Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Have to Choose Between My Brand New Husband and My Brand New Career!”

Pensive woman

In the past three weeks, I got married and started a new job. This new job was a long time coming: I went to school at night and online for seven years and then spent 1 1/2 years looking for a job. It’s a great job with one of the biggest and best (and well-paying!) non-profits in my county. This is more than just a job; it was supposed to be the first step in (hopefully) a very satisfying career. I could see myself staying with this organization and moving up. Also, I’m 31, so this was my time to get my foot in the door with a great organization, who would be willing to work with me when I needed maternity leave/part-time work in a couple years.

The catch? My husband just got an amazing job offer at the opposite end of the state (10 hour car ride/2 hour flight). It would almost double his salary; not taking the job is not an option. He’s also been looking for a couple years, and he couldn’t find a job in our current city. We live in a very expensive city, and he thinks it won’t be possible to live here without this next job. He wants to come home on the weekends for a few months, and he swears I’ll be able to find a job in the new city during that time. If I don’t, I move anyway. Then after two years, we’d come back home, since this is where we want to be long-term. He says this new job will open a lot more doors for him, and he’ll easily find a job back home in a couple years.

It kills me to think of giving up my new job that I worked so long and hard for. Then to start my job search all over again and, in the process, burn a bridge with a really great organization, just to come back to this city in a couple years! I honestly don’t think I can handle it emotionally. Job-hunting is an incredibly frustrating process, especially if I don’t want to do it. I know it makes sense to “follow the money” (as my husband says) but I feel this may be too much to ask of me. I feel I have to give up so much personally. I realize the alternative is giving up my husband, but, without a career, I’d be a very unhappy person and, therefore, a lousy wife. I want a career as much as I want my husband. He says my job is more replaceable than his, and mine doesn’t make enough money to support a family. All these things may be true…but how do I do all this without feeling resentful forever?? — Resentful New Wife

Wow, things sure are black and white in your and your husband’s world! He either takes this job or never progresses in his industry. You either stay with your new job or never have a satisfying career. You either follow your husband to his new job or your marriage is over. He takes this job and in two years has his pick of jobs in your home town. You stay at your job and get great maternity leave and the option to go part-time whenever you want. Give up any career at all, and you’ll be a lousy wife. I mean, you seem so certain about the direction each choice will take you and so sure of what choices you’ll have — or not have — in the future.

I have news for you: the things we expect or want to happen don’t always work out. You may tell your husband, “So long, go follow your dreams” so you can stay at your new job and then suddenly get laid off in a few months. Then what? Or, you may discover that that part-time option you seem to think will be available to you when you have a baby isn’t actually do-able. Or your husband might find that he hates the new job and wants to move home, even if it means giving up the huge salary. Or he may love it and never want to move home even though right now he’s saying two years, tops. Or, maybe you’ll find an even BETTER job in the city he’s moving to and then HE gets laid off and you’re suddenly the sole breadwinner. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

You know what marriage is about? It’s about sticking with your partner through all of life’s uncertainties. It’s about celebrating each other’s successes, making some sacrifices, and altering plans and goals to accommodate situational changes (like new jobs, or job losses, illnesses, or deaths in the family, new babies, etc.). It’s about taking leaps of faith over and over and over and knowing that, despite the uncertainties that lie ahead, things are going to be ok for the simple fact that you and your partner are in this together.

Have you already forgotten the vows you took three weeks ago? Or have they not sunk in yet? Because what you described — being pulled in different directions? That’s life when you’ve got someone else to consider. It doesn’t always go exactly how you want it to. Hell, it doesn’t go exactly how you want it to when you DON’T have someone else to consider. But the beautiful part of having someone else to consider is that someone else has your back, too.

You committed to your husband. You probably stood before family and friends and promised to be there for each other — to take on life’s challenges together. Well, welcome to one of the first of many, many, many challenges you will face as a married couple. You can’t just run away. You can’t just give up on your marriage like that. So, pull it together. Make some tough decisions. Think about how you can make this work. Talk to your bosses about what’s going on. Ask what your options are. Brainstorm. Think this through. Life is NOT black and white. There’s wiggle room in many crevices and windows in rooms where doors are locked shut, so start looking.

Life is constantly changing and as it changes — both professionally and personally — you work-life balance will shift and you will be tasked with finding your footing again. Over and over. This will not be the last time you will feel that your career is pitted against your marriage or your family. So, decide now. Are you going to be a person who shuts down when you’re thrown a curve ball, or are you going to learn how to catch it and run with it?

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

134 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Taylor October 21, 2013, 9:10 am

    LW, have you considered having a “long-distance” marriage for a year or two? In my field, there are a lot of married PhDs who end up in different cities or states for some period of time while they are building their careers. It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly workable (see DWs rules for long distance).

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    • avatar

      Callifax October 21, 2013, 10:43 am

      This exactly. One of my coworkers lives in my city while her husband works in Canada and flies back on the weekends. They’ve been doing it for well over a year. I imagine it’s not easy, but they make it work and seem really happy together.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle October 21, 2013, 11:04 am

      I’d rather talk to my company and have a long distance JOB for a year or two. I mean, seriously, a computer can log into a network that is anywhere. If the job is more crafty (making banners, mailings, etc) well then make them and mail them. There is a way! I’d talk to the company first.

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      • avatar

        oldie October 21, 2013, 11:28 am

        It is tough for a virtually brand new employee to work out a telecommute deal. It also is a blotch on a job record to take a dream job and quickly leave it to follow a spouse’s job. LDR for a year makes sense, if LW and husband think they can handle it. At that point, LW is in a good position to either find a new job or request at least part-time telecommute from her current employer (perhaps a deal that she spends half or even a quarter of her time in the office and telecommutes for the remainder). The company that I worked for would try to work out telecommute plans in situations like this one, but not for new employees. You had to be there long enough to earn the trust of management regarding your self-motivation/time-management skills, get to know the staff and outside contacts reasonably well, and be able to understand and interpret company/departmental rules/work methods independently. Putting in some work time while doing an LDR for a year also demonstrates the sort of employee loyalty that makes getting a telecommute deal easier.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 21, 2013, 11:47 am

        Yeah, I agree. Those suggesting the telecommute thing may are being a wee bit idealistic, methinks

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant October 21, 2013, 12:37 pm

        Well it may be too soon for her to expect they could telecommute right now, but in a year, for just part of the time? That’s not so crazy to think about, and she could inquire now about the possibility down the line. Just saying, it’s an option that is sounds like they haven’t even considered. And if they find it is something they could do eventually, that they could both be together more regularly and keep their jobs, that might make the long distance bearable in the meantime.

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      • avatar

        oldie October 21, 2013, 5:09 pm

        Yes, of course it is likely different in a year, although someone else pointed out that their employer requires 2 good years of very good performance. Telecommuting is something that only a trusted, highly valued employee who is known to be able to work independently will be given in all but the most laissez faire organizations. The exception is positions which require predominantly out of town work, where anywhere close to a major airport is an acceptable base of operation for an employee who will be remote the majority of time, even if nominally working out of the home office. It is a very special (I would say stupid) company that will allow an new employee to telecommute within the first few months on the job. A year is about the minimum time limit and you have to have demonstrated something to gain the privilege at that early date.

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      • avatar

        Christy October 21, 2013, 7:40 pm

        *Or the federal government! I could telework 4 days a week if I chose to. It depends on the branch and what you do, but it’s entirely possible to telework a LOT for the feds.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary October 21, 2013, 11:55 am

        Yeh my company supports some employees going remote, but you have to be here for at least 2 years and exceed expectations in terms of performance reviews. I can work home 2 days a month and that’s exciting to me!

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      • avatar

        Gwensoul October 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

        We don’t let new employees work remotely, and as a new employee I wouldn’t want to for the first bit anyway. There is just too much you learn by being there about the culture, the expectations, the people you work with. And it gives them a chance to know you and your abilities. If you want a long term career it also isn’t that great since it is a lot harder to keep that person in mind. We don’t mean to forget someone when that big urgent project that gets lots of leadership notice comes up, but out of sight and all. Plus collaboration could be a pain on those types of projects if you can just work through a problem together.

        That said, if I was in this situation I would consider it, particularly since it does appear she is thinking of this as a long term career since she says she might go part time after kids. Realistically part time does not lead to being a top contender in your field or even your office except in exceptionally rare circumstances.

