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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  1. 1
    David T

    It is all about choices. I think about what my possible futures will look like and then choose based on my priorities. I focus on what makes me happy in the path I choose, and work to let go of the things I am giving up or can’t have. For me that second part is the harder and slower part, but the first part makes that process less painful. 🙂

    Victoria’s choices are to be happy in Austin, and work to let go of *possibly* being married to this particular man, or be happy where she is and in her relationship and let go of living in Austin. If she stays _maybe_ she still makes it to Austin, but she would have to start thinking of that as a bonus rather than a necessity. Clouding her mind and judgement at this early stage in her relationship is her chemical attachment, but it sounds like she already knows Austin is more important to her than that.

    I don’t know where she lives now and what her job is vs. the one waiting for her. Unless it is pretty awful by her standards I would make a different choice than the one she is making, but my priorities are different than hers and each person needs to act on what works for them.

    Good job Evan, in distilling her dilemma to a *clear* set of the important choices before her. That clarity means less chance of her suffering from the paradox of choice (buyers remorse) later.

  2. 2
    Karl R

    Victoria asked: (original post)
    “When in a relationship is it appropriate to choose a partner over a career move, and is that appropriate here?”

    About four years ago I dated an amazing woman. One of the most amazing women I’ve ever dated. My career was just starting to take off locally. She was unhappy where she was and would have to move hundreds of miles away in order to keep her career moving forwards.

    She pursued her career, and I pursued mine. I have no regrets. (We don’t keep in touch, but I’ve heard that she is happy where she’s at.)

    I agree with Evan, you can meet a wonderful man in Austin. And from the way you’ve written your letter, I think you’ll have an easier time letting go of your boyfriend than your plans to live in Austin.

    There is no wrong decision in this case. Each choice comes with a benefit, each comes with a cost. This time, it’s pretty clear what you will get and what it will cost. Go with your gut.

  3. 3

    I wonder how the whole Austin thing managed to slip through the cracks during the initial phase of a relationship. Why did it never come up in a conversation that Victoria is currently looking for work in Austin (which, BTW, I’ve heard nothing but good things about)? My point is, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise a week before the final job interview. This should’ve been discussed earlier. Unfortunately, I really have no advice except maybe to flip a coin… Both options sound good.

    1. 3.1

      I think it should have been disclosed earlier as well. I suspect it was not as she feared his rejection of she told him.  I was dating a guy for 8 months who failed to tell me he always intended to move 3000 miles away and had been actively looking for jobs the whole time we dated.  He got one already and I felt bamboozled. He assumed we would do distance or I would move, ummm no.

  4. 4

    Victoria, although nothing is set in stone yet as you haven’t heard a final decision from the Austin firm (at least, not by the time we’re reading this), my choice based on what you have written is Austin.

    Texan boys aren’t bad. Actually, they’re really cool. I know Texas gets a bad rap in other parts of the US (and even the world), but I have liked every single person I’ve met from there, and have traveled there many times too. Austin is a great city.

  5. 5

    Hi All,

    I am the culprit of the original question to Evan. Evan, your analysis is helpful (and the commenter’s analysis too). Most affecting to me was this part at the end of your advice: “But, to be very clear as you sort through your turmoil: it’s not your boyfriend who is choosing his current city over you; it’s you who is choosing Austin over him.”

    Here is a bit more information.

    The job offer in Austin is an offer for a job that is very similar to the one I have now, and for generally the same pay and benefits. In both cities, I have a good chance at promotion, but in Austin the promotions that are possible are more attractive to me.

    I am happy in my current city. I am even happier with this man in my life.

    As to why this didn’t come up in conversation between us earlier, I initiated the job search two years ago, and hadn’t been searching actively for Austin jobs for about a year before my boyfriend and I began dating (i.e., at this point it’s been 18 months since I actively looked for jobs in Austin), and this opportunity came up because an old contact looked me up when he heard of the opportunity. If left to my own devices, I would not have been looking for jobs now, and I wouldn’t have initiated a search in the next year or so without discussing it with my boyfriend.

    Truly, I am open to making a life in my current town, I just never had reason to consider doing so before – because the only factor in the equation was me. That’s not true anymore.

