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]

Honestly, his timeline — wanting to have kids in two years — and his behavior don't even really match. If he wanted to have kids soon, he'd be pushing to have adventures now and get your career off the ground; to get married, so you can spend time just the two of you solidifying everything; to know who you are so you wouldn't have regrets for your life. If your town is the second-largest in your country, there are plenty of men in it and a decent number of men who would move there from the capital. Don't let this dude drag you down!

When I broke up with (was broken up with by, really) the boyfriend who will only be known as Assface, I was devastated. I was like "omg all my chances at happiness — gone!" I spent months wallowing — months! And then when I finally did see him again I didn't give a shit because my cool friends and hot husband were there with me, chilling, and he was an unwelcome intrusion, like a giant fly.

In the meantime, that awesome husband? Not only just hotter and nicer, but also, way more supportive. If I had married Assface, I basically would have stayed the person I was then. With my husband, I have gone to grad school, made a go of getting my art in shows, done all sorts of dreams. We have also spent a year living on opposite sides of the U.S., which I hated, because it was important to both of our dreams.

You won't regret this dude. You have a million better things waiting out there for you. I promise. Even if you don't get the job, you should drop this wet sponge. But especially if you do.
posted by dame at 5:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [14 favorites]

PS: Part of the reason I am so adamant is that what I regret most was not believing in myself and demdaning the best for me in my 20s. So much wasted time! Don't be me!
posted by dame at 5:27 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]

Seconding Dame: now would be the time to get your career jump started if you guys are having a family in 2 years.

It's not completely unreasonable to have a general wish of when you want to start having kids. But if an opportunity is presenting itself that will improve the financial stability of the family, and he doesn't want to risk "wasting" a year, then he's putting himself and his timeline first.. before you and your hypothetical children. That sounds to me like he's more focused on the timeline than choosing the love of his life/great mother for his kids. You're chosen for conveniently fitting into slot A in his life, not because you're you.

More to the point...why is it wasting a year for you to be "long" distance, when you guys may still wind-up breaking up even if you stay? But at that point you've sacrificed a solid career move and he's in the exact same position (no better or worse).

He's selfish, or at least, has a very self-centered worldview. It doesn't make him the worst person in the world, and it doesn't make him unlovable (that would make this too easy). But if you're going to give up a career opportunity, it should be for something that's going the distance (IMHO).

If that distance includes kids, then you need a partner who is willing to do what's in the best interest of the family, which means he doesn't always get exactly what he wants when he wants it.

What's going to result in more regrets? You seeing this guy walking around town with kids? Or giving your own kids a selfish father focused more on his short-term desires than on what is good for the family?
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm haunted by the idea of meeting him in the town some years from now, with his kids and all, while I'm a lonely career woman. I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.

Hey, I resent that! "Lonely career woman" is a stereotype, not a real thing. Choosing to get yourself set up with your career now does not mean you will never have a family, if that is what you want! Most family women I know have jobs. Most single women I know (including myself) are thriving. Good relationships support who you are as a whole person, they don't force you to give up all your dreams and focus solely on one person to the exclusion of the rest of your life.

I know it's scary but the image that should haunt you is finding yourself at 45, saddled with an inadequate partner, with no life of your own and no career. You are not choosing career over family, you are choosing this job right now over what kind of seems like a dead-end relationship.

Someone who would make you, at 25, choose your dream job or him, and offers ZERO compromise, simply because a job is a mere 2 hours away, is not a forever partner. He does not support who you are as a whole person. I would not want to be tied to this man forever, nor would this attitude be acceptable in the future father of my children. Trust me, you will find WAY more solid men that this. He's not the last train to motherhood, please.

Seriously, this relationship is not important enough to him to overcome a 2 hour commute for a year? Then what makes it so appealing to you for the long haul? To me it sounds like he's given up but doesn't have the guts to break up with you.
posted by kapers at 7:20 AM on October 6, 2016 [10 favorites]

Your boyfriend's reasons for not wanting a temporary "LDR" sound off to me. Telling you there's no guarantee you'll come back after a year and that one of you will find someone else--think about what this means. He isn't sure you'll come back to him. He is afraid that you will leave and not come back. He is so afraid of this that he'd rather keep you in his pocket than be excited and supportive of you exploring a crucial career opportunity two hours away.

This does not sound great to me. In solid, equal, committed relationships there's not a huge fear of one partner leaving the other or not coming back because, when both people are committed to a relationship, they do not want to be with anyone else and so won't be putting themselves in a position where they are looking for and end up with someone else. My objection to a LDR is always that I would miss the other person so much, not that I was afraid that if I let them out of my sight then they'd find someone better and dump me.

I really feel like your boyfriend wants to keep you to your determent. He is being ridiculously unfair and does not sound supportive or loving but jealous and possessive. This is a great career opportunity for you and you deserve not only the opportunity to pursue it but also to have a partner who encourages these opportunities for you. Don't let him guilt you into staying. Take the job, see how it goes.
posted by Polychrome at 8:18 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

Oh my goodness. Lonely career woman is the stuff of legends perpetuated by gossipy old ladies with a mindset that no longer applies to women of this generation. Why? Feminism aside, good men who want to start families of their own respect and support their significant others in their careers. Women who are fulfilled by satisfying careers make for wonderful wives and mothers that make enormous contributions to the financial and emotional health of their families. For many women, their careers give them a sense of purpose, self and identity.

