I Have to Choose: My Boyfriend or My Career

I Have to Choose: My Boyfriend or My CareerEvan,

First, thanks for the advice you provide on this blog. I read it religiously, and it always gives me a lot to consider in my own relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for five months, and are both in our late 20s. We’re a good match. I’m happier than I can ever remember being. We’ve met all of the usual checkpoints for a new relationship – we established exclusivity within the first month, have met each other’s parents (in fact, he’s meeting my family this weekend), and freely and sincerely express our love to one another. We talk about a future together. I believe this relationship could have a real future. My boyfriend is kind, loving, and devoted to me, and I see myself loving him more each day.

However, an issue has emerged. Over a year before my boyfriend and I began dating, I initiated a job search with the intent to relocate to my favorite city (Austin, TX), where I lived for a few years for graduate school. That search was unsuccessful, but the recruiter I was working with recently contacted me with an opportunity to move to Austin. Professionally, this is a great move for me, but personally, this is a disaster.

Last night, I told my boyfriend about the opportunity (since I have a final interview in Austin next week), and he told me that he loves me and he wants me to have a fulfilling career, but that if I move to Austin, it will be the end of our relationship. He refuses to take part in a long-distance relationship (I knew this about him from the time we first began dating), and he doesn’t want to move to Texas. He did say that he might be willing to relocate sometime in the future, but that any move would be “for the person he will spend the rest of his life with,” and that it’s still too early to know whether I’m that person. I understand his position, and I love him, but I also love myself and my career. I am willing to do long-distance, but he isn’t. Both of us could feasibly pursue our chosen careers in either location.

My question, Evan, is what would you do, and what should I do? I do have a great job in our current city, but Austin has always been in my plans. When in a relationship is it appropriate to choose a partner over a career move, and is that appropriate here? – Victoria

Dear Victoria,

Men want to choose. We don’t want to be sold.

Glad you enjoy the blog.

Glad the advice has helped you.

Glad you have an amazing boyfriend.

But you’ve already answered your own question, so I’m not quite sure I’m supposed to say.

“Austin has always been in my plans.”

There you go.

You’ve given him an ultimatum – “I’m moving to Austin. Are you coming?”

He’s given you an answer – “You’re great, but it’s too soon to make the commitment to move to a strange city I don’t want to be in for a new girlfriend.”

You just don’t seem to want to accept his answer.

You have more leverage with a man in a long relationship than in a short one.

Your suggested compromise is a long-distance relationship. It’s a perfectly reasonable solution, apart from the fact that it doesn’t make your boyfriend happy at all.

Long-distance, to you, means that he’s going to have to fly to see you for a few years and ultimately decide that he wants to move to be with you. But notice that he’s the one who has to make the sacrifice if he wants the relationship to survive, not you.

This goes to illustrate a few common dating principles:

1)   If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he’s not really a man.

2)   Men want to choose. We don’t want to be sold.

3)   You have more leverage with a man in a long relationship than in a short one.

Essentially, you’re TELLING him that your future is in Austin, no matter what, and that if he knows what’s good for him, he’s eventually gonna end up there.

If I were your boyfriend, I’d personally like to have more of a say in my future than that.

Thus, you’re not “wrong” for wanting him to move to be with you or submit to a long-distance relationship against his will. You’re only “wrong” in assuming this arrangement is equally good for him as it is for you.

It’s not. And he’s let you know that, in no uncertain terms.

So now you have two choices, Victoria:

1. Don’t move to Austin yet. Build your relationship with this man for a few years. Get married. Negotiate a potential move to Austin with the love of your life down the road. He may be open to it, as you said. And I promise: Austin is not going anywhere.

2. Move to Austin. Find another man who loves you. Marry him instead.

Both are perfectly defensible choices.

In fact, if Austin is that important to you, #2 seems like a much better bet, because I have no doubt there will be tons of quality guys there and you are GUARANTEED of being in Austin.

But, to be very clear as you sort through your turmoil: it’s not your boyfriend who is choosing his current city over you; you’re choosing Austin over him.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    Nathan

    Helen – I have no idea if Janice and Lisa are the same person. Somehow, I doubt it. But frankly, there is never the kind of scrutiny for more conservatively aggressive comments on here as there is for those of us who are considered to be “non-mainstream” in our views. People love commenters like Karl because he agrees with Evan enough to be non-threatening, but is also able to pick apart bs comments in a clear and sometimes entertaining way. I doubt you or many regulars on here would request the kind of proof people like I or Lisa are expected to provide, nor would there be such an attempt to slander by association with someone like Karl.

    What’s my point? You are picking favorites, instead of directly addressing Lisa’s comments. Which is easy to do when you are part of the majority. There is nothing to lose, and nothing to prove. That is,of course, until the table are turned and few like what you have to say.