    Does that change any of the advice?

    Thank you to all of you for the thoughtful comments.

    1. 5.1

      What’s so special about Austin??! A city is just a bunch of buildings – home is where the heart is. Finding a good boyfriend is much more difficult than finding a good city – cities stay where they are, you can go there any time. Why not see how things go with this man – if it all falls through Austin will still be there. Austin will wait for you – this boyfriend won’t.

  6. 6

    I’m sorry for Victoria’s predicament, but so is life. She should just follow her heart and do what’s best for her. Plus, she’s only been dating the guy for 5 months. It is impossible for him to have everything figured out so early.

    Evan, another great response! Cheers!

  7. 7

    Victoria, even after you added more information in #5, that doesn’t change my advice about choosing Austin. There is no guarantee that if you stayed, you would be with him in the long haul. In fact, something he said in your original post didn’t sit very comfortably – it didn’t seem as though he was even considering the possibility of making things work out with you. He just drew his line in the sand. He has every right to do that, but that also means that you shouldn’t expect as much for the future of this relationship as you might be. I don’t think “meeting families” is as meaningful as you might think; I met the families of many ex-boyfriends (and they met mine).

    You are in your 20s; you have potentially great career options in a city that you love. If Austin has better possibilities for promotion, that will be very important throughout the whole of your career. I still say go for Austin.

    1. 7.1

      Amen! Go live YOUR life Victoria.

  8. 8

    A bit harsh Evan – would your advice have been the same if a man wrote to you with this dilemma?

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Birdlife: Harsh? I didn’t even offer my opinion. I just laid out her options. So yes, my advice would have been exactly the same if a man wrote the question. Why? Would your advice to him be any different?

      1. 8.1.1

        If a guy wrote this dilemma, you’d definitely be more sympathetic with him.
        Her boyfriend said something vital:  that he would only move for for the person he will spend the rest of his life with.
        That is already a critical sign that he is not planning to spend the rest of his life with her. They dated for 5 months, it is high time for him to know if he truly wants her or not. He made his decision: he doesn’t take their relationship seriously. If he truly loved her, he would try to make it work through a long distance relationship. I know a guy who worked in Europe for half a year, maintaining a long distance relationship with his girlfriend in Korea, who eventually joined him. Now that’s love.
        If a girl said those words to a guy, you’d probably be saying how heartless she is, that she was a user, and now he would be better off without her.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Nope. 95% of advice is gender neutral. Carry yourself with confidence, treat your partner with empathy, attempt to understand the other person’s side of things, and if you still can’t make things work, move along.

        2. Melody

          Five months are nothing… certainly not long enough for him to know he wants to be be with her for the long haul, including a move to another state.

  9. 9

    Evan – I am curious how you would advise other women in a similar situation but with less obvious priorities? For instance, if Victoria had been less attached to Austin, how could she have brought up the conversation with her boyfriend in a way that wasn’t giving him an ultimatum? How could she have “let him choose” whether or not to keep her in his life?

  10. 10

    @ Victoria #5:

    Evan made your choices very clear (as he always does!), and now you have an interesting choice to make. Both will bring some immediate happiness (either staying in a satisfying relationship or moving to your dream city) and the potential for long-term satisfaction (potential happy marriage + a decent career, or potential valuable promotion in your dream city + a potential new decent boyfriend). Both will involve a sacrifice (renouncing to your dream city at least for now, or renouncing to a satisfying relationship at least for now). At the end of the day we can all tell you what you should do, but beside making you think about your situation from different angles, your decision must only depend upon your current priorities, your personality, and how you deal with life (do you see the glass half-full or half-empty and how do you deal with regrets?).

    I can somewhat relate to your situation. I met my boyfriend in my city, where he was employed temporarily. From the get go I knew he was going to go back to his city in another state where he was committed for at least another 3-4 years. I did not wait until later than date #3 to look that city up and decide whether I would agree to move there if the relationship was going to develop to something serious. Of course I then let these considerations go until the time came to decide whether or not we were going to do the long-distance thing. The difference with you and your boyfriend is that prior to meeting him I had already prioritized my love life over anythting else. I was looking at dating from a very serious perspective.

