Dear Miss A,
First of all, thank you for writing this column! You always offer sound advice that I find to be very helpful in my own life. I’m writing because I am on the cusp of beginning a new relationship with a guy that I fear may be a “bad investment” and I am unsure of whether I should cut ties before I become more emotionally involved and end up hurt, or “live in & enjoy the moment” and continue to see him.
Basically, I met this guy a couple of months ago when out with friends. We’ve gone on a series of dates, and especially in the last month have spent a lot of time together. I have really enjoyed getting to know him thus far and our chemistry is amazing! I am pretty sure neither of us have experienced anything like it before in the past. It’s the first time in a long time that I have experienced “butterflies.”
However, after a few weeks of dating we had a discussion in which he told me he is not happy living in the area we are in, and it is a strong possibility that he is going to move within a few months’ time. I took this in stride and figured it wasn’t a huge deal — I simply now knew that I shouldn’t get too serious about this guy and should continue to be open to meeting other people.
The thing is, despite him being very honest with me about this, the time we spend together has only grown more in frequency and in intimacy. It almost seems like mixed messaging to me — where his actions don’t mesh with his words — but I’ve learned from past experience that it is best to believe a guy if he’s telling you something, and not simply keep moving in one direction while thinking I can change him or his mind, or just wishing things will end up another way. So I’m trying to fight against my feelings and retain a “casual” approach.
I’m at a point where I am really getting to know him better and see qualities in him that I would look for in a potential long-term partner. I am really afraid that if I continue to see him, I’m going to end up being really hurt when he leaves. I’m ALREADY bummed when I think about not seeing him anymore, so it will probably only become more hurtful as more time is invested.
The other side of me doesn’t want to stop seeing him, 1) because I so enjoy the time together, and 2) because I think there may be something special there — it’s too soon to say, but we’ve both acknowledged a really unique compatibility between us.
I am not any good at doing the “casually dating” thing when I really like a guy … and that is the case here.
Should I get out now, while I’m “still ahead” … or try to live for the moment and enjoy the time we have together, even though I feel like I can already see my broken heart at the end of this road?
Dear Bad Investor,
Thank you so much for writing me with your question. I’m so glad that you’ve found my advice helpful in the past. I think you know deep down the right thing to do. You are getting red flags, but are having so much fun that you don’t want to listen to what your brain is telling you. It’s too soon for your heart to be involved, and you are right in wanting to protect it. You need to be honest with yourself about what you truly want. If you know you want a long term relationship that will lead to marriage and children, and you know for a fact you would not move out of the area, then you should let this man go.
On the other hand, his wanting to move out of the area doesn’t exclude having a serious relationship with you if you are open to a move. His unhappiness living in the area is only an issue if it’s an issue for you. So break out a legal pad and really think about what you want out of life. There are always choices to make. We rarely get exactly what we want, or think we want, but hopefully like the Rolling Stones song, we get what we need in the end.
Another thing to consider is the issue of unavailability. You or he may have an issue with intimacy, and may find it easier to get close in a relationship that has distance already built in to it. A long distance relationship is one of these, as is a relationship where there is a fixed end point already established such as a pending move. These boundaries give commitmentphobes the distance they need to feel comfortable. There are two kinds of commitmentphobes – active and passive. So while you may not be actively commitmentphobic, you may be passively commitmentphobic by always choose men who are emotionally unavailable to you. When he told you he was considering a move, this may have given you the distance you needed to fall for him, as you know that in the end that is a deal breaker for you. If you really want to settle down with someone, then you need to find someone who is emotionally available to you, but you also need to be willing to compromise. Think about why you wouldn’t move for this guy.
You are in a tough position. I’m not sure if it’s you or him, or both who may have a problem with commitment. It’s easy to coast along and enjoy the ride, but something tells me you have done that before and you know the suffering at the end, and don’t want to experience that all over again. I have written this before, but a relationship needs Trust, Lust and Respect, and right now you have already lost the Trust. You are not sure you can trust him and that his words mesh with his actions. But are your actions meshing with what you’re really thinking? You can’t expect different results if you keep doing what you’ve been doing. So if you want a relationship, you will either need to choose a man who wants to stay in the area if this is a high priority to you, or you will need to be more accepting of some things that don’t mesh with your list of what you want in a guy, and open yourself up to a move. Take some time and journal, and make time to really think about things.
I wish you the best! Please let me know how it goes.
– Miss A