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Why Won't My Boyfriend Move Closer to Where I Live?

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Dear Athena,

My boyfriend lives two and a half hours away but has wanted to live where I live since before we met. He lives near his parents, and they want him even closer. His job can be anywhere. He is crazy about me, but shouldn't a mature man of 57 be independent and go where he wants to live, especially since I'm here? Is it a healthy choice to stay near parents rather than go to his dream town and woman and start his own life (and go back to visit often)? He even has lots of friends here where I live. I'm almost 60 and don't know how long I can wait! I can't move there due to my job.

Signed,

Love Him or Leave Him

Dear Love,

You're oversimplifying his situation. If you want to get closer to your boyfriend, emotionally and physically, consider his circumstances again. This time, do it exercising empathy — not judgment.

Family business is serious business — seriously personal, that is. Your guy's parental bond, or baggage, is territory I don't suggest treading on. But there's a middle ground here, one where you respect each other's family commitments while still finding time to be together.

Have you ever asked him why he wants to stay close to his folks? Maybe they need his help, or maybe he wants to be an active part of their final years. Isn't that admirable? Yes, he is old enough to make his own decisions — and perhaps living close to home is his decision. That burden and sacrifice must be hard for him.

Does he have any help? Anyone he can trust to care for them? Can you two work out a regular schedule that allows him to split his time between places? Can you take turns visiting each other? Traveling two and a half hours is really not that bad. If all you're interested in is living together full time, this doesn't look good for you. But if you're willing to compromise, you've got options!

Compromise, after all, is the cornerstone of the strongest couples. If you care for him and he's as crazy about you as you say, you'll figure out a way to stick together. The sad truth is, his parents won't be around forever. Change is always around the corner. If you can support each other through the rough patches, you'll have a worthy partner for those moments in life when everything feels just right.

Yours,

Athena