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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Ask Amy Love vs. Dreams: Navigating a Relationship Crossroad

Dear Amy:

In college in Montana, I majored in equine studies. After trying for four years, I finally got into an extremely competitive internship working with thoroughbreds in Kentucky. I started right after graduation. During my junior year I met my boyfriend, “Alex.” We have now been together for over three years. I can’t imagine my life without him.

Alex started law school when I started the internship. I absolutely loved the internship, even though I was working 12-hour days. But I still cried most days and held onto one of his sweatshirts every night. When the internship ended, I got a job with a poultry company back in Montana. A year and a half later, I have not stopped talking about or thinking about Kentucky.

My boyfriend is from Indiana and wants to return to his hometown after graduation, where he will have a client base and connections. Kentucky is completely out of the picture for him, but I would love to go back. Neither one of us wants to deliver an ultimatum, but he said that if I go back to Kentucky, it would likely put the “nail in the coffin” for us. I don’t think we could do long distance again. My heart is torn. I know that we need to grow as individuals, but I am so lost. Will I be wondering “what if” forever? Do I really have to choose between chasing my dreams and love? – Woman Torn in Two

Dear Torn:

You say that you and your boyfriend are not delivering ultimatums, but – I think you should check your in-box, because he has delivered one to you, and it’s dressed up in the dreary “nail in the coffin” cliché. Yikes.

If you clung to his sweatshirt and cried every day during a period of separation, despite engaging in an engrossing and fascinating pursuit of your own, then it might be best for you to understand that there are horses in Indiana (lots of them), although the prestige and experience of working in Kentucky would put you in the top category in your field.

A red flag here is that despite your devoted attachment, you are an adventurous woman with a location-dependent dream – hooked up with a hometown guy who can’t (or won’t) imagine pursuing a law career anywhere else. This is a fairly rigid and limiting way of viewing his own prospects and, even if you did decide to cling to the man instead of his sweatshirt, you should understand that you two have different-sized dreams and attachment styles. You two might have charged out of the gate together, but this difference is likely to affect your success in the home stretch.

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