Sarah Weir
August 13, 2015 8:01 am

Dear Sarah,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years. We’ve lived together for two of them in the small town where he grew up. I’m a city girl. We met online, dated in the city for a year, and then he moved back to his hometown. I followed him a few months later. I love and adore the man. He’s very special to me, and I cannot imagine where I’d be without him now.

Here’s the problem: there are few job opportunities in this place. Between January and July, I lost two jobs because the economy here sucks so badly. To make a long story short, both businesses had to shut down because they were losing money. My boyfriend works for his uncle doing remodeling and construction type stuff. With me unemployed again, his earnings barely cover the bills. We’ve cut everything from TV to pizza-night to pay for rent, utilities, and phone bills. Many nights we are eating ramen and hot dogs. He refuses to listen to reason that we need to move to a bigger city to have more options for employment, and a better pay rate for him. He wants to stay where we are for another one to three years, and I simply am not about this lifestyle. I hate this town! I left my hometown, and all my friends and family to be with him, and now he won’t budge.

I don’t necessarily know what my question really is. I’m completely stuck. I want to move, but he doesn’t. He wants to make a three-year plan and I want to move ASAP. A friend suggested that I be the one to make the first move and go to the city and save until he can find work and come up to join me—but that makes me nervous like you wouldn’t believe. Help!

—Broke and Anxious in Colorado

Dear Broke,

I feel a little sad (but also hopeful) writing this: Sometimes you take a shot at something and it doesn’t work and you need to move on. It sounds like you and your boyfriend are in love and good to each other, and are responsible people doing the best you both can. But, for you, at least, it’s not happening. Making a rational plan to move back to the city where you can find a decent job, even if its scary or upsets him at first, is way better than being busted and miserable and one day possibly losing it and storming out because you can’t take it anymore.

No, he’s not going to going to be thrilled if you move, at least initially, but you should grab him and squeeze him and look deeply into his eyes and let him know how much you love him and how you are doing this for the both of you. Don’t let him go until he understands that.

Come up with your ideal plan and calmly sit him down at a time when you aren’t both exhausted and grumpy. Talk him through it—but leave room for compromise. This isn’t an ultimatum; it’s a digging a hole together out of a dead end tunnel.

Meanwhile, don’t resent him or blame him because you moved away from your home, friends, and family. You may now have some regrets, but it was your choice. Focus on taking action and improving your and, ultimately, his situation.

You got this!

Love, Sarah

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