Reader Question: Hi Sara, I could use your advice. My problem is not wedding-related, but it is a relationship question.
My boyfriend and I have been together 6 years, living together just over 4 years. I am about to start the third semester of earning my master's degree. I just found out I have been offered an internship for the summer, which seems to be prestigious and resume-enhancing. Only problem is, the internship is in Kentucky (we live in the Boston area). I am really struggling with whether or not I can/should go three months apart from my partner.
This sounds crazy to even say, because I have always been pretty independent. I worked in France for eight months at the beginning of our relationship without hesitation. Now, though, we have built a life together and I would feel guilty to leave him for a summer. We have not lived in the area long, and he has not been able to cultivate many deep friendships, nor does he get fulfillment from his everyday job. Is it codependent to feel responsible for fulfilling some of these needs? Or is this being committed to my relationship? Sometimes it is such a fine line.
We have only talked about this briefly, but his official position is, "if it would help your career, you should do it, but I would miss you." I know if I want to take the internship, he will support me 100%.
I am really looking forward to hearing your take on this. My friends are mostly fiercely independent (which is awesome), but I feel like they would tell me to do it just out of principle, rather than what is really best for me and my relationship.
What do you think, and what factors would you consider when making a decision like this one? What would I do by myself for three months in KENTUCKY?
Thanks so much.
Hooray! A relationship-related question!
There seem to be two different parts to the question. Let's separate them from each other, analyze them, and then put them back together.
First, there is the question of the internship. It's not clear how you feel about it, aside from your concerns about sustaining yourself for three months in a new location and your mention of the internship's "prestige" and "resume-enhancing" potential. Here are some suggested questions to ask yourself:
- What are the benefits of accepting the internship? Aside from the external benefits of prestige and resume enhancement, are there other arguments for accepting the internship? Will it challenge you intellectually? Will it introduce you to new and interesting people? Will it expose you to a different part of the country? Will it help you grow into a better person (for yourself and your partner)?
- What are the drawbacks of accepting the internship (separate from the relationship-related ones)?
- How are you going to spend your three months if you don't accept the internship?
- Is this internship a necessary stepping stone for goals you want to accomplish in the future? Will it help you have the kind of life you want for yourself?
- Why is your partner having trouble making deep connections with friends? If you stay in town for three months, will your presence help or hinder that process?
- Why does your partner find his everyday work unfulfilling? Are there ways to help him find more meaningful and purpose-driven work?
- If your roles were reversed, would you want your partner to accept the internship or not?
- What are your goals in life? What is your vision? Which choice better aligns with that vision?
- Pick one of the decisions and ask yourself, "What are the consequences of this decision in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?" Now switch your decision and answer the same questions.
2000DollarWedding Kindred Spirits, do you have any other advice?