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“In a Long Distance Relationship, Who Should Be The One to Move?”

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Couple embraced at airport!

I love your columns about long distance relationships, and had a question of my own: in an LDR, who should be the one to move?

My boyfriend and I have known each other for close to two years, and we have been dating a year next month. We have seriously discussed moving closer to each other, and we have both made visits to the other one’s town to get to know what it’s like. We’ve talked about marriage (and he even brought up the idea of kids), so we’re pretty serious about our relationship. We’ve also debated who should be the one to give up everything to move closer to the other. We both have a lot of family and friends, jobs, and other things that keep us tied to where we are. How should we choose who should make the move? — Going the Distance?

Yours is a question that has as many different answers as there are couples in long distance relationships. “Who should move” in an LDR is a deeply personal decision and dependent on a wide variety of factors. In short: there is no answer that will apply universally, but there are specific questions couples can consider to determine what is the right move for them.

Before I get to those questions though, I need to point out that, if either you or your boyfriend truly feels like you’d be “giving up everything” by moving, then the answer is probably “neither of you should move.” Yes, leaving a town you love, and a job and your friends and family, can be incredibly difficult, but if all of that represents “everything” to you and moving somewhere new, even with or to someone you love, feels like completely starting from scratch, it’s likely that you aren’t a good candidate for moving for love. Because LOVE, of all things, should be enough that everything else is still just … everything else and not everything period.

Now, semantics aside, there are legitimate reasons it’s more convenient, economical, and feasible for one party in a long distance relationship to move toward the other. There are also great reasons for BOTH parties to move somewhere new together. Here are six questions to ask yourselves to help determine if a move is better for one (or both) of you:

1. Whose job/career is more easily transportable?
If one of you works in, say, television, for example, and has a great job with a national network, it might be hard to move to, like, Montana where they don’t even have TV (Oh, I’m joking, don’t send me hate mail; I know there’s TV in Montana. It just happens to be blue with big clouds floating by all the time).

2. Does either of you have family who are physically (or emotionally) dependent on you? Conversely: is either of you so physically or emotionally dependent on family that you can’t leave them?
One of the reasons Drew was opposed to making the move in our long-distance relationship is because his father, a widower of many, many years, was getting on in age (he’s almost 94 now) and Drew knew how important it would be for him to remain physically close to help with any care-giving. I, on the other hand, lived in a city where I had zero family, let alone family who were in any way dependent on me.

3. Is one of you at a place in your education, career, or life that makes moving more feasible in the near future than it is for the other?
Another reason it made more sense for me to move to Drew rather than for him to move to me is because I was finishing grad school when we met and was at a logical place in my life to start over somewhere new. I was already in a place of transition, so it didn’t matter as much whether the next step took place in Chicago or in New York.

4. Does either of you have strong climate preferences that make your partner’s location particularly desirable or undesirable?
If one of you lives in, like, Minnesota and the other one hates cold weather, then that’s a big deciding factor. Or, if one of you is literally allergic to the other person’s city, that’s certainly something to consider. Or, if either of you has health issues — physical or mental — that are better managed in a certain climate, that is something to keep in mind.

5. What long-term education, career or family goals might affect where you live as well as potential future moves?
Basically, if one or both of you has goals that may necessitate future moves (or staying put), that’s definitely important to discuss. If, for example, you always dreamed of having your parents babysit your future children full-time and you can’t imagine ever leaving them in anyone else’s care while you and your partner work, that’s an important thing to discuss. Or, if you are in medical school and have no idea where you might end up for your residency, that is definitely something to consider.

6. How does cost of living in your independent cities affect each other, especially considering your long-term career and family goals?
If one of you dreams of being a stay-at-home parent but the other lives in a city and has a career that makes a single-income household impractical, then priorities need to be addressed. How important is staying home? How important is the city? How important is the career? You can’t plan everything, of course, but having some general ideas for Plan A and Plan B and Plan C can definitely help you think about what city and what path makes the most sense.

Bonus question:

7. Who has a larger/closer social network and who is more dependent on his or her local support system?
This question is challenging and certainly a bit loaded (“We both love our friends!”), but if you’re really honest with yourselves and with each other (and if you’ve had a chance to spend time with one another’s friends), then there’s probably one answer to this that’s stronger than another. Though, truthfully, had Drew and I thought about this before I moved, I think we really would have said that our dependence on and love for our social networks was equal. But because we were at an age when social circles naturally shift as friends couple up, get married, settle down, have children, and move to the ‘burbs or whatever, things have changed quite a bit. I moved to NYC thinking there was a built-in group of friends here for me simply because Drew had so many friends (many of whom were in couples where I liked both partners). What I didn’t realize was how little everyone actually got together and how much would change in the coming years. Looking back now, I see that it was my social circle that was probably closer — or at least more… actively social. And to this day, I miss my friends so, so much. BUT! In the 6 1/2 years I have been in NYC now, I have made a new support/social network. It’s different than my old one, but I’m different. I’m a wife and a mother now, and I have different needs and certainly different schedule and energy limitations than I did when I was single and in my 20s living in Chicago.

In short: life changes. What seems important to you NOW and what seems so impossible to “give up” may not even be part of your life three, four, five years from now, even if you don’t ever leave exactly where you are. If it comes down to choosing between love and choosing “everything else,” there’s one final question that may help you more than any other I listed: which is more likely to still be in your life five years from now? THAT is what you should fight to keep.