    1. 91.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nathan – I agree that questioning Janice/Lisa’s identity is quite a stretch and can be perceived as insulting. But, to be clear, both women came on here and largely misrepresented my advice as well as that of some commenters. Because of this willing misrepresentation, their comments have been deservedly scrutinized and punctured by Karl and Helen, among others. Some people are fair fighters – you are usually among them. But everyone here knows when someone has come in to act as an agitator. It’s not that we don’t take kindly to strangers; it’s that we don’t take kindly to strangers who twist a very reasonable point of view and assign it anachronistic or malicious intentions. By the way, your views are not particularly outside the mainstream and you have been treated extremely well on this website. And if you choose to proffer views that strike some as unusual or ineffective, you shouldn’t be too surprised when people disagree with you. For example, I don’t think that every person on the planet needs to get married. In fact, I think there should be far fewer marriages, between people who have similar values and long-term goals, so there are fewer divorces. And yet I feel quite strongly (as does science), that marriage is the best platform to raise children. Not cohabiting, friends with benefits, or thru a very active grandma. If I recall, you disagree with me. So be prepared for people to take you apart for this non-mainstream view. That’s how it goes on the internet, for better or worse.

      Thanks as always for your contributions. I’m going to return to enjoying my Father’s Day.

  2. 92
    Nic

    I have been visiting this site on and off to pick up pointers on dating. I must say, I learned to look for red text box to see what Evan has to say and skip any comments with negative tone and personal attacks on them. I do however, like to read views outside the mainstream. On the other hand, commenters who have become painfully predictable, I do not bother scrolling down and reading.

  3. 93
    S.

    “The woman with four dogs. The guy who works 80 hours a week.”

    I would like to hear about the people at extremes. The outliers. The advice for them may not work or be necessary for the majority but I care about that story about the woman with four dogs. Does she give her canine babies up for love? Does that guy sacrifice time at the job? I think these people deserve love and it’s going to be much harder for them to find it. It really is going to be a struggle for them.

    I’d like to hear their stories too. Stories are important. These peoples’ stories too, successful or not. Just once in a while.

    1. 93.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @S – The woman with 4 dogs or the guy who works 80 hours a week – like everyone else in the world – has two choices: adjust or keep on going.

      If they adjust in some way, thereby creating more time/room for love, I predict that they will have both an easier time meeting, connecting with, and maintaining a good relationship.

      If they do not adjust – if they say, “this is who I am, and I’m not changing for anybody”, they are going to have an objectively harder time, meeting, connecting with and maintaining a relationship.

      If they do find relationships, they will not necessarily be of the same quality because so many compromises have to be made to partner up with such a person. Thus, about the ONLY people who are suitable to them are their clones, who also have a kennel at home or a job that takes them away for 30 weeks a year. But those people may be too similar and have conflict since there’s little balance in the relationship. And around and around we go.

  4. 94
    Lisa

    Bravo, Nathan. Good point about picking favorites.

    EMK, despite the frequency of people’s visits on here, which might give one the impression that people “know” each other, we don’t really. We are all strangers to one another on here. One of the big problems of internet communications in general–a false sense of intimacy. Despite this, that you consider me a “stranger” and others not strangers just goes to underscore the points that others have made re: picking favorites and being unduly harsh with people whose ideas are different from yours. I mean, really, how is someone supposed to tell you that they find your advice off base and possibly even destructive (Fiona, Maria), or your tone insulting (same as you feel free to them)? They can’t. So that’s when people start talking about democracy or censorship or whatever variety of words they use to describe the phenomenom. But we all blog a lot and so we get it–it’s your blog. And yes, most people will leave one site and go to other sites and services that suit them better, and some people will try to get through to you first and then leave. We all will leave. Not a big deal for us. We don’t make our living reading blogs.

    Helen, many times when someone expresses an idea about dating or relationship that differs from the status quo on here someone (EMK, Karl, other regulars) will ask them why they’re on the site. So it seems to be a legitimate question that people ask of others when their motivation for being here seems at odds with what the site says it’s about. I do think it odd that people who profess to have their relationship life all sewed up would be going on a dating site. But maybe you’re having trouble in your relationship and so things you read here about how to find the one are helpful to you. Neither you nor Karl ever shares how this site helps you with your commitment relationships, but you are both quick to tell other people what they should be doing in their dating relationships, and you both seem to spend a lot of your time on this blog, so to me the question re: motivation is legitimate and still remains open.

  5. 95
    Lisa

    Thanks for posting my last comment, EMK, and for letting it stand without commenting on it. I was pretty sure you were going to either not post it or lob a lot of anger at me for it.

    So, Helen and Karl. To phrase the “why are you on here” question in the positive: How has this blog and EMK’s advice helped you in your committed relationships? If you can give specific examples that would be much appreciated (e.g., “I had a great career but I decided to cut back when the kids came because he made more money,” etc.).

  6. 96
    SS

    Lisa, I’ll answer your question, if you don’t mind.

    I came to this board as a single, uninvolved woman with no partner whatsoever. Then I had a boyfriend and we broke up after six months. Still stayed on the site to get advice. Then met the guy I eventually married, and during the dating process, visited this site for advice.

