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If boyfriend wants to move out, it can't be ignored

If boyfriend wants to move out, it's a desire that can't be ignored

Q: I've been dating my boyfriend for 5 1/2 years now, and we've been living together for most of that. He moved across the country to be with me, and a year ago I returned the favor. I realized I had been taking some frustrations out on him lately, so I wrote him a letter apologizing and telling him I'd be more supportive.

This led to a conversation that surprised me: He said he feels like at our age (25) he should know if he wants to marry me, and he's still not sure. Also he wants to live independently, which he feels he hasn't done yet because we've been sharing bills and responsibilities.

He's not ready to break up, but he's pessimistic about our long-term chances. But he loves me and wants to give it a chance because I'm willing to work on things. We are thinking about having him move out but continuing to date. Is this a good idea, or am I kidding myself that this relationship has a chance?

S.

A: Those two aren't mutually exclusive: You can be kidding yourself that you and he have a chance, and it can be a good idea for him to move out.

Whatever his feelings are for you, neither of you can ignore his yearning to live on his own. For one thing, it's an empowering thing to do at least once. And, living alone is one of those needs that doesn't just pass when ignored, but instead becomes a what-if — or, worse, an if-only. Even if he were optimistic about your long-term future, he'd still be a something you love that you need to set free. (I hoped to publish this on a rainbow background, but no luck.)

Since his feelings for you are diminished, that only makes the move-out argument more compelling. You want a mate who feels drawn to you, not stuck with you.

Once the torture of household-stuff separation is behind them, people often find themselves miraculously "ready to break up"; I doubt he'll do anything other than move out and not look back. Still, even the wishful-thinking scenario starts with his moving out. That's the one where he lives enough life without you to recognize that he prefers it with you. The latter is okay to hope for, as long as the former is what you expect.

Bridesmaid should speak up if wedding is financial hardship

Q: A friend asked me to be her bridesmaid, and I am pleased and honored. The problem is that I have been out of work for the past four months and barely have enough money to pay my bills and buy food. I don't know how I will pay for the plane ticket, hotel room, dress, etc. My friend knows I have not been working but doesn't seem to realize just how critical my financial situation is. I'm afraid I will have to tell her that I just can't afford to be her bridesmaid, but I don't want to hurt her feelings. What should I do?

Broke bridesmaid

A: Recognize that your solvency trumps her feelings, and hope she does, too. If her affection is in fact an honor, she'll be sympathetic, not hurt, when you explain that you'd be there with dyed-to-match bells on, if it didn't mean giving up food.

If boyfriend wants to move out, it can't be ignored 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 3:30am]
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