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

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avatar Sansa January 9, 2014, 9:15 am

WWS, obviously.

When I was with my ex fiance’, he was in Colorado and I was in New York. I’m in accounting which is easily transportable and he was out there for school. HOWEVER, it is difficult to transfer to another job while in another state. They often want people that already live in that state over those that are moving. I found that out when I breifly considered moving to Colorado before he started his PhD.

I was going to follow him when he finished his masters in Colorado to where he did his PhD because we had no idea where he would go for school. My sources tell me that he is in Boston and is doing well.

We had mutual friends so the social circle wasn’t a big deal, and my own friends were over 2.5 hours away and I don’t get to see them that often anyway.

Given the circumstances, I was going to be the one to move where he went.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 9:23 am

” They often want people that already live in that state over those that are moving” –thats interesting, ive never experienced that! but im sure it varies over industries, ect.

avatar Sansa January 9, 2014, 9:26 am

Yeah, I never received any hits on my resume’ that I sent out. The town that he lived in was a college town and was also very picky about the applicants that they selected, according to him. That was just Colorado though. So other states might be different

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 9:39 am

I don’t think so. I think its just easier to hire someone local. I’m surprised katie’s surprised haha.

avatar ktfran January 9, 2014, 9:57 am

I actually had a hard time finding a job when I moved from Florida to Chicago. I went six weeks without a job and before I found something. People wouldn’t even consider me until I was here. But, maybe that’s just industry. That was also five and a half years ago.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 11:07 am

so weird! i have gotten internships (paid), and then one other one, my job i got in denver was like almost long distance (they were worried about where i lived, but i assured them i was moving and the job was part of the reason), and then ive been transferred long distance.

CatsMeow CatsMeow January 9, 2014, 1:12 pm

I’ve been hired long-distance twice, and it was pretty easy for me. I flew out for interviews, though, so they realized I was serious.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 9:42 am

I experienced that when I was trying to move, and hadn’t been offered to work from home from my current job (does that makes sense?). I was sending out crazy applications and went on a few interviews and most said the hurdle of waiting for me to move (even if I only needed 2 weeks) was too much.

avatar bethany January 9, 2014, 9:59 am

At my job we’ve only ever hired on person from outside the PHL area in the 7 years I’ve been here. It’s just easier to interview/hire someone who’s already here.

Lindsay Lindsay January 9, 2014, 10:41 am

It does vary by industry, I think. In journalism, I would apply for jobs in different states, and never found that the in-state ones contacted me more than the out-of-state ones. I think some industries have more of a history of taking people from all over, and therefore are more comfortable with it.

avatar csp January 9, 2014, 12:16 pm

You are absolutely right about the job situation. I am a recruiter and unless you have a high demand skill set (like IT developer in a unique technology or are in an industry that only wants candidates from the same industry.) What I do tell people is that when you put a resume on a job board, put the location down that you want to move to as already living there. Then when you speak to the company, explain the situation. You can tell the recruiter that you are flying in on a certain date and see if you can set up an interview while you are there. That way the company doesn’t weigh if you are worth the cost of flying you out for an interview. I have a lot of candidates do Skype interviews as well.

avatar csp January 9, 2014, 12:18 pm

Also, companies in smaller metropolitan areas are more understanding to see people outside the area. It is a hard sell to have a company in NYC to fly someone in for an interview but a company in Indianapolis, IN is more willing because there isn’t such a big talent pool.

possumgirl Jenn January 9, 2014, 1:16 pm

As an HR Manager, I’m absolutely suspect of people who are moving from far away. What if I hire you and you change your mind? Are you looking for a free or partially subsidized trip out here? Do you truly have any idea how gadawful expensive it is to live here? (I’ve had 6 figure offers declined because of the cost of living. SF Bay Area)

The key to getting around that is to use your partner’s or a friend’s local address. The phone number doesn’t matter anymore, but that address can make all the difference. When/If called for an interview, all you need to say is that you’re still in the of wrapping up your job/obligations, moving between the two places, etc. Then be prepared to plunk down the fare for a last minute ticket. Of course, this depends on your career and financial situation, but if you are in a LDR, you’re most likely spending plenty on travel anyway.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 2:00 pm

When my now husband was looking for jobs to move near me while he was finishing school we definitely used my local address on his resume for just this purpose… of course once we got engaged he was able to speak to the definiteness of his moving when on interviews, etc. but I think having a local address helped considerably

katie katie January 9, 2014, 2:15 pm

” is that you’re still in the of wrapping up your job/obligations, moving between the two places, etc.” –maybe this is why i never had issues? because it was like, “oh, internship time, i would love to move to texas for that”, or “im graduating and moving back home” or “im moving to denver within the month”.

avatar lemongrass January 9, 2014, 9:18 am

It was so easy for me to decide to move to Mr. Grass’s city but then again, I was 19 and itching to get out of my hometown anyways. Even still, knowing that we couldn’t move anywhere (because of his career) and that if I stayed with him, where I live wouldn’t be my choice, was hard to take and it took me a couple years to fully get over that. Now though? I absolutely love where I live.

PS Wendy, there’s a typo: it should say Drew’s dad is a widower.