    Although the dating advice is no longer relevant to my life, I still enjoy coming here, seeing that I was single much longer than I’ve been married. I haven’t felt the need to leave the site just because I’m no longer dating, and I also find that the stories here confirm advice I give my single-and-still-dating friends. A lot of my friends are still never-married and dating (and they’re mid-30s), so the advice here is relevant to them — either for me to send on to them or for me to communicate if they ask me directly for advice.

    So even if Evan’s advice is no longer relevant to my situation (and I disagree with him on quite a few things — but like his general principles about dating), it doesn’t mean I should leave a site that I grew to enjoy during my dating years. Sometimes too, I like to share how certain advice Evan gave did work for me.

  7. 97
    S.

    Wow, Evan you are fast! Thank you for responding.

    But wow. So the people who are outliers have to adjust or they are going to have a harder time forming and maintaining relationships? That seems kind of gloomy. I understand that there has to be some compromise on both peoples’ part to be in a relationship. Yet, I don’t know if I believe having four dogs necessarily means the woman has to find a man with multiple dogs too, and even if she does their relationship may be out of balance because of that shared interest. It might be that they have that in common, but hey, she moves herself and her dogs to where he lives. She may be willing to compromise in other ways. The 80-hour work week guy may have a plan where he doesn’t do this forever, just for two more years. It’s not always binary, as I’ve learned from reading your blog. Just because someone is finding it difficult to compromise on one thing, doesn’t necessarily mean they have little or no compromise in them.

    We all have to pick our battles. With Victoria, it’s Austin now or not Austin now. Sometimes one does just have to choose. That said, I believe people have a great capacity for change. Men and women. But only when they are *ready* to change. No one can force a woman to change (sometimes not even herself!) and the same is true for a man. It is hard work to try and adjust in order to have a relationship. And I’d still like to hear stories about that hard work. (Victoria, I’d love to hear what you ultimately chose and how you made that decision.) I want to know how people found love both ways. By adjusting or holding out. I can learn from both.

    I know some couples who do have shared interests and while it seems boring to me it works for them. I don’t know if they would be the ONLY match for each other but I’ll keep thinking about that. Maybe. Your words are definitely food for thought.

    1. 97.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I completely agree, S. It’s not binary at all. Unfortunately, as an advice giver, I can’t address every issue from every angle and account for every exception in the process. So I come down on the side of the majority – what do most men do, what do most women do, etc. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that one size does not fit all – I just do my best to give advice that fits the most people. Does that make sense?

  8. 98
    Lisa

    Hi, S@103: Thanks for the response. If your friends are asking you for advice then you are probably a sympathetic person who is genuinely interested in listening to them and helping them. Just curious (no attack here)–why are you acting as middle man rather than sending them directly to EMK’s site or recommending his coaching services? Seems like that would be a win for everybody. :)

    Related thoughts: When you’re dating you’re in a vulnerable state. You’re looking for something you don’t have. The issues are deep, and the choices have far-reaching consequences for all of your life. This is heavy stuff that requires lots of soul searching. Finding and choosing a life partner is a highly individual, personalized process. While communication tips and eCupid stats about what everyone else is doing and cute-meet-rom-com stories might be interesting and entertaining, at the end of the day what we’re talking about is something that isn’t so superficial. Unless, of course, one is interested in a superficial marriage.

    I can’t speak for nathan, but I suspect that he and I would agree that we have no interest in a superficial marriage. I’d say that the more one is aware of one’s emotional and spiritual depth the more personal and individual ALL of one’s relationships become. Yes, you know hwo to get the Wall St job. Yes, you know how to act on a date to keep a guy interested in you. Yes, you know how to get to a commitment. Yes, you know you can be the trophy wife. Yes, you know how to get pregnant and where to send your kids to grade school so they can go to an IL school and get a Wall St job or be a trophy wife etc. In other words, you know how to play the game.

    Thing is, you just don’t want to. Because you don’t want that.

  9. 99
    Lisa

    EMK104: yes, makes a lot of sense. glad you put that out there. for reasons stated in my last post. :)

  10. 100
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thanks, Lisa. For what it’s worth, we have very different views on “the game”.

    In my book, you’re empowered if you learn how to play. It’s not a game. It’s life. We can pretend that the “right” relationship doesn’t require any self-awareness about what works, but that’s not true.

    If a man is too shy to talk to women, he needs to learn how to have confidence.

    If a woman is fearful about being cheated on, she needs to learn how to leave her pain at home.

    If a man is too aggressive about sex, he needs to learn to understand women’s pacing and needs.

    If a woman wants to know if a man is her husband on Date 1, she needs to learn to understand men’s pacing and needs.

    If you opt out of this knowledge, you’re likely handicapping your chances of finding love. I don’t judge you for that.

    But any woman who reads my advice is going to be much closer to finding love than any woman who dismisses it as a game.

