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Moving, starting school...breaking up?


EEpa
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I was lucky enough to get into a great grad program in a state about four hours from my hometown. I just moved down recently and I like the new area, but I am also away from my boyfriend of 6 years. We are in a good relationship but I realize moving isn't what he wants and I respect he pursues his goals and lets me pursue mine, but the only problem is he has refused to talk about our relationship status. I tried asking him if he had though about our options (break up/long distance) and all he would say was I don't know.

I get this sucks for him,and me, but I don't know what to think. I don't want to push the issue since it upsets him and it's not like if we break up it's because we really want to, but I kind of need to know. Any advice on what to make of all this?

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Well, are you willing to give a long-distance relationship a shot? If so, I'd tell him that you're committed to making it work, and you want to know whether he is interested in trying it. Although, to be perfectly fair, four hours really isn't that far. I'm wondering if you might be getting a little bit ahead of yourself.

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No I agree and that's part of the reason I am willing to try long distance. But personally I think long distance is something I could do for a year or two at most. 5-6 years, no way. I'm not sure moving will ever be in the cards for my SO. I mostly don't understand how he refused to give any sort of idea which way he was leaning. Like I was literally leaving the next day and he just kept saying that he didn't know.

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No I agree and that's part of the reason I am willing to try long distance. But personally I think long distance is something I could do for a year or two at most. 5-6 years, no way. I'm not sure moving will ever be in the cards for my SO. I mostly don't understand how he refused to give any sort of idea which way he was leaning. Like I was literally leaving the next day and he just kept saying that he didn't know.

 

Do you deserve anything less than someone who will say to you "EEpa, I want YOU," even if that person doesn't know how to make things work or even if they will? (And really, who does?)

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Well, are you willing to give a long-distance relationship a shot? If so, I'd tell him that you're committed to making it work, and you want to know whether he is interested in trying it. Although, to be perfectly fair, four hours really isn't that far. I'm wondering if you might be getting a little bit ahead of yourself.

 

I second this. I've been dating my boyfriend almost 4 years. While he never shied away from talking about our relationship and always encouraged me to go for my career, I did need to sit him down and remind him that he also needs to follow his own career. We've been 13 hours from each other for over a year with short visits every 2-3 months. OP, you're definitely getting ahead of yourself. Neither of us ever questioned whether we would continue our relationship; the question was always, "How are we going to make this work?" I know if I asked him to, he would drop his career, take a lower-paying job, and move to be with me. I won't ask him to do that as he values his career as much as I value mine... You might need to take some time to figure out what YOU want. You need to consider if you want to maintain the relationship or if you want to move on. Then you two need to talk it out. You need to figure out if he will be willing to move with you at some point; you're going to be moving again after your PhD, especially if you're headed into academia. You're not talking just the 5-6 years of your PhD, here. You're talking moving possibly the next 10-15 years.

 

Four hours is easily doable; one of you could visit the other on most weekends. Drive down Friday evening, leave late Sunday. As a graduate student in Biology, you're going to be in the lab all the time, so it may be easier for him to come down to see you as you may always not be able to leave your experiments. For me, I may have to go in for a couple hours to passage cells or check in on my mice. My boyfriend understands this about my studies and is willing to drive the 13 hours to see me when he can get vacation time or fly down for a weekend. You just have to make sure he doesn't have to make all of the effort. Pay for half of the gas to come see you. Plan fun things to do together, etc. If my PI knows my boyfriend is coming to visit, he will tell me to cut out of lab early on a Friday. A lot of PIs do understand the long distance thing as most of them had to do it when they were in grad school and post-doc.

 

My boyfriend and I video chat via Google Chat at least 3 times during the workweek, but often more than that. We like Google Chat because we can play games and watch youtube videos together on it. It is much easier than trying to start a movie at the same time and watch together. We also tend to send each other things through snail mail just for fun. 

 

Long distance is definitely doable, provided both parties are willing. Again, it is only 4 hours; you're going to be able to see each other often. I think a lot of this is going to come down to you looking at the next few years and figuring out what you want. Please don't hesitate about asking me questions about the distance. :)

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I am currently battling between grad school and having my girlfriend move in with me... Only difference is she lives in Argentina.