Dear Wendy Wendy January 9, 2014, 10:01 am

Oops, thanks.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 9:25 am

ah, day number three -in a row!! this is epic.

my first thought was: ” if either you or your boyfriend truly feels like you’d be “giving up everything” by moving, then the answer is probably “neither of you should move.”

personally, i dont see moving in this way- but ive moved many many times. if moving is “giving up everything”, you should not be in a relationship that requires a move, because relationships shouldnt need you to “give up everything”.

avatar Sansa January 9, 2014, 9:28 am

I didn’t see myself as giving up anything when I was considering the move. I saw myself as being with my partner and sacrificing family time for him, but not as giving up everything :)

katie katie January 9, 2014, 11:10 am

which you would have to do anyway, move or not, right? like we see every year the complications of the holidays and family time, for instance.

people sacrifice things that are all related to the questions wendy posted anyway if they get into an LTR. maybe not to the same degree, of course, but it happens regardless. you cant expect a relationship that will leave you with 100% of your old family dynamics, time spent with family and friends, home, potentially job (if kids are in the mix), ect. this is almost a moot point question.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 11:33 am

Yea, but there’s a massive difference between the two I think. Sure, I have to “sacrifice” time with my family now that I have Peter’s family to consider, but its like maybe half a day with my family rather than the whole day as opposed to just not seeing either of them much at all.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 2:13 pm

i guess i mean that change is inevitable. the capacity (a whole new city vs new dynamics) will be different, of course. but you have to embrace the change. its gonna happen whether you like it or not!

avatar SasLinna January 9, 2014, 9:30 am

It’s probably too early to decide who should move unless you want to live together in the near future. At a certain point, when future plans like marriage & children become more concrete, the decision can be made with the knowledge you’ll have about your situation by then.
What is important though is gauging your own (and your partner’s) general willingness to move. At least one person has to be generally willing, otherwise it cannot work out. For example, I have decided for myself that I’m ready to move for my partner under certain circumstances. However, these have not been realized so far and they might never become reality , instead he might move for me. But I know that it won’t be a dealbreaker because either of us is, in principle, willing to make the move.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 9:31 am

Dude Wendy, this might be my most favorite answer ever.

I moved 900 miles to be with my now husband because of basically all of those questions. I was offered to work from home, I had little family ties, he was part of the way through a PhD, he lived in Florida where it doesn’t snow (duh), and its SO MUCH CHEAPER HERE! Boom, decision made. Also, it’s warm here, did I mention that? haha. Plus I think I’ve always been a Southerner at heart even though I was born in the Northeast.

avatar bethany January 9, 2014, 9:35 am

You and your warmness. Grrrr. So mad at you right now!
:)

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 9:36 am

come visit! It was 23 last night though…but supposed to be almost 80 this weekend. Our farmers strawberries got damaged in the frost though, booooooo.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 9:45 am

Oh, wah. Poor strawberries. My limbs got damaged in the frost.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki January 9, 2014, 11:31 am

Haha I was thinking the same thing. I’m pretty sure my extremities still haven’t thawed from our -65 wind chill. I’m just happy not to live in Canada or Alaska or anything like that.

avatar lemongrass January 9, 2014, 12:22 pm

Not all of Canada is cold! My winter has been an average of 45 F.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 2:03 pm

You were born a snowbird GG… you just didn’t wait till retirement to go for the warm, less taxed Florida living :-)

Northern Mermaid Northern Mermaid January 9, 2014, 5:27 pm

I haven’t had a strawberry that tasted like a strawberry since I moved to AK. I’m envious of your year round strawberries, GG

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 5:44 pm

We don’t actually get year round strawberries from our CSA, it’s too hot to grow them from like May to November. So only like 3 months of the year do we have the awesome one’s. Our growing season is like the reverse of everyone else’s- it’s too hot in the summer for anything to grow, but winter is mild enough. it’s weird.

avatar bethany January 9, 2014, 9:34 am

WWS. If you really go through each of these questions honestly, you’ll have your answer.

avatar caro May 19, 2014, 8:47 pm

silliest of questions… what is WWS?

Classic Classic May 20, 2014, 1:54 am

WWS means “What Wendy Said.” It is the same for any commenter. For example, I could say WCS right here and that would mean “What Caro Said.” It just means that you agree with what they said :)

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 9:36 am

The boy?

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 9:45 am

I can’t even imagine moving away for someone. When my sister recently did this, my boyfriend and I both kinda looked at each other like, hmm, not too sure I’d be willing to do that for you even today. I mean, I guess if we HAD to, but how sad for someone like us who could never move to fall in love with someone who requires a move.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 9:50 am

Its so fascinating to me how differently people think about this…because location is so low on my list of *things*. I’ll move just about any where for GGuy’s job (and it’s likely we will move to some weird places), and did move super far when we where “just dating”. I think I would have felt stagnant staying in the same area I grew up in.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:02 am

Same here GG. I guess I just like where I grew up and hate change? I think having a kid makes a difference too, at least in my circumstance. I love that she’s experiencing a similar childhood to me (same school even). I also have a lot of family here that I couldn’t leave. It amazes me that my siblings were able to move so far. I hate it. Like HATE it. I’m a different person when they are home. Much happier.
Thank god for dw though. My sister just moved really far for a guy and I fight myself internally to not take it as something she did “to me.” There is a part of me that feels abandoned, or like she picked a guy over me. DWers stories about moving have helped me try to get over those feelings.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:11 am

I love where I grew up, and I love visiting (I also moved back for 3 years post college before moving for GGuy). But there is a whole big world out there to explore! And living in different parts of the country has widened my world view a lot. I used to think the whole world was just like the Main Line in Philly, and well it’s not! (not trying to say your wrong or nuts or anything!)