    There are people of varying skill sets in the world. The most powerful people are the ones who have the greatest skills and greatest options. You can say you want to be a CEO, but if you don’t play “the game” of learning to work as a team, become a better leader or writing a resume to get in the door, your dream is going nowhere fast.

    I don’t harbor resentment towards people who opt not to “play”, but I don’t understand why there’d be resentment to people who have failed and want to know what they can do better.

  11. 101
    SS

    “Just curious (no attack here)–why are you acting as middle man rather than sending them directly to EMK’s site or recommending his coaching services?”

    @Lisa 105… probably because at the specific times I’m being asked a question, my friend is wondering what I would do (or what I did with my dates) in a particular situation, and not necessarily seeking to have me answer by sending them to a website. I do recommend this site and others when my friends and I are talking about dating, but more in a “Hey, this person has good advice, you should read his her/site” kind of way. It’s up to my friends to decide whether or not they want to do that.

    I also don’t think everyone is really in the place in which they truly would benefit from dating coach (EMK’s or anyone else’s). I can say from personal experience that one can say that he or she is tired and frustrated with the current dating market, but if he or she continues to perform the same actions and expect different results, all the websites and dating coaches in the world won’t help them. I know a few people who’ve been seeing the same shrink for 10+ years, multiple times per month, and they’re STILL caught up in the same issues they were 10 years ago. If those people ask me for advice, I’ll share my thoughts, but I know they aren’t truly “ready” to listen because they continue on the same path and then wonder why they aren’t finding the right person.

    But in general, I can recommend a dating site or a coach like EMK, but I don’t think it does much good to answer a direct advice question from a friend by saying, “Oh, just go to EMK’s site and the answers are all there.” She wants to hear my point of view as a woman and wonder how I might have handled a situation similar to what she’s in now.

  12. 102
    Mia

    Lisa — I disagree with a third to half of what Evan says, but I give the guy respect for being one of the few daring advisors who does NOT advocate games. A lot of his advice is common sense and tough love, rather than “strategies.”

    Second, there are all kinds of people who find love who would appear not to have a large, mainstream dating pool available to them. I know four fat girls with pushy personalities that are engaged. I know an unattractive black lesbian who found love in a mostly white state (not even online!). I have a former friend who got married in NYC – the toughest place for dating in the world – who is conventionally unattractive and is so controlling and pushy that none of us could stand to be around her for more than an hour. I know a super annoying woman with a buzzcut and glasses and thick middle who is happily married. So no, you don’t have to play the game to find love , apparently.

  13. 103
    S.

    Evan, I’m glad we agree. I sometimes struggle to understand your advice so I’m glad to understand it a bit here. I don’t always get it but I know there is some truth there. That’s the easy part. What I decide to do or not do with that truth is a whole other ball of wax.

    I understand how you’re giving advice. I started out life as an elementary school teacher. One of the oft-repeated pieces of advice my first year was ‘teach to the middle’ because it met general needs. In a class of thirty students, trying to meet everyone’s individual needs can be difficult. So I appreciate where you’re coming from.

    But I did, and do, still feel bad about students who were at the top or at the bottom in terms of achievement in my classroom back then. I did my best to meet their specific needs, but I often felt I failed with those who needed my help the most.

    I will say one thing. I have this feeling you will have a long and successful career in this field and if you want to, I think you could find a way (maybe not on this blog but someday perhaps) to help those folks who are outliers. They need your help, and yes, and their situations are difficult. The difficult students usually require much more effort but it’s much more rewarding when they finally succeed.

    And I’ll admit, I’m one of those difficult students here on your blog so that’s why I do long to hear their stories of success too. I struggle a lot with your advice. Not because I don’t think it’s good advice. Because I just don’t always like it. That’s not about you personally. You are just speaking your truth and I respect that. But it still is a challenge to understand it all and somehow mesh it with my truth. Sometimes, like today, it works. :) Other times, it doesn’t mesh with my experience or the experience of those closest to me at all.

    I don’t resent anyone who finds success with finding love in any way. Love is too precious and wonderful for me to harbor any ill to someone who is happy. But, I will admit I am quite mystified most of the time. Internalizing how men think and what they really want is similar to learning a new language in middle age. A language that may have always been around me but I never became truly fluent in. It’s quite difficult. Doesn’t mean I won’t ever learn it, but it may never come as natural as my native tongue. I do admire those who are supple and well-versed in the language of both sexes. But it will be a struggle for me.

    I don’t have four dogs or work 80-hour weeks, though. There is that. ;-) And I believe there is always hope. For everyone.

  14. 104
    Victoria

    All,

    I wanted to write to let you know of my decision regarding my question in the OP. Evan’s advice, and the thoughtful input of many of the commenters, helped me distill my complex thoughts into two clear options: choose a good job in a nice city with a man I love (and who loves me), or choose a good job in a great city as a single gal (who will date and fall in love again). These were both great options, but for me my preference quickly became clear. In my experience, so much of our happiness relies on the relationships we build and the people we share our lives with, and less of our happiness is dictated by geographic locale. I am happy in my current city. I have wonderful friends here, and a really wonderful man in my life. So, I choose to stay.

