My fiance and I have both taken a lot of time apart to think all of these issues through on our own. Knowing that he took so much time to consider all of my fears, and concerns meant a lot to me. But over the past two days, not knowing what he might say or what he his thinking, whether or not he was willing to work at this, or whether he just wanted to throw in the towel, was literally killing me. I barely slept at all (hence why I am still writing this at 4am), and I barely have an appetite. I had to force myself to eat something because I realized I hadn’t eaten practically all day, and not very much in the past 48 hours. I’m not trying to be dramatic, or protest, I’m just that upset by this whole situation that I can’t even focus on anything else.
My fiance and I finally talked tonight. Basically, the options up for debate: would he be willing to move out of the area of where we are living now, the city that makes me miserable and has lead to depression? If he was willing to do this, to what extent? Would it just be to a neighboring suburb outside the city? Or would he be willing to consider my dream, which is to eventually relocate nearer to both of our families in a state that is very far from the state we live in now. Since I am considering going back to school, if I chose to stay in the current city and pursued my master’s/doctorate in the place that makes me miserable, and committed to that for around 5 solid years, so that he simultaneously could continue to pursue his hopes and dreams, after completion of said 5 years, would he then be willing to consider living elsewhere? What about if I got a job in another state, would he then move for my career, since I stayed for his? If we have to stay in the vicinity of the hated city, will we be rooted there for the rest of our lives? For 5 years? For 10 years? Will we ever move nearer my family? Will you ever consider any of my hopes and dreams, if they are not conducive to your own?
His response: He said that he loves me very much, and that I mean more to him than anything, and having me in his life makes everything worthwhile. He cannot imagine his life without me. That being said, he can’t give me the answers I need, and is afraid he cannot provide the life that I am dreaming of having (a life in a place that I want to live in, that makes me happy, that is close to my family, and the ability to pursue my career goals as well). I challenged him with scenarios, and he said that he can’t see himself leaving this city and giving up this job as long as he is succeeding, and he is planning on at least 10 years of working toward his career here. He was very clear that this is all he’s ever wanted to do, and it is his identity. He can’t just walk out on those dreams. However, he wants to establish a family right outside of this city with me, but explained that the probability of moving away, to another state, for my job or to be closer to family, is unlikely. He said, “Now, if my career isn’t taking off, and in 5 or 10 years I realize, I am frustrated and done with it, I could see myself moving to “This State” or “That State” to continue to do what I love, even if it meant doing it at a much lower level then he was striving for.” The states he mentioned aren’t near my family, or any closer to accomplishing my dreams. Thus, we would be moving on his terms, again, solely for his goals and wants.
Our conversation was very calm. I encouraged him to be as open as possible, and UNDERSTANDING as possible, that we both need to be able to say the things that are harbored in the deepest darkest places of our hearts, and they need to be accepted openly, and not judged. Even if we don’t agree with something the other has to say, each statement, each goal, each opinion needs to be validly listened to, and respected. From that point, we continued.
I told him that I needed some time to process this. “Do you realize what you’re asking of me?” The decision of whether our relationship will continue or not, the future of our potential marriage, lies all on me, and what I am or am not willing to accept. Since it wasn’t even an option in his mind to walk beside me while I followed my dreams, or even, a half and half compromise (we follow his dreams for a while, then we follow mine for a while), This is how I perceive the ultimatum that I’ve been given: I stay with him, and submit any previous visions of the future I had for the sake of his. I am allowed to have goals and dreams, as long as they are within the parameters/convenient to the pursuit of his dream. But if I agree to this, I am fully aware I will be making an enormous sacrifice. At least, that’s how I see it.
If I make this sacrifice, I will have to challenge myself to be the strongest person I have ever become, and refuse to hold resentment toward him. It is probably something I will have to fight against every day. I am scared that I am not strong enough to overcome that. But if I agree to stay, I HAVE to overcome it. Otherwise, resentment will squeeze the life out of our relationship, and very quickly. I would have resentment toward staying, just as he’d have resentment toward moving. I asked him if he understood what he is asking of me. Do you realize the sacrifice I’d be making? To which of course, he got mad, saying why is it a contest? Why does it have to be, ‘I did this for you, now you do this for me’?
