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May 1, 2019

Is My Boyfriend Trying to Get Me to Dump Him?

Hey, Bonita…

Hey Bonita,

My boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for almost four years, and three of those years I was in school, so I was super busy all the time. Long-distance worked, but now that I’m done, he wants to wait until December to move here. Normally, I’d say, “What’s a few months?” but he’s been thinking/trying/working on moving for what feels like a zillion years, and even talked me out of moving there.

We have really super different ways of dealing with money, and he’s upset I have student loans from college. He’s trying to blame his delayed move on having to work more to help pay off my loans, eventually. That sounds considerate, but he’s holding it against me that I have loans at all, and truth be told, we both have more money than necessary right now, and either of us could move, but he just doesn’t see it that way. We are from very different socioeconomic backgrounds, and I don’t think he realizes how wealthy and well-positioned he is. I’m shocked and happy to be a first-generation grad making more money than anyone else in my family.

He thinks everything should be on his timeline, “because he’s the one who is moving,” and he thinks I’m careless with money, but it feels like he’s just pushing me and trying to get me to break up with him so he doesn’t have to move. I told him I need to have proof he’s moving by August, or I’m dating other people in September. It didn’t go over well.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable. I’ve offered to move, I’ve waited—I’m still waiting—and I’ve been supportive of all his endeavors while he speaks badly of mine. It sounds like he’s the worst, but when we are actually together, we have the best time. Like, truly in love, having a blast, great partnership level. I don’t know if we are supposed to break up, or if it’s worth it to tough it out until he moves here and we can finally see what a real relationship would be like.

Thank you so much, Bonita!

Sincerely,

Toughing It Out

Toughing It Out,

You’re a couple, right? We all have our quirks, but this guy is approaching this like a long-suffering dad, not a partner.

His attitude is a huge red flag. I think you see yourself being with this guy forever, but he sounds very controlling and not particularly supportive of you. If y’all marry, your debt will also be his debt, and I understand his concerns about that, but his reaction seems extreme. He’s refusing to give you a clear date on moving in with you because he’s gotta “work more” to help pay off your loans. Honestly… what? You can get on an income-based repayment plan that will not have y’all eating ramen for 10 years. I don’t make much money myself, and my student loan payments are calculated based on my income and bills. Most people know that repayment is income-based, so why does he think he has to work like a slave before he even gets down here?

He’s choosing to be difficult about this. You don’t seem to have any better idea why than I do, and he could very well be trying to bully you into a breakup. If true, that is such a dick move, and him gaslighting you over this move-in speaks to a chauvinistic nature that I strongly suspect you’ve noticed. I suppose he thinks that if you do the dumping, his hands are clean, but his behavior is drifting into emotional abuse by belittling you for having loans and demanding that you obey him because he agreed to move down here. That literally makes no sense in 2019.

This will not play out well down the road, and I can see that he’s already getting you down. There is nothing considerate about withholding important information to spite your partner. I promised myself I was gonna stop telling people to break up in this column, but I think you can do better. You have an advanced degree and a bright future, and you don’t need to bind yourself to someone who is treating you like a burden. Dump him, then go find your true equal.

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