    In the end, my decision isn’t just about choosing a man or a city. It’s about choosing my current life or choosing to start a new one. My current life is pretty great, and I’m going to live it blissfully for as long as I can, with no regrets.

    Thanks again for all your help, Evan. I’ll keep reading!

    Best,

    Victoria

    1. 104.1
      Blue

      I am so happy you did the right thing. It’s the life you choose and not the location. Good on you babe.

  15. 105
    Lisa

    I used to read this blog at the time when Honey and Lance were on here. I liked the way that they offered a view into relationship lifestyles that were not my way, and I respected them a lot. After they left I wasn’t reading for awhile but returned in May, maybe. I was really shocked at how anyone who offers an alternative view to the marriage/kids scenario or who has a negative reaction to stereotypical female roles gets booted off the site or attacked. These are usually the people whose POV I agree with—e.g., Fiona, Maria, Nathan, Janice, etc.

    In light of this hostility toward the “alternative” folks, of late I’ve only scanned through the posts to see where someone is coming from and only read in their entirety comments from the alternatives. Some people’s comments I just don’t read at all because it’s just the same drum beat over and over and over. And I tune out anyone who starts talking about how smart or rational they are, how attractive they are to the opposite sex, how successful they are in relationship, how they know better what other people should do because, from their lofty perch, they know so much more.

    Just for the record, lest you accuse me of something not true: I come from a “stable” home with two always-married parents. We lived in a 4-bedroom house in a lovely suburb. I have a masters degree from an Ivy-equivalent school. I make $145,000 per year. I’m a cute red-head. I am always in a relationship or being courted. I come from a big family and have changed more than my share of diapers and as a teenager spent countless hours babysitting. I have 13 nieces and nephews whom I adore. Two wealthy men have proposed to me and offered the traditional marriage/kids scenario. I said no.

    Why? I. Don’t. Want. That. Life.

    The point: More and more people today don’t want the so-called “traditional” lifestyle. Even people in my demographic, the ones who can have it quite easily. This does not mean that we are histrionic, or man-hating, or difficult, or naïve, or not getting it. We are the ones who are creating new forms of relationship. We’re the ones who are changing the world. Maybe you can open your minds to this.

    1. 105.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Lisa:

      No one is hostile to “alternative” folks.

      We simply a) don’t know what you want and b) don’t know why you’re so hostile to logical, scientific, reasonable experienced advice about how to choose a partner for a successful long-term relationship.

      If you don’t want one of those – and would prefer to pour yourself into work, travel, friends, self-improvement, freedom and the occasional passionate love affair – that’s perfectly fine by me and everyone here. But why are you reading a blog about dating and relationships?

      In short, you come into my house to question me when I don’t give advice for people like you. No hard feelings. I guess I just don’t get it.

      More importantly: congratulations to Victoria for coming to a peaceful decision about what was most important to you. We all wish you the best.

  16. 106
    Goldie

    @ Lisa, I’ve only been reading this blog for about two years, so don’t go as far back as you do. But, in my short time on here, this blog has come across to me as a dating-advice blog, where people who: a)want what you call “the traditional lifestyle”, b)don’t have it all together the way you do (145K/year and all that), — come for advice on dating that would, ultimately, lead to them living the “traditional lifestyle”, which is what they happen to want for themselves. Are you saying that they shouldn’t be doing it? that it’s offensive to others and that they should stop asking questions and commenting on this blog? What exactly are these people doing wrong by coming to a dating-advice blog for dating advice? I honestly do not get it.

    As for Janice, Fiona, and Maria. I’ve read all three of their original posts, including the one (#51) Janice posted on this thread, and there’s a term for this stuff — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    Janice’s #51, for one, offered no advice or feedback to the OP, contributed nothing to the discussion, hijacked the entire thread, contained incorrect information not supported by any type of proof, and could basically be boiled down to “you all suck”. Classic trolling. It has nothing to do with having a dissenting opinion, wanting to enlighten the readers, or anything of that kind. Same goes for Fiona’s post, which, if I remember it correctly, contained personal insults. Ideally, if everyone would just refuse to feed the trolls and not reply to anything that is inflammatory and off-topic, it would go a long way towards making this blog’s comment section a more informative, better read. I’m as guilty as anyone, and admit that I should show more restraint and learn to ignore this kind of posts when they appear.

    I have no idea how Nathan got to be on this list of yours. I always enjoy his posts.

    I’m mostly writing this for the benefit of other commenters, since it follows from what you’ve just written that you’re not going to read my post. (An interesting way of having a discussion, but hey, who am I to judge.)

    @ Victoria — sorry about the mess your thread has turned into, and thanks for the update! Sounds like your decision has been well thought out, and makes a lot of sense. Good luck!