    In the first six weeks of dating, I had discovered his interest for marriage as well as a basic compatibility of values and goals. The next step was going to be growing our bound, assessing our deeper compatibility, and well… letting time do its magic. So when he left town and we both agreed that we were going use our long-distance time to grow our relationship with the goal of marriage in mind, it was “easier” for us to make the sacrifices of flying to meet up for week-end visits and for me to imagine the possiblity of giving up everything I love about my current situation in order to be with him in the long-term. As long as it was going to be for marriage, not for being a live-in girlfriend. There are some sacrifices that you make for a husband, not for a boyfriend.

    BUT! All of this is because I am a 33 year-old woman who have dated enough to know what’s out there (and what is not). I know how frustrating the dating game is in the long-run and how rare it is to have a chance to develop a true “10” relationship with someone of great character + love and respect + compatibility of values and goals + yummy physical attraction. I was ready to give up A LOT for the right person and the right relationship before even meeting him. Ready to give up superficial stuff such as physical features, income level, common hobbies, location, etc. Ready to give up a good job, great city, and local friends. Because I wanted to build a solid and happy marriage, and if I met the right partner who wanted the same, I was decided that it was going to be my new adventure, and a priority over anything else.

    You and your boyfriend may be at a different life stage than me. You may not be ready to prioritize love over your career and other local benefits. For that you might need much more frustration and pain, unfortunately. We grow from mistakes and pain, not from happiness. No amount of convincing from commenters who have a different personality than yours, who are at different life stages, or have had different experiences is going to change anything. We all have to go through each step of our own path. I have a younger female friend who totally understand my choices but who would never be able to make such choices now. And yet I can already see her in the same situation as mine in a few years…

    Enough rambling! Good luck with your decision! No one is bad since there is so much to gain with each choice you are presented with. My advice: once you make your decision, do not look back. Only forward.

    1. 10.1

      I think this is a brilliant answer!!!… I am also turning 30 this year and although I feel my priorities are different. In the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if the choices I’m making are the right ones!!…

      i too too met my boyfriend 5/6 months ago… things weren’t perfect at first, but our live grew. The only problem is that I am progressing in my career and he is in and out of rubbish jobs… I have just got a job in london, which means leaving him in Manchester and although he said he eventually wants to come with me. I’m scared that he won’t find a job and ill end up missing him and being lonely!!

      i just hope he can go back to college and study then get a good job, but he is clueless with what to do and feels like it’s too late for him at the age of 33, especially since had messed up his grades in school.

      I just feel sad sad and scared I will have to live without him, but I’m putting my career first! 

  11. 11

    Hi there!
    I don’t agree with the posters who say Austin. Perhaps if, as Evan suggest, you have a conversation with him, instead of setting down an ultimatum, it might turn out differently.
    It’s true, you are young. But do you want to settle down soon? If you do, then give this relationship a chance. This is not the last job offer. But if you don’t want to settle down, then by all means move on.
    I want to tell you that I met someone in NY while I was on a three-month trip from LA. I was set to go back to LA at the end of the month but had just met him and thought it was too good of a chance to pass up. So i decided to stay in nyc.
    The guy, though, wanted to be sure “I wasn’t doing it for him.” Guys hate that kind of pressure, it really is an ultimatum. Because if i was unhappy in nyc it would be his fault.
    I assured him that I wasn’t doing it for him, I really did want to be in nyc. That wasn’t exactly true — but I did want to be in nyc WITH HIM. I also vowed to make my life work in nyc, regardless of him and our relationship, because there’s nothing worse than a whole life resting on a relationship.
    So – if you want to settle down, and you can be happy in your current city, then you should stay.
    PS I’m married and in nyc now. (Maybe i’d be married to him or someone else and living in LA now if I’d moved back to LA, so who knows!)

  12. 12

    My boyfriend made it clear to me once… he said, if you’re changing the conditions by which this relationship has grown, why would you expect me to change? Well, if I’m the one who wants to move to another city, why should he be ok with it? It kind of makes sense, and if he were to do the same… I surely wouldn’t want him to just “expect” me to move and be ok with it. If I decided to do so it would be fine, but I wouldn’t want him to just expect that.

