Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Earlier this summer, I got involved with this really amazing guy we'll call Drew. Drew and I met through mutual friends and have been pretty much inseparable since then. One of the main things I like about Drew is, like me, he's career-driven and ambitious, and, like me, Drew tends to put his job first. So when we first met, he was very forthright about the fact that he didn't really have time for anything serious. I agreed this was the case for me too. I have a full-time job and a full plate of community service activities, and making room for a relationship would have required some major reprioritizing that I wasn't feeling I had energy to do.
Of course, that was four months ago. As we've spent more and more nights together our relationship has slowly transformed from something physical to something that also includes talking about our career goals and our future plans, sometimes over dinner or drinks. As this progressed, I felt like we were naturally growing toward an actual relationship. Then there was the night he said something like, "I'm glad we can enjoy each other's company without the pressures of dating," and I realized I had misread the situation.
Still, I've stayed involved with Drew because I don't have anything better going on, frankly, and because he's pretty much everything I want in a man. But last night he dropped a bomb on me and said he's up for a major promotion -- that would include a relocation to Seattle. He was excited but I was crushed. I realized I've still been hoping that he'd realize that all this time we've spent together clearly means we should be together, for real.
I am confused and worried I've been wasting my time, yet I still can't give up on the idea that maybe he and I have a chance. Help?
Wanda says: The affection and attention of a man we find irresistible is intoxicating, even when he isn't quite meeting all of our needs. And let's face it, Drew isn't doing it for you. Yes, he comes around regularly, and in those moments leaves you happy enough, but in the ensuing confusion, you're mistaking routine for romance. While Drew clearly enjoys your company, he hasn't invested enough to fully involve you in his life, and it sounds like that's what you want at the end of the day.
No doubt, you care deeply about him. Like any good businesswoman, you're hoping for a return on investment. We all find ourselves in relationships where we linger because we think it's better to have something rather than nothing. But sometimes it's better to cut your losses. As long as you remain emotionally and physically involved with Drew, you won't be free to find a man who can give you the whole package.
Wayne says: Let's be real -- you didn't waste your time. In fact, you filled what little time you had in your very busy life with exactly what you wanted and needed at the time: some affection, attention and physical interaction between business transactions.
Alas, after four months, even the most professional Business Friends With Benefits can face a hostile takeover of love. But you never mentioned your growing feelings to him -- you didn't put it in a memo, you didn't show him a PowerPoint presentation, you didn't ask for a promotion. You just kept punching the clock on this business transaction, like a good employee.
It might not have mattered -- he clearly has tunnel vision on his career, just like you did when you met him. But now you'll never know. Use this experience as a reminder to be true to your heart, even when it has you changing your seemingly rational mind. Good luck with your next romantic merger.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.