  17. 107
    Helen

    Victoria: best wishes with your future. The way you tell your story now makes it sound much more comfortable – the fact that you have close friends in your current town, and that you are otherwise happy there. If it were just for the sake of one boyfriend of 5 months that you were staying, which is what it had seemed from the OP (my misinterpretation), the situation would have been more iffy. Good luck to you.

    Goldie and Evan: agreed.

  18. 108
    Lisa

    Goldie@114: My list was of people whose posts call out stereotypically sexist ideas of either single women or of dating relationships. Which is why Nathan is on that list, and he’s the one who introducted the word “alternative” to this thread, not me. It isn’t a list of trolls, in my view. According to your definition of trolls there are a lot of them on here, on both sides of the “traditional relationship” divide. But as Nathan pointed out above, only the non-traditional people ever get taken to task about it. And Nathan has gotten “blowback” (his word) from that corner, too.

    What I’m saying is that this is a dating blog, if I am reading the homepage correctly, which I think I am. So why is it such a surprise that people who are dating, as I am, come here to read it. Why is it such a surprise that people in this modern day and age date for a variety of reasons, only one of which is to find a traditional marriage. Why is it such a surprise that a lot of people date WITHOUT the intention of finding a traditional marriage with children. Why is it such a surprise that people who come to a dating site thinking that they are participating in a discussion forum for people who are actually dating might take umbrage at getting batted around by a bunch of married people who ARE NOT EVEN DATING ANYMORE.

    What’s offensive is the assumption that we all want the same thing from dating and the weird insults that get thrown at anyone who even suggests that they have a different POV re: dating and relationship.

    But hey–it’s EMK’s blog. If he wants it to be about dating with the express purpose of having a traditional marriage with children, that’s his prerogative, of course. If that were spelled out more clearly then a lot of folks would bypass the site altogether and go where our views and issues are better understood and more sypathetically addressed.

  19. 109
    Helen

    #116: could a comment be more full of strawmen?
     
    “why is it such a surprise that people who are dating, as I am, come here to read it” – No one is surprised that people who are dating come to Evan’s site.
     
    “hy is it such a surprise that people in this modern day and age date for a variety of reasons, only one of which is to find a traditional marriage” – No one is surprised that people date for a variety of reasons. No one is surprised that not everyone wants marriage. Unless her mind has changed, Goldie has stated herself that she doesn’t want to get married again. Yet she is welcomed here.
     
    “Why is it such a surprise that a lot of people date WITHOUT the intention of finding a traditional marriage with children” – No one is surprised that some people don’t want children. Karl R has said himself he doesn’t want children.
     
    “What’s offensive is the assumption that we all want the same thing from dating” – No one is assuming that everyone wants the same thing from dating.
     
    “But hey–it’s EMK’s blog. If he wants it to be about dating with the express purpose of having a traditional marriage with children, that’s his prerogative, of course.” – There are many commenters benefiting from Evan’s blog, whom he welcomes even if they don’t want marriage or children.
     
    What is the point of trying to throw out these ideas to “argue”? They come out of absolutely nowhere.  We don’t care that you may not want traditional things. In fact, the things you seem to want are exactly the same things Goldie and Karl R want.  Rather, we take objection to the fact that your “arguments” seem to be flailing around with no logical underpinning and no connection to the OP.

  20. 110
    Ruby

    Lisa #116

    I post here often, and I’d consider myself atypical, as well. I’m middle-aged, never-married, no kids (never really wanted them). I’m from a stable home, well-educated, independent, etc. But I would like to be in a healthy, serious relationship. The non-traditional view of relationships doesn’t surprise me at all – I’ve been living it for years. But I acknowledge that most people still want marriage and kids.

    So as much as I might not always like it, dating behaviors are still fairly mired in tradition. Some of the comments from (mostly) some of the men are annoying, but that’s part of why I post, as well, to offer an alternative view.

    As someone who made loads of dating mistakes when I was younger, I have gotten a lot of benefit from the dating advice I’ve read, here and elsewhere. I don’t agree with every word, but overall, it has helped me greatly. In fact, I’ve recently started a relationship that may well turn out to be the best I’ve ever been in, and I’m not in a favored demographic. When so many women in my age-range are having trouble finding partners, I think it also gives other women hope to hear that.

    Actually, another frequent poster, Karl R, is atypical too. He started posting as a single guy who didn’t want kids, and is now engaged to a much older woman.

    Oh, and my best to Victoria, BTW!

  21. 111
    Goldie

    @ Lisa #116
     
    First of all, that wasn’t my definition. I copied it from Wikipedia. Though I agree that I’ve seen (and responded to) trolls on both sides. 
     
    “Why is it such a surprise that a lot of people date WITHOUT the intention of finding a traditional marriage with children.”
     
    So what’s the intention then? I’ve read all the alternatives’ posts and I still don’t know. (other than the childfree part,) Like Evan said, how can he advise you guys if he doesn’t know what you want? I have to admit I’m curious now.
     