  13. 13

    I think Victoria might have regrets either way, but we have to make choices and that’s just life on life’s terms. Now would be a good time to get quiet and really listen to yourself. What do you want?

    I also agree with Helen #7, there was something about her boyfriend’s response that didn’t sit well with me, it just didn’t sound hopeful at all, but that’s just me. I wish her luck.

  14. 14
    Karl S

    If they did do long-distance, she could also fly over to see him as well, no?

    I knew a girl who lived in Hawaii and her boyfriend moved to Japan to study. They managed to keep it going even though they could only visit each other every once in a while. Of course, she planned to eventually move over there with him so it’s different in that way.

  15. 15

    Once again, what i hear are commoditized view of relationships. Neither of the people want to give in, everyone is only thinking of themselves and as a result we are back to machines instead of humans. Victoria looks at her relationship as what’s more convenient for her, her guy is not willing to even think about giving it a chance, long distance because it’s not convenient for him and in the end we are having 50% rate of divorce that is only going higher. Just awesome.

  16. 16

    Victoria –

    Evan is right. In your initial letter you said: “Austin has always been in my plans.” How has this not come up? Even if not job related, when asked, “Do you Miss Texas?” or “Ever think of going back?” how did you respond?

    It seemed pretty clear to me that the long-distance relationship that is on the table is not the type which means that at some point in the future either party would relocate. Rather, it sounds like it would be a preliminary measure for before your current BF moves to Austin.

    As for what you should do, that depends on how you feel about him. I think some above posters are not being fair in saying something about his response doesn’t sit right. If this didn’t come up before, you just dropped a bomb on him. You know your romantic options and how you feel about him (and vice-versa) better than we do. If you’ll miss him more than Austin, then you should stay. If you think you can get what he provides you without much difficulty in Austin, then it’s clear you’ll miss Austin more than him.

  17. 17

    Hi All,

    Victoria here again. Thank you all again for your thoughts.

    DinaStrange, to your point, my boyfriend and I are very much in the “discussion” stage of this process. I only received the job offer today. Although you may see my initial description of the situation as commoditized and unyielding, the actual question I posed to Evan was, “When in a relationship is it appropriate to choose a partner over a career move, and is that appropriate here?” I’m really hoping that my boyfriend and I can find a mutually agreeable solution – like maybe we wait a few years and look to move later, or I try out settling here, but if I’m unhappy in a few years we’ll think about relocating together, or maybe after my boyfriend visits Austin a few times he may come to love it as I do. I sincerely love him, and I believe in compromise (when called for).

    Further, if my boyfriend and I cannot come to a middle ground, there’s nothing “convenient” about either of these options (those options being staying for love or leaving for long-held dream). One option involves packing up my life and taking a risk in a new city (alone), and the other involves sacrificing the “big picture” plan I’ve had for the better part of a decade (for the man I love). As other commenters have noted, neither decision should be made lightly.

    Trenia and Helen (#7), I agree with you. My boyfriend’s initial stance didn’t sit well with me either. When I brought this up initially, I thought he might be up for some creative problem solving, or maybe an adventure (He’s lived in several states, so I thought he might be open to a move), or at least an open conversation about what to do together. My boyfriend can be firm – bordering on stubborn – sometimes. With that said, I did ask him to move for my job, to a city he’s never considered, and I knew his position on long distance, so I knew I was asking a lot from him. One thing I’ve learned from Evan is that we need to take our partners as they are, without thinking we can change them. My partner is a man who takes a firm position. I may have to decide whether that characteristic is one I can live with or not, and I have to decide earlier than I would like.

    1. 17.1

      I am faced with a very similar situation.  I am feeling my personal career self wanting to go, but my loving heart says stay . I know it will hurt to move and especially to lose her . She says she wants a future with me but will not move. . Her life is here with her family and home. I have family here also .
           I feel I am in a win -win situation though. If I stay I keep my job and girlfriend . If I go I get the city I have dreamed of and a career boost.  Moving is never easy . Whatever I do I will do it 100%! 

  18. 18

    Something that is starting to be tiresome to me is the over-use of the word “ultimatum”.

    From Wikipedia: “An ultimatum (Latin: the last one) is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests. As such, the time allotted is usually short, and the request is understood not to be open to further negotiation.”

