The waiting is the hardest part

He says he wants to come home to her, but he won’t say when

By Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / June 18, 2011

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Q. I met “John’’ a few years ago when we were working together. I’m definitely not one of those corny romantics who believe in love at first sight, but there was definitely something at first meeting that I’ve never had with anyone else.

We dated for a couple ofmonths, and it was fantastic. He took such good care of me, we had a great time, but we knew we were doomed to fail since he told me when we first met that he was moving to pursue a dream of opening up his business with a buddy. So he left, I was sad, we resumed texting-talking for a couple months and I just assumed it would fizzle out and it would take its natural course, and I would move on.

But I was wrong.

We’ve always kept in contact, and while I’ve had two relationships since he moved away, it doesn’t compare to what we had (which makes me feel completely nuts, I might add, since it was such a short time we were together, but I digress). Not a holiday would go by, even small ones like Labor Day, where he wouldn’t call me and see how I was doing. We would be in contact, even if we were seeing other people, at least once a week.

Recently, we’ve been talking every day. Every morning when I wake up, he wishes me a good morning, and we’ve been chatting on the phone every night. During our chats, he tells me how unhappy he is in his new city and how he wants to come home and be with his family and with me. He also says stuff like when he comes up here to visit, he wants to meet my family, wants me to meet his friends, etc. If I’m out with my friends, he checks in with me to make sure I’m being safe. And even though I’m sure he’s just trying to be cute, he says we’ll have kids and that they’ll play in the NBA (we’re both very, very tall). It’s gotten to the point — and again, I feel like a crazy person — that I don’t even want to go on dates because I’m waiting for someone who lives many states away.

But it’s not the first time he’s alluded to moving back here. He’s said it a few times, and then it never happens. And what’s really thrown me for a loop is that, as of the past couple of weeks, he’s been saying how he wants me to go down there. With my career, I can’t leave New England, at least not right now, and would not be willing to drop everything and move for a person I dated for just a couple of months. I should also mention that I’m in my 20s and he’s in his 30s, so in my opinion he should be thinking about settling down . . . so maybe he means it this time . . . but everyone is different so who knows.

He’s supposed to be coming up for a visit in a few weeks, and my question is this: Is it appropriate to talk to him about whether or not he is serious about moving up here? Am I being too naive about the whole situation and not dating until I figure out what happens with this situation? Is he telling me this stuff just to say it to someone because he’s lonely? Should I nip it in the bud before I end up getting hurt or do I wait and see what happens with this “what if?’’ situation that’s been going on for four years now? Help!


A. It is very, very, very appropriate to ask him what’s up. It’s also appropriate to ask him to give you a very specific timeline for his move. “Someday’’ isn’t good enough. If he says that he wants to move to be closer to you, he should be able to tell you when. And if he can’t, well, I’d assume that this isn’t going anywhere. Because it’s been four years and you can’t put your life on hold. This is beginning to really mess with you. And his texts can’t spoon you.

The lucky thing here is that he’s on his way. No more waiting for answers. As soon as he gets to Boston and you’ve had a nice meal, ask your questions. Let your head do the talking. Because even your heart seems to be sick of the distance and his hazy plans for the future. Be bold. And be clear about the fact that you can’t relocate. Probably ever.

If he seems interested but clueless and frustrated, try to help him come up with a plan. It’s quite possible that he wants to breed NBA players with you but just doesn’t know how to make all of this happen, emotionally or financially. It might help if you sit down together and say, “OK, how can we make this work — and soon?’’ Make it a team effort.

For the record, I hope it works out. There are obviously some very strong feelings here. But get your answers. It’s time.



Gotta agree. Time for some clear planning. Starting a business is tough, I know, and he may well have his hands full with that. Also sounds like you’re not in a position to join him. But four years of texting, etc.? He clearly cares, but it’s only fair to you both to put cards on the table, one way or another. AMETHYST2

Your imagination tells you that he isn’t involved with any other women out there, he’s pining for you. My imagination tells me that he has a serious girlfriend out there and is afraid to commit to her so he’s stringing you along. (Sorry, I’m projecting, I was in your shoes once.) Either way, you need to know the truth. Either he’s serious and will come back and then you can explore a relationship . . . or . . . he needs to stop with the drive-by texting and calling so you can move on with your life. YIPPYSKIPPY

While the romantic in me wants to believe that he wants to come back, be with you, have NBA stars yada yada yada — the realist is winning out. He’s in a new town, working his butt off (I assume) on a new business, he’s lonely, it’s hard to meet people — and you, his dear friend, is available to talk, commiserate, etc. He’s just settling in. You have no firm commitment from him and btw, YOU’RE ONLY IN YOUR 20s!!! And this has been going on for four years. Have the talk with him but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear what you want.


Edited and reprinted from Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe .com. She chats online on Wednesday at 1 p.m.