Post # 1
Hi there waiting bees,
I have posted before asking for advice about moving for graduate school and how to handle things with my SO and you all have given such great insight so I thought I would see if I could get your opinions again. I am moving to a different state for graduate school. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 yrs (it will be exactly 2 yrs when I leave).
Unfortunately his father passed away last month and it has been really hard on him and his mother. He has decided that he should stay here to make sure she is ok and he also says he has not had luck finding jobs in the new state. I am trying to be understanding of his situation as I know he wants to be there for his family, and that is one of the reasons I like him so much is because he cares so much for his family and is quite selfless with them. We also agreed previously that we can’t do the long distance thing (it is just too much for us) so I guess this is it. I found a really great guy that I get along with and we are breaking up because we can’t make it work logistically. He even told me before that he wanted to marry me one day and spend his life with me.
Even though I am trying to be understanding, I can’t help but feel like he might be making a mistake. I mean maybe I am being selfish but his sister isn’t moving back into town to make sure their mom is ok, and I kind of feel like that responsibility is falling squarely on him and might be holding him back from starting his own life with me. Also, I am not moving for 6 months, so he would still have some time to make sure his mom is ok before moving. And his mom has lots of friends around so it is not like she will be all alone out here. I guess right now all I can do is respect his decision because I feel that any other reaction from me could probably really hurt him, especially since I am trying to be there for him in the grieving process and to not put more stress on him. I do care about his mom too so I do want to make sure she is ok, but I also care about him and think that maybe he should feel free to start his own life and not feel like he is held back by feeling obligated to take care of everyone else. Although I admit, this is one of the traits that I admire in him, I just wonder if this is the right choice. I also think that he will never want to leave the state even once his mom has adjusted because he will always worry about her.
Any thoughts on this? Should I just be supportive and keep my mouth shut and say nothing about wondering if it is the right decision and just enjoy the time we do have? Grrr, I just feel that I was so close to finding someone to have a life with and its over. On the bright side, I am only 24 so it is not like I couldn’t meet someone else, but I feel that maybe it is hard to meet a guy who is so caring, and romantic, and so good to his family.
Post # 3
@grignardreagent: This is such a hard situation. I really feel for you. I’ll try to help from the perspective of someone who has lost a parent.
When my mom died almost 4 years ago I was single. I had moved into my parents house to help care for mom while she was sick but was planning to move out shortly after she died. Not across state lines, just into the next county… like maybe an hour away. My father had a breakdown one day and begged me not to move. My sister had already moved out before mom died and he just couldn’t take another change in his life. Even now he doesn’t really know what to do with himself alone in the house. If I had been in a relationship when she died and was asked if I’d be willing to move to another state I would absolutely have not been able to commit to that. Maybe in 6 months he’ll see that she’s ok and feel ok about it, but I wouldn’t count on it.
It SUCKS that you’re in the position of feeling like you need and want to be supportive of him, but at the same time need to decide if you’re breaking up with him at this critical point in his life. If it were me, I think I’d hope that we could manage long distance for a little while and he could get his mom through this time and then really buckle down looking for a job near you. My guess is that he hasn’t really been looking because he’s been thinking about his mom. Worst case scenario- you really can’t do long distance and he can’t leave his mom so you break up then, but you don’t feel guilty for ditching him while he’s mourning and the distance makes it easier to make a clean break.
Post # 4
He already decided that he can’t move with you in 6 months? Or even maybe 9-12 months? I’m sure you could handle long distance for a little while as he’s wrapping things up. That is devastating that his father passed away and very nice that he wants to help his mother, but that shouldn’t require staying in the same city as her for over a year…
ETA: I don’t mean that to sound insensitive at all! I can only imagine how hard it must be for him and his mother, but it seems odd that he decided he can never move with you.
Post # 5
If his father passed away a month ago I would just support him as best you can. His mom might not need his support in 6 months, but he doesn’t know that and if he leaves his mom now he will feel like he is abandoning her. There is also the chance that he wants to remain close to his mom because he is struggling and being around her helps him cope with the lss of his father. I would just support him as best you can and see where things are in 6 months.