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:15 am

Yea, I definitely have a small world and because of that, need to travel and read about other places/people to not be so small minded because of it. I’ve only once been somewhere I could even imagine living though. I’m always happy to come home after being away. I’m sure some people think I’m nuts, and I can’t really be sure I’m not haha. I did just move a hot minute away from my mom after all. I think I’ll try to venture out from my bubble once Lil leaves home (hopefully never! jk. not really)

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:23 am

oooooo where would you live??

I’ve lived in PA, NC, and FL and have loved and hated parts of each. I’m excited to try somewhere new in a year or so when GGuy graduates.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:27 am

I’d love to be super adventurous once Lil is much, much older and move to like Tuscany or somewhere crazy, but I could see myself moving to Maine one day. Its the only other place I’ve felt could be like home and Peter feels the same way so it could happen one day (likely not til our parents are gone though, which is a sad thought). Every summer we say let’s move and just come “home” once a month.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:53 am

Ewwww it’s so cold there. haha.

I am a little worried about how moving could affect children (down the line) but we think GGuy’s career will be more established by the time they are in school (5ish years or so) and we’ll “settle” somewhere for a while. But, I changed schools like 4 times between 1st and 12th and I turned out fine so.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:58 am

Yea, we’ve never been there in the winter, so of course in my small-minded head its always sunny and the stores don’t close at the end of the season. haha. Damn, you just ruined my only plan to move!
I think moving a bit is good for kids…they adapt to change better maybe.

avatar Christy January 9, 2014, 12:32 pm

@LBH, I went to Maine last year during a blizzard. It was cold. And snowy. But I got the sense that you get used to it, in the same way you get used to everything. You learn to drive in the snow, you learn to drive 20 minutes to the grocery store, you learn to layer. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it wasn’t that bad, all told. It helps if you like things like snowshoeing.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 12:40 pm

Christy, where’d you go in Maine?

avatar Christy January 9, 2014, 12:59 pm

I was in Sedgwick, which is a small town (or former town, really) near Deer Isle.

avatar lemongrass January 9, 2014, 10:16 am

My dad and one of my sisters moved to different continents to be with their spouses.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:27 am

Were you hurt?

avatar lemongrass January 9, 2014, 10:48 am

Nope because my dad moved to be with my mom 35 years ago so is in canada now. I miss my sister but not enough that I would want her to stay. I’m happy for her.

avatar kerrycontrary January 9, 2014, 10:43 am

I think it’s really interesting as well. I can see such a huge difference in people who moved away for college/school and who didn’t. Your worldview is just expanded by moving away for even a few months. Like I didn’t meet people from difference economic levels until I went to college. I knew Jewish people, but I didn’t have a ton of jewish friends until college. I barely even saw a ton of racial diversity in my day to day life until grad school. Ideally I’d love to settle down for the next 30 yrs in a house and a town, but my fiance and I both love our jobs and know we’re going to have to move for our careers so it is what it is. I do agree that if you have a child in a school system then it is way harder to move.

avatar ktfran January 9, 2014, 11:02 am

I’m not sure where to put this in this thread, but . . .

I, as the oldest. was always super independent from my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I love family and I love visiting. But I always felt this need to experience different things and as soon as I graduated high school, I haven’t lived in my hometown for than a couple months. And that was only two summers while in college.

Now, my two younger sisters who grew up exactly the same way, are completely different. One still lives in our hometown and sees my parents several times a week. She probably talks to my mom three times a day. And the other sister lives in Chicago too, but she goes home as much as possible. All her vacations are taken with the family and she is upset if she feels she misses out on anything.

I just think it’s interesting that we’re so different even though we grew up in the same environment. But my mom also knew I would be the one child of hers that would leave easier than the others.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 11:21 am

my mom has said similar things about me. shes not mad about me moving or doing whatever, because she knew it would be the choice i picked.

and also, im the oldest, and my little sister has recently said she doesnt ever want to leave colorado. which i do get, colorado is like one of the happiest/fittest/best places to live, but it is interesting how that has played out.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 11:30 am

That’s interesting. I’m the oldest girl. My brother is the oldest though, and he has moved all over for schooling, but said he thinks he’ll end up back on our coast once he’s done.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:34 am

Hmmmm….I’m the youngest (of two…older brother) and I’m the one who left home for school and hasn’t looked back, while my brother has stayed at home, and is now working in the family business.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 11:37 am

I’m such a psycho about this topic. If it were up to me, I’d just have all my family living in a commune on my property. Haha. I can’t wait for everyone to eventually move back home. I hope they do. Do you think you would ever move back?
That said, I don’t think I could ever work for my family business if there was one.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 11:39 am

So, maybe the fact that my family lives on a compound and all works together is part of the reason I don’t wish I lived there? It’s super stressful and there is like no privacy. And no one knocks.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 11:40 am

Ha, maybe I would hate it too. Good point!

