Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Want to Move but My Fiancé Doesn’t”

I read your column about the lady who wanted to leave her husband to move home because she didn’t like the new town they lived in. It sounds like my fiancé, only we haven’t moved away yet! He is a wonderful person whom I agreed to marry almost a year ago. The wedding is set for late May. My work situation is terrible, and there are no more jobs in my industry here in his hometown (my family lives halfway across the country). Now that it’s become apparent I need to move to continue in my career (I’m a TV journalist) he says he’s never leaving his hometown. He likes his job and family proximity, and he thinks my career is too unstable to move (at least mine comes with a contract!).

He was never excited about the idea of moving since we started dating four years ago, but this is the first time he’s told me I have to pick between him and doing what I love. His job as a criminal defense investigator is certainly portable, although, of course, the connections he’s built up at work would be sacrificed. I love him very much, but I am starting to wonder whether a man who loves me as much as he says he does would put a hometown over a wife. Can you help? — Have Fiancé, Will Relocate

Thank you for writing and letting me use your situation as an example of why it’s so, so important to communicate and make sure you’re on the same page on major issues before agreeing to marry someone. These major issues include:

1. Finances (Who’s going to pay what bills? How much debt do each of you have? How will you budget to save for big things and an emergency fund? Will you have a joint account? Etc.);

2. Children (Do you want them? When do you want them? How many do you want? How long will you try the “old-fashioned way” before trying a different option? Are you open to different options and, if so, which ones? Will one of you stay home to raise the children and if so, for how long and how will you compensate for the loss in income?);

3. Location (Do you want to put roots down in one place and try to stay there forever and if so, where? Are you open to moving? Where and under what circumstances would you consider moving?);

4. Religion (If you’re religious, do you expect your partner to practice your religion? If you plan to have children, do you want to raise your kids in a particular religion?);

5. In-laws (How much time do you plan to spend with each other’s families? How will you handle nosy family members? How will your designate holidays with the in-laws?);

6. Sex (What are your expectations? What if those expectations aren’t met?);

7. Domestic breakdown (How will you decide who does which chores? Are you open to hiring domestic help if your budget allows for it?).

8. Free time (How will you spend free time? Do you both enjoy doing things without the other occasionally? What’s your expectation for how much time you spend together?)

It seems, LW, that perhaps you neglected to discuss at least one of these topics — the issue of where you’ll live. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you aren’t married yet and it’s not too late to communicate before tying the knot. Obviously, if you feel like your career has reached a dead end at your current location and your fiancé is unwilling to ever move, you have some tough decisions to make. You’re wondering whether your fiancé loves you as much as he says he does if he’s willing to choose his hometown over you, but you’re faced with a similar decision: will you choose your career over him?

In the end, this isn’t about how much you two love each other. I don’t doubt that you love each other very much. But people can be madly in love and not quite right for each other — at least, not for the long haul. Marriage is a huge, huge commitment. It’s for life (ideally) and you need to make sure that besides loving each other — which is only part of the equation — you are matched on every single other issue, and if you aren’t matched, you need to agree on some compromises.

It’s time for some serious conversations with your fiancé. May is still a few months off. If you can’t come to a compromise about your career and where you two will call home, you need to consider postponing or canceling your wedding. As hard as that will be, it beats resenting a spouse for compromising your career or going through the pain — and expense — of a divorce.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

93 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MissDre January 27, 2012, 7:32 am

    Yikes! If your desire to move is totally job related, are there any other skills you could pick up or work on to expand your options? You work as a TV Reporter…. could you try to take a job for the local newspaper? If you don’t want to write, could you get into camera work or video editing?

    I certainly have not been in the situation where I’ve felt I had to choose between someone I love and a city, but I HAVE been in a situation where there’s no jobs in my field in one city and my only option to find work that I really wanted was to move…

    I went to school for advertising in my home town of Ottawa, then moved off to the big city of Toronto for grad school to study specifically Media Planning/Buying cuz I knew how passionate I was about it. In Toronto, advertising agencies are left, right and center, right along with Media Planning jobs. But I was so so unhappy there, and I moved home after school. Here in Ottawa… I’ve been trying for 3 years to find a job in Media Planning but there’s just so few jobs in that field. We’re a tech-centered city, so everything here is marketing communications in software, etc. So, that’s what I’ve been doing, and it sucks. It’s frustrating, because I get job alerts all the time for my desired position in Toronto, but I know I could NEVER go back.

    So, I’ve decided to expand my skills and get into video editing, search engine optimization and web design so that I can offer freelance marketing services to small businesses (rather than my boring job for Microsoft). It’s not what I thought I’d be doing, but it’s something I can see myself being happy doing, and the best part is that I get to stay home with my family and my boyfriend and my friends.

    Sorry for the long rant about my personal life, but I just thought maybe you should consider what other options there are besides packing up and moving away for a specific job. In the end… lift is about who you love, who your friends are, who your family is, and who supports you. My advice would be to stay (or go) to where you feel most loved (whether that’s where you are now, or maybe back to your home town).

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    • avatar

      MissDre January 27, 2012, 8:05 am

      ***life is about… (not lift, lol)

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    • avatar

      Emma January 27, 2012, 8:21 am

      There’s probably less jobs in the writing end of things, anyway.

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    • avatar

      mcminnem January 27, 2012, 2:14 pm

      MissDre, how come I never picked up on you being Canadian? I feel lame.

      Cheers from T.O. to O-town! 😛

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didnt January 27, 2012, 8:31 am

    Ah, what a crappy dilemma to find yourself in, LW. While on one hand, I think that at a certain point, you need to make your relationship your #1 priority, BOTH partners need to be on board with that and willing to sacrifice equally. I think what it basically boils down to is this: Is he going to compromise in other ways, or is this going to be the first in a long line of sacrifices you will make to keep him happy?

    No one here will be able to tell you what decision to make, but I think you have some hard questions to ask yourself, and your fiance.

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    • avatar

      Mel January 27, 2012, 8:57 am

      Yes, that was my first thought, that he seems self-centered and unwilling to compromise. A good partner would at least be open to finding a way to make you both happy. Maybe it won’t be perfect for both of you, but to be so completely set on staying in one place with no regard to your career prospects and passion is something that I would definitely take serious note of.

      When I met my husband, we lived away from both of our families and I pushed us to move back to the area we were both from as I knew being near family long-term was a good idea, so I totally get that part. But both of us have excellent career prospects in this area, so no compromises were necessary. If one of us would have had a lot of difficulty, then I’m sure I would have felt differently. Having previously been married to someone else who only thought of himself, I highly recommend against marrying someone who isn’t even willing to consider compromises to meet both of your needs. Maybe you’ll end up in his hometown regardless, but at least showing some willingness to talk about it and consider other options would earn him some points.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 27, 2012, 9:05 am

        Yeah, it seems to me like he’s digging in his heels, but I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. And while him being near his family adds another layer of complexity, once you agree to marry someone, you are starting a NEW family of your own. that new family needs to come before your old one, however hard it is to cut the apron strings.

        I have friends who dated throughout undergrad and then decided that for grad school they were going to “take the next step” and live/go to school together. Because their top choice schools were different, they had to agree on a school that wasn’t a first choice for either. But it also wasn’t a last choice, and it’s in an amazing city (Montreal), so that was something they also considered. That’s how compromise should be done.

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      • avatar

        java82 January 27, 2012, 10:18 am

        McGill, naturally? 😉

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 27, 2012, 12:21 pm

        of course 😉

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  • avatar

    pamplemousse January 27, 2012, 8:41 am

    I’m not sure I could marry someone who chose his hometown over his fiancee. It seems odd to have more commitment to a physical location than to a person. Seems like a red flag to me. If he won’t “let” you pursue your career (which I’m guessing is at least one of the most important things in your life), what other important life events down the road is he going to hold you back from/be unwilling to compromise on, without much consideration for you and your needs?

