DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together off and on for more than two years. We have been in a long-distance relationship the entire time. I live in California, and he lives in the Midwest. I've been trying to get him out here because I have a job I love, and he could easily get a job in his sector out here.
His issue is that this area has "too many people and is too fast-paced" for him. I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to quit my job and move there. Finding a job there wouldn't be easy, since construction is not booming as much. What do I do? Do I just give up my job, or keep trying to persuade him to move? Or should I cut my losses and start over?
- Long-Distance Dating
DEAR LONG-DISTANCE: I don't think you should give up a job you love in an environment you enjoy on the chance that this two-year relationship might become permanent. If it goes nowhere, where does that leave you? It's time to ask yourself whether you really want to tie your future to someone who prefers a different way of life. Once you answer that question, you will know what to do.
No trinkets - instead, a big bag of memories
DEAR ABBY: My son has his master's degree in international relations, so he travels to places I will never see. He's in Italy now, and he asked me what I would like for a souvenir. I said I wanted his memories.
I asked him to get a bag and put in it menus, train tickets, and bar napkins, and to jot down at night on hotel stationery what he did, saw, and how the weather was. I asked him to mention anything different or unusual and collect coasters, valet stubs, anything that would help him share his experiences with me.
I said that when we go through all the stuff, I will get my vicarious thrill then - better that than some tchotchke I'd have to dust.
- Proud Mom in Florida
DEAR PROUD MOM: Great idea! As the years go on, those "memory joggers" will let you both relive the adventures he's having now, and they will become increasingly precious. I know it from experience.
Supporting a spouse, but getting needs met
DEAR ABBY: I am sure this issue affects many people, but I have not seen it addressed in your column. Often, married partners are separated by many years in age. Eventually, the older of them has to enter a long-term-care facility due to a mental/physical defect.
Even though the bond and love that kept them together over the years still exists, the younger still has physical and emotional needs that can no longer be met by the older spouse. What are the ethics in the younger one having a "friend with benefits" to address those needs, if it's done discreetly without causing embarrassment and humiliation to the older spouse?
- Friends With Benefits
DEAR FRIENDS: This is a highly personal decision that no one can make for anyone else. While many readers may disagree, I see nothing wrong with taking care of yourself as long as you remember you have a moral obligation to support your spouse "till death do you part." To me that means visiting and spending time with your spouse every day to ensure his/her needs are taken care of.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: It's time to hide the matzo again - Passover begins at sundown. Happy Passover, everyone!