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Dear Breakup Girl,
You're the greatest! I read your column every Monday first thing while I eat
breakfast! Thanks for being a superhero we can all relate to.
Now for my problem: Confusion. I'm so confused about the state of my
relationship. I'm 30, he's 25; we've been friends for years and started dating
about eight months ago. Long distance at first, then he moved 3000 miles to be
with me. Yay! Made me very happy, and definitely bodes well.
Things are going pretty well. He stayed with me while he got settled and
then moved into his own place. We went through a stage of talking about whether
we wanted to live together and decided we weren't ready, mostly because he
still felt that he needed some time to live alone and I felt that I didn't want
to live with someone for an extremely long time -- just as a fairly short
prelude to marriage, and we both knew that this relationship isn't ready for
And therein is the key -- we knew that THIS RELATIONSHIP isn't ready for it
yet. But the problem is, I really really am, on a personal level.
Thing is, I spent a mind-numbing chunk of my 20s wasting my time doing
everything I actively could to avoid serious entanglements due to a traumatic
near-wedding in my past. Anyhow about a year ago I finally hit this point where
I said "hey, this isn't cool with me anymore! I'm ready to stop avoiding
love, find the right person, build something wonderful, stop dating." A
good thing, all around. I cleared out the remnants of bad relationships and
commitment-phobic men from my life and found this lovely core of clarity that I
didn't know I had. And into this recently cleared out space wandered the guy
who seemed, finally, right. The Boyfriend.
He's a wonderful guy, and wants the same things as me. He's given me every
indication that he wants to be in this long-term and that he's very serious
about it. He's said that he sees me as marriage potential, down the road, loves
and wants kids, shares my values, etc. He wants to spend most of his time with
me, he's committed, he considers me in his plans -- all the right things that
say "real potential." It's just this difference in time-frame. When I
started dating him I knew it would be a while before he was ready for the
things that I was already wanting and that I'd have to delay myself in having
if I was going to go for this. And I did, mostly because I felt like there was
such potential here.
But recently, I'm questioning whether that was a good idea. I'd really like
to live with someone now and be moving towards permanence at a faster clip than
he does. He really needs to be on his own for a year or two. I thought I was ok
with that but now I'm doubting everything. Much as I love him, I feel this
pressure inside me that I don't understand -- a longing for someone who's at
the same stage of life as me, for someone who wants the same things and in the
same timeframe as I do. I feel a longing for a generic someone who is not the
Boyfriend, in those regards. And that disturbs me. It's affecting things
Was it naïve to think that I could give this a year or two to play out
and be ok with the wait? Does this longing mean that I should be looking for
someone who is on the same page as me NOW? Am I just panicking about biological
clock issues (wanna have several kids, wanna have a few years to play around
with the hubby before I have kids, etc.) and trying to speed up the natural
progression of an otherwise healthy relationship and thus screwing it up?
Should I just cultivate patience and see where this goes? Or maybe I should
find a middle ground of giving myself a check point somewhere in the future --
when we hit a year together, or 18 months -- where I'm going to have to
evaluate whether this relationship is heading where I need it to at a speed I
can live with? Please help.
-- Screwing Up a Good Thing?
Dear Good Thing?
First of all, thanks for showing that Breakup Girl
Advice is part of a nutritious breakfast.
Which in itself seems to have given you the fuel and
brainpower to think this through carefully and ask all the right questions --
and even hit upon a good answer! You'll see.
1) He needs time. Not forever, no; but time to adjust
to the big move, and time to get over being 25. Trust me, it's a turning point.
I know it's just a number, but still. I've said it before, I'll say it again:
26, rarely before, is the age when your art gets framed, not gummed, when your
noodles get soba, not ramen. When "what you do" edges more and more
toward "who you are." When your commitments -- professional,
passionate, whatever -- become clearer, more solid. Ideally. At least give him
2) Brava on the cleared-out space. But remember that
just because we get our act together doesn't mean that the next person who
makes an entrance is automatically The One. I'm not saying he's not, 'cause he
actually .looks pretty darn good on paper; I'm just putting him right back in
the context you provided.
So. Bail now, and I think you'll look back in angst,
wondering if you gave it enough of a chance. Instead, yes, schedule a time for
future contemplation with Checkpoint Charlie. From your letter, I do think that
-- at some point in several months -- he'll have settled a bit more, and you'll
have enough data/gut feeling to know whether you want to start every day with
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