Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Will I Regret Moving for Love or Losing My Boyfriend If I Don’t?”

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I’ve been dating a guy long distance on-and-off for five years and we finally were making plans to get married. Our plan was for me to move to his hometown, where he lives, for 3-5 years so he can continue some of his work in music for a while and then move back to where I currently live to settle permanently. This was a plan he came up with and I was totally excited about.

Not long after we went ring shopping he became distant, and he finally told me he can’t leave his hometown. He wants to settle there, continue with some of his dreams in music, have kids there and build his family there. The problem is, I really hate his city – I always have and he knows that. I could move to many places permanently for him and never look back to the city where I live now (and which I love), but where he lives I would essentially be letting go of a lot of dreams and personal goals in my career as well as a lifestyle and surroundings I enjoy. I’ve offered to compromise and stay in his city longer than I would like, but after two months of trying to convince him to compromise, he won’t budge even though he says he still wants to marry me.

I am so torn because I love him so much and want us to work so badly, but he and I are both afraid I will move and become resentful. Add kids to that mix and it gets even worse. Ever since we started discussing this issue, our relationship has deteriorated significantly and now we are on the brink of walking away for good, but I can’t seem to let go because I think we are great for each other and I have never met anyone else like him. I’m so confused because he has wanted to be with me all this time and, now that I am ready, he has changed his mind.

I’m not young (35) and afraid if I walk away because of location, I may regret it big time. My priorities are shifting and career/goals are becoming less important, but general happiness as an individual is really important to me, married or single, and I’m trying to be realistic about all of this.

I read that you moved for love, so any suggestions would be immensely appreciated. — Reality Bites

I did move for love, but there was a big difference between my scenario and yours: I liked the city I moved to, and I did not have to compromise career goals, passions, dreams, or too much general happiness. Other than saying good-bye to my friends and the beach, which was a ten-minute walk from my place, moving from Chicago to New York City was a move up for me. There were better career opportunities and lots and lots and lots of things to keep me entertained and occupied for many years to come. Had Drew lived in a place where I would have had to sacrifice not only career goals and dreams but also general happiness, I wouldn’t have moved. Period. And I don’t think you should either.

You say your boyfriend has suddenly changed his mind about seeing a future with you, but that really isn’t the case. The truth is, he was never fully committed to a future with you — not in the way you are when you’re making real, solid plans. You didn’t make plans. Not true plans. You shared some ideas. Or, really, he shared an idea — you move to where he lives for “a few years” while he “continued his work in music for a while.” What does that even mean? How much more vague can you get? What was the plan for those “few years”? Where did he imagine being with his music at the end of those few years that would allow him the luxury of moving wherever he wanted and how did he plan to get there? What was the plan for you? And why were you “totally excited” about spending several years in a town you hate where you wouldn’t be able to pursue many of your career or personal goals?

It doesn’t seem to me like either of you has necessarily had a change of mind; you’re just suddenly being realistic instead of thinking about the future in vague, far-off terms. Your boyfriend doesn’t want to leave his hometown and you’re having trouble imagining yourself ever being happy there, even married to a guy you really love. He’s right to fear your resentment. And you’re right to worry about making a mistake. But finding someone you love is only half the battle to finding a good life-long partner. You have to be compatible, too. And that doesn’t just mean enjoying the same movies and playing golf on Saturday afternoon. Your lifestyles and life goals have to match up. You have to be able to be happy, or at least satisfied, in the spot you choose to live.

What’s the point in marrying someone whose lifestyle doesn’t align with yours or who wants to live some place you can’t imagine being happy? Love — and even children — will only fill you up so much. If you have other passions and needs and goals that are not being met, you won’t be happy. And being scared that you’re running out of time because you’re 35 isn’t enough reason to settle for not being happy.

You do still have time, but you probably shouldn’t spend too much more of it on a relationship that doesn’t have a future. So it’s time to shit or get off this pot. If you can, take an extended trip to your boyfriend’s hometown. Imagine yourself living there. What would your days look like? What would the years look like? What kind of work would you do? What kind of people would you meet and interact with? How do you fit into your boyfriend’s established life there?

