Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I are coming up on our sixth anniversary. A few years ago, his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His parents live on the opposite side of the country from us. Their eldest son lives near them and can help them out. However, my boyfriend doesn't think his brother is doing enough. Ever since he went home for Christmas and saw how much his mom's health had deteriorated, he's been talking about moving back to live with his parents so he can take care of his mother and help out around the house.
I support him 100 percent. I know he's incredibly sad that his mom is going through this.
Now the question is: Where is my place?
I like my job and my current city, and I'm not too far from my own parents. But I am totally willing to drop it all and move across the country to be with him in this difficult time. I've told him as much. He is resistant and tells me I should stay, that he doesn't want to drag me down. I try to tell him he isn't dragging me down. Helping him is what I want.
Then there are the logistics. There isn't room for me to live in their house. I suggested getting an apartment together that is near his parents' house, but he is adamant about living with them. I don't know where that leaves us. We've never talked about marriage, and I feel afraid to bring it up now.
Should I just stay put and try to make this work as a long-distance relationship? — Stuck at a Crossroads
Dear Stuck: Don't move across the country for him. He asked you not to. If you were to give up your current life and follow him anyway, you'd be setting yourself up for a brutal blow. Whatever his reasons, he has his mind made up to take this journey alone.
Stay where you are. See how things play out once he's settled back at his parents' house. He may be more open to talking then. By the way, if neither of you has raised the question of marriage, it's worth asking why.
Dear Annie: I'm 54 years old. I've worked in business for 30 years.
I started working in sales, made my way to telecom and currently sell security software to companies. I wear a suit to work. It's a big job with a big company on the East Coast.
Throughout the years, the people around me have gotten younger and younger. I have been pretty good at adapting to the ever-changing business landscape. However, recently, I feel as though technology changes daily and my co-workers and bosses are kids.
I can muddle my way through Excel and PowerPoint, but my strength is connecting with people. It seems as if everything is trending toward technical know-how, and I am feeling outdated. I am not sure I can keep up.
How do I keep pace with such a fast-paced world? — Old Guy, Young World
Dear Old Guy: Why not use those people skills to get to know some of your more technologically savvy co-workers? There is bound to be at least one person there who would be happy to teach you some new tricks. And that person could probably learn a thing or two from you, too. After all, it's an increasingly rare skill to be able to connect with people, spark conversation, inspire curiosity and change minds — and that rarity makes it all the more valuable, not obsolete.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected] To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Jeremy Segrott