Personally, I find that becoming a mother has tended to cloud my dignity - my conservative, traditional family will often refer to me as my son's mother - and this greatly bothered me. The career I chose over relationships subsequent to my last long relationship has served me well in this regard; it is mine, it is something I've built, and it provides me with a sense of accomplishment without clouding my identity the way becoming a mother has.

Congrats on the second interview! I hope things work out for you. Also remember, getting out of your comfort zone and living independently in a big city will change your worldview in unexpected and unimaginable ways. You will likely look back at this question in a couple years with a sense of amusement and wonder why this seemed like such a hard choice at the time! Good luck! I am genuinely excited for you.
posted by Everydayville at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you choose your selfish, non-compromising, my-way-or-the-highway boyfriend over your career and independence you will be making a huge mistake. If he isn't into you enough to stay together if you're two hours apart, he isn't into you enough to make marriage and kids and a lifelong commitment even remotely feasible. He wants you to gamble away your career in order to stay close to him just in case he decides you're good enough to commit to at some future point? And even before that you were already questioning your relationship? Forget that. You are worth far, far more than he is offering and I really, really hope you will realise that!
posted by hazyjane at 10:59 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.

I think the risk of that happening is ASTRONOMICALLY lower than the risk of regret staying with the guy and passing up this job opportunity.

And FWIW, your follow up just made me even more positive this dude is not worth staying for. You can do SO MUCH BETTER.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:13 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wow, that's awful - he's afraid that you will grow and change if you take this job, so he's saying you need to stay where you are and stay who you are right now in order to be sure you won't leave him.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:01 PM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, to elaborate on my previous post, after having slept on this one...

Someone who doesn't want you to succeed in their mid 20s doesn't get it yet. My early and a chunk of my middle 20s consisted of a long relationship where at the beginning i was unemployed and in school, and they were in school working part time, then moved on to me having a beginner career path job, then them getting out of school and doing the same.

The part after we had both backed eachother up, lived with roommates, and could comfortably afford a nice apartment by ourselves with dual income was totally awesome. We traveled, got awesome stuff for our house, went to shows/events/art stuff, and did all kinds of local awesome stuff on weeknights("hey lets check out this new place i saw online") or took day trips fairly regularly. Shitty things would happen occasionally that could be fixed by Money Hose and it wasn't a big deal because now we both had savings.

This part only lasted barely a couple years, but after experiencing that i realized it's absolutely worth waiting for. No one who Knows Whats Up would be unwilling to wait a year and some uncertainty to shit away the strong possibility of having that. That, is where you build something from.

Stagnating is not.

After reflecting on that, this guy sounds pretty immature. Which is fine, i guess, i mean he's pretty young. But the entire reaction to this is very immature. Just because some people own a house and have two kids at 25 doesn't mean that isn't still a really young age for an awful lot of people.

And though I know it's silly, I'm haunted by the idea of meeting him in the town some years from now, with his kids and all, while I'm a lonely career woman. I just hope I'm not going to look back one day and regret choosing my career.

Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Maybe you'll run in to him and he'll just be drunk as fuck at a bar on a tuesday still acting like he's 20. Way more likely though is that you'll have moved on and you won't care either way. What you described is very, extremely unlikely. Stuff happens in big cities, and no matter what your passions are if you regularly pursue them and go out and participate in things you'll meet people.
posted by emptythought at 1:32 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

You are at a really exciting moment! You've finished university and now you're about to embark on your career. Please take a moment to appreciate that.

I understand your worry and fear. This is very natural at a big moment like this. But the thing is, you have no idea what the future holds. Maybe you will move to the capital and develop a life for yourself that you really end up loving, with a great partner, friends, and a fabulous career. Maybe you'll work there for a few years, decide it's not for you, and find a job you like where you are now. Maybe you'll find ANOTHER place you want to live. By going for this opportunity, you're showing faith in yourself and your future. That's a really powerful thing to do for yourself.

As for the dude, the far likelier outcome of running into him in 5 years, whether or not he has a family, or you do, is for you think "oh thank god I didn't let this guy hold me back." If he doesn't grow up, he'll probably be a crappy father and partner, because being a good partner is all about sharing burdens, which he cannot do. And maybe he will grow up, but probably only with a lot of work from his wife, and do you really want to spend the next 5 years dragging a grown man into adulthood?

Here's the thing: I bet if you told him you were moving anyway, he would "compromise" by agreeing to this "LDR," with you driving every weekend to see him. This would mean you would never really be able to develop a life in your new city. He'll put pressure on you to move back, maybe before you're ready to. His inability to support you would still limit your ability to grow as a person and professionally.

I honestly would suggest you just break up, and I don't say that lightly. You sound like a really smart, interesting, caring person, and you deserve a partner who sees all those great qualities is willing to support you.
posted by the sockening at 4:15 PM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]

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