Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend is moving away at the end of the summer to start a grad degree in another state. Since she began applying, we have discussed staying together regardless of where she ended up, but now I am beginning to have second thoughts.
The school she has chosen is several hours away, and I am not in a position to move there (nor is it a place I would otherwise consider living). I like my job and area, and am not looking forward to taking time off work or giving up weekends with friends to visit her – especially if there is no “end” where I move there or she returns here.
I feel like I am trapped in a lie, since I do love her and said I still wanted to date her. Am I being selfish or is she? – Va.
She’s doing what she thinks is right, you’re doing what you think is right, and both your thinkings and doings have evolved over time. Don’t muck up that perfectly natural process by assigning negative values to your priorities, just because they aren’t the ones you initially expected to have.
If you treat your preferences as selfish or deceptive, then that only forces you to distance yourself from a truth you need to embrace. You’re dreading trips to see her. I doubt your heart will ever send you so lucid a message again. Explain that you love her, but also admit the distance and the open-endedness are more than you’re ready to face.
Dear Carolyn: How do you know if someone loves you or just loves what you do for them? – D.C.
You know it when the things s/he does for you, and says to you, reflect careful attention to who you are. You can’t fake that, not even by candlelight.