Post # 6
When my Fiance and I met, we lived in neighboring towns. 6 months later he moved 2 hours away for graduate school, 2 years after that he moved 6.5 hours away for his phd. 4 months ago we got engaged, and I’m moving to be with him next month. I personally wouldn’t quit my job and move until we were engaged (also I had my own graduate program I have been working on, I graduate next month). Anyway, the timing didn’t work for us, so we have been doing long distance for 2.5 years. It is doable, but it is pretty sucky too. Try long distance for a while, if it works out it is meant to be, if it doesn’t, that is a sign of other issues (trust, communication, etc). This will be what brings you closer together or breaks you up.
Post # 7
That is a tough situation.. I’d keep moving forward with your plan. Be respectful of his choice. Hopefully his mom will suggest he join you, maybe with her urging he can move on.
Post # 8
@grignardreagent: the situation really sucks but you need to do what’s best for you, girl. He’s making the choice to stay behind and I know for a fact my boyfriend wouldn’t let me go without him. If he really wanted to marry you he would put a ring on your finger and follow you to grad school. You’re young, smart and independent. Take this and learn how to make you’re next relationship a better one
Post # 9
Why can you not do long distance? I know several long-distance couples. My husband and I started out 759 miles apart (according to the airline mileage chart lol), did that for close to a year, and in the summer we’ll be attending the wedding of our dear friends, who have had 5000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean between them for almost two years. It’s not *easy* but it’s certainly do-able. What’s stopping you?
Post # 10
@fishbone: Thanks for the advice. I decided I can’t do the long distance thing because I think that it would make me miserable and I think it would prevent me from really enjoying my new state and fully becoming engaged in the graduate program. I just really don’t do well with distance and I want this to be a part of my life that I look back on fondly, I don’t want to rush through it always just trying to get to the next step of being able to be close to someone again.
Post # 11
This is a really difficult situation- I’m sorry.
My FH’s father passed away in January. We uprooted our lives and moved to MN from LA. I left my well paying job, friends, and support network to support him and his family through the end of his father’s life. It was not easy and it takes work to not get resentful. I know that we moved for a good reason, but now we both regret it.
Maybe give your SO some time to process what has just happened. As PP’s have said, he feels like he wants to stay near his family now, a “normal” response since he just lost one of his parents, he may not feel like that forever. I know that my FH says that he will feel like he’s abandoning his family if we just move back to LA now. And just like your so, he has siblings that didn’t disrupt their lives to come support the family here.
If you want to stay together, there have to be some alternatives than just breaking up or you halting your life plan to stay with him. For example, after we had been here a while (and hating it), I realized, oh we could have subletted our apt in LA, taken FMLA or an extended vacation (I had an understanding employer), and not made this a permanent move.
Right now, I say take some time and think about what you want, don’t pressure him and support him as much as you can.
Post # 12
@Ninteenthchance: Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I appreciate that, and you are probably right, if he really wants it to work he will make sure it does. I am absolutely going to follow through and do what is best for me and my future career,
Post # 13
@grignardreagent: you’ve got some misconceptions about long-distance relationships. You can still enjoy that phase of your life. You don’t have to be miserable. You can have some fond memories when it’s over. Plus, you’re not even willing to try, which just confuses me. If this is the man you want to marry, why are you willing to walk away from it all just over some temporary hardships? Where’s any attempt at compromise? Why must he uproot while you don’t even try? I don’t really get it, I’m afraid. I mean, you old at least be willing to try for 6-9 months, agreeing in advance that if you’re miserable after that trial run, he will move or you will split up. Just seems like you’re walking away too easily.
Post # 14
If you’re not moving for 6 months, why not put off the decision for a few months? I can only think of two possibilities, either (a) he doesn’t really care enough about you to make it work, or (b) he’s not thinking rationally because his dad has just passed away. Hopefully it’s (b). Why not ask him to delay a decision for at least 2 or more months?
I agree that you need to move and do graduate school.
Post # 15
@fishbone: Long distance is not for everyone. Definitely would never be for me. I wouldn’t say op is “walking away too easily”. I’d say she’s trying to be realistic about what she wants, she wants them to be together… physically.
Op I do think you could give it a little more time. Sadly sometimes things just don’t work out but if you love each other it’s worth a try, worth giving each other support in your decisions.
Post # 16
@fishbone: We both discussed it when I first started applying for graduate school and we both agreed that we could not handle the heartache of being long distance. It is not that I won’t compromise, it is that we both know ourselves and know that we can not handle being long-distance for 5-6 years of our lives. I know some people make it work and are happy they did it. But being long distance from the time we are 25-30 and in our prime is just too much. Also even though some people are able to be happy, I just know myself well enough to know that I would be miserable.