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:40 am

Oh I could NEVER work for the family business. I love my family, but no way in hell would that happen.
If it was just my decision, I probably wouldn’t move back. If I stay with my boyfriend, he has said he wants to move where I’m from and in that case, I would.

avatar ktfran January 9, 2014, 11:51 am

All this stuff fascinates me! My dad’s oldest brother also left home and never came back. The other siblings all live in the same town.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 11:17 am

“location is so low on my list of things” –thats the best way ive seen this put. im the same way. i have ties to people, and food, and its not like i dont have *opinions* on where i live, it just is so low on my list of things that i want or like or love that it almost doesnt factor in.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 11:31 am

I agree. The only reason location is even on my list is because I can not stand super cold weather. Otherwise, anywhere east of the Mississippi and south of Pennsylvania is wide open to me. And I would consider almost anywhere else so long as GGuy bought me a new jacket and boots with his first paycheck.

avatar bethany January 9, 2014, 10:05 am

I think family dynamics and how you grew up really influence your “ability” to move. I’d have a very hard time moving far away from my parents. Dave would need to be offered the *perfect* job for me to even consider it. I have a hard time imagining living more than a few hours drive from them. Also, my parents moved to my hometown when I was 1, and have lived in the same house ever since. If we’d grown up moving around a bit I think I’d feel really differently about it.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:15 am

Yea that’s a good point. I wonder if most people who move a lot moved a lot when they were kids.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 2:10 pm

I didn’t move at all when I was a kid… my childhood house is still the house (and still the place to stop by when I go home for holidays and want to meet up with friends) and my mom lives about 2 miles from where she was raised as a child… so you would think I hate moving but I don’t at all (perhaps I get a bit of the nomad from my dad).

I feel like moving around and getting resettled, familiar in new places is a great skill to learn if you want to – but it is better to start early as I think it is one of those things that is harder to do the longer that you wait. I went far away for college (which made me appreciate home so much more than I would have if I didn’t leave) and that transition was so so hard… but once I did it, albeit in the easy to meet new people and explore places setting of college, I DID IT!! All future moves haven’t been that bad at all once I realized that I can survive and there are things I like to do when exploring someplace new – whether for school or internships or jobs, etc. Now the thought of “starting over” doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but if I had never done it before I don’t know if I would want to start now ;-)

avatar MissDre January 9, 2014, 10:20 am

I could never ever move away from my family. I lived in another city for a year while I was in grad school and I was so depressed. I called home and cried everyday. I’m very very close with my mom and my brother and his wife and I just could not leave them. Especially now that I’m working for the family business and I love my job so much. Thankfully my boyfriend has said that he never wants to leave this city either, because to be honest I don’t think I could follow him and be happy.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:21 am

I moved a fair amount as a kid, but it was all with in one county in PA. So I don’t think that affects my opinion much. Other than maybe the building isn’t home, it’s the people in it? If that makes sense…

On an weird note I still call my parents house “home” even though I haven’t lived there in 3+ years.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:24 am

That’s interesting about calling it home still. I wonder if that will ever change. I keep referring to “our” bedroom as MY room and can’t stop myself. I think it makes sense that its the people in it that make it home though, not the building.

avatar bethany January 9, 2014, 10:42 am

I haven’t lived in my parent’s house in 14 years. It still is, and will always be home to me. Eventually when my parents sell that house, I’m going to have a really, really hard time with it.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana January 9, 2014, 11:42 am

Bethany I am the same way. We have lived in the same home since I was 6 and although I haven’t physically lived there in a few years and have traveled far and wide, every time they talk about selling it I freak a little bit. I know the majority of my siblings feel the same way. I think of all of my siblings I am the least dependent upon my parents and least attached to my home though. I hate my home town (suburbs of DC) and have lived in many different places since I graduated college. I love moving new places and find it hard to stay anywhere for more than 2 years. That said, I lived in Europe for awhile and ended up moving back because I wanted to be closer to my family as they started to have major life events (sister having babies, brother getting married, little sis getting engaged) I think I will eventually move away again, probably overseas but for now it is nice to be around when all of this happens. For me its like this huge struggle I face, I want to be off and exploring and doing my own things but my friends have all stayed in the same place since we graduated college and its hard to be away from them, and although my family is semi spread out everyone is at least within a 7 hour car ride so it was hard to be the only one off doing my own thing. It sucks when people are so content to be in the same place (which I am envious of) and I feel like nothing will ever be enough, so keep traveling on.

mandalee mandalee January 9, 2014, 10:46 am

See, my parents and 90% of my extended family lived (and still live) in the same very small, very familiar town. We lived in two houses during my childhood and they were only blocks away from each other. And honestly, I think that pushed me even more into wanting to see what else the world had to offer. I’ve never been more than a 6 hour drive away from my family, which is close enough without it being a pain to visit.

Miel Miel January 9, 2014, 1:48 pm

In a way, I feel like the fact that my family never moved (I’ve lived in the same house since I was born) contributes to the fact that I like traveling and moving around. Like this summer when I moved out of the house and moved to the US, I knew my parents would still live in the same house no matter what. And so whatever happens to me, I can always come back and find things just the way they were. I think it would be a lot scarier if every time I visited they were living in a new city or something. I would have no “hometown” anymore.

avatar d2 January 10, 2014, 12:21 am

On my mother’s side of the family, I was the fifth generation to be born and raised in my small hometown – not in the local area, but in the exact same town. I moved away after high school and only occasionally go back to visit. My sister stayed there and had a son, who just had a baby – so now the streak is at 7 generations born and raised in the same town.

avatar kerrycontrary January 9, 2014, 9:38 am

I think the “everything” may just be semantics, so I’m not going to look too deeply into that. If I gave up my job, my family, and my friends to move in with a partner I would say I was sacrificing a lot for the relationship, but it seems like her and her boyfriend are willing to do that. We’ve made the decision on who moves purely based on who makes the most money. We can both live pretty much anywhere and make friends anywhere. I know if we move out of the area I’m going to have to give up a job/company that I love and I probably won’t find one that is as good, but it’s something we’ve both come to terms with.