 

So in my case rather than a 4 hour drive I'm dealing with a 12 hour plane ride. Luckily for us however, she is a freelance translator, and so once she migrates to the US via marriage she won't be restricted in one city like your BF. 

 

As it has already been said, 4 hours is not a lot. It is different, yes. And it will not be the same. But... a 4 hour drive breaking up a healthy 6-year relationship? That is stretching it, in my opinion.

 

Relationships require effort, I'm positive you two can work through this.

Edited by Ricardo_Peterson
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Two thoughts. Technically, it is completely doable, and not that bad in the scheme of long-distance relationships, as others have mentioned. One of you could drive down to see the other on most weekends, it's not terribly expensive or time-consuming (no flights, etc), and there is no time-zone difference at all. That said, it sounds like you're not sure whether your boyfriend is interested in making the effort, and that's something to be concerned about. Since you just moved and are starting a new life in your new city, you could invite him to visit you once you're settled in, so he can see your apartment, new school, maybe meet some of the new people in your life, etc. That would be a good excuse to get the conversation going, and he shouldn't say no to an invitation like that. It'd be a way for him to see what it's like coming to visit you after some time apart. But then at some point relatively soon after that, I think you will just have to sit him down and have a serious conversation about your relationship. If you are committed to making this work, you need to make sure that he is, too. Maybe the 'I don't know' is just him expressing his unhappiness with the fact that you've moved away, but he can learn to handle it. Maybe he can't learn to get over it and instead it will always hang over your head. I think it will become apparent soon enough. If he is unwilling to meet you half way (or anywhere close to that), I'd personally question whether this is someone who I want to be with. 

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fuzzylogician is spot on.

 

My sister hit the six-month mark with her long-distance boyfriend (plane ride away, he lives in Hawaii). I'm utterly amazed and hope for the best for both of them. It seems clear that they BOTH want to make it work.

 

Me? When I told my now ex-husband that I was leaving him for four weeks to visit my family across the country because he obviously didn't seem to care about being a family... he let me go... didn't even try to stop me. Took me to the airport and f*cking walked away. And now when I look back on it... I didn't leave him. He let me leave him because he was too cowardly to be the one to stand up and say that something was seriously wrong in our marriage. Seriously, it was the best decision of my life to leave him, even though I didn't know what the future held. If you truly love someone, would you just let them go without a fight?

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I am in almost the exact same situation as the OP. I did long distance with my SO while I was in undergrad. I moved in with him for this gap year during applications and now I'm moving 3 hours away to get my PhD. It is certainly doable to try long distance again but I had to make a decision based on what I thought would make me happiest (and him in the long run). I will not do long distance again. It was really, really hard on us the first time around and I don't want to go through that stress when I'm trying to focus on my career and schooling. He has a great job in our hometown and he doesn't want to leave it. I get that and I don't fault him for it but I also won't waste the next 5-6 years of my life trying to make a long distance relationship work when in the long run, he will probably never want to move and I will almost certainly have to live somewhere other than my hometown. It's pretty awkward living with someone when you both know the exact date your relationship will expire (September 1st for us) but we don't hate each other by any means. It'll suck at first and it'll take a few months for us to be able to talk again I'm sure, but I think we will stay in touch enough to remain close. We have agreed that if at some point in the future something changes for either of us (I could fail out of school after all, or he might decide he hates his job) then we will revisit the issue. I think the plan is to revisit how we're feeling about each other next summer. If we have moved on in a year then maybe it wasn't meant to be. If we haven't then it might be worth trying to make something work.

 

It sucks the OP's SO isn't comfortable discussing things because I have found that communication was the only way we were able to get through this sticky situation and come up with a plan. Since it seems like the OP is being left to make a decision, I'd advise to try and figure out what it is that YOU want. Are you certain your SO is "the one" or do you have any thoughts that maybe there is still a relationship out there you'd be happier in? If you're not certain, then maybe the time apart will help you figure it out. Maybe you don't need a formal break up but you guys could agree to just take some time apart. If he still refuses to even discuss THAT then, if it were me, I'd take that as a signal that I'm going to have to make the decision and just run with it.

