Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World

Dear Amy: A few days ago, I found out that my girlfriend of 10 months has applied for a work visa to Canada and plans to move there next year from Dublin (where we live), with or without me.

We both have chosen journalism as a career, and unfortunately there isn’t a lot of work here in Ireland. This is something she has wanted to do for a very long time but has put it on hold because of me. She isn’t happy in Ireland. We had discussed this, and I said I would go with her, but I wasn’t expecting this fast track.

She has had a year to finalize this in her head and to save up the money. I am about to graduate and don’t have a lot of savings.

The most she is willing to compromise with me on is that we go in March or April of next year. That would give me some time to find a job in retail and save up some money.

I understand why she needs to leave, I do, but at the same time I am very hurt that she hasn’t made this decision with me, and she is basically giving me an ultimatum.

I’m not ready to leave my friends and family and my home within six months.

I don’t know if it’s worth it. Should I move and give up everything for someone who hasn’t made this decision as a couple, but has made this decision without me?

How much commitment does that show? I’m fairly stuck here, and I don’t know what to do.

— Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: Your girlfriend’s commitment is primarily to herself and her career right now, although according to you, she has stayed in Ireland (mainly) for you.

It seems that she has been fairly open with you about her goals.

An ultimatum would go like this: “Either you move with me on my timetable, or we break up.”

This scenario seems more like, “I have made a plan to move. I’d like you to come, too, but I will go, regardless.”

She seems to have instigated the particulars of her plan without telling you, and that is hurtful. However, you’ve only been together for 10 months. At this relationship stage, each of you must act first on your own behalf, even if this results in a painful separation.

You should take your cue from your girlfriend’s commitment to her own personal and professional interests. Go, or don’t go, on your own timetable. Some separation will help to clarify things for both of you, and if she moves first and establishes a beachhead, you may choose to follow. But don’t do it for her; do it for yourself.

Contact Amy Dickinson at:

askamy@amydickinson.com