How to set a boundary when you’ve been too nice

Leeeee asks: My girlfriend and I have been seeing each other for a year now, and we decided I should move in with her. So I’m staying with her now. She recently went for an interview where she works and she didn’t get the job, and was hurt because that was basically her position. So I tried to cheer her up, which helped a lot. Now she asked me if it was okay if she had to apply to another city far from where we live. I told her I would not have a problem with that, just because I don’t want to hold her back (Bear in mind we have big plans together). Now seeing she is going to apply to it, does this not mean she is being selfish or not? It seems as if I shouldn’t have moved in with her, because she is already thinking of going, but I just moved in 2 days ago. Should I just relax? I love this woman, but does she love me the way I love her?

Hi Leeeee –



Of course I don’t know exactly how your girlfriend feels about you – or about anything else – but I do see one big problem here. And I hate to say it, my friend, but the problem I’m seeing is in you.


You point out that she was really hurt about not getting that one job. And then she found a possibility for another in another town. And then she asked you if it was okay with you for her to apply to it.


And you said you didn’t have a problem with her doing that.


And now you’re asking if she’s being selfish, or if you shouldn’t have moved in with her?


You’re stuck between two kinds of thinking. One is that you want to be nice and supportive, so of course you say yes when she asks about doing something she wants. Then the other is that you’re bothered she’s considering moving away so quickly.


But all she did was ask.


I love nice people, but this is a case where you were TOO NICE for your own good. You needed those two halves of your brain to talk – the one that wanted to please her and the one that wants her to stay – before you answered her question.


Maybe she was really hoping you’d say “No, please don’t go,” and now feels a little rejected by you. Maybe she wishes you offered to move with her if she gets the job.


Again, I don’t know what’s going on in her head. But I do know this. You have to make up your mind what you want to be in this relationship – the supportive cheerleader no matter what, or the partner who needs her close by no matter what. And once you decide, you need to talk with her again. And maybe the talk will go like “I know I said I was okay with you moving, but I now realize I’m not,” or maybe it’ll be “Let’s talk about how we’ll manage to stay together if you get that job.”

But whatever it is, you need to come from one place, and one place only. For her sake, and for the sake of your relationship.


We dogs are great at that, but that’s mainly because our brains aren’t capable of having as many thoughts as yours at one time. For you, this will be a bit of work.


And if this relationship lasts, as you so clearly hope, that work will pay off for DECADES!


All my best,



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