Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I, both 30, have been dating for five years. We are from different countries and currently live in a country foreign to both of us. He recently told me he can’t imagine living anywhere else other than his homeland. This surprised me, as he had been singing a different tune.
While it would be extremely difficult and time/cost-intensive for me to have my work credits and educational background accredited in his country, it is technically possible, but there’s a chance that it won’t go through. I will need to uproot my life and possibly change my highly specialized profession, which I love. He is hoping I come with him but realizes there’s a possibility that I won’t/can’t. I feel betrayed.
I do not know where to go from here. It feels as if I have to choose between love and career.
– Drifting Between Continents
A: I’m sorry. It’s hard when someone changes the terms so abruptly. What it isn’t, though, is complicated. Most of the issues you raise are ancillary:
• That he led you to believe otherwise? Upsetting, but a side issue. He may well have sung his tune sincerely, then watched his loyalty to his heritage deepen over time.
• That your career is tough to transfer? Logistically significant, but emotionally off to the side.
• That you thought you would marry this man? It makes things sadder and lengthens the time you’ll need to adjust to this new normal. But it doesn’t change the basic fact of your wanting X, and his offering only Y.
• That you fear never meeting anyone else? No. Panic is not a competent strategist.
This is the only issue: Do you want to make him and his country yours? It’s OK to take time to decide. But if there’s a little “no” in your answer, then it’s all “no” – tough as that may be to accept.
Just texting … or an affair?
Dear Carolyn: During a separation, my wife reconnected with an old high school friend. She revealed that during that time, the two of them were texting and would spend hours on the phone. She’s denying that anything physical occurred (I sort of believe it). But I told her that she needs to tell me “everything” about the conversations. She says that it was just two friends reconnecting after 30 years. Am I crazy, jealous or what – does it sound like an affair?
A: The two of you were separated, and contacting old friends can be a way to figure out complicated feelings. Has her attention returned fully to you, and do you trust her enough to take her word on that?
If no, discuss that, because that’s what matters – not the old friend. If yes, then stop digging, and treat what happened while you were separated as what you needed to find your way back.