Different Futures? Or Just Fear of Change?

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 14 months now. We’ve felt incredibly compatible since day one, and always had a lot in common. Our relationship has certainly had its rough spots, rather large ones at times, but we’ve both always been very determined to work through them and get beyond them. We love each other very much, and we know that what we have is worth fighting for.

Which is why I’m so confused and uncertain right now. He has always, since the day we met, had a wide variety of ideas about what he’d like to do with the rest of his life. I’ve been more than willing and happy to support him in any of his ideas. I want him to be happy, certainly. I want him to have a fulfilling career. He’s always changing his mind, and never seems to really follow through on any of his ideas, so I’ve always simply expressed my support and enthusiasm, and figured I would continue to do that and begin to do more as necessary, if/when he began actually going after one idea or another.

Tonight, he went back to an idea he’d mentioned before. He expanded on it this time, and his expansion includes us moving to a tropical island in about seven years, an idea we’ve joked about before. While I’m absolutely thrilled that he is planning "our" future, and not simply "his", I’m not entirely sure I want to move to a tropical island in reality. I have family here, I have two sons who both have medical conditions and family and friends here. Leaving behind all family, all friends…I’m just not sure I can do that.

At the same time, I don’t want to give my boyfriend up either. We’ve fought so hard to make our relationship work, we love each other so much, and I still feel like he’s the one. But, obviously, making a relationship work with him on a tropical island somewhere and me here…realistically, it probably wouldn’t happen. Too much distance, too little seeing each other, it’s just not a good combo.

And even as I think about all this, I wonder if I’m just being resistant to change? I mean, we joke about moving to a tropical island all the time. Every time my kids do something that drives me nuts, I say I’m going to find an island and not tell anyone where it is. A lot of people do this. So I wonder, would most people be jumping on this opportunity? Or would most people feel like me, and be thinking that it’s really nothing more than a joke and they don’t really want to do it?

This scares me. I don’t want to lose him. I don’t want our relationship to have an expiration date. But what happens if this time, he’s serious about his plan? What if the time comes when he’s ready to go to the island, and I just can’t bring myself to go? Do we break up then? This is seven years from now; by then, I will have invested eight years with him. Will that investment be a waste? But if I end things now, over something that is still in the relatively far future, I will always wonder what might have been, and what if he ends up not going? Then I’ve lost a man I love deeply over what amounted to a fantasy.

I feel like a firm decision needs to be made one way or the other: that I will go or not go, that he intends to follow through on this or not. If no firm decision is made, then our entire relationship has to be in limbo. I won’t feel comfortable moving forward to marriage, knowing that in seven years or so we could end up divorced over something like this. I put my kids through that once, with their biological father; I can’t do that to them again. They adore my boyfriend, and I don’t want to take him away from them any more than I wanted to take their father away from them, but I also don’t want them to be even more enmeshed with him and then lose him.

I’ve always know relationships were complicated. And I knew we’d face conflicts and differences in our relationship. But I never expected it to be something like this. And I don’t know if this is really a big deal, or if I’m simply freaking out over nothing.




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