From the forums:
So, I’ve answered a variation of the “Should I move for love?” question many, many times. But yours has a bit of a twist because there’s a kid involved. And he’s not a little kid. He’s 15. In about three years, he’ll be done with high school and he could theoretically be moving away for college or some other adventure, at which point it won’t really matter where you live. Also, at 15, he’s going to be spending less and less time at home/with his parents, anyway, whether you stay nearby or not.
It’s also significant that you and your girlfriend have been together for five years. Is that a long enough time for you to endure three years of long-distance dating should you decide to stay put until your son finishes school? Like, have you developed enough of a bond and foundation to withstand distance for that amount of time? And if you have, is it enough of a bond that your girlfriend might sacrifice this job to stay with you so that you can stay with your son? If I were dating someone for five years — again, that’s significant — who had a kid, you better believe that that would be a huge consideration in any job that might require me to relocate. Did your girlfriend discuss with you how this job would affect things? Is there any chance she might not take it or is it a done deal? And if it’s a done deal, or if there wasn’t a whole lot of consideration on her part about where you (and your relationship with your son) fits into her decision, what does that say about her commitment to you and where she sees your relationship going? Something to think about . . .
Obviously, this is a very personal decision, and you’re right that your parents can’t make it for you and your ex-wife can’t make it for you. Of course, your girlfriend’s and your son’s feelings matter significantly. Have you talked to your son about this? What does he say? How does he feel about the idea of your moving? How often would you two be able to see each other if you did move?
Beyond everyone’s feelings, what are YOUR job options like where your girlfriend is moving? What kind of life, beyond your relationship, can you expect to have there?
Clearly, this is not an easy decision and there are many points to consider and discuss with the people you love. Here are two posts that might help you as you weigh different pros and cons and focus some of your upcoming conversations:
Good luck to you and keep us posted on what you decide!
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.