I think Wendy’s question number 7 is really important. I have a friend that moved for her long-term boyfriend and eventually she realized that her happiness was strongly dependent upon being around her family and long-term social network. She made the very hard decision to move back home but she was instantly a LOT happier. Do either of you feel a very strong connection to a place, so much so that you can’t imagine living anywhere else? Are either of you homebodies that will have difficulty making friends in a new town?

avatar Shadowflash January 9, 2014, 9:45 am

All very good questions to ask each other (and yourself).

Part of what makes them good is that they don’t just influence *what* you do, but *how* you do it. For example, if the one with the tighter social circle ends up being the one doing the leaving, you could maybe stretch out the transition period so there’s some easing of “transplant shock”. Knowing you don’t plan to have kids for a while probably means you’re looking to get an apartment (presumably together, but possibly not) rather than buy a house.

For that matter, if social circles get to be an important factor, it might be smart to not leap straight to living together. The transplant might want to live on his/her own for a while and develop their own friendships, if just to feel invested in their new home. I say this because I recently graduated college and moved back to my hometown with one of my roommates, who is originally from Chicago. She has encountered some insecurity because she feels like all her friends here are people she knows through me, and if our roomie relationship goes south I’ll take all the friends and leave her alone in a strange city. It’s a totally legitimate fear for anyone to have, but–ironically–not something I can help with.

Lindsay Lindsay January 9, 2014, 9:51 am

Wendy has some good questions to think about. I personally found it a little odd that you didn’t mention what each person though about the respective city they’d be moving to. Be sure you’re basing the decision on actual preferences and facts, and not viewing whoever moves as the “weak” one who gave in and made a sacrifice.

Also, I’m going to assume that you’ve never moved before because as someone who has moved a lot, I never see it as giving up everything. You may leave friends and jobs, but there will be other friends and jobs where you go in the future, so keep that in mind (for whoever moves).

mandalee mandalee January 9, 2014, 10:12 am

Wendy had so many great points in her answer! When I moved to be with my husband, I didn’t see it as giving up everything, but starting something new together. Even if one of you moves away from your current city, friends, comfort zone, into the other’s, things are still going to change and evolve as you start a life together in that city. It can be scary but also exciting. I had a hard time moving away at first since I’m a creature of comfort and familiarity, but now that we’ve moved a few times together, I’ve grown accustomed to new places and people, that deciding to finally settle for awhile in the city we live now was a bit of a letdown. So, whoever decides to move may realize that it wasn’t a hard of a transition as they thought.

Also, once either of you choose to move, I would give it at least 6 months before you (or him) decide if you’re happy or unhappy in your new city. It can take time to really make a place feel like home, so don’t expect an instant “I love this place” moment. If you have strong ties at home realize that it takes time and dedication to find and build new relationships and networks in your new town.

I know people mentioned that it can be difficult to job hunt if you don’t live in the city yet, but I’ve never had an issue with it if I had a local address to list on the resume. So, if my husband already lived there or moved first, I would just put relocating to: and the address if it would be awhile til I moved, or explain that I was moving to the area in a short sentence in my cover letter. As long as you can schedule and be present for an in-person interview within a week’s time after they contact you, it shouldn’t be a problem. Companies worry about relocation costs, time, etc, so as much as you can do to relieve those worries, the better.

theattack theattack January 9, 2014, 10:15 am

Everything Wendy said. Perfect answer!

I just want to add that neither person should move if it just feels like too much. If the excitement of living in the same place doesn’t outweigh your sadness of leaving, you shouldn’t move at all, even if all the answers point to you moving. You could grow resentful, which isn’t going to help your relationship any either. But if you’re both equally willing to move for each other, the answer is just to do what’s more practical.

Lyra Lyra January 9, 2014, 10:44 am

I moved for a guy and it crashed and burned. We were long distance (300 miles) and ultimately moved to a new location for both of us. It was still a bit of a distance, but it only took 1 1/2 hours instead of 5 to visit each other. Then he started pulling away and I could tell the relationship was deteriorating because we both weren’t really happy. I needed him to lean on and he wanted to just go and buy new electronics and play video games instead of spending time with me…

My advice is to be VERY true to yourself and seriously listen to what your partner has to say. If you disagree, talk about a compromise. If neither of you are willing to compromise, then consider honestly if the relationship is worth it. If you want to live closer, one or both of you is going to have to move. I knew in the long run I didn’t want to be so far from home and I wanted to be close to my parents and friends. I was very vocal about that. He told me that there was no way he was going to limit himself to jobs in the area where I wanted to be. We are also in the exact same field.

Though we ultimately broke up, I learned a lot through that experience. At this point, I know that I won’t ever move for a guy again because I love where I live and I enjoy being so close to my family and friends.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 10:48 am

Wait, you relocated for him but were still 1 1/2 hours away from him AFTER moving? I’m confused.

Lyra Lyra January 9, 2014, 10:59 am

Our towns were about 90 miles apart instead of 300, so it was better than what we had. It was still a bit of distance. He wanted to live together right away, but that would have involved a 50-mile commute each way for me, not to mention I didn’t want to live together without some kind of commitment (engagement, marriage).

Lyra Lyra January 9, 2014, 11:00 am

Our towns were decided by where we both had job offers. In the exact same field, it is challenging to find two jobs in one town.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 11:02 am

Oh makes sense. DId you end up staying there for a while after you broke up? I wonder how people handle that. Do they just move back right away?