    Like Wendy said, love is irrelevant at this point, you need to look at the facts. It’s easy to have feelings for someone. Figuring this stuff out… that’s the hard part.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 8:59 am

      I don’t know I mean at the same time she’s asking him to give up his career for her’s too, as well as leave his family. Is she asking him to move near hers? And it’s not like he didn’t tell her, he told her from the beginning (or at least made his reservations about moving known when he wasn’t excited about it) he wasn’t keen on the idea of moving. At the end of the day they are both asking the other person the same thing, to give up living near family/job stability for the other person to have it. It seems more than anything they just aren’t a good match.

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      • avatar

        MissDre January 27, 2012, 10:08 am

        This is what I was thinking… it’s not fair to say he’s selfish when she’s asking him to give up everything and move away for her. I’m not saying she’s selfish either… just that you really need to seriously know where somebody stands on certain issues before you get in too deep with them. I know I could never leave my city again… so I definitely wouldn’t date a guy who had plans to leave or thought that moving somewhere else for work was in the cards for him.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 27, 2012, 11:00 am

        While I mostly agree, but reservations means you’re cautious about the idea, but you would be open to considering it depending on the situation. He is saying I’m not going anywhere no matter what. Is there a compromise as in they move within driving distance of this hometown (even if it is a couple hours away, it’s still close to he can go visit every weekend if he wants and she would have a better market to try to work in)

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      • avatar

        Betty Boop January 27, 2012, 4:13 pm

        Reading her letter, I instantly wondered if what he expressed was merely reservations or if she blew of him saying he would not move since it wasn’t an issue at the time.

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    • avatar

      Ck January 27, 2012, 9:01 am

      It’s not just his commitment to his physical location, it’s the entire life he has there with his family and job and friends. He was dating her understandably thinking that she fit into his life there, and never said he wanted to move away from it. That’s perfectly reasonable, but Wendy’s right, it doesn’t mean that the LW actually does fit into his life there if she is set on moving elsewhere. And I don’t think it is wrong for either of them to want what they want, but it just might be a sign of incompatible values and a red flag that maybe they need to sit down and seriously decide if this relationship is one that’s going to be fulfilling for both of them in the long run…whether they stay or move. Starting off with resentments or “if only I’ds” does not bode well for a successful marriage.

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  • JK

    JK January 27, 2012, 9:08 am

    What I don´t get: “He was never excited about the idea of moving since we started dating four years ago”. Yet, LW still agreed to marry him, knowing that she would have to move for her career.
    Communication, people!!! Just because you get engaged/pregnant, whatever doesn´t mean that all the little problems, disagreements, whatever will iron themselves out. In fact, those milestones will probably just make those little problems big ones.

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    • avatar

      Sailorbabe January 27, 2012, 11:01 am

      Trying to get the new acronym to catch on: SSA!!

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 27, 2012, 1:39 pm

        SSA! Say Something Already!!!

        I actually think in this case, they are communicating- or at least having talks about it. But LW either didn’t want to believe he was serious about not moving, or she really just didn’t understand that this was a huge deal for him. Classic case of “When someone tells you who they are (or what they want), believe that person!”

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl January 27, 2012, 9:08 am

    You’re upset because you feel like your fiance doesn’t love you enough to sacrifice living in his hometown for your career. But, as Wendy says, you’re also not willing to sacrifice your career for his happiness near his family.

    The sad, simple fact is that if you are going to marry this man, one of you is going to have to make that sacrifice.

    How important is your dream career to you? Are you willing to adapt that dream to doing something else, something available near your fiancee? Or is this something you have been working towards your whole life, something without which you feel you can’t be happy?

    Personally, I am the type of person who would choose the man over the job every time. But that’s me, and I don’t have much of a “career” to speak of (no, that’s not why, it’s the liberal arts degree). I can totally understand your reluctance to settle down someplace where you don’t think you’ll ever be able to do what you love. I’m sure you’ve already looked into all of these, but just in case:
    -Cities/towns within a commutable distance?
    -Cities/towns close to your fiance’s hometown?
    -As someone above suggested, tweaking your career path to suit the jobs available in your area? (radio, media advertising, print journalism, web journalism, etc.)

    Whatever you decide, you need to have a frank, “come to Jesus” talk with your fiance. It’s possible that he thinks by “putting his foot down” on this issue you’re definitely going to stay with him. He may not realize that if he’s not willing to compromise he’ll lose you.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 9:09 am

    I’m glad Wendy came up with this list because I think it is so important for people to talk about this with people they are in long term relationships with. I also think it’s easy to talk about something in the beginning of the relationship and think that maybe you can change their perspective on that. But, here’s the thing he has every right to not want to move, and you have every right to want to move for your career, and you both deserve a partner who is willing to make compromises so that the other can do those things. Perhaps you assumed he would change his mind about moving, perhaps he assumed because you were happy were you were living you would always be fine living there. I think you need to sit down and have a serious talk using Wendy’s guidelines and see where you both fall on these issues. I think it’s also important to stress to each other how serious you are, like this would be a deal breaker for you if he was never willing to move.

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  • avatar

    bethany January 27, 2012, 9:10 am

    I’m wondering why this has never really come up before… ?? There are a few jobs where it’s just a given that you’re going to be moving around a lot until you’re really solidified in your career, like DJs, College Professors, and TV Journalists!

    That said, you guys really need to sit down and have a serious heart to heart ASAP, and if you need to postpone the wedding, that’s what you need to do. It seems like there’s no easy way out of this situation, so do yourself the favor and don’t get married until you work this out.

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    • avatar

      milli January 27, 2012, 10:15 am

      She says in her letter that: “He was never excited about the idea of moving since we started dating four years ago”. So this means the discussion came up before…

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  • avatar

    milli January 27, 2012, 9:17 am

    In this particular case, I do not think the LW has the right perspective on things. Her fiancee has a secure job, le likes his job and and his family is close, while the LW has no promises for any job, she just wants to move to another place. I would totally undersand the LW if say, she wanted to move closer to her family, or she got an awesome offer that she could not turn down. But people change careers all the time, sometimes for less reasons than she has. And I don’t think it will be that easy to find and secure a TV journalist job, as I suspect the competition is pretty fierce.
    Also, LW said that she knew he was not excited about moving, so the news cannot be a total shock to her.
    And a last comment: why do you think it’s unfair of him that he does not want to throw everything away and start fresh, when YOY don’t want to do the same thing?

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    • avatar

      milli January 27, 2012, 9:20 am

      *YOU

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    • avatar

      oldie January 27, 2012, 11:46 am

      I think LW basically snuck between the lines in a quick phrase that she does indeed want to move back to her hometown and look for a job there. I find it hard to believe that she can’t get another job within several hundred miles of where they now live, which would allow them to live in between their jobs and each commute. She doesn’t even mention trying to find such a compromise.

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      • avatar

        Anna January 27, 2012, 8:15 pm

        That was my thought exactly! I know all about living in an economically depressed area with no desireable jobs…That’s why I’m one of the most educated customer service reps at my current company. I know if this were all I had to look forward to for the rest of my life career-wise it would make me miserable. However, there has to be a compromise. Where is the nearest city where she could find a job in her field and how far away is it? I bet it’s possible to find a job within a 75 mile radius of her fiance’s hometown, then they just have to compromise on an in-between place to live where he can still go to work and be within driving distance of his family to go visit.

        If he is unwilling to even live in a different town as his family, however, then I think he is being unreasonable. Why hang onto your old family so closely if you are planning to start a new family with your fiancee? Adults have to move on from their childhood families at some point in order to start their own families. If he’s not ready to do that, IMO he’s not ready to get married.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ January 27, 2012, 11:48 am

      Although it is a competitive field, a TV journalist with experience usually doesn’t have *too* much difficulty moving to another station. If she’s on a network station, she might have the option to transfer to another station within her same network. I used to work at a newspaper with an affiliated TV station owned by the same media company. It was a CBS station, and while I was there, I saw two female reports transfer to other CBS stations.

