For those who were wondering: I can now confirm that yesterday's updates were from the real letter writer. She emailed me.
And now today's letter, from a woman who does not watch "Jersey Shore."
I'm a regular reader of your column and this isn't my first time writing in, so like before I'm hoping for some great advice!
I'm a 33-year-old attractive, successful, professional woman who loves my job and my family, and I'm ready to settle down. Six months ago, after many relationships that went nowhere, I started dating "Tim," who was an old friend who lived out of town. Tim is 36. Tim and I dated for a few months and it became apparent that we both wanted to get very serious (he was flying to see me every weekend) and one of us would have to move. He is self-employed so it made the most sense for him to move to me, and he agreed. Yes, it moved fast, but we're both old enough to know what we're looking for and are ready for a serious relationship leading to marriage.
After much discussion, we laid the ground rules on the financials, which I felt was the most important thing to do because it seems to be the biggest issue with other couples I know. I was also brutally honest about who I am, just to set some expectations. So, a month ago he moved in, and things were going well, until this past week. He's gotten really cranky. He complains that I'm lazy and like to watch reality TV (exaggeration: my reality TV is limited to "Project Runway" and "Say Yes to the Dress," no "Jersey Shore," etc.). I do like to lounge around on the weekends because I work all week and I like my downtime, plus I know that once I have kids I can kiss it goodbye.
Tim is very active and social. He lived downtown in a huge city and spent his weekends hanging out at cafes with friends all day. He is a runner and a biker, traits I admire but don't share. He likes to get up and go on a trip on a whim. I have commitments that limit my ability to do that, and financially I can't afford it, and, quite frankly, neither can he. He complains about all the little things, what I eat, how I drive, etc. I tend to be a "pick your battles" kind of girl. I'm getting frustrated by the nit-picking, and he seems so miserable.
I did talk to him about it and he admitted that moving so far away from his friends (his family is all over the place so he never really saw them) and to a new city has been difficult and his business isn't where he wants it to be. I've encouraged him to get involved with organizations that interest him, running clubs, the gym, alumni organizations, and he has. I've also tried to introduce him to a ton of people to help him make friends, and it's been working. I try to fill our weekends with social outings. I'm just concerned that he feels trapped, he moved a long way to be here with me, and made some major sacrifices.
I am totally appreciative of that and want to help make this transition smoother but he seems so miserable all the time, should I just give him time? Do you have any suggestions on how I can help him feel more comfortable? I'm really bothered by this and I want to make this work. He says he wants to get married and have kids, I want that too! I know relationships are hard is there anything else I should be doing that I'm not?
– Eager to Please, Boston
ETP, you're doing everything right. You're introducing him to people. You're compromising -- but not too much. You're checking in with him and having honest discussions about his transition.
All this needs is more time. In a few more months, maybe a year, he'll either feel more comfortable, or he'll be so annoyed with Boston and your lifestyle (and "Project Runway") that he'll go away. And that will be up to him. You're doing everything you can to make this living situation work. He'll either take to it or he won't. I know you want to control this, but you can't.
You told us a lot of the bad. I'm assuming that you left out the good. Try to enjoy whatever is good, and make sure he knows that you want more of those moments. Continue to remind him (and yourself) that he moved away from everything he loved to start over. It might take him a full year -- or longer -- to adjust. Life changes are stressful. And this one was huge, for both of you.
Keep the lines of communication open. Let him know that this is a natural part of moving far away for someone else. Reassess in a few more months. Be patient.
Readers? Was it wrong for them to make this move so quickly? Is this normal? Anything she can do to make this better that she's not already doing? Tips for this living arrangement? Discuss.