It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Might Move for Love with 5-Year-Old Daughter” who, as her name suggests, was considering a move to NYC from Chicago to be with her long-distance boyfriend of six months. “The catch is: I have a 5-year-old daughter and I’m having a hard time explaining to people, like my parents, how I could move across the country for someone I haven’t even spent more than nine consecutive days with.” Keep reading to see if she’s decided anything.
After I wrote you, we had a serious discussion on what our goal is. Neither of us is ready to completely give up on making this work right now. We decided to take the summer to continue the relationship as it is now and by the fall to make decisions. We both know that it’s he who has the easier move; I have a whole other life to think about. If, by fall, he is still hesitant about uprooting, making that lifestyle change, and moving to Chicago for me, then it will come down to me. I think this plan is a good one to have established. My only concern is: If he is still hesitant about the move after a year of dating, is he really as “in love” with me as he claims? How did you feel when your husband said he wasn’t going to move? Did it make you feel like you weren’t worth it? Obviously, my situation is a little different as I have a child to consider, but I often wonder, if it comes down to it, what it will mean from his perspective on the relationship.
Will I be willing to move if he says he just can’t? I think that will depend on the state of our relationship at that time. My decision to move is a bigger one to make; I’ll have to be sure of his feelings and be confident that we can make it work. I’ve already told him that, since I have a daughter, I wouldn’t want to move directly in with him (or vice versa). How did you know that your relationship would be as successful when seeing each other more than just every few weeks? We both have run into the whole “maybe that’s why we like it so much” thing. I guess you never know until you try, right? I think we would see each other more often if we had more readily available funds since, while I make a good salary, I’m still a single mother with other money commitments. Depending on him all the time to make that trip isn’t always fair either.
I appreciate your feedback. It has helped me tremendously, and I will continue to read your blog for more feedback. I’m happy that you and your husband both experienced your past LDR as a successful one.
To answer your questions: Drew told me literally on our first date that he wouldn’t ever be leaving New York, so I never felt like “Oh, I’m just not worth it to him to make the move.” It wasn’t about me. Certainly not on a first date. And even later, when we became more established, it just never occurred to me to feel put out or offended or whatever because I was the one who had to move because he wasn’t willing to. I had wonderful friends in Chicago and I liked living there, but I didn’t have family there and I didn’t have a career I would be leaving. Drew had both an elderly father who depended/depends on him and a good career it would be nearly impossible to replace elsewhere. He also had/has a brother nearby and was about to become a first-time uncle. He simply had more to leave than I did and I never felt it was unfair that I would be the one to make the move. Just like it’s wouldn’t be unfair for your boyfriend to be the one to make the move because clearly, you have much more at stake.
And, honestly, I would definitely take it as a big red flag if he DOES put up a lot of resistance to moving. It would make me question his commitment. And if I were in your shoes and was a single mom and had some support system in place and my daughter was settled in school and had friends and we had a community, etc., I wouldn’t give that all up for a guy who wasn’t willing to move for me when his sacrifices would be much smaller in comparison.
As for how I knew my relationship would be successful once we were seeing each other all the time and no longer living a LDR lifestyle: I didn’t. Just like anyone who follows his or her heart and pursues love, regardless of whether there’s a move involved or not, I/ we took a no-guarantee risk. The risk was worth it to me. I had a very strong feeling after a year and a half of knowing this person that he was special and what we had was worth any potential heartache and inconvenience I might face. If you want a great love, you can’t be a big pansy. You have to go for it. You have to take some risk. But you have to be smart, too. Especially when you have a child. Because you aren’t just risking your own well-being, you’re risking hers too. Which is why it’s much better for the partner who doesn’t have children to take the bigger risk of uprooting his life. I hope in the coming months, you and your boyfriend can reach a resolution that feels good and fair for both of you (and your daughter!). Good luck.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.