Love Letters: Kicked Off Her Island

Reminding all commenters that while snark is welcome, the letter writers also want real advice. Make sure you tell them what you think they should do.

Hi Meredith,

Last year I met a woman though a dating site who lives and works on Nantucket. I am from out of state and have vacationed there annually for years. From the moment we met, I felt there was something very special happening between us and I believe she felt the same. Our first date lasted five hours, we saw each other daily for a week, and then she invited me into her home to extend my stay for several days. She has a pre-teen daughter who is a gem. On the third day I told this woman that I would marry her in five years or less. She asked me, “Why wait so long?" She wears a ring given as a "place holder" for one we would settle on together. It was pretty clear to us and anyone around that we were falling in love very quickly.

Over the next 2.5 months we traveled back and forth and I can honestly say that there wasn't a bad moment between us, but there was a reality looming. Her life and work were firmly established there and once I saw what she had, I knew I couldn't ask her to leave that. If we were to stay together I would eventually have to relocate. At the conclusion of my last visit, reality hit hard. She said that we were at a crossroads in the relationship and she needed to make a good decision for her family. We talked thru her concerns and I did my best to assure her that I was committed to the relationship and wanted to continue but was unsure as to why we had to rush the decision with regard to my relocation. It was inevitable that it be resolved but there are a lot of things to consider, such as my off-island work obligations, cost, and whether we would we live together or would I rent a place (as much to bring her daughter into the relationship properly as to give us both a more traditional dating perspective).

Wanting to move and being able to are two different things -- especially when we're talking about an island 30 miles out in the Atlantic. That we were actually at this place inside of three months wasn't lost on me, nor was the fact that virtually all of the risk was on my end -- picking up my life and moving it there given the short time we knew each other. Over the next few weeks things began to deteriorate quickly with her feeling I was getting distant and backing out. I wasn't, but her insecurities began to overwhelm us both and it was more or less agreed we'd spend some time apart to gather our thoughts. After a few weeks apart I reached out to tell her that my feelings for her were such that I would do whatever it took to build a life with her and her daughter, and I was ready to start the process.

To my shock, she balked and said she felt abandoned and betrayed and that she couldn't trust that I wouldn't back out. From that point on to the present, we've had numerous discussions and written to each other, but she has refused to sit for a face-to-face or show any appreciation for what I think any reasonable person should be able to understand. I have been devastated by this and don't know how someone who claims they love me won't even try to get this back on track. Oddly too, she has invited me to stay with her should I return there -- it's as if she doesn't see the absurdity in that. I am at a complete loss ... to have gone from something so beautiful to this pile of junk. I honestly believe that I have done everything possible to save us, and my love for her is unquestionable.

Some details: Both divorced. She's almost 50, I'm 54 with no kids. Friends on both sides remarked that we were spectacular together -- never saw us happier. Great sexual chemistry and compatibility. Lots a laughter and kindness.
I would appreciate your read on this, thank you.

– Off the Island

In the future, do not propose to someone on the third date. If you find yourself falling for someone, let them know that it'll be at least six months before you start discussing a future. You don't want to ruin a good relationship by skipping the part where you actually get to know each other.

My read on this particular relationship (based on what you've told us) is that this woman's impatience and skepticism ruined a nice courtship. She didn't give you time to adjust to the fact that you'd be moving to the island. She lacked empathy and made unrealistic demands. And now she's sending mixed signals. She won't discuss your future but wants you to stay with her when you visit Nantucket? That's confusing and weird.

All you can do is state your intentions (and you have, right?) and see how she responds. If this is the best she can do, it's done.
She should have known that this was going to take some time. She shouldn't have expected you to pick up and move without thinking things through. It stinks, but you've done all you can.

Readers? Did they move too fast? Why won't she talk this through? What should he do?

– Meredith