      However, the news business itself IS really competitive, and most towns only have two or three local news sources, so the competition on a local level is a pretty big deal. It would be a challenge for her to find work with another station, especially a competitor to where she currently works, and she might have to travel pretty far to find options outside of her local market.

      As a former journalist who finally ditched that stressful hellhole for a web design role in marketing, I sympathize, and I would encourage the LW to consider other types of positions where she might not be reporting but can still gain valuable experience that will help her pursue her career in the long run. As for her fiance, I’m afraid I don’t have anything helpful to say. I personally can’t understand the mentality of people who never want to leave their hometown, it makes no sense to me. Two years ago I moved back to my hometown (my in-laws lived there, moved away, we moved into their house because it was closer to where we were working) and I hate it, I can’t wait to get out, and we are looking at moving in the next couple of months.

      Interesting question: What would LW’s fiance do if his parents decided to move, maybe when they retire? I don’t know if it’s worth asking him because it’s so speculative and could start a fight, but I do wonder if his attachment is more to his parents or to the town.

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  • avatar

    Renee January 27, 2012, 9:17 am

    ” Now that it’s become apparent I need to move to continue in my career (I’m a TV journalist) he says he’s never leaving his hometown.”

    It’s not like last month you decided to be a TV Journalist. He knew of this very real possibility.

    When you date someone, you usually get an idea what their career may bring in terms of moving/travel. While I may be quite grounded now, I understand that’s always a possibility. Always.

    If you’re someone like myself who never moved out of the area, as an older adult it actually seems scarier then moving in your early 20s. I think it would take longer to get adjusted to the idea, but I would pick my husband over my city and family. Your fiance will survive a move.

    Will he be homesick? Yes, but remember 100 years ago when people moved (immigrated) it was permanent with little to no chance of ever going back!

    If you are someone that likes their hometown to the point it’s a deal breaker for marriage (which I truly doubt in this case) , then only date people who have family ties in that community.

    He’s naturally going miss his hometown, doesn’t mean he’s going to be miserable just because he’s living somewhere else. Most families understand that children and their spouses may happen to move into another area of the country for work, it’s more of the rule then the exception.

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    • avatar

      Guy Friday January 27, 2012, 10:40 am

      “It’s not like last month you decided to be a TV Journalist. He knew of this very real possibility.”

      And it’s not like last month he made it clear to her that he had roots in the area and wasn’t really willing to uproot them; she knew of this from Day 1. It’s easy to blame this guy for appearing selfish, but it’s been 4 years that she’s been aware this problem would happen, and the LW appears to have pretended like it didn’t exist.

      Also, I don’t think I’ve ever said this for a letter before, but I really think the LW is either deliberately spinning and underselling her fiancee’s situation in an attempt to gain sympathy from the readers here or simply doesn’t care enough about her fiancee’s job to actually learn about it. I say this because of the following sentence in the LW’s letter:

      “His job as a criminal defense investigator is certainly portable, although, of course, the connections he’s built up at work would be sacrificed. ”

      Let me just say this, coming from the perspective of a criminal defense attorney who regularly hires investigators for his cases: I don’t go into the Yellow Pages and pick an investigator at random. My clients are often facing long stretches of prison, and there are many times where the ONLY thing standing between my client’s freedom and his next 10-15 years being spent in a 5 by 7 cell are the tiny details my investigator gets me to impeach the lying witness at trial. So, not only do I need an investigator I can trust to get the job done, but I need one that I can trust so implicitly that I can put him or her on the stand at trial to testify and not have to worry that the State is going to find some way to discredit him or her. If I have to pause for even a second to think “Are you going to hurt my case” I Will. Not. Hire. You. End of story. So before I choose to use an investigator on my cases, I ask for references, and I float their name past attorneys I know who have been practicing in the area for 20 or 30 years. And I’m at least willing to consider multiple investigators; I know some who click with one investigator and will steadfastly refuse to even consider another one for any of their work no matter the circumstance.

      So, is the job portable? It’s portable in the sense that you could BE a licensed criminal defense investigator in any state. But I wouldn’t say the job is truly portable, because investigators get 99% of their business by word of mouth and referrals from satisfied customers, and if you don’t know someone to refer you, you may as well be shaking a tin can on the street for all the good your P.I. license is going to do you. So, honestly, I don’t blame him for having issues with leaving a network he’s cultivated for the possibility that the LW MIGHT be able to get a job in her field in another area; guaranteed income trumps potential every time in this situation, at least from my perspective.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 27, 2012, 10:50 am

        Not sure about the LW under or over-selling, but I agree with everything else – especially “guaranteed income trumps potential every time in this situation, at least from my perspective.” Especially for a young couple about to be married…unless the LW changes her mind…

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      • avatar

        Renee January 27, 2012, 12:15 pm

        But anyone with a career can make that argument, the problem is that we have two people each having a career.

        Both have worked equally hard.

        It’s hard, no one likes to relocate.

        If we want to blame them equally, then fine.

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      • avatar

        Renee January 27, 2012, 12:28 pm

        IF LW was a surgeon or a professor, would that change anyone’s mind?

        Should she stick it out at the community hospital or college, when she had the potential for something else?

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      • avatar

        Guy Friday January 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

        First of all, the average professor has articles, classes, references they can point to. This fiancee likely does not. It’s not like he can say “I got this guy off and this guy this deal and . . .”, because unless you were involved in the case it’s very hard to distinguish what did and didn’t sway a jury or the judge. Plus, while associations this guy is affiliated with are worth mentioning, there’s not a lot of “elite investigator” groups, and the few that are only have that cachet within state lines. And, again, most lawyers are like me and wouldn’t trust references from lawyers they’ve never met before. As for surgeons, the ones I’ve met ABSOLUTELY get credit for the complex surgeries they’ve performed. Plus, there’s boards and rotations and the like where quantitative numbers can be generated. How do you generate quantitative values for an investigator exactly?

        Not everyone who has a career can make the argument that his or her job isn’t portable. And you have absolutely no evidence to suggest that both parties have worked equally hard here, because there’s no information about that in the letter. Yes, I’m drawing conclusions about his connections based on my own experience, but I’m also speaking from the perspective of the kind of guy who’s going to be hiring her fiancee. When people come to my office soliciting me for their PI firm, I politely take their card, and then I generally end up losing it when they leave. And, again, I at least do it nicely; many of my peers won’t even grant them the opportunity to make their pitch. As a criminal defense investigator, it’s all about whether you can be trusted and have a history of reliability. So unless they’re moving to a state where he knows an attorney who will give him work, he’s going to be screwed there.

        You don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to; that’s not something I can control. But, again, this is why I believe the LW is underselling here, because if she truly appreciated the correlation between his connections and his work, she would have told us how she came up with ideas on how to alleviate that problem because it would have made her look better. The fact that she didn’t tells me she either (a) doesn’t know enough about his job, or (b) knows but wants to make it look like he’s motivated by other things so everyone will say “Yeah, she’s right! He’s selfish!”

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      • avatar

        Renee January 27, 2012, 2:08 pm

        I appreciate sharing your background, but again I’m treating both careers as equal as I think we should. Different fields, so hard to say she must sacrifice when her side was just as known.

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      • avatar

        oldie January 27, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Here’s the thing. Nobody said that she must be the one to sacrifice. We are simply objecting to the conclusion some have jumped to that he is selfish and in the wrong, when she is equally selfish. Neither wants to sacrifice their career or where they want to live. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. It probably means that despite their love that they are in an unworkable relationship. A woman saying “If you really loved me, you would sacrifice” is no prettier than when a man says it. There’s no need to assign blame here. It just isn’t working. MOA from this impossible situation, before more feelings get hurt and you’re a week from the wedding. Some responders take the view that “when I really, really want something, I want to know that my man is willing to sacrifice whatever to make me happy.” Why would you assume that guys are interested in being loved any less than that?