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    • avatar

      Kelly October 21, 2013, 11:28 am

      Long distance marriages are becoming more and more common in this economy. My neighbors husband to the right of me works in another state and comes home every other weekend. My neighbors husband across the street works in another state and flies home every weekend. My own husband comes home once a month for four days and was just home for over a week. I feel like we’re back in the Army with all the husbands that are gone so much. It’s hard to find a man around to pull the ticks off the dogs.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ October 21, 2013, 1:11 pm

      I’m in a long-distance marriage, on and off; my husband works in healthcare IT so he goes where the work is, to hospitals all over the country, usually for 6+ months at a time. Most contracts let him come home on weekends. Last summer it was San Francisco, then he got to stay in Cincinnati for a contract, and right now he’s in Portland OR & Spokane WA.

      I’m not going to claim it’s easy. Navigating flight schedules, days off, social plans, etc., and not going crazy from boredom/loneliness/total independence while he’s gone, are big challenges. He’s been at this for a few years now and it’s starting to wear on us and we’re talking about end dates for how long we’re willing to do the traveling contract situation vs. something closer to home.

      But it’s also not the end of the world. It’s doable. And the money is definitely worth it, though it doesn’t always feel like that when I’m saying goodbye to him at the airport every week. His paycheck gives us a lot of security and stability that I try not to take for granted.

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    • Miel

      Miel October 21, 2013, 2:52 pm

      Just want to add to all the other people who are suggesting long-distance. It is becoming common in today’s job market ! I know married couples who owns two houses, 500 miles away from each other. I know married couples who lives in different countries because of visa issues. I know people who travel for work purpose for 50% to 60% of their time, leaving their spouse back home all the time. It’s not just in the military anymore, it’s everywhere !

      I like that Wendy reminded the LW of her marriage vows. I mean, you would be by your husband side through cancer, unemployment and disability but you wouldn’t do long-distance ? I mean I’m not married, and I don’t know if I would stay with my boyfriend if he was becoming entirely paralyzed or something, but we are long-distance. It’s really a piece of cake compared to all the other challenges that a marriage can be about.

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    • Roxy_84

      Roxy_84 October 21, 2013, 3:17 pm

      My sister and her fiance are semi-long distance. He works about the same distance away as the LW mentioned during the week and is home on weekends. For the first year he did it, he would fly out Monday morning and fly back Friday evening. Then he was able to negotiate and now comes back Thursday evenings. So they have three full days and four evenings together every week. Maybe after each of you has put in some time at your jobs, you could each explore some flex time options. I know plenty of companies here that allow employees to work an extra hour every day and take every second Friday off. There are likely some options once you’ve been there for a bit.

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    • avatar

      Simonthegrey October 21, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Family friends did the long distance marriage for seven years total. At first it was going to be a year or two until he could find something else; then he got promoted but the daughter started high school; then he got laid off and within 3 months was rehired in a different area in the same company; and all of this required a fair amount of travel as well. Granted it was a shorter distance between – a couple of hours, not ten – but it was a long haul for them.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph October 21, 2013, 7:14 pm

      Would like to become the 30th person to agree with this suggestion. My husband and I have decided he’ s going to apply for a 4 month job rotation in Hawaii. We obviously don’t know if he’d get it, but if he did he’d be living in Hawaii for 4 months and we wouldn’t be able to see each other physically for that time. But hey, there’s always Skype.
      I’m not saying it will be easy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And if he’s gotta take the new job and you’ve gotta stay at yours, then this is what you have to do.

      Wendy is also SO right about not knowing how any of this will turn out. You can decide to do long distance for 6 months or a year while also looking for a job in his city. Maybe you’ll find a great one, or maybe you’ll realize that you want to stay long distance for the whole 2 years to keep working at your current job.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite October 21, 2013, 9:31 am

    I agree with Taylor. Long distance may be the best option, especially if there’s a train or small commuter plane available between the cities. A 10 hr drive becomes a 2 hr trip. You have to figure it out somehow and giving up either seems wrong to me. Jobs just don’t fall out of the sky and you both know that. You should both take the jobs and stay together. That doesn’t mean you have to lose the other person, that’s too extreme for this scenario unless you weren’t meant to be married in the first place.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle October 21, 2013, 11:10 am

      Trains aren’t everywhere and they do not go much faster than cars.

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      • avatar

        Sunshine Brite October 21, 2013, 12:43 pm

        I know, it’s not really available where I’m at, but it could be an option for their area. The LW is stuck in some black and white thinking and may be missing some solutions. My state has transportation options between some of the bigger areas but you have to research them.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle October 21, 2013, 9:40 am

    WWS, especially with the first paragraph— I mean, damn, for the two of you, there’s just doom in every direction.

    If you don’t want to give up your new career before it even starts, then don’t. I see no reason why you can’t do long distance, which, yeah, will suck, but at least neither one of you will be forced into leaving your new, great jobs. Your husband, from what you’ve written, seems a bit pushy on the issue, maybe? so talk to him. Tell him what you told us in your first paragraph, & then see if he’s still as dismissive & urgent that you move to where he’s planning to stay only temporarily, regardless of whether or not you can find a job there. That honestly doesn’t make any sense, in my opinion.

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  • avatar

    ktfran October 21, 2013, 9:44 am

    I immediately thought long distance for a couple years too. I mean, it’s two years. That’s a drop in the bucket. And Wendy’s right. You never know what’s going to happen. Like, you could meet someone, become friends, start dating, fall hard and then he could move to Colorado and you can feel yourself slide into a slow depression.

    This is soooooooooooo not the letter for me today.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones October 21, 2013, 9:44 am

    A colleague of mine had her own apartment in the city while she went to medical school and her husband had a job a few hours away and lived there. They made it work. Now they have 3 kids and live in the same house in the same city. Perhaps a temporary arrangement that is long distance can work out.

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  • avatar

    Banana October 21, 2013, 9:45 am

    I actually have an aunt who was a diplomat, who married an international businessman, and they had a long-distance marriage for years. They’d spend time together when they could, but basically until she retired from foreign service, she had to go wherever she was posted, while he had to go to the places where his business was. They got through it and are still going strong. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible.

    Additionally, you could ask if you could telecommute to your new job. Or even if your husband can telecommute to his. Or work out a schedule with either employer where you work in-office two weeks, then telecommute two weeks (I have a coworker who does this).

    But ultimately the advice you really need to hear is Wendy’s. Because whatever you choose to do, it’s not going to be your perfect shiny vision of what your perfect shiny life was supposed to be. That’s just life. You have to figure out how to compromise — not just for the sake of your marriage, but just as a way to get through life. I do have sympathy for you because that is a tough choice to make, but you (and your husband) need to stop putting everything in absolutes and focus on thinking up REAL solutions to your problems — compromises that work a little bit for both partners, not melodramatic ultimatums like “leave your job or leave your marriage.”

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 9:54 am

      Yes to telecommuting! I work from home now so I can live 900 miles from our company with my husband due to his PhD program. It’s surprisingly easy to work from home. (And we where long distance for 3 years!)

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    • othy

      othy October 21, 2013, 10:55 am

      I have a coworker who lives 3 states away. She comes in every 3 months or so, but emails/calls into the office regularly to keep up with everyone. Depending on the nature of the work, telecommuting can be a really viable option.

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  • avatar

    bethany October 21, 2013, 9:49 am

    Add me to the “Long Distance” List! It’s only 2 years, and you never know what could happen in that time. You might hate your job. He might hate his job. He might get an opportunity in your town, or you go the whole 2 years, and then he moves back.

    Wendy is right- there is so much that can happen, why not just try it out, and if things aren’t working for you, make adjustments as you go along?

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  • avatar

    SasLinna October 21, 2013, 9:49 am

    I don’t think there is an objectively best solution here. What is important is that you can agree with your husband on what to do in a cooperative spirit. Both of you should be ready to take the other’s preferences into account. So your husband, in my view, shouldn’t dismiss the importance of your job to the degree he’s doing it right now. It’s not “clear” that you must give up your job. Also, all potential solutions should be “options” (including his turning down the new job), unless you both previously agreed that they are out of the question.
    Maybe it would help to hear how other people handle this: Personally, I’ve decided that for me, longterm long-distance is out of the question. I’m willing to move for my partner, but I also expect him to be equally willing to move for me. We’re both willing to support each other financially if the other isn’t working. I would be willing to do short-term long distance, for example in order to find out which of two jobs really turns out to be awesome.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 9:57 am

    Add another vote for long distance! It’s only 2 years. It’s really not that long. Plus being long distance, IMO, extends the “honeymoon” period of a relationship which is awesome!