    So, in an ultimatum, there is a “demand”, a “specified period of time”, a “threat”, and the idea of a “final demand after a series of requests”.

    While I do acknowledge that some demands are ultimatums (the stereotypical threat of a woman who after 3+ years of dating states to her man “marry me or I’m gone”), I do not agree with the idea that each time a woman clarifies a priority, a need, or a boundary, that could conflict with a man’s priority, need, or bounday, that it is called “ultimatum”.

    Personally I have specific needs on what kind of relationship I want to build, the conditions for kissing/sex to happen in a new relationship, how much time I’m willing to dedicate to growing the relationship until marriage, etc. These are legitimate needs and boundaries (with some flexibility of course) that for sure will not be compatible with everyone’s. And that’s okay. A relationship is a process of discovering if two people can create a team and it involves negotiations. If I explain my needs to someone new at an adequate time, in an adequate tone, with the adequate words, with the adequate intentions in order to precisely avoid having to make “demands”, “threats”, and a “final plea after a series of requests” later on, this is NOT an ultimatum. This is simply starting the process of assessing compatibility of needs and negotiating on flexible aspects of these needs, and allowing each other to opt out if we are not in agreement.

    From Victoria’s letter, I’m not under the impression that there was any ultimatum. She obviously would like to have the best of both worlds: her boyfriend and her dream city. Nothing wrong with trying to have it all. If after talking to him about it and coming up with two ideas, he does not feel like any of them, she is left with the two choices we are talking about. This is not an ultimatum to ask her boyfriend to come with her or keep growing their relationship over long-distance. This is simply stating her preferences (both moving to Austin), see if they can find a middle ground (temporary long-distance), and then making a decision based on her top priority (staying there with him or moving alone).

    If this is not an ultimatum, do not call it an ultimatum. Some women make ultimatums (usually because they hoped that things would fall into place or because they were not in touch with their legitimate needs early on), and other women simply honor their needs and boundaries by making reasonnable requests and walking out when no middle ground can be found.

  19. 19

    I’m with the other commentators – something about the initial response doesn’t seem right. I certainly don’t mean he wasn’t allowed to say it or want to devalue your interaction so far. But in terms of the future of your relationship even if the Austin thing doesn’t materialise it doesn’t look great.

    Of course yes, he is being sensible etc etc, but in my experience twenty something men who are REALLY serious about a girl tend to override the practical excuses and go for it (I presume he is not divorced and has no kids, so no “baggage” to deal with). And he’s not whipping out a ring or suggesting you move in together to tempt you to stay, it’s just “let things continue as they are or I’m out”.

    I’ve moved round a fair bit, and in my experience guys who are serious about me – as soon as moving is mentioned – will offer paying for plane tickets, want to push the course of the relationship forward so they have a commitment in place etc.

    I just tend to see IRL a lot of these things, the guy sticks with a girl, they’re boyfriend and girlfriend. She’s playing it cool. She’s the sensible choice for him. She acts like the sensible choice for 2-3 years. Then they break up and he meets someone new and they are married within two months. I’m NOT saying they would make the best husbands or have the best marriage – but just how things seem to go.

    I’ve read what Evan (and cool Karl) have to say on letting a guy have time to make a decision, and I DO think it makes sense – you can’t force people to do things. But then again I’d say Evan and Karl are MUCH more emotionally “on the ball” than other men who tend to make less sensible long term decisions.

    Personally, I’m probably not a great long term prospect and not geared to make myself that way at the moment, but I still get taken as a serious prospect by men because I look a certain way (whilst they are probably passing over better “girlfriends” who will make them happier). There never is any ambiguity – they want, and they will ignore my not so great finances and nomadic lifestyle and any “practical” difficulties in order to get.

    In my experience twenty something men are often pretty clear on whether or not they’re serious about a girl from the start. Five months is enough. I’d take the Austin job and start dating around. Late twenties is a good age to be doing so. Good luck.