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        Francine January 27, 2012, 4:06 pm

        Are they equal right now though? It sounds like he’s actually earning a living in his field and she isn’t.

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      • avatar

        LW February 1, 2012, 2:08 pm

        Hi, Guy Friday, this is LW here. I am so glad you wrote, because these are the exact same concerns my fiance has been having about moving, and here’s where I want more advice from you.

        I’m a cops and courts reporter in a relatively small town, (big for the state, small for the rest of the country) and that’s how the two of us met — at court. I think we can make it work with us moving because we would have a lot of connections with the defense attorneys my new station would have a relationship with — not a random, “here’s my resume” thing. There’s also options for moving to a town where an old family friend has an investigations firms, and another friend has a string of law offices. I would never demand he start over that way without some real leads on jobs before I even considered moving us there. It’s important to me that we both be happy.

        Also, I should mention that I’ve been working twice as long in my field as he has in his. He also is at a disadvantage in his hometown because it’s not a major urban area, and the other investigators are reluctant to help him get his license because they don’t want the competition. (He’s extremely talented.)

        Guy, do you think my ideas are unrealistic about his career being portable still? If so, please set me straight — or help brainstorm some solutions. Thanks.

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        Janie4 February 2, 2012, 10:25 am

        I think it’s great you have so much faith in your boyfriend, and you’re not unrealistic that he may be able to find work where you’re going, but I think you may be underselling the “leads” issue and the family friends issue. These are your connections, not his. He may be uncomfortable taking a job from a really close family friend of yours, especially if it doesn’t work out. He may be concerned that if there is an issue with your relationship, it may impact his job, or vice versa that if there is an issue with his job, it may cause ill feelings between you and your family. Also, quite frankly, you may be overestimating the willingness of your family friends to take someone on in this field they don’t know.

        You’ve identified a couple of good job prospects. Is there a job placement office at his old school that can help? Do any of the attorneys he currently works with have connections that can get him a trial?

        I also caution that you seem to be implying that since you’ve been working at your job twice as long as his, your career is more important to you than his should be to him. You’ve been together for four years and you met at the courthouse, which implies that he’s been in this field for four years, and if he’s been having trouble breaking into the field and is still sticking with it, it means he’s committed to the work.

        I think what you meant to say is that you’ve exhausted your possibility for advancement in your area since you’ve been in the field so long, so you have to make a move now. And you are very dedicated to the work, because you’ve been in it for close to a decade at the minimum. You can’t stay, and you’re frustrated because he doesn’t seem to be willing to even find a way to make it work for you both.

        Your frustration is understandable, and I wish you luck resolving it. But as someone who grew up in a family where there were a lot of regrets and anger over where we lived and career opportunities, I implore you – if he can’t or won’t move, then look at yourself. Does the relationship fulfill you enough that you will not regret having the career you’ve always dreamed of?

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        Guy Friday February 20, 2012, 2:14 pm

        As I said in your update thread, I wish that I could have seen this sooner, and I really am sorry for not having responded to this. If you still want an answer, let me know over there.

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        oldie January 27, 2012, 4:02 pm

        Yeah, those careers are far more geographically flexible than what either of these two are doing.

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  • parton_doll

    parton_doll January 27, 2012, 9:41 am

    LW – I was in a similar situation with my husband before we got married. When we started dating I lived near my university, which was pretty much across country from my hometown. His family lived within hours of my university. I told him prior to us getting engaged that I was moving near home and never wanted to live in the area where I went to university. Even after he proposed and moved near my hometown, I reiterated that i did not want want to move back to where my university was.

    Ten years later, it has been hard from him living so far from home, but we make arranagements so that he can go back whenever he wants to (and I go with him at least once year). And now that his parents are getting older, we are keeping our eyes open for an opportunity for us to split the difference in distance between where we live now (which is still near my hometown) and where his parent’s live. But I still won’t move back to that area.

    I guess my whole point is that my refusal to move back to that area has nothing to do with how much I love my husband. I love him with my whole heart. But we won’t last if I move back to that area (I had health issues there and it is difficult for me to find work). But I am willing to find some middle ground. And he is willing to accept what I am able to give. Is there a compromise location that you and fiance can agree on? Is there a way to approach the discussion so that it seems like you are making the decision together as a way to start you new life? I know my husband and I had this discussion before we got engaged so he knew what he was buying so to speak. I was fully prepared to lose him in choosing to move. It is not an easy decision, but preparing yourself to lose your fiance may be the other thing that you want to consider if moving means that much to you. But please don’t think that’s a reflection of yor love for each other. There are so many more components to consider in a relationship than just love.

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    spark plug January 27, 2012, 10:07 am

    “My work situation is terrible, and there are no more jobs in my industry here in his hometown (my family lives halfway across the country). Now that it’s become apparent I need to move to continue in my career (I’m a TV journalist) he says he’s never leaving his hometown”

    I’ve never been in this situation so I can’t offer advice on the relationship side, but I’m currently in a position of having to reconsider careers.

    If there actually is work in the LW’s area but the work isn’t as glamorous as it could be somewhere else, I think I would probably think whether I can alter my expectations about my career. I’m looking for jobs right now, and I’m realizing that I might not be the right fit for my dream career – it’s scary to really have to rethink about your life path again, but sometimes we are put in that situation.

    Here are some things to consider:
    – why do you want this career (is it to be on TV, to provide information, to inform?)
    – what is your end goal and why
    – can you be happy by achieving these goals in another field?

    As others mentioned, also consider the fiance’s attitude. Is this just one sacrifice for the relationship or the first of many?

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  • Budj

    Budj January 27, 2012, 10:08 am

    I don’t blame the LW for wanting to move – small town news casts (at least around me) are very amateur, pay terribly, and not abundant. But if your fiance has a career blossoming and your career is somewhat of a gamble (for now – you don’t mention making any headway currently in that profession and I’m not saying you can’t) why would he want to move? You are also asking him to sacrifice the headway he has made for his career too.

    I would weigh out how much you want to go out and try and make your career dreams come true – maybe you guys need a break so you can try and do this and maybe he would be more open to the idea of leaving home when you started showing some successes in your profession?

    Another idea could be asking your fiance if he would be receptive to move if you got a job in TV journalism and really started making moves. Then you could try it out for a set amount of time, keep an LDR going, and if it is working out for your or not you two can figure out what the next steps are.

    I’m not optimistic he will want to leave though – from what I have seen his type of occupation has a very “good ol’ boys” club attitude making the networking important. It may come down to you deciding you can figure something else out where you are and stay with him or you need to call it off and go.

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    GatorGirl January 27, 2012, 10:22 am

    I think the LW and her BF need to take this list Wendy wrote and sit down and have sole searching conversation ASAP. To me, it sounds like this job issue may be the tip of an iceburg. They should go through this whole list one by one and have a real heart to heart. BOTH of them are going to have to make sacrifices to be in a happy and healthy relationship.

    I think I’m going to print this list out and make the BF go through it with me this weekend.

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    YouGoGirl January 27, 2012, 10:27 am

    This issue has revealed a fundamental incompatiability between the LW and her fiance that will probably make their marriage difficult. He is a “never leave the county” kind of person who is content to stay home with what is familiar and is not adventurous. She is a more adventurous person who likes to go places and try new things. If they get married, over time she is going to become bored of doing the same things and very resentful at her husband for all the lost opportunities.

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      Renee January 27, 2012, 12:17 pm

      “If they get married, over time she is going to become bored of doing the same things and very resentful at her husband for all the lost opportunities.”

      My fear as well.

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    Temperance January 27, 2012, 10:35 am

    It sounds like he misled the LW; he wasn’t “thrilled” about moving, but he knew the deal. His career is certainly movable, but hers isn’t, so hers should take precedence.