    “What’s offensive is the assumption that we all want the same thing from dating”
     
    Exactly! So, if that’s offensive, then why all the “calling out” of people who don’t want the same thing from dating as you do? I haven’t seen anyone attack the “alternatives” on here without having been provoked first. I keep saying it on this blog… if a person doesn’t want to be a parent. they don’t have to be a parent. If they don’t want to date a parent, they don’t have to date a parent. Now, can this be done without putting all parents down and calling them lazy slobs, irresponsible partners and such, or is this too much to ask? And as for Nathan, I love the man to death, but he got his “blowback” in return for telling parents what they’re doing wrong with their lives. If I decide to give him advice of this kind, I’d expect a gentle blowback of some sort, too!
     
    I have a confession to make. I once dated a single dad with three kids, one of them in kindergarten and the other two special-needs. Even though I enjoyed being with the guy, and was very attracted to him, I broke it off after he became a full-time father, because that would’ve been too much for me to handle. Not because he’s a bad person for being a dad, being a single dad, having young kids, or having special-needs kids, but because I, personally, could not pull it off without putting a ton of pressure on myself and my own family. (But just because I couldn’t date him, doesn’t mean many other women wouldn’t be willing to.) So I absolutely see where you guys are coming from when you don’t want to date people like me or him. I just don’t see it as something he or I should be ashamed of.
     

  22. 112
    Tom

    Glad to see you made your decision Victoria, I hope it works out well for you.

    Lisa,
    Like you I also have an ‘alternative’ goal in dating; I don’t particularly aspire to the whole marriage set-up either. I actually find committing to just one person for a few years is bizarre never mind for a whole life-time! I see life as a big party which I hope to enjoy as much as possible so I only have casual relationships. I also got some heat for my views; however, I enjoy robust debate and even pointed criticism as long as it’s constructive and fair. I originally came to the blog for the slightly Machiavellian purpose of gaining a deeper insight into the female psyche to further my own ends. What I found actually slightly dismayed me; I wasn’t expecting so many women to despair of the dating process so much and be so emotionally vulnerable. As a result of Ruby’s suggestion now I subtly hint to women at the beginning that I’m not looking for anything too serious.

    I enjoy reading opinions from the various ends of the dating spectrum, from yourself to Zaq, and I think everyone has a contribution to make, whether they are single / married etc. I think regular posters such as Helen, Ruby and Nathan are consistently reasonable and fair and I always enjoy Karl’s analytical approach to breaking down arguments.

    About the general tone of the blog, I sometimes sense an air of exasperation and frustration from many of the women about what they view as antiquated advice given here about what men like. Although this is understandable it is ultimately futile. I was raised by an educated woman who ran her own business and I am very close to my sisters, nieces and female friends, and yet I still want a nymphomaniac model who’s also a cook. I.e. Men will be men no matter how society changes.

    That’s why Evan’s advice is so useful; he explains how most men think even if it’s unpalatable. If a female blogger did the equivalent and taught men how to pick up women she’d make a fortune!

  23. 113
    Crystal

    This post reminds me of myself 9 years ago, but imagine me as the guy who made the opposite choice. I had been accepted to grad school as I was finishing my BS, just as my military boyfriend had been assigned to another state. Instead of breaking up or trying the long-distance thing, he asked me to marry him. I said yes and *FOLLOWED HIM*. I tried not to ignore my own goal of getting my PhD, but it is difficult to achieve your own career goals if your husband moves around.

    After 8 years of marriage we divorced. I can look at it from 2 perspectives: A) If I would have said “No” and stayed, I could already have had my PhD years ago, and be making good money on my own. I don’t know if I would be in a happy relationship right now, but I will say that I’m back here in the dating world, not happily married anymore. And I find myself thinking, from now on I won’t ever give up my goals for a man again.
    B) On a brighter side, I did have several years of being happily married and being in love. Those are wonderful memories, despite that it didn’t last. Now I’m well on my way to getting my PhD. Sure I’m way behind on my career plan, but I can say that I’ve been in love, led a happy life, met lots of people and gained experience that will contribute to my career. I’m learning from my mistakes and I know I’ll fall in love again if I’m open to it. So…from this perspective, I’m happy regardless of what I’ve lost.

    So, basically, Make your choice and DON’T LOOK BACK! Give 100% to your choice and be awesome at your career wherever you are. Be objective about this guy (because you can’t deny there are some potential red flags in how he reacted). And if it doesn’t work out, then make your next move. If you’re awesome at your job and keep a positive perspective, there will always be opportunities wherever you go! Good luck Victoria:)

  24. 114
    Emily

    I felt the need to respond to this topic because this happened to me, only in reverse.  My boyfriend told me he received a job offer in a big city after we had been together for nearly 4 months.  This came as quite a shock to me because we were getting very serious, talking about marriage and our future together.  I was very upset because to me I really think he only chose to look for jobs in the big city because his current roommate was going there and he wouldn’t have to look for a new roommate or new place to live and he would have a built in friend in the new city.