I was very clear that is not what I meant. But in order to even consider making this sacrifice, I am going to need for him to at least acknowledge it. Say to me, I realize the HUGE sacrifice I am asking of you, and I know this is a lot ot put on you, and that this is not easy, and if you decide to stay, thank you so much for loving me so much. By the end of our conversation, he was able to recognize this. But I am afraid if I stay, he won’t ever TRULY understand what a huge one-sided compromise it was for me, because if he never learns how to compromise, then he will always expect me to be the one to do so, for the rest of our lives.
I know this is a decision only I can make. And it effects the REST of my LIFE. I’ve never been so frightened. I’ve also never been so frustrated, defeated, and yes, resentful. I can’t believe this is what I am being asked to do. But then I think, am I being unreasonable? Maybe I’m not looking at this from every angle. And I do love him so much, and we share in so much joy and laughter and love day to day.
It basically comes down to a decision: I have to decide how much I’m willing to sacrifice. Maybe I was willing to commit to 5 years in the city if he was willing to move after that. Or maybe I could commit to spending 10 years, if he expresses that a common goal of his is to live closer to family. But our goals are so different, that I’m not sure they ever will match up. I have to determine if staying in the area of his choice for potentially the rest of my life so he can pursue his dream, forfeiting much of a say in the situation, is crossing the line of what I’m willing to accept.
We remained on a very mature level the entire convo, and I felt that at the end of the conversation, I knew more about him and he knew more about me than we’ve known about each other in the last 4 years. I told him that I appreciated his honesty, and all the time he spent on coming to this conclusion, and he expressed similar sentiments.
I cannot fault him for wanting what he wants, just as I cannot fault myself for having my dreams either. At least he’s being honest with what he wants. It’s not a matter of who’s wrong or right in the situation (although I think he is being selfish), but it’s a matter of understanding each other’s points of views, and figuring out whether or not those points of views will ever cross paths. And if he needs to be selfish in order to obtain what he really wants in life, then that is his perogative. But that is also my right, to be selfish enough to want what I want. Unfortunately, my being selfish means immediate defeat, and the end to an otherwise wonderful relationship and friendship.
It’s extremely hard to have such a paramount decision weighing on your shoulders. But at least I’ve come to a point of understanding, rather than sorrow. At least I understand his rationale, and he understands mine. I am no longer focusing on sadness, but on the new information I’ve been equipped with, to make the best decision, not only for myself, but for him.
If I stay, it could inhibit his goals because I could become bitter and resentful, and then neither of us would be happy or successful. Maybe the only solution is to cut our losses now, so that we both have the freedom to pursue the different types lives we both individually desire.
I need time to really let all of this sink in. At this point, I’m leaning slightly more toward thinking that this won’t work. I can’t imagine how it could. I think he understands the gravity of the situation, but his priorities still stand unwavered. I don’t want to make a rash decision, because it deciding it is over will be the most painful decision for the immediate future. Just thinking about moving out, cancelling the wedding, having to endure talking about why I’m not wearing a ring anymore, not having him to talk to about everything in mylife, might nearly kill me. But that which doesn’t kill me can only make me stronger. And maybe we will both be bigger people once we survive this situation. I already feel strengthened by the power I gave myself when I decided that his wishy washy answers were no longer good enough for me, or the future of our relationship.
Anyway, thanks for listening. And thank you so much to all those who are giving support. You are all blessings.
If you are religious, and do not mind saying a prayer, would you mind adding this prayer in the next time you pray? It would mean so much. I believe in the power of prayer, and am turning to my faith now more than ever to get through this.
A prayer in a Difficult Problem.
O Glorious St. Joseph, Thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress. Take this important and difficult affair under Thy particular protection, that it may end happily. (Name your request.)
O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in Thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke Thee in vain; and since Thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that Thy goodness equals Thy power. Amen.
St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.