On a choice

Dear Coquette,

I’m in a serious relationship with a man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life, but I’ve just been offered my dream job with an amazing team on the opposite side of the country. My boyfriend is in a good place at work, and it’d be unfair to ask him to uproot himself from the career he has worked so hard to build. In addition, he’s trying to reach a point where he can support his little sister in high school (and soon, college), so his parents can retire.

Moving isn’t an option to him. He originally had hoped that we would get married within the next two or three years. If I take the job, it would be a four-year commitment. Realistically speaking, I won’t be able to get an equivalent opportunity again, since my college GPA was low and I got the offer through some aggressive networking while interning at the company.

I feel like I have to choose between my career or family before I have either. Is there any way this could work? I’m just being selfish, right? To want to leave for four years and ask him to wait for me. He has said he would, but he’s incredibly hurt that I even applied for the position.

I should probably mention … we spent the last 18 months apart while I studied/temped out of state and we’ve been together two years. Knock some sense into me, please.

First of all, congratulations on your hustle. It’s not an easy thing to land your dream job in today’s economy, and it sounds like you’ve done what it takes to get your shot. You should be proud of yourself.

For what it’s worth, you’re not choosing between a career or a family. You’re choosing between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to follow your dreams and a boyfriend who, despite a lot of talk, hasn’t put a ring on your finger.

The good news is, you’re still gonna have a family. The bad news is, it’s just not gonna be with your current dude. I know that’s an unimaginable thing to hear when you’re young and in love, but that’s just the way these things go. Sorry, kiddo. You have to sacrifice for what you want in life, and we both know damn well what you really want.

Take the dream job and don’t look back. Don’t ask him to wait for you. That’s not fair, nor is it realistic. You have to accept that moving across the country for half a decade will be the end of the relationship. It doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you selfish.

This guy isn’t your fiancé, much less your husband, so all your talk about wanting to spend the rest of your life with him sounds silly in light of your own self-made opportunity. I know right now you’re head over heels, but that kind of thing mellows with time, and if you pass up on your dreams just to stick around and be his girlfriend, eventually you will resent him for it.


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