    To state the facts, his new job offered less pay but a little more opportunity and his current job was not making him happy.   Everything in my life was great, and it wasn’t in my plans to move away from my friends and family.  He was willing to consider a long distance relationship and I wasn’t.

    In the end, he moved and we broke up.  I felt like his decision was made when he applied for the job without telling me about it or including me in his plans (which you aren’t doing in your situation).  He actually regretted his decision and became extremely unhappy wanting me back but stuck in his new city and miserable new job with few friends and far from family.  I think sometimes it’s great if you move for your career, but you have to know what is going to make you happier.  Would you regret leaving someone you love and may never find again? 

    My advice, is that if the job is equal in pay and opportunity that you stay a little longer where you are and see where your relationship goes.  I think jobs come and go, but relationships are much harder to find especially the older you get.  Ultimately you may decide the relationship isn’t what you want or need and end up looking for a job in Austin then, but it sounds to me like it would be worth staying to find out.

  25. 115
    Rhiann

    Hi Evan,

    This blog came @ a timing where I was in a similar dilemma as Victoria. Mine is not as major as to relocate. Instead, it is a career advancement where I will be assigned or posted to work overseas, an opportunity I had always wanted.

    Little did I expect that such an ambition was objected strongly by my boyfriend. To be honest, I was shocked at his respond. I was upset and blamed him (inside my heart) that he was stopping me for being successful in my career. He was not being supportive of my goal and there was no room for discussion. He was being pushy… … I can continue with all the negativity. Guess, I put a stop here.

    Your words “Men want to choose. We don’t want to be sold.” AND “But, to be very clear as you sort through your turmoil: it’s not your boyfriend who is choosing his current city over you; you’re choosing Austin over him.” had brought some sense to me. 

    Yes. I appreciate my boyfriend who is man enough to “confront” me, to voice out his concern, to let me know his limits. “it’s not my boyfriend who is choosing his emtional needs over me, I’m choosing my career over him.” In fact, for a period of time, I was hesitant about choosing between my career & him. I was wondering if we are compatible in the long-run. Is my career advancement more important than my relationship with him?

    I’m glad that I had not make decision on impulse. I had given time to assess my relationship. And, thank goodness, I read this blog. He has given me the kind of relationship I yearned for, making a little sacrifices on my part isn’t too much to ask for. Grass may not necessary or always greener at the other side.

    Maybe there will be readers who beg to differ or view negatively about it.  I’m proud to say that I finally know exactly what I want.

  26. 116
    Rhiann

    To add to Emily’s.

    Nothing beats being with the one you love and the ones who love you, than to fight a lonesome battle in a foreign land

  27. 117
    Victoria

    I’m not sure whether anyone reads the comments to posts months after the posts are published, but I wanted to give any interested parties an update on the OP.  I am the original Victoria.

    As you know, I was trying to chose whether to move to Austin to take a new job, or to stay at my current job in my current city with my boyfriend.  My boyfriend was not in an easy position to make the move with me, and our relationship felt a little too new to be asking one of us to move across the country for the other.  In the end, I chose to stay in my current city, choosing the great life and the great man I already had over starting a new life.  

    Less than a month after I made that choice, my boyfriend asked if we could move in together and start planning our shared future.  About a week after that (I am a slow decision maker), I told him that I thought it was a great idea.  We spent the next few months plotting our big move, researching neighborhoods, and apartment hunting.  We moved in together at the end of September.  The move is still new, but things are wonderful so far.  Looking back now, I can’t imagine making any other choice than the one I made in June.  I have learned that sometimes we are tempted to choose change for the sake of change, but that sometimes its worthwhile to let yourself stand still for a moment to see whether the life you have needs any changing at all.  For me, it was worthwhile 10 times over.

    Evan, thanks again for helping me understand what my choices were and how to evaluate them.  I am one happy woman.

    All the best,

    Victoria

     

  28. 118
    Karl R

    Lisa asked: (#101)
    “So, Helen and Karl. To phrase the ‘why are you on here’ question in the positive: How has this blog and EMK’s advice helped you in your committed relationships?”

    As Ruby implied (#118), it helped me get my committed relationship.

    In addition, as the relationship progressed, it provided an easy way to bring up relationship topics with my girlfriend/fiancée/wife. I just bring up topics that are being discussed on the blog and ask her opinion.

  29. 119
    Joe

    Goldie #114:

    “this blog has come across to me as a dating-advice blog, where…people who don’t have it all together…come for advice on dating”

    But isn’t this the opposite of “smart, strong, successful?”

  30. 120
    Goldie

    @ Joe: um, I’m confused. Why did you pick apart my post from a few months ago, throw some random words together, and now want to argue about it? What purpose does it serve? I’ve scrolled up to read the original discussion and it appears that Helen has already given a comprehensive answer on its subject in #117. 
     
    Anyway, if one is so smart, strong and successful that they don’t need anyone’s advice on anything at all, then they won’t come to this blog, much less post on it. So if that’s the kind of smart, strong and successful you were looking for, then I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place, sorry ;)

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