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  • katie

    katie October 21, 2013, 10:09 am

    I was more with your husband (follow the money) up to when you said his plan is to just move back on two years. First, that’s just dumb- he’s going to make 2 years of great money and then just quit? Who does that?

    If he wants to go pursue this opportunity and make you guys a bunch of money, let him go. Do long distance for those two years. If your end goal is to be where you are right now, there is no reason for you to also move if you also have a great job opportunity.

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  • avatar

    Sara October 21, 2013, 10:17 am

    LW, I could have written this letter twice. I think that what makes this situation so difficult is that both what you say and what Wendy says is true. Some (most?) decisions/outcomes aren’t black and white, but, at the same time, decisions you make now will affect the number and types of opportunities you have later.

    Wendy’s right. We both know it. We can’t predict the future. But you’re right, too. This is a very difficult decision with long-lasting repercussions. My advice: try long-distance. At the very least, it will put things into perspective (one of you will move). At the most, it will put things into perspective and give you both an advantage of getting jobs you want in the same location.

    My background/experience:

    In 2011, spouse and I got our first “real” (but temporary — post-doc and visiting) job offers – in different states 8 hours away from each other. We lived long-distance for 2 years (here’s to commuter planes!). In 2013, we both got tenure-track offers… 11 hours away from each other. Spouse has more earning power. This time, I took a temporary job at his (new) institution.

    I had made a huge time investment to get a PhD. Also, at this time (and still now), a ton of newly minted PhDs weren’t even getting job offers. It seemed too premature to turn down a job offer – even if it meant being long-distance. Plus, spouse was going to take a low-paying job with bad insurance options.

    Living apart sucked, but I was so, so happy to get a chance to have a real job in my field—something many of my peers didn’t get a chance to do.

    In 2013, we both went back on the market. After living apart and doing a job I enjoyed, I understood the stakes better. I also understood that if we lived apart another 5 years, we would be choosing to not have a family, which we may still choose—I just wasn’t ready to make that decision.

    I don’t know what will happen in 2.5 years when this gig is over for me but not him. I’m scared. But, I am glad I live with him and have a job I enjoy right now. Good luck. No decision is the right decision. No decision is the wrong decision.

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  • avatar

    Lo October 21, 2013, 10:20 am

    I’m getting married in a year and I think moving to a long distance relationship immediately post wedding sounds just horrible. Long distance when you are dating and building towards a potential future is one thing (I did it myself) but marriage is a time for building your family and being together. I think it’d be just so lonely to transition to long distance post-marriage (especially if you’ve never lived together before and maybe even more so if you have). LW and her husband both need to look at this situation and try not to put their own personal needs over the need to prioritize each other. Both sound a little selfish to me.

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    • avatar

      Nadine October 21, 2013, 10:43 am

      I dont think its selfish. They both just have different ideas of what is the best way to build their future. Each thinks their job is the answer (happiness + city they want to live in anyway vs money + opportunities). All answers are right and important – they just have to wiggle between them like Wendy said.
      I’m probably going to start my married life on the other side of the world at least for a few weeks, possible longer, than my husband. He has a job in London, and I have to wait for it to start before I can follow (visa). we are getting married first because we want to solidify our commitment before our life gets a bit less predictable. I like what Wendy said about marriage being the constant, and the other things are choices.

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    • avatar

      MMcG October 21, 2013, 11:16 am

      Either you can handle long distance or not… I dont think its fair to state that you have to limit your options when you’ve recently gotten married as opposed to any other time in a committed relationship.

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    • avatar

      MMcG October 21, 2013, 11:41 am

      I’m in the think outside the box. .. long distance camp. Of course I was in an LDR for almost 6 years in my current relationship and I realize it isnt as easy fir everyone. My bigger question is why in the world does your husband think your job and presumably career are so replaceable when he plans for his job to be temporary? I dont think 2 yrs is that big of a deal, but yall need to work on your attitudes and your husband needs to stop with the dictates. This situation could be much more challenging if he planned to stay instead of leave in 2 years…

      If you didnt get premarital counseling and discuss problem solving then now would be a good time to start!

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    • KKZ

      KKZ October 21, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Shortly after my husband and I got married, we were living together but working opposite shifts – he worked 7a-4p Monday to Friday and I worked 5p-2a, varying days but almost always at least one weekend day, and most holidays. We were truly ships passing in the night. We are now long-distance for our careers as I mentioned above. Having experienced both, I would take long-distance any day, even right after our wedding. The physical distance between us is much easier to cope with, especially with regular visits and Skype chats, than the emotional distance that quickly grew during opposite-shift life.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray October 21, 2013, 10:21 am

    I don’t think it’s a good sign that your husband dismisses you and appears to think his opportunity is better, and that you need to move with him. But, I think this is a good opportunity to talk about problem solving between the two of you, because there are more solutions than you think right now. This won’t be the last time you two will need to problem solve something unexpected like this. It will happen again and again. If one person always gives up what they want for the other, of course there will be resentment eventually. It’s about compromise. To an outsider, it doesn’t make sense for you to move temporarily too and give up your job opportunity, if you both want to end up back in your current city. A 2 hour flight is nothing, and if you both take the jobs, it sounds like you will have the money to visit each other.

    I don’t think anyone wants to have long distance in a marriage, especially such a new one, but sometimes you just have to make do temporarily. (My fiance is leaving for most of the year to go on tour with his band shortly after our wedding. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is, and it will make both of us happy in the long run, because he will be happy doing what he loves). Lots of people can and do make long distance in a marriage work, whether it’s temporarily, or for years and years. But are you willing to do that (and is your husband willing to do that) for ~2 years (which really isn’t that long for a marriage) in order to have better opportunities for the both of you afterward?

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki October 21, 2013, 10:22 am

    I agree with the long distance camp. You never know what will happen with either of your positions. All of the things and more that Wendy mentioned could be possibilities. I’m not a go-with-the-flow kind of person. I really like plans, but I realize that sometimes plans don’t go the way you want them to. I was with your husband on the plans until I realized he plans to move back in 2 years anyway!

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  • avatar

    Smalls October 21, 2013, 10:26 am

    I travel for my job constantly – aside from the random two-week stretch every few months, I’m mostly on the road every week, home on the weekends. I’ve been in this situation for the entirety of the four years I’ve been married, and it’s been working out for us. It’s tiring at times, and annoying at times, but it has me appreciate my husband and the time I spend with him all the more, I feel.

    Communication, partnership and appreciation are absolute musts in any relationship, but are super-critical when you travel a lot for work – if you are committed to making both your marriage and careers work, you absolutely can. Take it a step at a time – re-evaluate in six months, then a year, and see how it goes.

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  • avatar

    rachel October 21, 2013, 10:27 am

    LW, I’m with those who are saying to consider long distance. I think it has to at least be on the table. If he’s talking about doing long distance for the first few months, I think it makes sense to consider that if both of you love your jobs after those first months, it could be better to do it for longer, until you can find a compromise that allows one of you to move. My relationship has been long distance for over a year now, and while it sucks, both of us are moving forward in our careers so that we’ll have an easier time in the future building careers in the same place.

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  • avatar

    starpattern October 21, 2013, 10:46 am

    Wendy is SO right that there is no way you can predict what your situation will be like in 2 years with any certainty.

    Your job or career will never have your back the way your family will. That is what your husband is – your family. I think you both need to take a step back and discuss all your options without the doom and gloom attitude. If it’s better for your family for him to take this job, don’t see that as the death knoll for your career. That’s silly – think outside the box. You always have options. Ask about telework, consider long distance, does your organization have any links to the new city? Talk about all these things with your husband… but don’t put so much weight on this ONE job. In 3 weeks, do you really know that much about your job, anyway? Why are you so sure that this is The Job that is Key to My Enduring Happiness? Keep an open mind and explore the possibilities. Besides, if you handle this situation well with your management, I doubt you will truly burn a bridge with your organization, even if you end up leaving. These situations happen all the time, and managers understand that. Make a good impression on your bosses and you may find that the door is still open when you return in 2 years.

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant October 21, 2013, 10:55 am

    In addition to potentially being long distance for a couple of years, could it be possible for one or both of you to work remotely? If not full time, maybe a few days a week, or a few weeks out of the month? If not right now, could it be a possibility six months, a year down the line when you’ve done more to prove yourself at your job? Most places value their employees and would rather be flexible to keep them than hire somebody completely new.

