Caroline writes, “I met a Japanese guy in the US while he was here for a business trip. It was a brief, yet, eventful experience. He went back and I was actually the one to cut ties with him first. Two years later he came back for another one of his projects. Before he came he contacted me. I was excited and met him. It was a year long project. Throughout we had fun and even lived together for a brief period. I do confess to him I like him. He is 32 and at the peak of his career. His next project is in India for a year and then he is headed to Russia for an unknown amount of time. He did mention that he expected to travel for his company for at least another 5 years. This trip he definitely opened up more. He even said he liked me. But why does he not want to commit? He worries for me being lonely. He said if we are a couple when I’m by myself I would lose the opportunity to meet someone better. When asked what I could change about our relationship his reply is that I could speak Japanese. I plan on going to Japan to study next year. Doesn’t matter because he’s on multiple business trips. However I really want to have a life long relationship with Japan. He asks whether I will work in Japan as well. How do I interpret all this? Sometimes I feel positive, sometimes not. Is he just career focused and worried about me or..? This time around he emails everyday as well.. I wonder if he’s married? I doubt it with his work though. Please advise.”
It looks to me that right now he appreciates your friendship but is not convinced that you two have a future together as a couple. It could be that he is afraid of the language gap, the cultural differences, the pressure of Japanese society to marry a Japanese girl, and maybe something else. In any case, he is probably not in a mood to have a serious relationship because of all the overseas assignments that he has. It is not easy to be in a long distance relationship anyway and with so many other issues, it might seem scary. Regarding his being married, well, after spending years in Japan, my understanding is that he is probably not (but he could have a girlfriend and Japanese people treat that a lot differently than we do by not considering it as serious as we do), but if you have never asked him directly, do not expect him to volunteer that information on his own. We Americans are so obsessed with our relationships that if we are in one, we can’t stop talking about it, but Japanese tend to be more discreet about it — they don’t see a reason to talk about their lives unless absolutely necessary.
My suggestion would be that you should go ahead with your plans to study in Japan, mastering the language, and getting to know Japan, but in the meantime stay in touch with him. You never know what might happen in the future.
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