DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old woman in a long-distance relationship with an amazing man for more than a year. We visit each other every few months and chat online every night. We're in love and feel we are ready to move on to the next step -- living together.
We live in different countries. He is much more established in his country and very close to his family. I am in a temporary job, and while I care for my family very much, there really isn't anything to tie me here. It makes more sense for me to move there. (It's a five-hour plane ride from here.)
My family, especially my parents, are making me feel extremely guilty about even considering this move. They say I am "abandoning" them, and ask how could I live with myself if something ever happened?
Abby, my parents are in their early 50s and in excellent health. My two sisters live near them. I fail to see why I am getting so much grief, when I just want to move on to the next stage of my life. Any advice? -- PULLED IN TWO DIRECTIONS
DEAR PULLED IN TWO: Your parents are anxious because even at 30, you are still their child, and they are experiencing separation anxiety. However, at your age, you should be mature enough to decide your future.
I do have a word of advice I hope you'll consider: Before you commit to leaving the United States to join your boyfriend, please do some research on the rights of women in his country. Here in the U.S. we enjoy many privileges that are not shared by women outside our borders. They concern marriage, divorce, division of property and child custody. It is important that if you choose to marry him, you do it with your eyes wide open. That way there will be no surprises.