DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I will be graduating from college soon. I am an actress, and he wants to go to medical school. We both have dreams for our careers, but they lead us in different directions. I want to move to New York City to pursue performing on Broadway, and he has a dream to open a small practice in his hometown, where he also wants to go to medical school. I’ve tried to convince him to come with me to New York and apply to schools near there, but he is looking at his endgame of opening a practice and thinks it will be harder to do in New York. I simply can’t pursue a Broadway career anywhere but Broadway.
We are stuck. I don’t want to do long distance. We strongly support each other’s careers, but it just seems like fate is drawing us away from each other. How do people figure out how to line up their dreams with their relationships? I just don’t see an answer where we can stay together and still both get what we want. -- Different Ends of the Country
DEAR DIFFERENT ENDS OF THE COUNTRY: Sadly, because of COVID-19, we have no idea when Broadway will reopen. It is completely shut down right now for health reasons, as is much of the live performance world. That isn’t to say that your dream cannot be fulfilled, but you may want to consider a different track or timeline for getting there. Before you walk away from your boyfriend, research the areas where he wants to go to school. Look at areas that are within two hours of New York City where you might be able to commute while he sets up a practice. What is the theater community like in those areas? Is there a chance for work of any kind in your field? Get creative.
If you two want to be together, look for ways to make that happen, even if long distance is a short-term part of the equation. Many couples have survived your conundrum by agreeing on timelines that include living apart and together at different intervals. Technology makes it easier to stay connected when you are apart as well. You do not have to give up on your relationship if you both pursue your dreams, but you may have to adjust your expectations and timetables for reaching those goals.