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  • lemongrass

    Lemongrass October 21, 2013, 11:03 am

    What vows did you take? Mine had something to do with better or worse, rich or poor… I’m shocked that you are considering leaving your brand new husband over a job opportunity. Why would you get married if you aren’t that committed?
    I’m with the others on that long distance is an option if your husband only wants to stay there two years but to be honest if you aren’t 110% committed then putting distance between the two of you could cause you to drift apart more.

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  • avatar

    Christy October 21, 2013, 11:04 am

    You both knew you were looking for jobs – how did you not look in the same city? Like, y’all knew you were getting married, and y’all knew you were job searching. You MUST have anticipated this problem. Did you not discuss it at the time?

    And related question for DWers: Would you follow a spouse/bf/gf? Would you ask a spouse/etc to follow you? Because gf and I talk about this possibility a lot, even though we’re not married or looking for jobs right now. I think it’s an important thing to discuss and be on the same page with. I’ve told gf that I’d only follow if we were married or getting married, but I would follow, and I’d ask for spousal relocation for my job. Do y’all have these kinds of discusssions?

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 11:12 am

      We had those discussions before we got married. We still have them regularly. For us it makes the most sense that I would follow him for his career because he has a much higher earning potential and is in a field where he will have to go to where the jobs are. GGuy doesn’t love that his career is a priority, but it’s what makes the most sense. (But neither of us base our happiness off of our career success, we both prioritize family/experiences over job satisfaction. So I can see how it would be different for others.)

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      • avatar

        starpattern October 21, 2013, 11:34 am

        Personally I agree with this. I love what I do and love my job, but my life outside work matters much more to me in terms of my happiness – so I would follow a spouse for their career (given it was a carefully made decision that I helped make) rather than be long-distance.

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    • lemongrass

      Lemongrass October 21, 2013, 11:24 am

      I would follow my husband anywhere. Even if I hated it. But I don’t have a career so that is a factor. I moved from a small town to a larger city (having never lived in a city) to be with my husband when we first got together. He had already started his career and it has little opportunities to move anywhere. I was 19 and it wasn’t easy to feel so tied to a city that I didn’t choose to live in for myself but I got over it.

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      • avatar

        Christy October 21, 2013, 11:49 am

        Lemongrass, do you work at all? I know you’re on maternity leave right now, but did you have a job pre-E? Are you planning on having a job post-E? How long had you been together when you decided to move?

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      • lemongrass

        Lemongrass October 21, 2013, 12:35 pm

        I work lots just not at a job 😉 I worked before I had E but didn’t get a higher education or go for a career because I wanted to be a stay at home mom. It made more sense financially for me to stay in low income jobs rather than rack up high student loans and then have to pay them off on one income. I may go back to work after E and his future siblings are in school but I may not. I would like to be home when they get home from school and stuff like that. I’m leaving my options open to how I feel then. Mr. Grass and I had been together 5 months when I moved, which I realize sounds totally irresponsible now but at the time I believed that I would marry him as long as things continued the way they had been. And well, they have. The older I get the more that I realize how lucky I am to have him. We have both grown up a lot since then but we grew together. And barf.

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        Christy October 21, 2013, 1:16 pm

        I’m sure you work lots! I realized that I phrased that insensitively – I definitely didn’t mean to! Can I keep asking you questions in this vein, and can you give me the benefit of the doubt if I keep being insensitive? I’m super-curious about your decision-making process. (For the record, my mom was the same way – always wanted to be a SAHM.)

        Did it scare you to have your big goal (being a SAHM) be dependent on another person? Did you take dating more seriously, looking for a boyfriend with that idea in mind? Did you only date men who were on board? I guess you met Mr. Grass pretty young, at 19, so maybe you didn’t need to consider many of these questions, and it just worked out? (Also the idea of moving for love at 5 months terrifies me, but I’m a slow mover.)

        Did you consider contingency plans?

        And again, I’m really just curious. I’m sorry if I’m sounding like a jerk, because I really don’t mean to be. I just can’t personally imagine making your choices. (Everything I try to write about how I’m not being a jerk ends up sounding jerky, so I’m stopping here.)

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        SasLinna October 21, 2013, 5:00 pm

        I personally don’t have the goal of being a SAHM (and I don’t think you’re being a jerk), but I don’t think a contingency plan is something that is much more necessary for SAHM than for other people. First of all, things can go wrong even for people who have careers (unemployment, sickness, whatever). Second, not having a career doesn’t mean being unemployable, I guess it would be possible to go back to the low-paying jobs if needed. To me the choice of being a SAHM and dependent on your partner’s income is just another choice that, while having its risks, can make sense. And it shouldn’t be scrutinized more than any other choice.

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        lemongrass October 21, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Calm down! I was just teasing, I know you didn’t mean anything by it. Ask away! I don’t mind being dependant on my husband. I’m not the type of person who values money above all else (and neither is Mr. Grass) and I really trust him. We do have enough life insurance to cover our entire mortgage plus living expenses for 5 years while I educate myself. As for divorce? I have no plans for that. Mr. Grass and I both believe that in a divorce with children the best thing to do is coparent effectively and that parents should put the children’s needs above their feelings so I don’t think that he would try to take all of our assets, not that he would be legally entitled to them anyways.

        At 19 I wasn’t really concerned with only dating guys who wanted the same lifestyle as me. I wasn’t looking to get married or settle down but when Mr. Grass and I got together I knew that I were to commit to be in a relationship with him that it would lead there. So yes, it just kinda worked out for me.

        And don’t worry about sounding like a jerk, nothing you have said is offensive to me. I’m pretty secure in my choices though. Being a stay at mom isn’t for every woman, which is great that we have the choice to work, but I really love being at home. It is harder than anything else I’ve done but also way more rewarding. For the most part though it’s just fun, not at all what the media shows (an unshowered, messy, stressed-out mom). E is a funny kid and he’s really independent. I still get to relax and drink my coffee. Right now I’m sitting at the table and he’s quietly playing at my feet. Sure I have to keep an eye and ear open (he currently loves to find any wood chip from our wood stove and eat them) but I get enough time to myself. And now he’s biting my toes.

        I understand being curious! I wouldn’t want to be a pilot, or doctor, or work in a cheerio factory but I’d like to know all about it.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 21, 2013, 11:28 am

      My boyfriend & I have talked about this, because one or both of us have always been job searching throughout the relationship. Right now he’s teaching about 30 miles northeast of where we both live, & I work about 12 miles northwest-ish. He is in his chosen field of teaching, hoping not to get let go this June (it’s his tenure year) & I’m NOT in my chosen field, looking for jobs IN my field, within the area he works so we can both move up there.

      IF he gets let go in June, we’ve loosely planned to move to VA near Arlington where his friend lives (one of my friends lived there too, up until recently when she moved back here). I have no clue if we’d really do that, but he’s frustrated enough to (he got let go his tenure year when we first started dating, & if the same thing happens, I believe he’ll just leave the teaching profession or else get into it in another state) And I’m about to get hired on permanently to this job, but there’s no room for growth for me & I’m not using my skills or education here AT ALL.

      But yeah, we always planned to follow each other, not ever do long distance. I couldn’t do it, personally. He could, & would want to, but I dunno.

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      • avatar

        Christy October 21, 2013, 11:52 am

        1. I’ve told gf I wouldn’t do long-distance. Unless is it very short-term where one of us is following the other, hell no. Either we’re serious enough to follow or not. It helps that both of our jobs/careers are flexible, and our skills can apply in lots of contexts. (Plus, we’re both in the same general field, so we could potentially get spousal hire.)

        2. DC Public Schools are always hiring and you should move here! There are so many jobs here, it’s sick. Plus there’s just so many young people! (Plus we could hang out.)

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 21, 2013, 12:03 pm

        Hmm nice, I will tell him a DC-er is saying there are jobs out there 😀 (& yes, then we’d totally be able to hang out!! Actually, when I first had this conversation with him, I said something like, “Aw, too bad [my friend who lived in Alexandria & then moved back to NJ] doesn’t live there anymore, but I do have internet friends that live there!” haha)

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        Banana October 21, 2013, 3:08 pm

        YES FAB, come hang out.

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    • katie

      katie October 21, 2013, 11:28 am

      Jake followed me once before, and we are now talking about the future possibility of moving again. He will follow me wherever my job goes, he has said, and it’s because of “follow the money”- i make more then he does, and he can work almost anywhere anyway. Another great thing is that my job potentially can allow me to live anywhere and travel, so I would/could follow him too. It just depends on who gets what opportunities at what times.

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    • avatar

      bethany October 21, 2013, 11:33 am

      We’ve talked about it a little bit. If my husband were offered a very specific type of job, we’d pack up and move, no questions asked. That would be for his dream job, which would allow him to love going to work every day, and fully be living his passion. We both work jobs we like now, and wouldn’t ever move for something similar to what either of us are doing now.