    LW, you need to have a talk with him, and not one where he just shuts down and says that you have to do what he wants. It’s not fair that you’re living near HIS family, where HE has a career, and where you have none of that.

    I really hope that he’s just being a butt right now. Mr. Temperance and I talked this morning about it, because Mr. Temperance’s mother wants to move near us, and I’m not okay with that.

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      jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 10:41 am

      Why is his career movable and hers isn’t? I’m sorry but the LW knew he wasn’t thrilled at the idea of moving. Neither one of them is in the wrong, they are both allowed to have their personal feelings on where they want to live, etc. And she moved to where he lives for her career at some point, making him think she was ok with living there. The problem with all of the above statements is that they both assumed things about the other, that maybe one day one of them would be ok with moving, that the other would be fine living where they are for the foreseeable future. They both should have talked about this sort of thing before they got engaged. Then though would have known how they both felt.

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        Lindsay January 27, 2012, 10:52 am

        His career is movable because you can find the same position all over the country. In TV journalism, there may not be a TV network in your town, or if there is, it may be one in which you are much too under- or overqualified for the positions. I’m not sure why that seems far-fetched. There are plenty of jobs that are harder to find in some parts of the country.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 27, 2012, 10:56 am

        Check out GuyFriday’s post above. Gives some good insight into the LW’s fiance’s situation.

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        jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 11:00 am

        I agree, I think it perfectly spells out why his job is no more movable than hers. The fact of the matter is, she is asking him to make a big change. She needs to at least own up to the fact that it’s a big thing she’s asking.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 27, 2012, 11:07 am

        I agree, and I think maybe that’s the heart of this issue- she doesn’t seem to realize that what she would be asking of him is a BIG DEAL. Just as big as him asking her to forego her dream career in order to stay with him. I wonder if she has acknowledged this to him? I think it would be entirely different if she had been offered a really good job in her field somewhere else- in that case I think the fiance would probably be more willing to move with her, or at least consider the idea or a compromise.

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    6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 10:44 am

    (no offense to anyone) but I absolutely hate the response “You’re asking him to do the same thing.” First of all — no she isn’t. She has no options to pursue her chosen career in his hometown, and he would have options in hers.

    Second, that can be said anytime anyone has any preference adverse to anyone else. “I want chinese food tonight” “I want Italian.” Complaint: I never get to choose where we go to eat. Response: well, you are asking him to sacrifice what he wants and are unwilling to sacrifice not getting what you wants. If you are unwilling, why do you expect him to be willing. It’s not fair to ask that he do something you are unwilling to do, so go to Italian.

    Which I think is bullshit. the answer is of course to “compromise.” But you can’t compromise in one singular instance. In my example, the best compromise is — alternate choosing restaurants so you both get what you want sometimes.

    The only way to compromise in a singular instance is either to pick a third option that you both like better than the other person’s choice, or someone has to give in.

    In this situation — the third option is not possible because he is adverse to living anywhere else, not just her chosen location. Maybe the better compromise would be “go away now and come back later”. that’s what I plan to do. I want to move home when its time for kids, but I’m much more flexible where I want to live now. Maybe you guys can take it from a “singular instance” situation to mulitple instances, so that there is room for a fair compromise that everyone gets what they want at some point, rather than one person just needing to give in.

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      jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 10:57 am

      My issue with this is that they got in to an engagement from what it seems assuming things. I’m going to guess he assumed she was fine living where she was, while she assumed he would probably change his mind about moving. And I think what people are saying is that she is asking him to give up his current position and he would be put in to a situation where he has to start over, that’s a big deal to ask. I think she needs to at least be willing to admit that what she’s asking him to do isn’t easy either.

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        6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 11:12 am

        But she has admitted that — she explained that he’d lose his connections, which is admitting that he has something to lose and it will be difficult for him.

        Why have we stopped giving LW’s any benefit of the doubt?

        I have been where she is. Basically, my opening line when meeting people is “hi, i’m 6napkinburger and eventually I am moving to X to raise my family. What’s your name?” And my last ex knew it and was ok with it. At the time, we lived close to his parents and friends. And as time went on, it became clear he was way less ok with the idea of moving away in a few years (baby-having time). And that was going to become a real dealbreaker.

        So I guess, I don’t think it matters very much that she was ok living there, and originally he thought she would be cool staying. It seems that SHE thought she’d be cool staying. But people change and desires change and people move for all sorts of reasons. So when it became clear that it wasn’t ok with her anymore, that’s all that matters. Of course, I was frustrated that I was as clear as possible about what I wanted upfront. But he couldn’t help not wanting to leave. Which just left us where we were — what are you going to do about it. It is sufficiently important to me to be able to pursue my career and live near my family to raise my kids that I would leave the man I loved for it. Mainly because I wouldn’t want to be with someone who would move me to /seek to keep me in a place where I couldn’t pursue my career, which is an important part of who I am.

        And yes, I would also want a man who sufficiently loved me to be willing to make that sacrifice to make me happy, EVEN if i was not willing to do the same, because he knew I valued it so highly. He may care about living near his family, but i REALLY REALLY care. And so I probably wouldn’t work well with someone who also REALLY REALLY cares.

        Of course its a big deal to ask, but it doesn’t seem like she’s taking it lightly or being flippant. She is considering ending a marriage before it starts over this. She gets that its a big deal. But I don’t think she’s wrong in demanding what she needs to be happy in life, even if that means at this moment, him sacrificing something that she does not immediately reciprocate.

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        jlyfsh January 27, 2012, 11:25 am

        it just doesn’t seem to me like she’s putting the same value on his choices as she is hers those, at least from my perspective. just as much as he would be chosing his job over his wife, she’s saying she wants to chose a location/job over a husband. i think we basically have two people who should have talked about this before the engagement. and it doesn’t just matter that she changed her mind, she’s perfectly right to do that. but, likewise he’s perfectly right in feeling the same way he did 4 years ago about not moving. i guess my point is, she shouldn’t be so surprised that he isn’t willing to move. he let her know up front that’s not something he really wanted to do.

        and i think your second to last paragraph sums up the current situation the LW is in. they both seem to really really care about where they end up living. creating an impasse of sorts. they both are going to have to sacrifice. i think that’s what i am missing from the LWs letter. she makes it seem like she’s doing all the sacrificing. when in reality he would be doing more than just losing a few contacts at work.

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        oldie January 27, 2012, 11:37 am

        No she hasn’t admitted that with the statement ‘he’d lose his connections’. He’d lose more than his connections, he’d lose his job. She also underestimates how much a part of being able to do his job those connections are and, likely, how much those connections depend upon having grown up with those people. She is just conveniently assuming that his job is ‘portable’ and that he can get an almost as good one in the same field in her hometown. That’s a big assumption. We don’t know that she can get herself as good a job as the one she now has in her hometown. We just know that she wants to move and go joint job hunting in her hometown. So, let’s at least phrase the conundrum correctly. It is not about jobs. It is about both wanting to live surrounded by their birth families. To couch this in totally unmanipulative terms, it is alright if location is a deal breaker for one or both of them. It is not a fair test of ‘love’ to say your bf doesn’t love you enough to give up something dear, when you know that you are not willing to give up the same something dear for him. To do so is to be of the mindset that you want to be the least loving partner in the relationship, so that you have the power.

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        6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 11:56 am

        You say that she is “conveniently assuming” but that is again refusing to give the LW the benefit of the doubt. And she hasn’t even said she wants to live in her hometown, just that her family is far away. My guess is right now, she’d want to move to a place that offers the best prospects for her job. And it doesn’t say she is going to move first and job hunt later. It says that she realizes that her job prospects are basically non-existent and she is worrying about marrying him knowing this is how she feels. It doesn’t say she is planning on packing up and moving them both tomorrow.

        Giving the LW the benefit of the doubt, if her BF agreed to move somewhere, they would pick a location, would both start job-hunting and interviewing, and scoping out living options. However, if this becomes a deal breaker, she will cancel the wedding and start doing that by herself. Nothing in her letter indicated that she was rash or foolish enough to just guess that they’d get jobs.

