NOTE: This archive only contains Carolyn Hax columns through March 2011. Her more recent columns are located here.

Tell Me About It

Tell Me About It
(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)

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By Carolyn Hax
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dear Carolyn:

This fall, I'll be a senior at a college in Maryland. My boyfriend graduated and moved to New York to take this really great job, and we've decided to try to make the distance work until I graduate in December.

However, I question his commitment to this whole thing. He wants me to do all the commuting -- ALL of it, though we'll split costs. He justifies not coming to Maryland with: "New York is so much cooler" and "I need to lay down my roots here -- connections are really important to my job."

While there's some truth to each of his excuses, isn't a relationship about compromise? I have a job, too, and full-time school, and friends here. I don't want to harbor angry feelings toward him because I'm making all the effort.

Greyhound Girl

"Connections are really important to my job"?

Maybe someone should point out that not insulting people's intelligence will also be important to his job.

When you hear a load like that one, especially from someone who ostensibly cares about you, please don't just let it thud to the floor unchallenged. Not only will you be providing him a valuable career assist, but you'll also be honing a crucial relationship skill of your own.

When you can express how you feel without flinching -- in other words, without devaluing yourself in the process of but-what-if-he-dumps-me?! calculations -- then you're positioned to be your own advocate, vs. somebody's victim.

Conveniently, expressing angry feelings -- a la "What a load of (unprintable)" -- is also an excellent preventive strategy against harboring angry feelings.


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