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I am in almost the exact same situation as the OP. I did long distance with my SO while I was in undergrad. I moved in with him for this gap year during applications and now I'm moving 3 hours away to get my PhD. It is certainly doable to try long distance again but I had to make a decision based on what I thought would make me happiest (and him in the long run). I will not do long distance again. It was really, really hard on us the first time around and I don't want to go through that stress when I'm trying to focus on my career and schooling. He has a great job in our hometown and he doesn't want to leave it. I get that and I don't fault him for it but I also won't waste the next 5-6 years of my life trying to make a long distance relationship work when in the long run, he will probably never want to move and I will almost certainly have to live somewhere other than my hometown. It's pretty awkward living with someone when you both know the exact date your relationship will expire (September 1st for us) but we don't hate each other by any means. It'll suck at first and it'll take a few months for us to be able to talk again I'm sure, but I think we will stay in touch enough to remain close. We have agreed that if at some point in the future something changes for either of us (I could fail out of school after all, or he might decide he hates his job) then we will revisit the issue. I think the plan is to revisit how we're feeling about each other next summer. If we have moved on in a year then maybe it wasn't meant to be. If we haven't then it might be worth trying to make something work.

 

It sucks the OP's SO isn't comfortable discussing things because I have found that communication was the only way we were able to get through this sticky situation and come up with a plan. Since it seems like the OP is being left to make a decision, I'd advise to try and figure out what it is that YOU want. Are you certain your SO is "the one" or do you have any thoughts that maybe there is still a relationship out there you'd be happier in? If you're not certain, then maybe the time apart will help you figure it out. Maybe you don't need a formal break up but you guys could agree to just take some time apart. If he still refuses to even discuss THAT then, if it were me, I'd take that as a signal that I'm going to have to make the decision and just run with it.

 

Thanks for sharing all of that. I'm sorry you're going through it! It makes me pretty sad, because I'm afraid of this happening to me. My SO, as you may remember from other threads, is also very happy in our hometown and in his job there. There will be resentment on one side or another, whether it be from me not going to the program I want, or him having to move away. Eeek.

 

And for the OP I agree with much of what is said here. A refusal to discuss this seems like something you shouldn't have to deal with. I'm sure your SO saw this coming somehow, since you probably discussed your career goals at some point in the past 6 years. Four hours seems very doable to me, see if your SO agrees. It probably wouldn't feel like a long distance relationship if you spent weekends together and took turns driving.

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Your boyfriend repeatedly saying "I don't know," when asked a straightforward question ("Are you willing to give a LDR a try, or do you think we should end it?") to me sounds like "I don't think that our relationship is going to work out, but I don't want to be the one who officially breaks it off."

 

In the OP's situation I'd go with what *you* want, rather than trying to establish out what your boyfriend wants. If you don't see this relationship working out in the long term then tell him you're ending it.

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Your boyfriend repeatedly saying "I don't know," when asked a straightforward question ("Are you willing to give a LDR a try, or do you think we should end it?") to me sounds like "I don't think that our relationship is going to work out, but I don't want to be the one who officially breaks it off."

 

In the OP's situation I'd go with what *you* want, rather than trying to establish out what your boyfriend wants. If you don't see this relationship working out in the long term then tell him you're ending it.

 

Yup.  My (soon to be ex?) husband played that game with me for months.  

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Your boyfriend repeatedly saying "I don't know," when asked a straightforward question ("Are you willing to give a LDR a try, or do you think we should end it?") to me sounds like "I don't think that our relationship is going to work out, but I don't want to be the one who officially breaks it off."

 

In the OP's situation I'd go with what *you* want, rather than trying to establish out what your boyfriend wants. If you don't see this relationship working out in the long term then tell him you're ending it.

 

Hmmm, without knowing the SO's personality, it's difficult to make a definitive statement like this.

 

When my boyfriend says he doesn't know, he literally doesn't know. As in, he understands his options but he's having trouble choosing between them.

 

And, judging by the OP, who too is unsure of whether an LTR will work for her, can we really judge her boyfriend so harshly yet let her get off scot free?

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