        My job is somewhat portable. It would require re-certifications and tests, and it is an incredibly tight job market, but it technically is portable. Bond-traders do not have portable jobs. Neither do hedge funds managers. There are some jobs that are and some jobs that are not. a Criminal Investigator is portable. Not easy, but the profession exists outside of one singular location. TV journalism is far more limited and specific, especially in the “big time”.

        It could be a power struggle, or it could be a struggle to set up a situation to be happy.

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        oldie January 27, 2012, 1:18 pm

        TV journalism is not limited. There are TV stations almost evrywhere and big stations within a few hundred miles of just about any place in the country.

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        EB January 27, 2012, 1:44 pm

        I disagree. It’s an extremely competitive field and jobs are limited. In the beginning, to get one’s foot in the door(or face in front of the camera) it often requires willingness to move and live just about anywhere. A girlfriend of mine is now an on-air anchor in a major city but she had to spend most of her 20’s moving every 2 or so years (often to places that would not be of her choosing) in order to build up her resume and experience.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 27, 2012, 1:52 pm

        If that’s the case and that is what the LW really wants to do then I don’t see how this relationship is going to pan out.

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        EB January 27, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Yeah, I don’t know if this relationship will pan out even if she doesn’t move (this situation already seems to be breeding major resentment) …

        and I don’t know if her career will pan out even if she does
        ( in the world of TV journalism, I know wayyyyyy more people who have thrown in the towel and left than those who have stayed and succeeded).

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        Kristen January 27, 2012, 4:04 pm

        This is the part that’s hard for me to resolve. I get that she’s passionate about TV journalism and wants the chance to pursue her dreams, but it’s hard to justify moving for the *chance* she’ll make it when he already has a great job in his field where they are.

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      oldie January 27, 2012, 11:27 am

      I don’t see at all why it’s bullshit. You say that she can’t pursue her chosen career in his hometown. That’s obviously not true, because she already is doing that. She says she doesn’t like her job. That is not insignificant but also not the same thing. First, we have no idea whether or not her current job will improve. Second, we don’t know whether or not she can get a job that she’ll like better in her hometown. From her phrasing, I think we do know that she came to this town and took this job on her own, before she got together with her now fiancee, so it is not as if those were decisions made and options sacrificed for him.

      I think before she moves home or anywhere for a better job, in today’s economy, she ought to at least have an actual job offer. I also thinks she underestimates how easy it will be to transfer her fiancee’s career to her hometown.

      Maybe there is no compromise and they just aren’t a good match, based entirely upon where each is willing to live. Obviously they can’t both live surrounded by their own family. But the argument does cut both ways, as Wendy says. Neither is being more selfish than the other. If anything, the argument tilts slightly in his favor, because she chose to come to his town, presumably to take that particular job, met him there, fell in love with him there, was happy enough there to decide to marry him, I’m guessing all the while knowing that he’s quite attached to the place. Then she got homesick, either independently of or causing her to become unhappy at work. She’s change her mind on where she wants to live. That is her right, but it doesn’t make him the bad guy or Wendy’s argument bullshit.

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        6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 11:40 am

        I wasn’t saying that Wendy’s argument was bullshit. She had a lot of other points. And I certainly wasn’t only talking about her argument. I just hate that that’s the go-to response. Because it doesn’t consider the WEIGHT that people put on their preferences.

        In my dinner example, the way that it usually works in a one-instance situation is that whoever cares the most wins, unless the other person REALLY hates it. If I’m dying for chinese and my friend was thinking italian, we’ll probably go chinese because I care way more than she does and vice versa. But if she had chinese for lunch, we’ll probably not, because that trumps, because her desire not to go is greater than my desire to go. If they really are equal, we’ll probably postpon and both do what we want.

        So I think it is too easy to jump to “its unfair ask him to do what you won’t do.” It’s only unfair if they both care the same amount. Otherwise, its asking someone to sacrifice a little of their happiness for a shit-ton of yours. And someone who loves you should be willing to do that. If they really both care the same amount, then that sucks. But it could very well be that a boyfriend would derive more happiness units from being with a particular woman than living in his hometown. If that was the case, it isn’t unfair to ask him to do this, even if she would be unwilling to do it for him. Because it isn’t necessarily unfair, I strongly dislike that go-to response.

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        oldie January 27, 2012, 1:14 pm

        If one takes anything from what the LW wrote, it is that he also cares very much about where he lives and that his job is linked to that location, in addition to his family being there. It just seems strange that they’ve been together as long as they have, that his position has been clear from the start, and that this is suddenly a deal-breaker for her. Her whole point seems to be that whereas he formerly said something like “I don’t want to” about moving, he is now saying something more like “hell no”. It really sounds like she knew his position from the start, but thought she could use the depth of his love to change him and has now discovered that he is who he is. This is just another slant on the classic problem of don’t get engaged to a guy based upon what you think you can turn him into, get engaged based upon what he already is. To hope you can drastically change him on a significant issue that you know he cares about is foolhardy. I think LW just now realizes she has stepped into that trap. Either that, or she has just recently become unhappy living where she lives. In any case, I reject the ‘test of how much you love me’, which is predicated upon the other party having to change something fundamental about their life/self, which you knew in advance. It is like leading the guy on for years and then pulling a bait and switch after you’re engaged.

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        6napkinburger January 30, 2012, 3:14 pm

        I guess I just don’t understand your seeming hostility towards the LW. You charge her with “manipulation” (above), “using the depth of his love to change him”, “leading the guy on”, and “bait-and-switch”. It doesn’t really sound like anything of the kind. And if it were so horrible and disgraceful for her to question this issue, no couple would ever move because one of them had a better oppurtunity for a job. But that happens all the time, and she’s wondering why that is so unreasonablefor her to want it too. We often give advice for people to move to be closer to their partners, or to move with their partners. But she is entitled to change her mind about living in his town, even if she originally on board. She is allowed to have thought he would be more flexible than he is. Yes, it would be more difficult for him to move his practice than not to move his practice. And it is reasonable for him to not to want to move so much that he is willing to let her walk away. But there is nothing manipulative about asking him to make that decision and being disappointed that it went the other way than she had hoped.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 27, 2012, 12:04 pm

        I think the issue is that right now, from the looks of the letter anyways, the fiance has “all”- he gets to live where he wants, be near his family and keep the job he likes. Conversely, the LW has “none”- there are no jobs in the field she loves there, she is far away from her family and she has no particular attachment to the location. That’s not fair.

        If she’s willing to give up her career because she loves her fiance, that’s fine….but is he always asking her to make sacrifices? Like, are they not going to have children until HE decides he’s ready? When they go on vacation, is it always where he wants to go? Do they spend every weekend at his parent’s place because that’s what HE wants? Will they live there forever because HE wants to? If this is just the beginning of a long line of sacrifices the LW will be making, I think she should think long and hard about Captain Inflexible’s redeeming qualities.

        However, maybe the opposite is true: maybe the LW is “putting her foot down” and saying “i need to live HERE, and you’re either in or out”. That’s totally unfair. We can’t tell just from this letter, but what we CAN see is that neither of them have approached this in a mature/rational way.

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    kittyk January 27, 2012, 10:52 am

    This letter hits home for me right now. While I don’t live far from my hometown now (couple hours drive) I do miss being so close to my family and friends. I moved here to be with my boyfriend a few years ago because his job was more stable than mine at the time (his family is here, there, and everywhere) but have let him know over the years that I don’t see myself here forever, and most likely want to settle down closer to my family.

    I’ve recently brought up moving back to my hometown in a very general way, not immediately, but as a possibility in the future and its becoming clear from his not wanting to discuss it or listen to my reasonings at all that this will likely become a larger issue for us. I think I’m avoiding really getting into it as well because I don’t want this to be our undoing. To be honest, I’m not unwilling to stay here or compromise in some way, but his unwillingness to take my feelings on the matter to heart has me hurt and worried.

