Dear Carolyn: My fiance and I live in a major East Coast city. I have a pretty robust social life and usually have plans with friends a few days a week after work. I am also friendly with most of my co-workers, so I get my fix of talking about work while I'm actually at work, or by chatting with co-workers off-hours.
My fiance is less social than I am. Sometimes he comes with me to after-work things but usually not, and he never has any of his own. He also doesn't like talking to his co-workers very much, which means he usually wants me to be his listening ear about work drama or even just standard day-to-day stuff. Which I don't mind, I just usually don't know what he's talking about. And he gets very hurt if I have plans that make it tough to listen to him talk about work all night.
All of this being the case, he has recently suggested we move together to a new city and "start over." He is feeling the imbalance in our social setups and, if I am interpreting correctly, he wants us to live somewhere we are BOTH friendless, perhaps in hopes I'll have more time for him.
Initially when he asked I sort of considered it, since a fresh start is sometimes nice, but now I am feeling pretty angry and resentful. Isn't it totally selfish for a person to want their partner to give up a happy social life to be available on command?
— We Can't Be Happy in the Same Place
We Can’t Be Happy in the Same Place: Sounds like it. Why are you even together?
Could be a rhetorical question, but I urge you to answer it. You started dating, kept dating and agreed to marry for a reason, but nothing in your letter says why. You have friends you enjoy; you have no interest in what he wants to talk about “all night” (you see “I don’t mind,” I see contempt); you interpret his wanting more attention as wanting you “to be available on command.” That’s some dark, distrustful stuff, which he may well deserve, given his impulse to cancel your happiness to boost his own, no no no.
How is that not controlling?
Next question, possibly already moot: Why are you “interpreting” what you can discuss?
Plus: Let’s say you do move. You’ll BOTH be friendless, yes . . .
For a minute. Then you’ll outgoingly make new friends, seeing them a few days a week, which he’ll mostly opt out of, and you’ll get your fill of work talk from colleagues, and come home to a guy you still don’t find interesting.
How is that an improvement on anything? Except the economy, into which you’d dump thousands on job-hunting and relocating and the associated shipping, shopping, travel and, I’m guessing eventually, attorneys.
So, again: Why are you together? Why force it amid apparently mutual distrust?
Focus on these. If you still believe he’s the best-best person for you, better than anyone and better than solo-tude, then put your whole heart into understanding — and communicating — what you can, can’t, will and won’t alter about your life to make room for him or anyone else. See how he responds. See, plainly, whether you and he make any sense.