      Oh, and we’re never moving further north than PA. I flat out refuse.

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    • avatar

      rachel October 21, 2013, 11:33 am

      Ross and I discuss this often, because it’s a real situation for us. We both are invested in our careers, so we know we have to find solutions that work for both of us. Right now we’re trying to find jobs in the same place, but we both know that if one of us found a dream opportunity, we would revisit the possibility of doing more long distance. Various hypothetical scenarios get talked about a lot – like, if I took a tenure-track job, it would obviously have to be somewhere with opportunities for him. Or, if he decided to go into industry, maybe he could find a job that was flexible with his work location.

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    • rawkmys0cks

      rawkmys0cks October 21, 2013, 11:33 am

      This is something we talk about a lot. Even before we were engaged we planned on him moving for/with me, so I can go to law school wherever I happen to get the best offer, be it in scholarship money or school ranking, etc.

      After that, if his theater career takes off (he directs) he’ll likely have to travel across the country to direct shows. I might stay put while he does that, but depending on what my law job is, I could travel around with him and work remotely. This is all very vague because we have no idea how things will pan out (and this is yeaaaars in the future), but we’ve at least established that we’re willing to relocate for each other and the most important thing for us is being together, and that we don’t want to be apart for more than a few months. I think this is really all about priorities and agreeing upon those, and then making the situations work according to those priorities as they come.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray October 21, 2013, 11:36 am

      We’ve talked about it a lot too. My fiancé works in music and wants to travel most of the year and live on the road and only come back to our place for a few months of the year. In my field, it’s really common to bounce around at different studios every few years and I would love to get my business off the ground in the next few years so I can travel with him too. So in a sense I would be following him since I love my job and I don’t mind living here, but he hates it, and wants to be on the move all the time, which is also something I want, and I think it would be fun to do that together.

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    • Copa

      Copa October 21, 2013, 11:42 am

      I thought it was strange that it seems this was never discussed between the LW and her husband. Even my recent ex and I talked about stuff like this, and we only dated for 10 months! (In fact, we had that conversation MAYBE a month in. I don’t think we were even exclusive yet, but somehow it came up in a super hypothetical way. Like, never specifically “Would you move for ME?” but “Would you move for LOVE? Under what circumstances?” and both of us were very much, “If I’m in a committed relationship and one person has a really great opportunity, I’d be down for moving to support him/her.”) I’m not married, but it seems so strange to me that something like this wouldn’t come up in conversation before marriage.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary October 21, 2013, 11:59 am

      Yes, I would follow my boyfriend IF we were engaged/married. But, we also purposely job-searched in on area (DC). I wasn’t going to move to another state for him since we weren’t married, but I limited my job search to the city I was already living in because he planned to get a project here as well. But I know I will have to leave my job and follow him in the next few years, which is fine because he has a really high earning potential (and right now earns a lot more than me). I love my job and my company and I’ll be sad to leave it, but I knew what I was signing up for years ago. My job isn’t everything.

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        kerrycontrary October 21, 2013, 12:02 pm

        Oh yeh, it’s also really telling to me that he even applied for a job in another part of the state. I didn’t even apply for jobs in other cities when I was job searching. I could’ve been employed a lot earlier than I was if I had widened my geographic search, but I knew that I didn’t want to make the decision of whether to move for a job or stay (possible unemployed) for my boyfriend so I just removed that option. I have friends who have split up because of this same location issue, and it’s like “well if it wasn’t in your plan (as a couple) to live there, then why did you apply for a job there?”

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        Christy October 21, 2013, 12:10 pm

        Exactly. You remove the option. I’m 100% with you.

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      ktfran October 21, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Umm, I’ve only been dating the kid for four plus weeks, and I want to try long distance. We haven’t had the talk yet. We need to. And it needs to be soon because I’m going a bit crazy. Like cried most of the day Saturday crazy. I also saw Once Saturday night, which didn’t help. If doing long distance and deciding we liked each other enough for long term, I would whole heartedly move.

      Anyway, I guess I think if you find someone you connect with, it’s worth a shot.

      Fingers crossed he feels the same. Otherwise devastation city is coming my way. Although I’m currently preparing myself for the worst. So, maybe I won’t be so devastated.

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    • avatar

      ChemE October 21, 2013, 12:24 pm

      Yep, my husband followed me. My job pays more and he’s flexible on where he can work. It works for us. And depending on the situation, we’d move again – most likely where my job takes us, but if the money and situation was right, I’d follow him.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee October 21, 2013, 12:36 pm

      I followed my husband when we were just dating, which was a huge gamble but we both went into the situation to better both ourselves, not just one or the other. I moved to the middle of nowhere (Eastern Shore Maryland), took a crappy job in my field and slugged through it. He’s been promoted, we live in an amazing area now, he makes more than enough money so that I could work for pretty much fun/savings money, and afford to go back to school for my dream field. I don’t regret it one bit, but we knew going into that whoever got the best and most lucrative job after graduation would be the one who decided where we ended up first.

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    • avatar

      mertlej October 21, 2013, 12:52 pm

      My husband and I have come up against this issue twice in our relationship, and there is 1 more (and hopefully the last) right around the corner. Side note: we just cannot do long-distance. It is really hard, and wasn’t an option for us.

      When we were in college, I was applying to law school and he was applying to medical school. We decided that we’d see what acceptances came in, and we’d go wherever the best offer came from(assuming it was in a big city where the other person could make it work). I got the best offer, so he declined his medical school acceptances, and we moved. I started law school, he worked for a year and re-applied to medical school, and started a year later.

      Round 2: residency. We both had significant student loans, but I had been working for about a year at a really well-paying job. If we moved for residency, we’d lose our source of significant income and I’d have to take the bar again, which is expensive in and of itself. He had narrowed it down to two programs – 1 in our current city, 1 clear across the country. We ended up staying put.

      Round 3: he is looking at fellowship options, which means we could be moving in a couple of years. This time? We will go where ever he wants to. We are aggressively saving/paying down loans and making family-planning choices around this milestone. It is his turn, and I feel like he really deserves the freedom to make the decision that is best for his career, because he’s prioritized mine over the years. I have a great job in a really specialized industry, and in a perfect world we could stay put and keep on keeping on, but i don’t want him to have to turn down something AGAIN because of my job.

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    • othy

      othy October 21, 2013, 1:00 pm

      We talked about it when we were getting married, particularly because we had been in a long distance relationship for a few years prior to getting engaged. I ended up moving back to the state where we started dating for him. Luckily, I got into a grad program in the same city he was in, and it’s worked out thus far.

      We have talked about potential future moves. For now, I’ve got career options in my area, if I ever decide to leave my job. However, longer term, it might be viable for me to take a job in the DC area (assuming NIH gets funding again at some point!) or in a larger city. However, Mr. Othy wants to write (He doesn’t really have any specific career goals right now, but is in school to finish his English degree), so he can do that where ever. He’s very much in the ‘follow the money’ camp.

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    • avatar

      Banana October 21, 2013, 1:04 pm

      When my bf and I were going out about six months, I went through an especially rough patch at work where I was convinced I was going to be fired any day. I told him tearfully one night that I was worried about what would happen if I didn’t get another job right away, and if I’d move back in with my parents, away from him. He just said, “[Your parents’ city] sounds cool. I’d move there.”

      It was kind of simple and off-hand, but I know him well enough to know he meant it. We’ve discussed this in various ways before, and we’d follow each other. I’m also working on transitioning to a freelance/work-from-home career in writing and editing, which travels well, so for me it would be less of a big deal because I wouldn’t be looking for another FT job in the new location.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 21, 2013, 1:24 pm

      I would absolutely follow P anywhere. If we knew it would be short term though, I might stay put until he returned. He would do the same for me. We honestly never even asked that question of each other because we’ve both always functioned under that assumption. I moved to a crappy city for him already, and we’re hoping to move to an area I like more down the road. We want to balance each other though. We would never move for his job ten times if it was always to the detriment of mine, and vice versa, but if both of us could likely find a good job somewhere that would still be reasonably fulfilling, we would definitely do it. Maybe I’m naïve, but I kind of assumed that was a requirement of being married or even in a fully committed long term relationship?

