I worry I’ll have to move with him

Hi Meredith,

A few years ago I moved to Boston from the South since I didn't quite agree with many of the traditional values (something is wrong with you if you don't go to church on Sundays!), and to get away from so-called "friends" who kept questioning when I was getting married (and my sexuality) because I was still single in my early 30s.

Fast forward, I've now settled into Boston, have a great group of friends, going back to school again for a different career, and am now dating a wonderful guy who's getting his PhD and graduating in a few years. A few days ago, we had a conversation where we'd be in a few years, and told me that he'd be applying for jobs around the US. Due to the bad economy and the shortage of jobs in academia, he basically told me he'd have to take any job including (and if this happens) southern states that have very conservative values.

Although I'm supportive of him and his career, it worries me because I'd have to go back to the place that I was first trying to get out of, and I'd have to uproot my life here in Boston. I know this probably won't happen until 2 or 3 years down the road and I'm being selfish, but how do I let him know of my concerns? Do I need to start thinking about whether this might be deal breaker? I'd hate to have to let him go (since I'm in love with him), but what do you suggest?

– Happy Out of the South, Boston

Give this some time and continue to get to know him. It's way too early to end the relationship because you might not like the location of his future job.

As you date him, try to figure out whether you're someone who's willing to move with a partner. Not everyone is, and if you're married to Boston, that's something to consider. But if you're open to picking up and trying new places with someone, please don't assume that the South is just one thing. You had a specific experience down there, but it's a big place. And if your boyfriend is in academia, you'd probably wind up around interesting people from all over.

You're allowed to take your time with these decisions. Maybe you'll decide to end things with him for reasons that have nothing to do with his impending job search. Maybe you'll fall so hard for him that you'll follow him down I-95 in your church clothes. Just date him and see how you feel. There's no need to make any calls just yet.

Readers? Does she have to decide now? Would the South be so bad? What questions should she be asking herself? Should she talk to him about this? Help.

– Meredith