Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend’s Jealous That I Love My Job”

Let me start by saying I love my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for about a year and a half, living together for most of that, and have often talked about spending the rest of our lives together. He’s a great guy, and we’re a great fit. I’ve been really happy with our life together, and I thought he was, too. Until recently.

He just lost his job for the fourth time in a year, and it has really taken a toll on him. He doesn’t feel qualified for any job postings he finds, and he’s become increasingly jealous of the fact that I love my job. I have the extreme privilege of working in an office where I am appreciated, work with incredible people, and get to do good things. He’s never felt a passion for his work, and has always been jealous of the fact that I do, but it’s getting worse now that he doesn’t have anything to fill that part of his life. So … he’s started to talk about moving back to LA. He was living there before he moved across the country to where we met and live. He was trying to get into acting; it didn’t work out. So he’s started asking me if I would leave my job to move there with him and let him have his shot. He insists he won’t leave me, but I worry he’ll decide that since I’m choosing my job over what he wants by insisting we stay, he can do the same thing and just leave (I have my own abandonment issues to get over). At the same time, I’ve been a feminist since I learned what the word meant and always swore to myself I would never sacrifice my own successes for a guy. And it’s not like we’re even engaged — what if we got out to LA and everything went badly? Then I’m stuck in a city I’m fairly sure I would hate, with no job and no friends and no him. I’m at a complete loss, and don’t know how to answer his “What if the job you wanted was across the country but I didn’t want to leave mine?” questions that make me feel like he’s just setting me up for a fall. But I just can’t even imagine losing him. — Wants It All

The hypothetical question he’s asking (“What if the job you wanted was across the country but I didn’t want to leave mine?”) doesn’t fit your situation since he doesn’t have a job across the country. He wants to move to LA to be an actor, something he’s already tried and failed at. In what world does “starving, unemployed wannabe-actor” qualify as a “job” worthy of moving your well-employed girlfriend across the country for? I don’t think you need me to tell you you’d be an absolute fool to follow him there.

Being with a man who’s unemployed and having trouble finding a new job is one thing; it’s something that, unfortunately, many people in this economy are dealing with. Being with an unemployed man who’s bitter, jealous, and unsupportive of your career and passions is a different beast altogether. The question shouldn’t be whether you should quit your job and follow his pipe dream to L.A. with him; it should be how much longer are you willing to put up with a man who doesn’t emotionally support you and lacks a realistic plan for his future? And if you’re thinking marriage, you need to ask yourself whether you’re prepared to not only financially support this man for the rest of your life — because, let’s face it, losing four jobs in one year, even in this economy, does not indicate a favorable future, career-wise — but also what kind of life you imagine having with him and whether he shares that vision. My guess is that what you want is vastly different than what he wants, and if that’s the case, it’s probably best you realize that now rather than later.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]