Lyra Lyra January 9, 2014, 11:31 am

We broke up in mid November and I finished out the school year and moved back right away in May after the school year was done. I knew pretty much right away that I just couldn’t do another school year.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 10:47 am

Funny timing of this letter. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in my boyfriend’s town, where I’ll be moving come mid-late May in Florida. I’m a little terrified, but excited and Wendy’s questions/my/our answers have definitely solidified that this is the right decision for us. He has a great job down here…I’ll be coming out of a grad program in Memphis (a city where I can’t wait to move out of) and because of people he knows, may be able to get a job teaching First year comp, which I’m doing now, and loving, which I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do after my program. So awesomeness all around.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:49 am

Where in Florida!!?? There are like no DW people here!

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 10:51 am

Delray Beach

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 10:58 am

boo that’s like 4 hours from me! If you like beer make sure to track down some Cigar City Jai Alai. Good luck with your move!

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:03 am

Thanks! And I do like beer! I’ll have to look for that, thanks!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 11:25 am

FL beer is awesome! If you can ever find anything by Swamphead they are amazing (and in my town!). I’m also a fan of Cycle brewing but it’s not easy to find (no canning/bottling). If y’all ever want to take a short trip- Tampa has an amazing beer scene.

Also, you should try Gator Tail. And Publix is the best grocery store ever. And invest in some high quality flip flops. Oh Florida.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:28 am

My dad will also be happy about the beer suggestions. He loves beer…it will make him happier about visiting!
I like road trips…I’d definitely be up for a short trip to Tampa for beer.
I’ve liked publix the few times I’ve been in it.
And yes. Flip flops are a must!
Any other Florida tips are welcome!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 11:34 am

Fire ants!! Have you experienced them yet? Growing up in the NE I had no idea of them, and the first time I stepped in a nest it was terrible. So google it. If I think of anyother things I’ll let you know.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:38 am

Unfortunately I have. Hate them.
Thank you!!

theattack theattack January 9, 2014, 2:18 pm

You know fire ants keep moving further and further north. I never really had them much growing up, and now they’re overtaking where I live. Very much like the armadillo.

avatar starpattern January 9, 2014, 4:07 pm

I didn’t see a live armadillo until I was 21, and now I regularly look out the back door of my boyfriend’s place to see one chillin’ on the patio.

The fire ants…. I just can’t even.

avatar lets_be_honest January 9, 2014, 4:09 pm

That’s crazy starpattern! I guess its like deer are around me? I’ve never seen an armadillo.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 4:11 pm

Ugh we have armadillos, fire ants, cockroaches, lizards, deer…I swear NCFL is like a damn petting zoo. Plus the Boa’s from south fl are creeping this way.

avatar starpattern January 9, 2014, 5:14 pm

LBH, probably! I kind of like the armadillos, because they’re so awkward and hilarious. Unfortunately I think they carry disease, and they (like the deer!) have a bad habit of playing in traffic.

GG, “Plus the Boa’s from south fl are creeping this way.” <— NOPE could not deal with that ahhhhh

theattack theattack January 9, 2014, 11:03 am

I still can’t believe you don’t love Memphis. Moving to Memphis is all I’ve been able to think about lately. It’s the epicenter of the South! Glad you’re doing something that will make you happy though!

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:06 am

Haha it’s just not my thing. I’m not meant to live in the South. (I don’t count south Florida in that. Or at least delray. They have way too many new englanders here for that). Thanks!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 11:23 am

South Florida is SO not the South. haha. (where I live in NC FL, that IS the South.)

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:24 am

Exactly…the further south in Florida you get, the more northern it is! It’s the only way I can live here!!

theattack theattack January 9, 2014, 11:50 am

Haha, You’re right. Florida is the only place non-Southerners can live in the South without actually experiencing the South. Consequently, I mostly can’t stand Florida.

I want to add though that most of the real South is not like Memphis at all. Going to Memphis is like simultaneously stepping back in time four decades and living in current times with today’s problems too. Memphis is a strange place that shouldn’t speak for all of the South at all. It’s truly mind-boggling.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:52 am

Yeah, I know…I’ve visited a few other places, and it’s not my living cup of tea. I like visiting. But living…not my thing.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 2:14 pm

I always think of Florida as 3 different states in one.

Panhandle = south (you might as well be in Alabama or Georgia)
Central/Orlando = Florida with tourists
South/Miami = Northeast with a Cuban section

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 3:00 pm

Central Florida is the pits. We live 2 hours north of Orlando and it is SERIOUSLY southern. I say anything an hour north of Orlando is the South (I always joke we live in Southern Georgia), Orlando + the hour north and south of it is a tourist hell hole, and then after an hour south of Orlando it’s the NE with heavy old people and Hispanic influences.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 3:22 pm

Eventually the Everglades will take it all back over anyway… there will be the panhandle and maybe the island of Miami left. poor Florida doesn’t stand a chance with any sea level rise :-(

avatar Boosker January 9, 2014, 11:28 am

You could always do what my husband and I did (jk, don’t actuallly recommend this). Neither of us had jobs lined up when we got married. My husband was working in a kindergarten classroom in Kentucky for 8 dollars an hour, so that’s obviously not something two people could depend on, and I was graduating with an MFA in Creative Writing, tres marketable, no? We both applied to jobs in my hometown, his current town, my current town, and everywhere in between. He ended up getting a much better paying job in my grad school town doing the same thing he did in Kentucky, so we got an apartment together one street over from where I had lived with my roommates in grad school. It worked out, but it easily could’ve gone very badly. We got married and went on our honeymoon with all our stuff at my parents’ house. The plan was to live there until one or both of us got jobs. Luckily that only ended up being a week, but still pretty scary. Have you thought about both of you applying for jobs in each other’s current towns and then some new places where you could start over together? Although if you both have great jobs currently, maybe this option isn’t so appealing.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed January 9, 2014, 11:38 am

