Thursday, April 16, 2009

This dilemma is a sign of the times

Double wallop: The boyfriend of a good friend of mine lost his job, then she lost hers. Both are now searching near and far for work.

He's got a strong lead in another state, but it's a government gig, so the process is moving slow. She's looking for jobs in that same city, but elsewhere as well.

Here's the rub: My friend and her man have only known each other for nine months. They agree that they want to make a go of the relationship, but the job thing could hamper their efforts.

I recently had dinner with her and another friend, and we discussed the situation. My other girlfriend was all about her hitching her wagon to the boyfriend. Where he goes, she should go too, whether she has a job or not, because they're really digging each other. I was in the camp of driving her wagon next to his, but not hitching hers to his. Maybe it's because I've been independent for so long, but I think she should be putting herself first right now. The best outcome would be if they found jobs in the same area. But if right gig for her came along someplace else and he was unwilling to move to be with her, so be it. Long-distance romance until the economy improves.

I used to believe in love at first sight, and "when you meet The One, you'll know right away" and all that, but time has made me feel differently. I'm still a romantic, but I also think that people -- subconsciously or not -- are on their best behavior the first 18 months or so of a relationship. They're still trying to impress each other and may be more willing to make compromises and sacrifices. But with time, some couples wind up wondering what they saw in each other in the first place.

I've seen too many women wind up in bad situations because they tied their entire lives to their man. I've seen too many men in unhappy relationships because they feel a sense of obligation and believe they "have" to stay. Give your heart to someone ... but don't forget to take care of yourself.

What say you, readers? Do you think my friend should go with her boyfriend even if she doesn't have a job? Or should she be all about finding the best job and situation for herself, even if it means they might not be together?


Anonymous said...

If she's planning to go they better have a long serious talk about finances. Her going without a job means he will most likely be helping support her and that's a large commitment for an unmarried couple. It sounds harsh, but he has no obligations to her. So if she makes the move and has to be dependent on him and it ends, it could be messy. But if they have already discussed a future and wanting to stay together, then she should go for it, but have a plan to take care of herself, even if it means waiting tables or working retail.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever have any experiences from your own life and not those of your friends? All you write about is this friend and that friend. You need a life. And some sex.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it's going well for them after 9 months, but they are in a relatively new (and still officially uncommitted) relationship and a single person has to look out for themselves first, especially in this economy. If she can find something in the new city [there are a fair number of resources on the web regarding long-distance/out of town job searching], great, but she places her fiscal security and the relationship in considerable peril (few things can strain a relationship - even a very good, committed one like uneasy finances) unless she has something fairly solid lined up or at least some very good leads - waiting tables or working retail is not the "guarantee" it might seem like in MANY areas, rampant unemployment has made those jobs harder to find and the competition for them intense. Also, in this situation, it would make me very nervous if a friend was considering this if she had no interest in the new location other than the boyfriend. Even among married couples, a relocation to a new area can be quite stressful, especially if one person has no ties to the area or any interest in being there.

ann said...

this is a ridiculous question...she should get a job first. if they are meant to be together forever, they will end up together forever. when you meet "the one," you know right away.

what if her job search takes longer than planned? is she just going to sit around and wait for him to propose? women need to be more independent and stop thinking finding a man is a priority...there are 3 billion other ones! make yourself happy first, the rest will fall into place.

Mary said...

What they decide to do about moving shows how much they like each other and their ability to make hard decisions together. Ironic that their ability to make this decision may lead to them never seeing each other again. But, then, the decision would have been an individual one, as they all are, even whether one is in love or not.