Painful move is best way to confirm your priorities, desires
Q: I'm feeling completely torn in half. For the past three years, I've been dating a great guy. We're in our mid-20s and have lived together for two of those years. We have a fun time together and love and live with each other's quirks. We generally are pretty good at communication too.
The problem is that I met my boyfriend while in grad school in a city I (naively) never intended to settle down in. I'm very close with my family, and it's been really hard for me to be away. I've stayed here an additional two years after I finished school so he could finish as well, and we could decide what to do.
Well, that was this summer. He only sort-of job hunted in my hometown, and ended up finding a great job here. I quit my job (for other reasons) and now am planning on moving back with my family. We're not breaking up, although neither of us has any idea how this will work out, since we're both prioritizing different things.
As the move date approaches, I can't stop crying and I feel incredibly terrible for moving away from the love of my life. I feel bad for the stress this is putting him through and for essentially choosing my family over him. But I don't feel like I can stay here much longer. Am I being a total idiot? Should I stay or should I go?
A: Go. You've already quit the job, made the plans and had the awful conversations, so you might as well find out if your hometown still suits you as well as you think. A lot may have changed since you left. You certainly have — I don't have to know you to know that.
When you go, though, don't ruin the experiment with guilt. Yes, you're "essentially choosing your family over him." But your boyfriend knew you were waiting to move back; he "essentially chose" his current location over you. You're equally dug in and thus equally responsible for whatever pain you're both feeling.
So go, and let the circumstances fill in the blanks for both of you. Learn which you value more, the person or the place.
Constantly attracted to jerks? It may be time for self-assessment
Q: What does it mean when I'm still really attracted to someone who I learned has a condescending attitude toward women? This isn't a pattern or anything, it's just this one guy — I went for a long time really liking him a lot, and even though I now know he's a jerk, it doesn't stop me from kind of wanting him for the reasons I did before. But at the same time I (intellectually) wouldn't want to reward him with my attentions.
A: Finding him offensive probably just means you have to work harder to resist the pull of your attraction. But if you have any history of seeking the approval of hard-to-please people (the uniqueness of Mr. Jerk notwithstanding), then it warrants a hard look at your emotional wiring, and what gives you a sense of accomplishment. Working to reach a goal usually means great satisfaction in the end. Working to extract affection, in the end, usually means more work, more work, more work.