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home : columns : dear harriette November 29, 2020

10/21/2020 8:01:00 AM
Dreams pull couple in opposite directions

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I will be graduating from college soon. I am an actress, and he wants to go to medical school. We both have dreams for our careers, but they lead us in different directions. I want to move to New York City to pursue performing on Broadway, and he has a dream to open a small practice in his hometown, where he also wants to go to medical school. I've tried to convince him to come with me to New York and apply to schools near there, but he is looking at his endgame of opening a practice and thinks it will be harder to do in New York. I simply can't pursue a Broadway career anywhere but Broadway.

We are stuck. I don't want to do long distance. We strongly support each other's careers, but it just seems like fate is drawing us away from each other. I just don't see an answer where we can stay together and still both get what we want. -- Different Ends of the Country

DEAR DIFFERENT ENDS OF THE COUNTRY: Sadly, because of COVID-19, we have no idea when Broadway will reopen. It is completely shut down right now for health reasons, as is much of the live performance world. That isn't to say that your dream cannot be fulfilled, but you may want to consider a different track or timeline for getting there. Before you walk away from your boyfriend, research the areas where he wants to go to school. Look at areas that are within two hours of New York City where you might be able to commute while he sets up a practice. What is the theater community like in those areas? Is there a chance for work of any kind in your field? Get creative.

If you two want to be together, look for ways to make that happen, even if long distance is a short-term part of the equation. Many couples have survived your conundrum by agreeing on timelines that include living apart and together at different intervals. Technology makes it easier to stay connected when you are apart as well. You do not have to give up on your relationship if you both pursue your dreams, but you may have to adjust your expectations and timetables for reaching those goals.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I think my male best friend is gay. I don't want to prejudge him or force any stereotypes on him, but lately I've been noticing things that he does that most other guys do not. I am a girl with three brothers, and my best friend is a boy from next door. My brothers and I grew up really close to him. He is a jock, and quite frankly all of the girls in high school loved him, but he has never had a girlfriend.

We both now go to our local community college. I never had a boyfriend in high school either, so we made a pact to date each other in college. But he seems more interested in helping me find a guy than in finding a girl for himself. He describes attractive features of men in much more detail. He will point out a guy and tell me that he looks like he works out and has dreamy eyes and great hair. But when I point out amazing girls, he never finds one attractive and just redirects the conversation back to a guy. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he actually is interested in men. I want to ask him, but I don't want to offend him. -- Closet Best Friend

DEAR CLOSET BEST FRIEND: You have two clear options. Let your friend be. When he is ready to talk about his romantic feelings, trust that he will. Or ask him directly if he is interested in men and point out that his comments make you wonder. If you go that route, be sure to tell him that you love him either way.

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