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To Stay For Love Or Leave For Work?

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, writes in with a dilemma: he has a new love that’s going incredibly well, but has received a job offer to move far away.

And now doesn’t know which to choose: love or career? So what should our dear, dear reader do? Well, JP has some thots/thoughts.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

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Hola Papi!

I’ve lived in the Midwest for the past 8 years. Recently, I received an offer to take a new position in SF. It would be a good opportunity, but it’s an exciting and scary transition to imagine for a variety of reasons. I feel pretty comfortable and happy in my current city.

Naturally, I am struggling with the guy I am dating. Our relationship is only two months old (let the eye rolling begin!), but it’s filled with the uniqueness, excitement, and caring that makes me feel hesitant accepting this new job. We agree that this timing sucks, but we also agree that it feels too early to start planning around each other when it comes to stuff like this.

If he weren’t in the picture, I think I would end up moving. But, I can’t shake the hesitation and I don’t feel confident in my ability to make this decision. How do I evaluate this situation, and the gains and losses, real or imagined that come with it?

Thanks,
Stuck in Missouri

Wow, a letter from the exotic Midwest! As an Oklahoma boy myself, it’s always great when I can share an overly friendly handshake and chew the fat with my sisters in flyover country. How are you? How are your folks? Just pretend I said a bunch of other midwestern pleasantries, please. I’m too tired to think of more. I don’t know. Y’all’d’ve.

Anyway, isn’t it bizarre, Missouri, how these wonderful men tend to come out of the woodwork right before we’re about to move away?

I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me or to one of my friends. As we stand on the precipice of making a huge leap in our lives, the man we’ve been looking for all along suddenly grabs us by the leg and says, “WAIT!” and “I’ve been living, like, two streets down from you this whole time. Sorry.”

It’s uncanny, really a little too uncanny. So uncanny that it nearly wraps all the way around the can and becomes canny.

Yes, I’m insinuating that perhaps your budding relationship with this guy seems that much better because you both know it’s probably temporary. It’s sort of like how your bed becomes super comfortable right when you have to get up, or how the show gets that much better when you know you’re running out of episodes.

I don’t mean to take away from how he makes you feel or how wonderful he probably is. I can’t really speak to that. I’ve never met him. I’ve never met you, either. I, Papi, am an abstract entity on the Internet and as such have no true corporeal form.

But for all I know, he could be someone really special. He could be someone who makes you feel something you’ve never felt before. You might have really, truly clicked, and you might be thinking, “Wow, where has this been all my life?

Which is why, Missouri, I believe you asked the right question. You didn’t ask me to tell you whether or not you should take the plunge and move to San Francisco, leaving this man behind like something out of a beautiful yet somewhat indulgent vignette in a gay short story collection. You asked: How do I evaluate this situation before I make my decision?

First, Missouri, you have to accept that your decision, either way, will be based on a major “what if.” There is a future waiting for you in San Francisco, and a future waiting for you with this man. You have no guarantee how either will turn out, and so whatever you ultimately choose will be a gamble.

But if it helps, I do want to point something out. I noticed you used the word “stuck” in your letter. Missouri is a lovely place with many lovely people who call it home. But we can feel stuck anywhere, and if that’s how you’re feeling right now in Missouri, then that’s a pretty heavy stone to place on the scale when you’re weighing out your two futures.

Because, dear Missouri, feeling stuck is fertile ground for resentment. It seems to me, based on the way the situation has been presented, there is one option that says “move forward,” and one option that says “stay.” It would be different if both of them were kinetic in some way, if being with this guy was its own “forward.”

But from what I’ve read, it isn’t. It’s a “stay.” You said yourself that if it weren’t for this guy, you would move to San Fran. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a fledgling relationship.

That means if you choose to stay, you’ll have to POOF San Francisco out of your mind entirely and not let it impact your daily life with this guy.

On the other hand, if you choose to go, I don’t think you have to POOF this guy away. It sounds like you’re both emotionally mature. The fact that you mutually arrived at the conclusion that it’s too early to be planning your lives around each other tells me as such.

Because, well, yes. It’s too early to be planning huge life decisions around each other. The timing does suck. It almost always does. But you know what doesn’t suck? THE WEATHER IN SAN FRANCISCO. Seriously, a light jacket will see you through every season. So lovely. So brisk.

Do me a favor and add that to the San Fran side of the scale as well.


JP Brammer

John Paul Brammer writes the Hola Papi! advice column at INTO. His work has appeared in NBC News, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and more. He is working on his first novel.

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