  20. 20
    David T

    Interesting that you couch your dilemma in these terms:

    @Victoria 18 “One option involves packing up my life and taking a risk in a new city (alone), and the other involves sacrificing the “big picture” plan I’ve had for the better part of a decade (for the man I love). ”

    In both cases you are focusing on what you will lose, rather than what you will gain. The cons are part of the process and cannot be ignored, but once you decide, think only of the the positives that are coming your way otherwise you will be dwelling on what you have lost regardless of your choice.

    Aside: His firmness is definitely something to explore. If he does not compromise in general, you are going to have more problems in your relationship. Still, he says he *is* willing to move for the person he is going to spend the rest of his life with. Five months is too soon to get engaged, but it is not too soon to start talking about cities you both could like. 🙂 This will also give you insight into how firm he is. And who knows, maybe in another 7 months, Texas with you might not sound so bad to him.

  21. 21

    Desdenova and others, there was no bomb drop. My boyfriend has known from very early on in our relationship of my love of Austin. I had mentioned in conversation that I love Austin and I’d love to move back someday (to which he never made substantive comment), and had even mentioned previous searches for jobs in Austin. This was just the first time I brought up a current opportunity to relocate.

    I will say that, absent this concrete job opportunity, I think five months into a relationship (between two previously unmarried 20-somethings) would have been pretty early to say, “Hey babe, in theory, would you move a thousand miles away with me if the opportunity came up?” I had intended to ask him that question eventually, but I felt the proper time hadn’t yet arisen. Unfortunately, that very conversation is happening now in a very real way.

    1. 21.1

      Victoria, I am sorry that you are going through this. But I’m going to be blunt. When you are in your 20s five months of dating is not enough to have this conversation. Young people in their 20s have a fantastical view of love and marriage. At five months, I’m not sure that you REALLY love this man. Loving someone takes time, and a lot of it. Loving someone takes seeing past the “could bes” and “I wants” and the “my fondest wishes” and seeing what’s really there. I think that you are in a predicament because you have somewhere in your mind and heart built a relationship that isn’t there. You may be exclusive with this man, but you have thought of the future that he hasn’t entertained yet. At 5 months, most young guys are not thinking about marriage and babies and spending their life with you. They’re thinking, “She makes me happy and our relationship is going good, so this is a good place to be.” Five months is not the time to prioritize a relationship over your future and your career. Five months is not the time to decide that this man and this relationship are a part of your future. Five months is not a foundation for a long-term relationship. When you’ve been together a year, that’s the time to entertain thoughts of the future.

      Your boyfriend is not sure if he wants to have a long-distance relationship. That’s his choice. He’s also saying in those words, “I’m not THAT committed to this relationship because we are not there yet.”

      Now you have to ask yourself if you will not go to Austin, which is a sure thing, to stay with a man that is NOT a sure thing. He is being very clear that you’re not a sure thing for him. And that’s okay because it has been 5 months. Now you have to ask yourself how bitter you will be if you stick around your current city and your boyfriend breaks up with you in a month? Because that’s a very real possibility? Or if you turn down the job and he dumps you on the spot?

      You have made it clear to him that Austin is something that you want. And if you stay now, he will likely feel incredible pressure because he will know that you stayed for him even though he’s not sure about you.

      My advice to you is to listen to Evan. There are thousands of men in Austin. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. Finding one in that place will not be difficult. This current man is a wonderful man and you are attached to him already, and that is fantastic! But  just because it’s a good relationship doesn’t mean it’s the right relationship. And a relationship that, at five months, is dictating your future, is in my opinion, not the right relationship. At five months you should not be making plans for your future as a couple. At five months, you should be making plans for a summer vacation together and that should be about as serious as it gets. Wanting to have your cake and eat it, too…that’s normal. But the fact is that caring about other people sometimes means letting them go to let them grow. You need to grow your career. He needs to move on with his life.

      Older people, and people who’ve done the marriage and divorce game tend to be able to see things that other people can’t. My boyfriend is nearly 41 years old. We’ve not been dating long at all…a little more than three months. We do not talk about living together, or having babies, or getting married. We have made our stances on these things clear to each other. We both want them, and we have both said, “If our relationship continues to progress and to grow, then these are conversations we will have in the future.” We will be possibly dealing with him needing to move to another city for work over the next few months. His desire to move to Texas to be nearer to his daughter has been brought up. He has been offered a job in Texas. He has also been offered a job that travels. I have let him know that I care for him very much, and that I care about him and his future more than I care about us. I have looked him directly in the eye and said, “I will support you no matter what you do because I care about you. You need to do what is right for you. And when the time comes for you to make that decision, I trust that you care about me enough to support me in doing what I need to do.” If he moves away, that will be the end of our relationship because 3 months, or 5 months, or 6 months is not the right time to alter our lives and the courses of our futures for each other.

