Dear Wendy: “Should I Move In With My Crush?”

I’m moving to a new city soon. I have a female friend who lives there whom I’ve always had a crush on. I was looking forward to the chance to ask her out, see how she felt about me, and if there was anything between us. However, before I got a chance, she asked if she could move in with me as she was having trouble finding a new apartment. As the request was a bit time sensitive I said yes, not wanting to keep her from having a place to live while I sorted out my feelings. Now I’m not sure what to do. Should I just lay out my feelings and risk freaking her out (and making our soon-to-be living arrangements a bit awkward), should I keep it to myself and see how things work out, or does the sheer fact that she asked to move in with me mean I’m a permanent fixture in the friend zone. — Confused Renter

I cannot overstate enough what a terrible idea it is to live with this female friend of yours. Not only would doing so basically rule out any chance you have at a romantic relationship with her — or, at the very least, make the possibility much, much slimmer — you’d be setting yourself up for potential hurt feelings, awkwardness, and misunderstandings of epic proportions. Seriously, how are you going to feel when she brings some guy home she’s just been on a date with? How are you going to deal with seeing him the next morning hanging out in your kitchen making them coffee while she’s lingering in bed waiting for him? And what about when you go out with someone else? Don’t you think it may complicate your dating life to live with someone you’ve “always had a crush on”? Women have sixth senses, you know. Don’t be surprised if a date sees the sexual tension you feel toward your roommate. And how do you suppose that will go over?

Save yourself a lot of grief and tell your friend you made a mistake and can’t live with her after all. She put you on the spot when she asked and as long as you haven’t signed a lease yet, you don’t owe her anything. You certainly aren’t keeping her from having a place to live simply by not moving in with her. If she’s somehow manipulated you into believing otherwise, you should feel lucky you’ve been spared a romantic relationship with her. If she asks why you can’t live with her, tell her the truth: that you don’t see how you can separate your romantic feelings toward her enough to have a healthy, happy roommate relationship. Tell her you’d be happy to take her out some time, but you can’t live with her. Whether she’s into that idea or not, you will have just saved yourself a lot of drama on the relationship front.

Last April, I applied for the Peace Corps and got accepted. I got my degree in engineering but I’m not too sure that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life so I thought I’d give the Peace Corps a shot as I enjoy helping others. The problem is, I started officially dating one of my best friends in June and now I’m not sure I want to leave him. Our relationship is going extremely well and I love him so much, to the point where marriage and him being the one are a viable option. This is, however, both of our first serious relationships. If things do work out with him, the Peace Corps is an interest we share in common and could eventually do together when he finishes school (he’s only 21 — an extremely mature 21 — and still has a couple years of school to finish first).

Here, I have a lot of family and friends nearby and hopefully could find a long-term job, so it wouldn’t be me just sitting around waiting for him, which is something I’m very afraid of. Staying just for him, which I hope I wouldn’t be, is something I worry about regretting later in life. The idea that at 22 I might have found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with is also kinda scary too. So, I guess, Wendy, my question is: do I stay or do I go? — Peace Corps Or Bust?

What would you regret more: going into the Peace Corps and losing this relationship, but having amazing memories, a new circle of friends, and a deeper understanding of yourself and your role in the world, or getting a head start on what may or may not be a lifelong relationship, but perhaps giving up your chance at ever going into the Peace Corps? If that doesn’t help you, how about we look at it another way. If you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life — certainly a common predicament among young recent grads — what will give you a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses: joining the Peace Corps, which is like boot camp for real-world experiences, or getting a “long-term job” in some random field and continuing a relationship that’s four months old? Finally, if things don’t work out with your boyfriend, where would you rather deal with heartbreak: at home where you can be comforted by friends or family (but also have a lot of reminders of your guy), or far from the comforts of home but on some exciting adventure? Only you can really answer these questions for yourself. You can’t predict what the future holds, but you can make some educated guesses about how you may react in certain likely scenarios.

One more thing to keep in mind: it can feel safe and comforting to have an anchor in life. But keep in mind that as long as you’re anchored to something, you won’t be going to far.

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