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland October 21, 2013, 12:28 pm

      We have had to talk about this a lot, actually. Because obviously Benjamin does not have a portable career in the slightest. I have a somewhat portable career, but if I wanted to specialize at all it would result in having to do internships/residencies/etc elsewhere. So, once we were both on the forever page we had to have some truthful conversations. I decided I was happy working in general just about anywhere in the area we are now, with a variety of different animals. BUT, I had to get a promise from him that if the right situation came along where I could make lots of moneys and have a super rewarding career he would have to consider that we would move and start the farm over. It seems unlikely, but it had to be an option on the table.

      I’m terrified I won’t find a job nearby though, and then what?!

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      BreezyAM October 21, 2013, 2:59 pm

      I would. I admit I have super strong feelings on the subject that barring some massive circumstances, I am not getting married and committing for life to flit in and out of airports for weekend fucks. (This is also why all aspiring military folks were ruled out). I like having regular sex (as in several times a week) and a partner in my home. If we’re gonna do LD ain’t no point in us being married, or frankly even exclusive. But that’s just ME. LW may be different. I’m just a very needy demanding bitch and no LD just does not cut it for me for marriage or even being exclusive.

      That said I find it strange everyone is all “omg follow him!” fuck that. How bout he stays home and does laundry?

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck October 21, 2013, 3:33 pm

      We would move for each other. My job is much more portable (I already telecommute and live almost 1000 miles from any of my coworkers), so if he was offered another job, I’d go too. Eventually, maybe ten years down the road or so, I’d like to move closer to where my parents and siblings live, since I’d like our kids to be closer to family. By then J would like to be starting his own firm, so that would be a possibility. In the meantime, if one of us got an amazing opportunity, we’d go together.

      I did already move for him once though. We doing long-distance for a while after he took a job 800 miles from where we lived, and after nine months (and a lot of discussions, including this one) I moved down to where he was. I don’t love the town we live in now, but I living together is worth it. That being said though, we’d consider going back to long-distance for a short contract if travel between the job and home was convenient. We already have a long-distance-y relationship sometimes because he travels a lot and is often gone every Monday to Friday for months at a time, so we’re pretty used to being apart and we could stick it out for a year or two if our jobs required it.

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    • Miel

      Miel October 21, 2013, 4:34 pm

      I tried to follow my boyfriend. He was looking for a job and I was supposed to follow him and do grad school where ever he was. We had a blissful two days back in January, because he got an offer from a place where I could have get a degree. But his offer was cancelled and the plan of us living together fell apart. Later, I got a grad school offer I couldn’t refuse and he was still job searching. We ended up still long-distance, but not as long as before. In a way, I followed him, because I changed country for him.

      I’m going to be the one who moves, once I finish grad school. It’s a no-brainer because his job opportunities are so few and mine are so numerous. He’s in a city that has a large potential for my field in the future, and I’m in a city where he has no job prospect whatsoever.

      I do feel like it’s different because we are only dating. If we were married, I think I would master out of my current program and apply for the PhD in his current city. Or I would have taken a year off, to really follow him, and once he’s settled, apply to the local university. But we aren’t married, so right now I’m doing what’s best for me, and he’s doing what’s best for him, and together we work so our relationship still grows from it. I have some difficulty calling what I’m doing as “following him” because we are making decisions together, it’s not a “all for him, none for me” situation.

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  • avatar

    Zanderbomb October 21, 2013, 11:31 am

    I suppose the one thing that struck me too is you write about how hard you worked to find and obtain your career, but then immediately write about how this new job will allow you to transition into “part-time” work in the future. So it appears as is, your family plans on your husband being the full-time working bread-winner of the family. Thus, if this is a question about moving to a city for career opportunities, then I would say you need to follow your husband, because it looks like you’re planning on his career supporting your family in the future.

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      Christy October 21, 2013, 11:56 am

      Yeah, that’s a really good point. If you’re looking to go part-time after having kids, then you can’t exactly give up your husband, can you? Because the kids and the income aren’t going to appear out of nowhere to support you working part-time.

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    • avatar

      ktfran October 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

      Nice catch!

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 21, 2013, 5:05 pm

      Him being the main breadwinner in the future really only implies that he should take the job, not that LW should follow him. He can still take the job and secure better career prospects without LW moving with him now.

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        SasLinna October 21, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Plus, he’s probably relying on her working part-time and looking after the kids as much as she’s relying on him to be the main breadwinner during those years. Both have their expectations about dividing these tasks, I’m sure. It’s not like it’s a gift from the husband to the wife that she can have kids and work part-time….

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    MMcG October 21, 2013, 11:44 am

    I’m in the think outside the box. .. long distance camp. Of course I was in an LDR for almost 6 years in my current relationship and I realize it isnt as easy fir everyone. My bigger question is why in the world does your husband think your job and presumably career are so replaceable when he plans for his job to be temporary? I dont think 2 yrs is that big of a deal, but yall need to work on your attitudes and your husband needs to stop with the dictates. This situation could be much more challenging if he planned to stay instead of leave in 2 years…

    If you didnt get premarital counseling and discuss problem solving then now would be a good time to start!

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark October 21, 2013, 11:55 am

    I think you are all insane — suggesting long distance. I mean, REALLY? Is her dream job even THAT great?! I mean, it’s merely one of the best non-profits in the COUNTY — not country. Dream bigger. I say. Meanwhile… His job on the other hand is going to double his salary. Money. Gee, that is what you need if you are serious about raising a family. Follow the money. Simple as that. If the sexes were flipped here, I’d tell him to find another non profit job. Clearly that’s the expendable position here…

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      Christy October 21, 2013, 12:01 pm

      I’m somehow picturing them as in SF and LA or San Diego. Because being the biggest non-profit in one of those three areas is a pretty big deal.

      And I do tend to agree with you, but I think there are also issues of gender and expectation at play – the idea of a woman giving up her career for a man has a lot of weight to it, even if it’s the best decision for them in a lot of ways.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark October 21, 2013, 12:31 pm

        Yeah. But his career simply needs to take precedence here as she herself is expecting THAT career to pay the bulk of the bills once they have kids…

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 12:30 pm

      I would say the same thing if the genders where switched. The higher earner is only talking about being there for 2 years before returning to the current city, that’s not a long time to be long distance.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark October 21, 2013, 12:38 pm

        I think long distance works best if the relationship is longly established. But to simply start your marriage that way? Disaster. Besides, if I was the spouse I’d simply answer that suggestion with a resounding “NO!” to that idea. All of you pontificating on the merits of long distance are assuming that it’s actually an option. Is she married to him or what she ultimately dreams will be a sweet part time gig? Think about it.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Well, we don’t know how long established their relationship is…getting married isn’t the start date to a relationship.

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      • something random

        something random October 21, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I hear what you’re saying. I think a LDR would have been a total disaster for and my husband in the beginning. Of course we didn’t have a several years long engagement. And I do know people who have done it successfully, including my minister who is one of the most awesome ladies I know. Of course eventually she moved. C’est la vie, I guess

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    • avatar

      rachel October 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

      If it’s her dream job, well yeah, it’s probably that great to her. Maybe great enough to try long distance, maybe not, but that’s for her to decide, not you. I think most of us who are suggesting long distance have been in the situation, and are just pointing out the option.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 21, 2013, 1:13 pm

      I agree with you, Mark. I’ve done long distance, and I don’t think this couple is strong enough for that if they’re considering breaking up over this. They need to stay together at first, and if his job opportunity really IS that great, they should follow that since it sounds like the LW wants to back off on her career down the road anyway. There’s no way of knowing what, if anything, will happen in two years either.

      I don’t care about gendered expectations or whatever when it comes to what decision is best for your family. You do what makes sense for your little joint economy. That’s what marriage is. And yeah, long distance is an option for a lot of people, and it can work out wonderfully for the short term, but the way they would arrive at that decision is problematic moreso than the actual arrangement. They would be making that decision just because both of them are too focused on themselves to even consider being flexible for the other person, and that’s a marriage problem, not a location problem.

      Either way, this is a case of weighing out the priorities. This couple can’t have everything all at once, and if they choose both jobs, they’re putting their relationship at a real risk. If they choose one job and living together, they at least have the opportunity to give their marriage a good chance of succeeding while looking for other good jobs. Other jobs will come along. It’s harder to apply for a new husband. To me it’s weighing the risks here, and the risk is much lower if one of them turns down the job than it is trying to do long distance.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna October 21, 2013, 11:56 am

    While I agree that long distance sounds like an obvious solution here, I think there’s much more to this problem than finding a short-term compromise. It’s important to really discuss one’s priorities as individuals and as a couple, and they have the chance to do that now. The discussion shouldn’t stop at “OK, we’ll do long distance then” because the same question is likely to pop up again, and it’s going to be worse if they want to start a family because at that point long distance isn’t really workable any more.

