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home : columns : dear harriette December 3, 2020

7/10/2020 9:18:00 AM
Boyfriend planning future around recent college grad

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just graduated from college, and my partner moved in with me at my parents' house because of quarantine. This has deepened our relationship and brought us closer, but it has posed challenges and shown incompatibilities that have me questioning if I want to continue the relationship.

Since we both just graduated college, we are on the job hunt. He seems to be planning his future around me and is suggesting we move to the same city. However, since I am now considering breaking things off at the end of the summer, I feel bad that he may make a choice based on me when I am uncertain about the future of our relationship.

I don't want to break things off right now because, all things considered, I am really enjoying spending the summer with him. Also, he doesn't have anywhere else to stay right now. What should I do about this situation, if anything? -- Next Steps

DEAR NEXT STEPS: Put yourself in your boyfriend's position for a moment. I understand that you don't want him to feel awkward staying with you if you don't think the relationship will last. But imagine how he will feel at the end of the summer if you cut him off suddenly.

I think you should take a mature posture and have an honest talk with him. If you would like to enjoy the summer with him, say that. Tell him you are not sure of your next steps; you both have just finished college, and your plans for the future are uncertain. Admit that you don't know if this relationship is your forever bond, but add that you believe the two of you are enjoying each other now. Ask him if he will agree to make the most of this time as you also tell him that you do not want him to plan his life around what you do.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Just about every time I walk outside, someone asks me for money. I know that millions of people are out of work, and I want to help, but people are getting kind of aggressive. If I don't have money to give every moment, how can I remain kind but firm? Some people have rushed up on me and taken me by surprise, coming close enough to touch me. I feel really uncomfortable, but I don't want to be rude. -- When To Give

DEAR WHEN TO GIVE: The number of unemployed has surpassed 46 million. Naturally, there are more people in desperate straits because of the lack of resources. What you can do is give when you can, and be firm when you can't. Pay attention when you go outside, which you should be doing anyway. Notice if people are coming into your personal space, and move away. Sometimes when people are feeling desperate, they can make poor choices. You don't want to find yourself in the middle of a confrontation that you could avoid. That said, you can look people in the eye and greet them. You can speak to the humanity in each person who encounters you and see them, even if you cannot give them money. That way you avoid being dismissive and cruel. Be aware. Be kind. Be firm about your personal space. Be a citizen of the world, which means continue to care about your fellow humans.

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