Growing Pains

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I am a male in my late 20s in a long distance relationship with a girl two years younger than me. We met a year and a half ago when she moved into my building, and when we lived there we had a great time. It was the best of both worlds. We were close enough to be together and still had our own space.

Then, through a snag in the healthcare program I was in, I thought I would be moving back home with my parents to intern at a local hospital. Instead I ended up moving in with my girlfriend for three months because I couldn’t afford rent where I was.

During this time she got another, much better job as an assistant manager at a restaurant, then lost it when the manager fired her to pay the bar manager more. It was a very shifty situation all around. When I was almost done with my program, she decided to move in with her parents.

Fast forward two months. I graduated and got a job across the country. She continued living with her parents. She was unhappy with the weather, unhappy with living on unemployment, and unhappy with everything else. Take your pick.

I understood because I was once on unemployment for 14 months after being laid off. But every time I pointed out something she could do with her life, she shot it down derisively.

Now she comes out west for a brief visit. At first it was fine. She was only supposed to be here two days, and that was it. But she missed her flight and had to stay another two days to catch another one, which I paid for.

During the time she was here, she expressed an interest in following me wherever I go and living together again. I am ambivalent about this. While at times I like her company, she can be annoying and obtrusive, yet I feel obligated after staying with her for a few months.

On the other hand, I don’t want to bring any more baggage than necessary to a new city and profession. I want to stretch my wings and see how I do on my own. I don’t want to get married now, and I can see she’s already thinking that way.

Her stepdad and mom have begun asking when she is leaving, as if it’s already set, when I settle in permanently she will move in with me. I don’t want to hurt her. Is there any way to do this?


Trevor, boys dream of being heroes by rescuing damsels in distress and standing up to evil. Mature men know moments of courage don’t come to us that way. They come on a much smaller scale.

In a boy’s imagination, courage and cowardice are opposites. Grown men understand what is courage in one situation may be cowardice in another. Just as it takes courage for an unfeeling man to be kind, it takes courage for a compassionate man to be firm.

You are a helper by profession and your natural inclination is to soothe her hurt, but you know you two don’t belong together. You tried to offer her a hand up, but you can’t offer her a handout.

Life is now opening doors for you. You are educated, you can travel, your life is just beginning. But as fast as those doors open for you, she can slam those doors shut. It is as if she is saying, “My life is a mess, will you take care of me?”

Let her know you are not the one for her, she is not the one for you, and you need to part amicably. If you owe money for the time you stayed with her, settle that debt.

Doing what is right but hard takes courage, the kind of courage grown men possess.

Wayne & Tamara

Wayne and Tamara

About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at

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