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  • avatar

    scattol October 21, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Which US state is 10h wide? I can’t think of a big enough state.anyone?

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    • avatar

      Christy October 21, 2013, 12:13 pm

      California, Texas, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, at least. My bet’s on CA or TX.

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      • avatar

        rachel October 21, 2013, 12:14 pm

        Haha, yeah Wyoming is unlikely because there are so few cities in the state to begin with.

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      • avatar

        Christy October 21, 2013, 12:28 pm

        Haha, I know, but it would take 10 hours (or more!) to drive corner-to-corner in those states. I was curious if it could be anywhere OTHER than CA or TX, so I went on google maps.

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      • othy

        othy October 21, 2013, 1:03 pm

        Wyoming only takes about 5-6 hours to drive across.

        Which is about 5-6 hours too long to be in Wyoming.

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    • avatar

      rachel October 21, 2013, 12:13 pm

      California. Possibly Texas.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

      I couldn’t think of any either, at first. CA, of course, but I didn’t realize those other states (that Christy listed) were so big :-|Whoops

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    • avatar

      quixoticbeatnik October 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

      I’m thinking Texas. It takes 10 hours to get from Houston to El Paso, and 10 hours from Houston to Amarillo, and both of those cities are in opposite directions on different sides of the state.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph October 21, 2013, 10:47 pm

        Nobody would describe any city in Texas as “expensive to live in,” you just move your ass to the suburb and stop whining like I did. California is a good bet.

        Could also be Florida, Pensacola to Miami is a 10 hour drive. And I would consider south Florida expensive to live.

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    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 21, 2013, 1:37 pm

      I’m thinking it’s CA as well, since there are a lot of non-profits down here. My guess would be San Diego for her, San Francisco for him? If that’s the case, long distance could totally work since they are both major cities easy to fly in and out, and they’re both awesome cities. I actually know quite a few married people doing this exact route.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 21, 2013, 10:29 pm

        We don’t have counties in AK. But if they are here, she’s a big wimp. There are tons of commuter flights in state, and if hubs is really raking in the cash money they could do that.

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  • avatar

    quixoticbeatnik October 21, 2013, 12:43 pm

    I think you need to take a step back from the situation, LW. I mean, all of the options that you are thinking of all involve either career or husband. Why can’t it be both? Like many people on here have said, long distance is an option. If you don’t feel that long distance is an option, then you will have to figure something else out. There are a lot of factors that are going into play here. First, you both want to live in the city that you live in now, in the future. You see your long-term future in your current city. If that is more important to you than the money, I would say that your husband shouldn’t accept that job and instead keep searching for one in your current city, even though he hasn’t been able to find one so far.

    If the money is more important to you, and you want to stay together, then maybe you should follow him. You have to decide what is most important to you in terms of long-term life plans. If you plan on working part-time after having a kid, anyways, it might be more important for your husband to establish his career, since he would become the primary breadwinner in a few years, anyways. I’m not trying to say that you can’t have both a career and family, but typically, I believe, careers that allow flexible schedules and leniency for family time only become that way after working for an organization for several years and working your way up. I don’t think it would happen after just two years, unless it’s a company that is really liberal about their time policies and super flexible and helpful. More and more companies are turning that way, I believe, trying to make the family-work life balance better, but the movement is still in its infancy stages….I think. I’m basing this off Lean In.

    I think you need to sit down with your husband and have a long and honest talk about these jobs and what you want from the future and try to work out a compromise where both of you will get something. You are married. You are together. You have to TRY to work this out before you decide to dump him in favor of your career. Communication is key. If you didn’t talk about all this before you got married, well then – the time is now.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix October 21, 2013, 1:11 pm

    It seems to me that neither of you think you can do long distance, and that’s valid. It just might not fulfill your needs. So what do you want out of your career? What does he want out of his?

    Do you want monetary stability? Do you want job security? Do you want the most opportunities, or do you want to have a high position in one field? Or do you just want a secure family life (I really get the feeling that you do not want to be a stay home mom at all, and you want to be still in the career you love while your kids is growing up)? It might be helpful when you talk it out with your husband to decide what you actually want from your job and see if either of you can get that elsewhere.

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled October 21, 2013, 1:42 pm

    My husband and I are actually thinking about moving in the future (2-4 years) and one of the options is for one of us (the one that gets a job in the city first) to move before the other. So we could be long distance for a bit. I think the most important thing about long distance is true in any relationship, married or otherwise, you need to have an established end date.

    Anyways DWers have any suggestions on where J and I move? We are currently in OC, CA but are both from elsewhere (me from MN, him from Philly). Our top pics are Chicago and Philly. Thoughts? 😀

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 2:55 pm

      We haven’t lived there, but we LOVE Tampa, FL. (The rest of the state sucks though, in my experience.)

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      • avatar

        Lucy October 21, 2013, 3:15 pm

        I’m mystified by what people see in Florida. Is it the hurricanes? The alligators? The pythons? The giant house-eating snails?

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Haha, we live in North Central FL for my husbands PhD program. But we’re getting out of here asap (with the exception of Tampa- we would move there). The alligators are pretty awesome…we saw one Saturday evening just chilling next to a walking trail! Luckily we don’t live south enough for the pythons, and haven’t had a major storm hit in the 6+ years he has been here.

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    • avatar

      Marcie October 21, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Nashville is a SUPER cheap, nice city. It has a much lower standard of living than other big cities.

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      • theattack

        theattack October 21, 2013, 3:32 pm

        I’ll second this. Plus if you get into some smaller Tennessee cities or towns outside of the city, it’s far cheaper than Nashville even.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 21, 2013, 3:09 pm

      Is this even a real debate? Duh, Chicago. But also Madison! And also Portland. Also Minneapolis. There are so many fun places.

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      • avatar

        Lucy October 21, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Portland FTW.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 21, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Minneapolis is “in” our list, but feel like I’ve already done that and he thinks it’s too cold. Although we want to live in a place it snows…. *facepalm* . He’s like you’ve told me all these stories about how it has to get below 0deg before they won’t let you outside for recess, and how it snowed on Halloween in ’90 (it was epic) so it sounds way too cold. And apparently Minneapolis isn’t “big” enough. blah

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 21, 2013, 3:27 pm

        Basically he doesn’t understand how much Minnesotans brag about the weather, so now he doesn’t believe me that it’s nice most of the time (nice being subjective since I love cold weather).

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      • Cassie

        CassieB October 22, 2013, 12:15 am

        Yeah, the weather is a source of pride here. So on Wednesday, we’re taking a trip to the zoo. 40 degrees out? No biggie. We’ll wear T-shirts.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 21, 2013, 3:56 pm

        We get a modest amount of snow here in Cincinnati! The cost of living is pretty reasonable, and it’s a bigger city than you might think. Not Chicago or NYC big (and have never been to Minneapolis so not sure how it compares), but it’s not small and has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment, dining, culture and activities. And beyond the occasional tornado (which usually hits in the rural areas well outside the city) we’re not prone to natural disasters.

        I have heard good things about Madison WI, too, though, from my best friend who went to college up there. She’d go back in a heartbeat.

        My favorite city ever is Asheville NC, but I think that tends to be more expensive? I don’t know, I only vacation there and have yet to DARE let myself research actually living there…

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland October 21, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Madison, Wisconsin!!!!

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 21, 2013, 3:26 pm

      Charlotte, NC is awesome!

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  • avatar

    Lucy October 21, 2013, 3:07 pm

    LW – leaving your brand new dream job and following your husband to a new city for a job he hasn’t even started yet is a high risk move. New jobs are often not what you think they’ll be. His new employers may fire him a month in; he may hate it and want to quit. In your position, I’d do LD for at least 6 months (and probably more) to make sure that his new job is actually going to work out before uprooting your life and quitting your job. That also gives you a chance to build relationships at your own job, so that if you do decide to follow him to the new city, you won’t be seen as a flake and will be much more likely to get a good reference. LD is annoying, but if there’s an end date, it’s survivable.

    Also, your new husband comes off in your letter as a dismissive jerk. Not sure if he actually is or not, but this situation might be a good excuse for some relationship counseling to nip that tendency in the bud.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 21, 2013, 3:07 pm

    You guys! Hi. Just chiming in to say I had a sex-ish dream last night and Wendy was in it! Basically I was at a party and it was really late and Wendy was really touchy feely; it was making me uncomfortable but I also liked it. What does this mean? Has that ever happened to you? Can someone interpret this dream? I love listening to dream interpretations but only if it is my dream, otherwise it’s boring… I’m sorry if this was an inappropriate place to let you all know – but god forbid I have a thought that I don’t share with you immediately. Also sorry if this letter is a really sensitive one but how funny would it be if it were a letter by a LW who was worried about a sex dream involving a giver of advice. Ok I gotta run, byeeeee for now!

