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Hi Julia,

I just wanted to say that I completely understand how you feel. I don't know if this will help shed any light on things for you, but I'd like to share a similar experience that I've been through in the hopes that it might help a bit.

I had a boyfriend for almost 4 years throughout much of college, and he sounded much the same as yours. He was smart, ambitious, destined to become rich and successful, and truly cared about me. At the time, I thought--hey, this is a pretty good catch--we get along, have great chemistry, a fair amount in common, and we really like each other. The only problem was, I always thought that I was the one doing a little more sacrificing. I went to visit him more often, I organized activities and trips for us, and when he came home from college he stayed with his family and was always pressured into spending lots of time with them. I say pressured, because his momt(well, his whole family) was very rich but had no job or real hobbies except shopping and controlling their family life. I always thought there was a really weird dynamic there of forced family closeness--like they all loved each other and enjoyed each other's company, but their mom made lots of "family time" mandatory either to keep busy and have control over her kids' lives or to keep up appearances, maybe both.

At the time it was only my second serious relationship, and our connection was so tight that I was pretty sure we'd be together forever. However, I wish I would have listened to my instincts a bit more and realized that he was not putting me first in his list of priorities the way I needed a boyfriend to do. All along I was a bit torn and had lots of flirtations, and some physical flings, with other guys. I should have known that something was not quite right, that we weren't really meant to be, but we just made so much sense together and enjoyed each other so much that I ignored my gut feeling that all was not as it should be. Ultimately, our values, ideals, goals, and priorities did not mesh as well as I had thought.

I am planning to become a professor and I believe in following your dreams, putting happiness above all else, and making my future husband and family a huge priority. But ultimately, this guy prizes money and success above all else, cares little about intellectual pursuits, and expects a wife to sacrifice everything so that he can be a workaholic and make a fortune. I think he learned a lot of this from his overprotective family and especially his enabling mother, which also sounds a bit like your BF's situation.

I'm not trying to say this situation is just like yours, but there are a lot of similarities. Deep down, it sounds to me like you know that you and this guy are not meant to be--your first priority is your education and your relationships, but his is his career and his hobbies. It sounds like he's focused on him, him, him right now and will probably ultimately disappoint you if you expect him to devote as much energy to you as you do to him. With me and my ex, eventually things fizzled out, I told him it was over, and started dating again. He flipped out when he found out and really went crazy, making all sorts of arrogant threats and verbally abusing me, which just made it all the more obvious that his first concern was himself and his own ego, not me, and that he would never treat me the way I deserved and wanted to be treated.

About six months later, just as I had finally put this all behind me, I met a guy who suddenly made everything seem clear. Within a few days we knew we wanted to spend our lives together, and within a few weeks we lived together. We've been inseperable ever since despite more than our share of serious obstacles, and finally I have found what I've been looking for. I tried so hard to make it work with my ex because I wanted that perfect relationship and it seemed like a real possibility. But ultimately I was cheating myself and settling for a guy who wasn't willing to make me the center of his world, share all of my dreams, love me unwaveringly and unconditionally, and stay by my side through whatever life throws in our path. I don't mean to go on and on about me, sorry, I just want to say that even though this seems like an ideal relationship, I think you deserve better in terms of a guy who will put you first and give your relationship the same effort and reverence that you give. In some ways, I wish I wouldn't have wasted so much time with a guy that seemed great, though I was never quite sure that things were really that perfect between us. However it was a great lesson, and made me all the more confident in what I wanted for myself in the long run.

I always thought a great relationship should be difficult, which it is sometimes, but now I know that no great relationship features one person doing more than their share of the work. You shouldn't have to coax a guy into putting you in front of everything else if that's what you do for him; he should want you to be the center of his life without you having to ask or push. You are so young and full of such promise and love that you should follow your BF's lead and put yourself first. Follow your dreams, move to wherever you feel most comfortable, and everything will work out in time. But if it was me, going by experience, I wouldn't try to shape your life around someone who despite all your love and best efforts, is unwilling to make you the center of his life right now. I remember so well how hard it is to give up on a relationship that has so much potential (and I'm DEFINITELY not saying you should!!), but remember that somewhere out there is a man who is eager to give you all the attention, focus, and unconditional love that you are devoting to your current BF without getting the same in return. I hope this wasn't too wordy, self-indulgent or pushy, but I just hoped to give you some perspective based on a lesson I learned the hard way: if you're not getting everything that you put into a relationship returned, you might be with the wrong person (or at least be a victim of the wrong timing).

Good luck to you Julia, I can tell that you are wonderfully caring and loving and you deserve all the best. I'm jealous of you for living in a compassionate, civilized country like Canada (especially if this upcoming US election stays with the status quo--I might be your neighbor come December!! :confused: )

Take care,

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