      If you truly care about this man then you need to care about him more than you care about your relationship and he needs to do the same. He’s made it clear that he won’t go to Austin for a young relationship that he isn’t sure about. You’ve made it clear that Austin is what you want. Truly caring about each other means recognizing your potential as a couple is, at this point, not as great as your potential as individuals.

      It’s not a sad thing!
      Don’t get me wrong. If (or when) my boyfriend leaves, I will be very sad to see him go. Heartbroken, even. But because I care for him, I know that it will be right for him. And I care so much more about that than I do about my own suffering. Yes, I could pick up and move with him, but I won’t. Because it’s not right for me at this point in my life and at this point in our relationship. And long-distance wouldn’t work for me, either. But I would not want him to stay here because of me, even if he thought I was “the one”. He’s had two “the ones” before me. I’ve had two “the ones” before him. If “the one” doesn’t work out, there’s another one in Austin. 🙂

      1. 21.1.1

        Thank you for such an amazing and insightful response. This isn’t my situation, but I still took away some great food-for-thought from your comment.

      2. 21.1.2

        I like your answer the best so far. It gives me a lot of insight into my own situation which is pretty similar to Victoria’s. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

  22. 22

    move to austin.

    if you stay and miss out on this opportunity, you’ll end up resenting him for it.

    if you go, and he ends up wanting to follow you after all, he will. but it will be on his terms, not you presenting an ultimatum. you don’t want him to follow you unless he’s committed to the idea of becoming happy and successful there, because then he will resent YOU for making him give up his previous life.

    if you go, and he stays, there are, as everyone is saying, lots of men that you could build successful relationships with. there may not be someone exactly like him, and you might not meet one that works right away, but eventually it will happen.

    there’s always going to be unknowns, what ifs, and the possibility of regret, regardless of whether you go or stay.

  23. 23

    Victoria, I agree that your boyfriend’s initial stance was disconcerting. Pay attention to that. It might not mean anything — maybe he was just surprised or shocked and didn’t know what to think at the time.

    However, it reminds me of a man I dated a while ago who dreamed of being in the FBI. We had been dating about three months when he got accepted. Great for him and I was happy for him, but bothered that he started excitedly discussing his future in the FBI (which meant a likely move) without any type of conversation about where I — or if I — fit into this plan. I know we hadn’t been dating very long, but I wanted to hear something from him about attempting to date long distance or if we had any kind of future… not surprisingly, we ended soon after he got his test results back.

    In your case, it does seem like you want to try a long-distance relationship and that you’re considering multiple options, and your boyfriend should be considering them as well. Ultimately he might decide it’s not worth it if you do move to Austin, but I’d hope that neither of you are totally closed to any form of compromise…

  24. 24

    If Victoria lived in Austin when she was in college, and loved it, it’s no guarantee that she will have the same amazing experience again (not saying Austin isn’t a great city, but sometimes we have amazing experiences in places that stay at the time they were had). It’s not wise to try to recreate something that’s in the past. For example, I lived in NYC for a short time when I was about 20 and absolutely loved it, but I wouldn’t necessarily move there now because I’m a different person with different needs. I think the going with your gut advice is good.

