Dear Wendy: “Should I Stay With My Boyfriend Or Move Back Home?”

I moved out east for grad school, and I happened upon a great guy — he saw me through the rough transition of living here, helped while I was a foster parent for a year, and is overall the best guy I’ve ever dated. Here’s the issue: he’ll be moving to a nearby city for a new job soon, and I’ll be graduating in a few months and I don’t know whether to move with him or head back out west. Here, I have him, but a place I do NOT like. Also, we’re both on the shy side, so building a social network will take some time. Out west, I have friends, family, much better career options, and cities that I LOVE. I may never meet another guy like him, and I love him so much. But I also can see myself angrily saying that “I gave up everything for you,” and that would eat away at our relationship. He feels much the same about staying here as I do about returning home. This is the most mature, loving relationship I’ve ever had the privilege to be in; I want to maintain it. But I think staying here might destroy it. — Homeward Bound

One upside to this crappy economy is that you can let it help you in a decision like the one you’re facing. Good jobs are so hard to come by, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you widen your net a bit and apply for jobs both in the town where your boyfriend is moving to and your home back west. If having “better career options” is a major selling point for you in terms of locale, throw out bait in both places and see what bites. If the better options are indeed back home, I’d go. Once you’ve said good-bye to your boyfriend and the “most mature, loving relationship you’ve ever had the privilege to be in,” to make a life for yourself back home, you’ll get to see what your priorities really are.

If you’ve got everything else you need besides him to be happy — ”friends, family, much better career options, and cities that you love” — and you’re still unfulfilled, you’ll know the biggest priority for you is being with the man you love. But if you blindly follow him to his new town already thinking you’re just setting up the relationship to fail, there’s a very good chance it will. You have to be confident about a move like that. The best way to get there is to either have a wonderful job lined up or go back home and realize how important it is to have this man in your life. And if you don’t come to that realization? Well, you’ll be home where you’re happy and you won’t have moved to a town you hate for a man you could live without. Sure, leaving him means the risk of losing him forever, but moving to be with him carries the same risk as well. Sometimes we have to step away from something to realize its importance in our lives; and sometimes when we step away from something so big, we realize it only seemed that way in relation to our surroundings. If you’re feeling unsure, go west where the land is expansive and the sky goes on forever. The answer will come to you there.

My boyfriend moved to a new town last year for a job, and two weeks ago I moved to the town as well to be with him. The problem I’m battling is my jealousy. He’s become quite good friends with his girl flatmate (he also shares the house with another male flatmate). Since I’ve moved into town, I’ve noticed he likes to mention her a lot, i.e. “Blah blah likes this song and blah blah does this.” While I know this is normal when you get a new friend, I have been struggling to contain my jealousy over the fact he seems to care so much about this other girl. Today he said he wanted to take her to the movies because there was a film she hasn’t seen yet and while I was invited along, I could not help but think that I can’t remember the last time he said he’d take me to the movies because I haven’t seen a “must see” film yet. How do I stop being so jealous of this fact? I know if it was his male flatmate he invited I would not have a problem with it at all. Maybe it’s worth noting that in my last relationship the guy left me for a girl he went to the movies with alone. — Green-Eyed Monster

Jealousy isn’t always a terrible thing. And it isn’t always unwarranted either. Sometimes it’s a wonderful tool alerting us when something is “off,” like when your boyfriend is ga-ga over his female roommate. You know why you wouldn’t have such a problem with your boyfriend inviting his male roomie to movies all the time? Because he’s not sexually attracted to men (I’m assuming), so there’s no reason to feel threatened. But a female roommate? That’s a different beast altogether … particularly if she’s straight and pretty, and definitely if he can’t stop talking about her.

Look, I hate jealousy and drama as much as the next person. If it seems unwarranted, I’d be the first person to call you on it and tell you to grow up. But at the very least, your boyfriend is being incredibly disrespectful to you by going on and on about his female roommate and inviting her to movies instead of inviting you. You’re the girlfriend! He should be putting you at ease with his new female roommate and smoothing the transition to your new town. You just moved two weeks ago to be with him, right? So why isn’t he eager to show you around and spend time with you and take you to the movies? Just a thought here: Is there any chance he thinks you and his female roomie could hit it off as friends and he’s talking her up to get you interested in pursuing a friendship? If you’re new to town, maybe he’s hoping she can be a new girlfriend to you.

Even if your boyfriend’s intentions aren’t clearly selfless, I don’t necessarily think anything un-tawdry is going on between him and his roommate (yet), but definitely a friendship is building, and with them living together, I’d keep an eye on that friendship, for sure. I’d also sit down and have a frank conversation with your boyfriend and tell him that it makes you uncomfortable that he’s getting so close to this other woman he lives with. Women get so nervous about being perceived as the “crazy, jealous girlfriend,” we often overlook our gut instincts when things are off. Pay attention to your gut. If it’s telling you something isn’t right, listen.

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