    Sorry LW, not much helpful insight for you, just another anecdote to show you that you’re not alone and a lot of couples find themselves in situations like this for various reasons. Best of luck to you.

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    oldie January 27, 2012, 11:06 am

    Something seems a little off-kilter and overly black-and-white about LWs description of her problem. They are living in her fiancee’s home town and she can’t find suitable work there. He likes his job and doesn’t want to give it up. I know dozens of happily married couples who could be described like this at some point in their relationships. Aren’t there jobs in TV that LW can pursue, which are a reasonable commute from a house, which is a reasonable commute from fiancee’s job in his hometown? If they compromise on an hour commute, then she can get a TV job just about anywhere within a 200 mile radius of fiancee’s hometown and he can keep his job and stay close to his family.

    The key sentence seems to be the brief mention that her family lives across the country. It sounds like she is not looking for a place where she can get a new job, she is looking for a place close to her family, where she can get a new job. That doesn’t make her selfish any more than it makes him selfish for wanting to stay in his hometown. Having moved away from her family and now feeling she wants to move back, should at least giver her insight on how he feels.

    To make things equal and minimize resentments, perhaps they need to pick a third location, based on suitability for both of their jobs and both of their tastes in community, so that they need to adapt to a new location together, build a unique life for themselves, and visit both families equally.

    As Wendy says, the thought ‘if you really loved me, you’d choose living where I want to live over living without me’ cuts both ways. That makes it a strange argument for LW to pull out. At root, this may be a struggle over who is to have the power in the relationship. This is also a strange issue, since marriages work best when the power is shared equally.

    This may seem a leap, but I just see the LWs bad job situation as bogus. It is not like she already has a super job offer, which she is considering accepting. It sounds like she wants to move and go job hunting in her new location. That has both of them starting out unemployed.

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      6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 11:29 am

      Personally, I think that the third option sucks. It doesn’t seem like he doesn’t want to live near her family, it seems he only wants to live near his. It’s not like he has 100 happiness units at his home, she has 0, and at her hometown, she’d have 100 and he’d have 0. If they each need at least 50 happiness units to be satisfied, and the goal is to maximize their total happiness, they should go find a place where their total is greater than 100 for the best overall choice as a couple.

      However, it seems like he has 100 happiness units at his home, she has 0, and at her hometown, she’d have 100 and he’d have 0. and anywhere else, he has 0. If he’s going to have 0 anyways, if they aren’t going to live in his hometown, they should live near hers because their total is never going to be higher anywhere else than there. But he’s never going to choose to leave because no other place gives him above 50 happiness units. So, if that’s really the case, she’s going to have to move on and the third option won’t help.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger January 27, 2012, 11:43 am

        in the first paragraph: * and both his and her happiness other places range between 1-99

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      • avatar

        oldie January 27, 2012, 1:07 pm

        This seems like awfully arbitrary math. Why does she have 0 happiness points in a town to which she apparently willingly moved before even meeting this guy? There must have been something that drew her there. How do you know he would have 0 happiness points anywhere else. Nobody is like that. What you are saying is that if he doesn’t live in his home town, then any place else is equally good or bad for him. I’ve never met anyone like that. If he’s a rural small-town guy, he’ll like another rural small town more tha he’ll like a big city. As a writer above said, moving likely costs this guy his career.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger January 30, 2012, 3:23 pm

        Of course its arbitrary — I meant it to be arbitrary. Nor do I think that people work in extremes like this. But the theory is the same whatever their real numbers are –if their combined happiness in any other place cannot be greater than their combined happiness in his hometown, they shouldn’t move together; and if his happiness anywhere else is below his threshold, he won’t move anywhere else, regardless of how happy it makes her.

        If moving costs him his career and not moving costs her her career then, in your terms, they are both asking the other to do something they would not do themselves. Which means it probably won’t resolve itself.

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  • avatar

    va-in-ny January 27, 2012, 11:11 am

    To me, this sounds like the LW is issuing a test. All she wants to hear is that her fiance would be willing to give up anything for her. Would she make him actually do it? I don’t know, but knowing that he WOULD if she asked him to is ultimately all that she wants.

    Did anyone else get that vibe?

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle January 27, 2012, 11:51 am

      I’m sort of getting that vibe as well– not to say she’s being manipulative (I know relationship “tests” are often seen that way). It just seems like she wants him to be open to the possibility of moving, and hearing him say “absolutely not” is wreaking havoc on her as she questions his love, etc.

      With that said– although I very much sympathize and relate– it just doesn’t make sense to have the fiance leave his stable job in order for her to search for a potential job elsewhere.

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    • Leroy

      Leroy January 27, 2012, 12:05 pm

      I wonder about that, because it’s not like she has anything else lined up. She just wants him to be willing move anywhere that she might be able to find work. It’s not like she has an offer from CNN and he’d at least know where she’s asking him to move. And as a practical matter, it would be foolish for both of them to move somewhere without jobs lined up.

      Also I have the impression that she feels that her career is more worthy and important than his, which is why she’s offended that he won’t commit to following her wherever she might end up.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 27, 2012, 1:29 pm

        I got that impression as well for some reason, like she knows she can be a famous TV reporter, while he’s “just” an investigator..

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      • avatar

        mcminnem January 27, 2012, 2:34 pm

        I got that too, but I was afraid to say it in case it came off snarky….

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      • Leroy

        Leroy January 27, 2012, 2:55 pm

        I think it’s the way that she refers to his work, in comparison to his own. But it’s very easy to read too much into these letters.

        The funny thing is that they’ve probably been skirting this issue for some time, but haven’t wanted to confront it fearing the consequences. Now it’s coming to a head.

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  • avatar

    Calle January 27, 2012, 12:56 pm

    Eh, I’m siding with the LW on this one. It is incredibly difficult to break into TV journalism…You either have to take a low paying job at a station in a major city or try your luck at something in a medium sized market or small sized market. I get the feeling that LW may be in a true small town. If she is, the local TV station may be over two hours away. What bothers me is that is sounds like LW’s fiance won’t move because he doesn’t want to leave his family. It is wonderful to be close to your family, but when you get married you are supposed to put your spouse and children first. I understand if the LW’s fiance’s parents are significantly older or ill, but unless LW is asking him to move from one coast to the other I think he is being stubborn.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee January 27, 2012, 2:24 pm

    I agree with Wendy on this, there are certain large issues (living situations especially!) that need to be seriously discussed before entering marriage. Granted, maybe this feeling you had to move came out of nowhere, and that’s completely fine, but if you knew he was dead set on living this town, you probably figured it was not going to be well received. I completely understand that. We except the ones to love us to just go along with our plans because “that’s being supportive” but that’s not the case. We all have our own needs and preferences, separate from the ones we love.

    I was your fiance three years ago. My boyfriend (now-husband) got an incredible job at the height of the recession that had great pay, benefits, a generous amount of time off, and was his dream job. It was also in the middle of nowhere, chicken country in Maryland. Well, my PR aspirations weren’t going to take off there that was for sure. So, before we moved, he told me that he really wanted me there with him but respected my dreams, and he’d try to make it work if my dreams didn’t take me with him. I thought long and hard about it and was 50/50 on ending the relationship and moving elsewhere, even though I loved him, and I almost did. Finally, I decided that I loved him and cherished our relationship too much to let it come down to that.

    However, the reason I shared my story, is because, when it came down to it, it was my decision. He didn’t force me into it or expect me to do it because I loved him, he wanted to me to want to. We had open discussions about it for weeks before we came to an understanding.