Another creative writing MFAer! What was your genre?

avatar Sara January 9, 2014, 11:34 am

Such a wonderful answer! I love it! Wendy discusses cost of living in each location as well as climate and job mobility. But to add to that: it’s easier to get a job in a city than a small town. I don’t know if both of you live near a city or not, but cities make new job searches a lot easier. Anecdotally, my husband and I were in an LDR – twice. The first time he moved closer to me b/c I was in the middle of a program. The second time we both moved to a brand-new town (with job offers) – so we both “started over.”

avatar Portia January 9, 2014, 11:40 am

As someone who went through the decision of moving for a significant other, I definitely agree with a lot of the points Wendy made, particularly 1, 2, and 5. Just because you both have jobs where you are, you both should think realistically about who would be able to find a job elsewhere, and if that includes each other’s locations or if you’ll have to think about a third option.

For us, it wasn’t one decision but a series of decisions because the universe doesn’t always agree with what you want to do. We had been dating before we each started grad school and had both gotten into too-good-to-pass-up schools about 400 miles apart, so this was partially of our own making. With us both in grad school (mine was longer), the original plan was for him to find a job in my city after graduation. Even though neither of us was around close family, he had cousins about an hour away from me, I needed to be in my city for the extra two years for funding (although the type of work I was doing was somewhat portable), and he had done summer internships and a semester at school in my city. I think roughly 4 out of the 7 Wendy lists.

Then literally no one would hire him because he wasn’t from that city and didn’t have close enough ties to prove he would be there for the long haul. (He got that impression from the questions in most of the interviews he went on and was told directly a few times.)

He could kind of start seeing that this might be an issue early on in his job search, so we decided on another city that we would both love to live in and he applied to jobs there as well. Seeing instantly that his prospects would be better there, we decided to move there together. Even though it was tough at first (not the least of which was my constant travel to my grad school and keeping my move under the radar for two years), we’re both happy with the decision 3.5 years later.

avatar NerdyGirl January 9, 2014, 2:07 pm

Does anyone have advice for when you’re the one who moves? I’m moving to Chicago for my boyfriend’s job. This article helped me feel better about the choice, but the idea of moving somewhere where I don’t know a soul is terrifying to me, even though I know it’s the right choice.

katie katie January 9, 2014, 2:12 pm

embrace it! its a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view! (see what i did there?) what an adventure.

make a point to meet people, ask about the city, explore the city, ect.

ps theres a bunch of us in chicagoland. organize a meetup!

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 9, 2014, 2:15 pm

#1 DW Chicago meet up! Instant friends!
#2 get out there and be as social as possible. I failed to do this when I moved, and am seriously regretting it. Join a club sports team, or a knit and bitch, or take cooking classes- anything to get out there and interact with people other than your boyfriend.
#3 Give it 6 months to a year before you make any decision about the move or liking the new place. Time is needed to adjust.

avatar MMcG January 9, 2014, 2:17 pm

Get some guidebooks and rock being a tourist for awhile… or do some volunteer work that involved traveling around different neighborhoods (I’ve done political campaigns and if that is your thing it can be a great way to get a quick primer on a new location).

and you do know someone – your bf – don’t forget that :-) Though I think this is a good place to point out that the person who doesn’t move should be a little more forgiving/flexible of the person who does… whether that means making more of an effort to visit “back home” when possible or trying to facilitate social activities and expand the social circle.

avatar ktfran January 9, 2014, 2:44 pm

Chicagoan here. When I moved, I did Meetup a couple of times and made a few awesome friends. I also became super close with a work girl. She has since moved, but I’m friends with all of her friends. Well, they’re my friends now too. And through those friends, I have a whole new subset of friends. They keep multiplying. It’s insane!

So, my advice, say YES to everything. Put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. It’s ok to feel a little uncomfortable, i.e., asking for someone’s number, at first because most likely, people feel the same.

mylaray mylaray January 9, 2014, 3:56 pm

I love the list of questions, and as someone who has moved to many cities (never for a relationship though), I would say don’t be scared to move (if the rest if the things align that way). Moving is scary. I’ve moved to new cities without having housing or a job or any sort of plan (which I don’t recommend!), but I learned so much in the process.

My husband and I are at a bit of a standstill because he all of a sudden wants to move in the next 6 months. We had discussed it before and I’ve always been willing to leave because I wasn’t raised here like he was, but it did take me by surprise a bit, after all, we bought our dream condo 6 months ago. That alone makes me feel tied to where we are. But it never was going to be a forever home, and while I have a great job, lots of friends here, and his family, he is more important to me and we are partners. There are always so many reasons and excuses one can find not to move, but ultimately if this person means that much to you, one of you will give up things and make it work. And if you or he can’t imagine giving up those things, then maybe it’s a sign the relationship is not a forever one.

Cassie Cassie B January 9, 2014, 6:21 pm

Just one change to #4: If you live in, oh, Minnesota AND hate cold weather…