  25. 25

    I think its important to point out that as a rule, men DO NOT relocate for women or women’s careers – even if you are married. This means 2 things: 1)there is nothing strange about her boyfriend or his response – it may be expressed a little more bluntly than some men would, but that level of honesty is not a bad thing under these circumstances, and 2)if she stays with him, she should not harbour any thoughts about persuading him to move to Austin later on – she needs to forget it. The only way this guy is moving to Austin (or anywhere else) is if HE gets a job offer he can’t refuse in Austin and suddenly decides its where HE wants to be!
    Personally I can’t fathom why anyone would choose a CITY over a PARTER (unless where they currently live is a hell-hole!) Finding a relationship you value is extremely difficult, wheras moving to a city is easy – you just move there! You can do it any time. Why not see how the relationship pans out and if – worst case scenario – things don’t work out then you can move to Austin later. But also bear in mind that even if you move to Austin, and find another great man in Austin, his job may at some point require him to move elsewhere and you’ll end up having to leave Austin anyway.Men are just as stubborn when they want to relocate as when they don’t, which is simply something you have to accept if you want to be in a relationship with a man. Men basically choose where you’re going to live; you get to choose the soft furnishings!

  26. 26

    Victoria, here’s the other side of the coin.

    You don’t move to Austin. A few weeks/ months later he breaks up with you, because you are not the girl he wants to marry.

    Also, imagine your boyfriend was in your situation. Would he have chosen his career or you?

    Two points I would consider.

  27. 27

    Never give up the dreams in your heart for a man. If you were older & desperate for a child well go with the man. But you are young & have ample opportunities both in career & men. Just remember your career is more likely to take care of you & any children & put a roof over your head than a man. Even if they commit to marriage & kids, they can also choose to walk out on you at any time. Or like myself the love of your life passes away (yes it can & does happen). Go with what is truly you. Anything else you will later regret.

    1. 27.1


      1. 27.1.1

        They have only been together for 5 months. I said in a response to her that this is too soon for love and for compromises. He should not have to make compromises at this early stage of a relationship. They are still getting to know one another and still learning if they would want to be together for the long term. Asking for compromise or expecting it at this stage of the relationship is unreasonable by all stretches.

        1. Melody

          Absolutely true, Amy. I see a couple women here expecting things far too soon in relationships. Three months, five months…far too early to be doing more than enjoying each other and deciding what to do on the weekends.

        2. Joe

          Well except what you are stating is actually your own opinion of what you consider too soon to evaluate a relationship for it’s potential. I happen to know several people who are in very long term committed relationships (15-20 yrs +) that took risks like moving for the other in as little as knowing each other for a mere 3 weeks. You can never predict what will happen and sometimes taking the risk can work out. That’s not always the case, but realistically I think the two people in that relationship should make that determination based on how far the relationship has progressed in that 5 months and not take into account your own personal opinion of what you believe is acceptable.

  28. 28

    Victoria: first, congratulations on receiving your job offer!

    It seems that a third option, besides the two being discussed here, has to do with how much time you have before you must give this new firm a decision. Is it enough time that you and your boyfriend can come to a closer decision about whether you are the “ones” for each other? A few months can make all the difference.

  29. 29

    Actually, I think that having a long-distance relationship is a good compromise here. I do believe that it is too soon for Victoria’s boyfriend to pack up and move, as the relationship is still too new. Normally, I’m not a big fan of LDRs, but in this situation, it makes the most sense. It would allow Victoria to accept her new job in the city she loves, and for this couple to continue to be together, getting to know each other, and making sure this is the right relationship.

    But the boyfriend says no. I disagree with EMK that Victoria has given him an ultimatum. She’s the one who is offering a compromise – the LDR – and he is the one who is rejecting it. Actually, HE is the one giving her the ultimatum, “It’s either me or the new job”, and he offers no middle ground. He certainly doesn’t see himself living in Austin, whether Victoria is there or not, and he’s perfectly willing to give her up in order to avoid having to move.

    I wouldn’t give up on this job or Austin for this guy. The relationship just isn’t solid enough.

    1. 29.1

      They’ve only been together 5 months. He shouldn’t be compromising at this point in the relationship. This is a growth and “get to know you” stage. Asking someone to do an LDR when you’re still learning about each other is absolutely an ultimatum.

  30. 30

    Ruby, I agree. It isn’t Victoria giving her man an ultimatum. It’s he. Again, Victoria… you still have some wiggle room (see my more recent post), but all roads appear to point to Austin – for your good!

    Bluewoman and Tash make very important points. It is not a sin to look after your own interests and to consider possible negative consequences of giving up your job offer for this man. As for helene’s point, I would agree if the relationship were strong enough. But it certainly doesn’t sound that way in this case.

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