    So, maybe you can try to explain yourself better to him and let him talk freely to you about why its important to stay vs. move, etc. Take your own feelings out of it, and just listen. Maybe you’ll reach a compromise and maybe you won’t, but you won’t get anywhere just expecting him to go along with whatever your plan is without talking.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ January 27, 2012, 3:31 pm

    My 2nd husband and I had this issue. When we first started dating I was very clear: I am not leaving Alaska. Period. He was from NJ (came up with the air force). Well, three years later, his parents bought us non-refundable tickets to NJ to MOVE there (all decided while I was out of it from neck surgery). I spent five months in hell.
    My career at the time was pretty specific. Alaska-based. Oil, north slope-related, prison, etc. I had all my contacts here. I knew nobody there. He at least had my connections and family connections to help him, and he was building a name for himself here in AK. It took me 18 months after getting back to AK before I found a job outside of my house because I’d been “outside”.
    He still refuses to move back to AK. He cites the cold weather as his reason (didn’t bother him before), and low dating prospects. *shrug* He isn’t finding many women on the east coast, and at least he’d see his kids, but that’s his perogative. He can have NJ. I wouldn’t take it for anything in the world.

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  • avatar

    Christy January 27, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I’m in a similar situation, LW. I am finishing my PhD program in a place I have been living for the past five years. My boyfriend grew up here, has a decent job here, and doesn’t want to leave. This is something I’ve known from the beginning of our relationship (we’ve been together two years).

    I’m looking for jobs in this area, but the job market is pretty tight, so it might come down to moving away (without him) or accepting a temporary job here. I’ve gone through a lot of the questions the commenters have mentioned, like “Doesn’t he love me enough to move?” and “Don’t I love him enough to make it work?” But as Wendy said, it’s not about love. Sometimes people have different priorities and needs.

    I like mandalee’s post because it’s true that whatever happens, you have a *choice*. You’re giving up something no matter what, but you have to feel comfortable and empowered knowing that you made the decision yourself.

    Here’s what I’ve decided so far: I just interviewed at a place a few hours away. If I get the job, I’ll probably take it and have a commuting relationship (fairly common in academia, actually) so that I can build up my resume and try to move closer within a few years. Otherwise I’ll deal with a one or two year position here. The important thing to me is to take the long view and think about how to put myself in the best position to have a career *and* be with him.

    I do think postponing the wedding is probably a good idea, at least until you know what your job prospects are (either finding a job elsewhere or going into a different job where you are). Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about wondering about this, though. Your relationship is just one part of your life!

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didnt January 27, 2012, 4:43 pm

      I can’t believe how common commuting relationships are in academia! In my department, there are 2 PhD candidates (out of 6) in that position right now. One’s husband is a postdoc in vermont (we’re in Ontario). She’s here 3-4 days a week and drives to the states on weekends to see him. I’m just blown away by their dedication to each other and to their careers, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for them. The other is an a slightly better position- she’s here, and her husband is in Toronto, which is about 2 hours away. My parents even did this for a couple of years, and I saw how difficult it was.

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    • avatar

      Sara January 27, 2012, 7:46 pm

      This comment is more for Christy than LW. My husband and I both finished our PhDs last year and had offers for temporary positions within days of each other. We both took the offers, and we now live about 7.5 hours apart. It’s been tough, but we’re surviving. Despite the difficulties, this move was a really good decision for us. I don’t think I would have been happy spending 5 years accomplishing a goal to not at least “try out” the profession–especially when I know so many talented people in my field who did not get job offers. Our situation is advantageous because there is an end-date associated with them– next year we’ll both be back on the market –with more impressive CVs. I think you are going about the job/relationship balance in a really healthy way. If you try to tell yourself that after spending years writing a dissertation and nurturing a relationship you’ll be happy with either one (rather than both), you’re probably not being honest with yourself. It looks like you’re being honest with yourself, and, for me, that was the biggest step. Good luck!

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      • avatar

        Christy February 1, 2012, 4:39 pm

        Thanks, Sara!

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  • katie

    katie January 27, 2012, 8:43 pm

    LW, i think this is a very simple thing. what is more important to you- your career or your fiancee?

    you need to have to talk with yourself before you do anything else.

    im not saying that a compromise couldnt happen or anything, but i think that the LW needs to think long and hard about what SHE wants for her life before she melds it with what her fiancee wants.

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  • avatar

    ForeverYoung January 27, 2012, 8:56 pm

    Pick the career. If he’s not willing to compromise now, or support you now, he won’t ever. The rest of your life will be on his terms. There really are plenty of fish in the Sea. And since you’re a TV journalist, i’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’re a hottie. I mean have you seen the news ladies? Who cares about murders when there’s a hott chick talking about…. I mean anything. So you can probably get another guy. This one probably just wants you to pop out babies and play cribbage with his grandma on sundays.

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  • avatar

    Kim February 1, 2012, 9:04 am

    Where I live there are limited available jobs for Attorneys and plenty of attorney’s fighting for those jobs. Normally I would just take another bar exam and move somewhere else desirable but my fiance (now husband) LOVES his job and he said he would move if I wanted. That made a big difference to me that he was willing to give up this job he loves and living near our families for me….so I could not ask him to leave his job he loves and I have taken an alternative position part time while I continue to search farther out within the state or bordering states. I think it makes a difference if your partner is willing to support you in your dreams as it makes you want to support theirs as well and find a compromise.

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  • avatar

    Lucylu April 6, 2014, 8:17 am

    Hi, seems like a tough decision. What have/ did you decide after?

    I have been with an amazing guy for 2 years. I met him near to my hometown when he was towards the end of a PhD. I have always lived close to my family and work.
    His family are 3 hours away.

    He has been currently living with me but has said that he is unhappy as the area we are living isn’t for him. There are no job opportunities for him. Yes he has a current job but that ends in a year and there aren’t a lot of other research jobs near.
    He has also expressed the desire to be a bit closer to his family and some other friends.

    I understand his point of view but can’t decide if I can move too far from my family. We are a close, small family and I lost my dad 2 years ago so my mum is on her own.

    It’s not the place that I’m attached to, it’s my family. I have never experienced living further away as uni was only 40 mins away for me so I could return if needed.

    I like the idea of living somewhere new and love my partner but just don’t know if I can do it.

    I sometimes feel that he is choosing his career etc over me but then that would be unfair of me as there isn’t anything else for him locally really.

    It’s the point of compromise or break for us now. I just don’t know what to do.
    We are only talking an hour away from my family, which is nothing for some people but huge for me. I don’t mind about finding another job in the future and understand that with my partner I would be creating a new family…which I totally want. I want to marry him and have babies with him.
    There is this niggling doubt though that I would be doing all the sacrificing and if so, what does that show about his feelings about me.
    He says he has worked 7 years studying and moved away from his family to get a good job and that’s what he needs to focus on. I’m like….what about me?!?
    What do you guys think? Our relationship is perfect in all other ways and living together is great.
    Am I being unreasonable? Should there be more compromise from him? I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed April 6, 2014, 1:44 pm

      You say that him moving for his career/to be close to her family is a what about you? Well what about him. You’re asking him to do the same thing. Ignore his needs for his career and family–when he is unhappy for you. That’s not fair. Either you need to compromise and be an hour away from your family, or break up

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    • Lyra

      Lyra April 6, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Yeah I’m with LadyinPurple. How fair is it to ask him to do it for you? It won’t work unless you compromise. Either you’ll be unhappy or he’ll be unhappy. With today’s technology and all being an hour from your family won’t be that bad, I promise you. I’m very close with my family as well and I’m about 50 minutes to an hour away from them. But it’s fine. I see them fairly frequently, I call often. Last year I was 8 hours away and that was incredibly tough for me so I totally see where you are coming from. BUT if you love your boyfriend as much as you say you do, you need to compromise. If you can’t do that, break up with him.

      Yes relationships do come with sacrifices and compromises. Yet, you are still own person and you still need to stand up for your own needs. I admire that about your boyfriend. He is standing up for what he needs in this. That’s something I didn’t do when I ended up moving for love.

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