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    • avatar

      bethany October 21, 2013, 3:16 pm

      If you keep having dreams like that, Wendy’s going to block you! 🙂

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 21, 2013, 3:17 pm

        But she started it! I was minding my own business. That Wendy, you gotta watch out.

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  • Miel

    Miel October 21, 2013, 4:50 pm

    On the line about “burning bridges” with the non-profit if the LW leaves now. I guess I have a question somebody else might be able to answer :

    So they are married, not just dating. I know in academia, being married to someone often means that your spouse can get a job offer just because you got a tenured-track position that requires you to move across the country. So many people in my past and current department are married to another faculty member/a secretary/someone from HR/someone on campus, because when they got offered a job, they accepted under the condition that their spouse get a job too, and then they both moved. I even know a couple that got married (after 8 years of relationship) just so they would get offers from the same place !

    So I guess my question would be : if the LW can’t simply get an offer from her husband new company (I would understand that, especially if she’s from an unrelated field, this is not academia, I get that) couldn’t there be at least some sort of “understanding” from her current employer so she doesn’t burn bridges by leaving ? I mean “Sorry I have to quit so quickly, my husband has to move for work reason and so WE are moving to X city” sounds perfectly legit. It’s not “this guy I have a crush on is moving, so I’m moving too”. Would that really affect work relation and future reference ?

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 21, 2013, 5:19 pm

      I don’t think it’s necessarily a “burning bridges” scenario, but she has literally just started this new job, so it might seem like bad planning for her husband to take a job ten hours away and her moving with him. On the other hand, you probably can’t really hold it against them in a bad economy. I guess the employer would just see it as a bad timing.

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    • theattack

      theattack October 21, 2013, 5:21 pm

      I think it depends on the company. For a non-profit it’s very likely that they would be understanding. The LW probably isn’t rolling in the dough at the nonprofit, and her boss probably isn’t either, so her boss might be more understanding of her saying that her husband got an offer with such a big salary raise that they couldn’t turn it down. I know for a fact that my boss would congratulate me on the new money rather than be upset, because she’s done the same thing for the past few people who have left here.

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  • theattack

    theattack October 21, 2013, 5:32 pm

    I already wrote most of my thoughts in response to BGM above, but I wanted to add that this whole conversation has the potential to be problematic so fast. You and your husband promised to be a team together. You promised to work through problems so that they benefit you as a team, which means sometimes giving up or postponing what you want as an individual. Ask yourself what’s best for your team here. Is splitting up or going long distance best for your team? Is it better for your team (not you) to keep your job at your agency? Or is it better to be together for the first two years of your marriage and take a different job?

    A lot of marriage is taking turns at your dreams in situations like this. You have your dream job now, so maybe your husband should stay with you while you take your turn. But it sounds like this new offer for him could provide more for your team long term than yours can, so maybe it’s his turn. To me it sounds like you’re being very impatient. It’s not as if you can’t find another job in the new city, and if you were qualified for this great one, you could probably find something else great too. You say that your career is just as important to you as your husband, and that’s great, but staying in your city now substantially risks your marriage. Not everyone can do long distance, and it’s not as easy as people above are making it out to be. It’s a LOT of work, and it’s relentless. Moving to a new city and finding a new job won’t substantially damage your career.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 21, 2013, 5:41 pm

      I very much agree with the team mentality thing. It’s something that has to be actively kept up, since it’s pretty fragile. Basically, I think any change that is mostly in one partner’s favor (like taking the new job for the husband) should be approached by that partner in a way that really takes the other’s interests into account. It’s hard for one partner to keep the team mentality when the other doesn’t… The LW may be struggling in not least because her husband didn’t really approach this with a team mentality.

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      • theattack

        Theattack October 21, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Very good point! The LW needs to shift her focus and have a Come-to-the-deity-of-their-preference talk with her husband about how they’ve both been ignoring the team.

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  • avatar

    Lark October 21, 2013, 7:56 pm

    $$$$$$$$$$$
    Maybe I’m being overly pragmatic, but the money is what I would consider first and foremost. If your husband has the potential to make big money, then I don’t understand the anger at him taking this job. Your husband is right in “following the money” makes the most sense, and I think his plan of you staying and working and looking for a job for a few months and then moving even if you can’t find one makes sense too….And Wendy’s correct, life isn’t black and white. If you are working at a non-profit and you are newly hired….you are aware that non-profits often have limited sources and have to lay people off, and then first person on is often the first person off.

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  • lynn

    Lynn October 21, 2013, 8:13 pm

    You lost your case with me at “part time.” If you plan on working part time at some point, that means you plan on your husband being the breadwinner… therefore, you should follow the money and follow his career. Ultimately, I’d like to be a SAHM (if it’s financially feasible), and because of that, I’m sure I would follow my husband (my non-existent husband) anywhere.

    And yes, I know things aren’t black and white… and I understand how hard it’d be to give up a dream career… but y’all are a team, and if working part time is what you’d want to do eventually, then I think the answer is clear. Life doesn’t always work out the way we think it’s going to.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph October 21, 2013, 11:02 pm

      Oof. I don’t know. I also would like to be a SAHM someday if we can afford it, but for that reason I’m really protective of my time in the workforce. I wouldn’t want to give up my job (which I love and am awesome at and job of my dreams, yadda yadda) now, knowing that kids are 3 or so years away because then I feel like I’d be giving up my chance to have my job and enjoy it.
      The reality of SAHMing is that you rarely will be able to get hired back once your kids are older and you want to go back to work at a similar position or for similar pay. So I feel like this is my shot. If this were me, I would seriously try long distance until I was able to find an equally enjoyable job or get telework or until he moved back in 2 years.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 22, 2013, 3:04 am

        Yeah, I don’t get this “if you’re not going to be the main breadwinner, then your career is worthless anyway” line of thinking. It doesn’t even make sense applied to this LW because she is planning to continue working when she has children, just possibly part-time, and her income is going to be part of the household income. And for this to happen she probably has to stay in the workforce now. We really have no reason to think she doesn’t value her career (in fact, she stated the opposite). I really dislike how people jump from “I may want to work part-time” to “I don’t really care about my career.” It plays on tired stereotypes that you can have only one goal in life as a woman, and that it’s 100% on you to pay the price for that. When in this case they CAN have it all by being a little flexible.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck October 22, 2013, 1:25 pm

        To me, the fact that she mentions wanting to work part-time suggests that she actually DOESN’T want to be a SAHM. For her, “part-time” may still be 30+ hours a week. She may not even be sure of what she wants (or will want when the time to decide actually comes) and is just considering the possibilities, in which case leaving her career now would hinder her future salary and opportunities. She may just be practical and thinking about the worst-case scenarios, like her husband dying or divorcing her or having some kind of accident that prevents him from being able to work, in which case these extra years of working could make a huge difference for both of them.

        Also, just because she isn’t the breadwinner right now doesn’t mean she won’t ever be (as Wendy said, we can never really know what’s going to happen) or that the money she does bring in is insignificant. Personal example: my partner makes a lot more than I do and is certainly the breadwinner in our household, and we would be able to live on his income alone. However, without my job as well we’d be living a very different lifestyle, and not the one that we would prefer. We’d have to cut back on a lot of things that are important to us: owning a home, traveling to see our families as often as we do, the number of children we could afford, even our emergency savings, etc. Not to mention that we both enjoy our jobs, and when I wasn’t working for a time I was absolutely miserable, and that impacted our relationship in a negative way. I also think it’s really important that the LW’s husband wants to move back to this city in a couple years. To me, that changes the situation entirely. Why should she give up her dream career so that he can take a temporary position? I don’t think it’s necessarily better for them to be together in the short-term if it will have negative impacts on their long-term goals.

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  • avatar

    S October 22, 2013, 9:44 pm

    I generally agree with what’s been posted, but if it hasn’t been said yet, why does it make any sense for you to leave a great job when the intent is for you two to return to your current city? And in two years no less! Two years is nothing! It definitely makes the most sense to do a long distance relationship for a while. If in 6-12 months you’re miserable being apart, one of you will get to start job-hunting again. Set a firm deadline for when you want to have actual plans in place to be living in one place again.

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