Q I met my boyfriend when I was working at my first job after graduating from college. Since then, we’ve enjoyed spending a good deal of time together getting to know one another. We’ve developed a great relationship, and have now been together for almost 1.5 years. I just found out that he’s seriously considering pursuing a drastic career change. The career change would involve his going back to grad school. He’s expressed interest in attending a school which is about two hours away, and I just don’t know whether or not I could make the move for him. I’m worried that if he decides to go away for grad school, that may tear us apart. Any suggestions?
A Facing a life-changing decision can be nerve-wracking, and feeling powerless in the decision might cause you to reconsider your commitment and question your desire to continue on with the relationship.
Before you decide to act in one way or another, ask yourself these five questions:
i) Do you agree with his desire to change careers? Do you understand and support his decision?
ii) Is he definitely planning to move? Rather than wondering and worrying, find out by gently asking him to clarify his intentions.
iii) Could you work through a long distance relationship? While long distance may not be ideal, two hours may not be very far to travel for weekend and holiday visits. With social media, video chat, email, texting and cell phones, staying in touch despite distance is possible. Your mutual levels of trust and commitment to each other should be key factors in this decision.
iv) What are your real concerns? Be patient, but also be honest about where you stand. Hidden resentment (on either side) will certainly tear you apart over time.
v) Can you support this change? Relationships require compromise. Any relationship worth keeping is worth working for. Consider what you are willing to give up and work through, as well as what you are asking him to give up and work through.
Above all, don’t be pushy and aggressive. Though your concern quite understandably might make you want answers sooner, rather than later, he may need some time to consider these questions himself.
Men generally take time to deeply think through decisions, silently and in their own time. So, allow him plenty of time to think things through; applying pressure will likely push him away.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.