DEAR AMY: I am a 25-year-old young professional woman in a white-collar job with a boyfriend of 10 months, who works in a blue-collar job. He is the type who wants to save and buy a house 30 miles outside of town. I have a little more wanderlust and don’t see myself buying a house/apartment until I am much older. This is a fundamental difference between us, and I wonder if we could ever compromise. I can honestly say I love the man, but he has yet to say those three little words to me while sober. He has admitted to being guarded in case things don’t work out, but I have tried to explain to him that a relationship can’t succeed unless you give it your all. I know how much he cares despite his one foot out the door. He has helped me with the unexpected divorce of my parents and is always there for me. He does have some jealousy issues and some anger problems. He has told me he can see a future with me, and recently we talked about the whole moving in together — hence the argument on where to live. I have an opportunity with my job to move to a city in another state where many other millennials are flocking due to the booming tech industry and low cost of living. He told me he would not move and that we would break up if I went. I love my boyfriend, but our relationship isn’t perfect, although he has been making some improvements. I am at a fork in the road and I don’t know what to do.
DEAR UNCERTAIN: You should tell your boyfriend that his attitude of being “guarded in case things don’t work out” is completely justified, because things are decidedly not working out. And then you should say, “buh-bye.”
This is not a fork in the road. You present a litany of red flags that should be flapping along the pathway out of this relationship: Jealousy, anger, the inability to say those “three little words” while sober (ick).
If you ignore your own character, preferences and professional opportunities in order to stay in this relationship, then the consequences are on you — keep your eyes open while you make your choice.
DEAR AMY: I’m a woman with a male best friend, and I think this friendship may be causing a problem in his new relationship. I knew his girlfriend before they got together and she was well aware of our friendship and how close we are (we’re practically brother and sister). We’ve been friends for almost 10 years, and recently his girlfriend stated that our friendship has inspired her to seek a male best friend. That didn’t sit well with my friend and he thinks that maybe this is her way of letting him know she’s uncomfortable with our friendship. I decided to have a heart-to-heart with her to let her know that if there was anything that I was doing that made her uncomfortable to just tell me. She stated that everything was fine. I think it’s time that my friend and I set boundaries when we’re in relationships. I’m just not sure how to do that. I’m currently single. Can you shed some light and give me some advice on how to go about that?
DEAR UNSURE: When couples engage in a serious romantic relationship, they generally put themselves at the center of their friendship circle, and their other relationships (friendships and family relationships) adjust. For his romantic relationship to work, you will have to slide a bit to the periphery (he would step back if you’re in a romantic relationship).
You and your male friend need to make sure his girlfriend does not feel excluded from your friendship. You should open the door to her and be inclusive and do your best to get to know her — the way you would if you and her boyfriend were siblings. You were thoughtful to reach out to her directly; she may have been disingenuous in responding. Her statement that she will get her own male BFF is passive-aggressive.
DEAR AMY: I have a note for “Sober,” the recovering alcoholic who doesn’t want others to serve alcohol at family events. Get over yourself. You don’t get to dictate what other people do.
Also in Recovery
DEAR ALSO: The bulk of unkind responses to this (I thought, reasonable) request came from people claiming to also be in recovery. Quite surprising.