Do some serious soul-searching and decide if you’re willing to spend the rest of your life there — not just 3-5 years like you originally “planned,” but forever, because that’s what your boyfriend is saying. He isn’t going anywhere. He’s going to get married, have a family, and stay there forever. If it’s not you, it will be another woman he marries. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere. So it has to be your decision. Are YOU the woman he makes a future with in his hometown. Or are you going to follow other dreams and find a different partner whose future goals maybe better align with yours?

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

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

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

153 comments… add one
  • avatar

    artsygirl July 23, 2013, 9:04 am

    LW whatever you do – do not move to his hometown in the hopes of ‘changing’ his mind down the line.

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    • avatar

      Boosker July 23, 2013, 1:15 pm

      very good advice.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 23, 2013, 9:11 am

    I’m with Wendy on this. Per usual. Shocking.

    Although I am leaning towards walking away, LW. It’s ok to really love someone but then finally realizing the futures you both want don’t align. It doesn’t make either of you bad people and it doesn’t mean either one of you don’t care for the other. It means you’re no longer compatible. Personally, once that’s realized, I prefer a clean, friendly break before you grow to dislike, or worse – hate, one another.

    However, I do like Wendy’s suggestion of spending some solid time with you boyfriend in his hometown. Imagine what it would be like to live there and see if it’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make. I think a good compromise, if you have a job that allows it, is living there but traveling, a lot. Or spending a couple months of the year somewhere else. Everything is so mobile now a days, it’s easy to work from anywhere, again, if you have that kind of job. Idk, look at different options and compromises.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 23, 2013, 9:15 am

    It’s hard for me to have much to say on this without knowing the name of his city. Is it REALLY a great town for music? Is it REALLY such an awful place that it would truly kill your career and all your dreams? How far away are these two towns from one another? Questions, questions, questions. Without knowing the answers to these — I simply don’t have much to say…

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:18 am

      Maybe he has dreams of becoming the next Garth Brooks, and she doesn’t want to move to Nashville.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 9:21 am

        Maybe so, but Nashville really isn’t bad. It seems odd for her to rule out something so quickly.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 23, 2013, 9:22 am

        EXACTLY. I hear nothing but great things about Nashville…

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:23 am

        I know. I was just making fun of the idea of that as a career goal, not the city. I had a friend who loves it there, and it’s her dream to get back.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:30 am

        I’ve got another idea. Maybe he wants to be a rap artist in Compton.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 9:35 am

        But then they can move to a suburb she approves of and commute. I think she is feeling trapped and not looking for solutions.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:56 am

        Maybe she doesn’t like any of the solutions? I was just joking again, but if my idea were serious, then I personally wouldn’t move to Compton or live in a suburb of Compton. Aside from the Compton factor, living in a suburb is really unappealing to a lot of people, particularly if she lives in a city she loves, and I think it could be very difficult to find a job that she likes in that area.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 9:58 am

        It might be hard to find a job she likes, but she hasn’t even tried yet. She hasn’t even considered it as a valid option.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 10:04 am

        yea, but she was willing to move for a few years so career can’t be a huge factor.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:11 am

        agreed.

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      • avatar

        Julesoola July 23, 2013, 12:36 pm

        Yeah, this is what I don’t get. Practically speaking, if, at 35, you move somewhere that is a career killer for you for “a few years”, you’re basically giving up your career anyway. So I really don’t understand how the original “plan” was supposed to play out alright.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 1:19 pm

        I think that moving somewhere that’s not beneficial to your career for a lifetime is a lot more of a career killer than moving there for three years. Sure, in some fields, leaving or taking a lesser job for three years kills your career, but not all. I think it’s important to remember that the LW likely knows more about her profession than we do. Everyone’s fields are different.

        To me, her willingness to go somewhere less desirable for three to five years shows an attempt to compromise more than it being an argument to try to poke holes in.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:17 am

        Even if she could find a job there, it still sounds like she doesn’t want to be there.

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      • avatar

        Alice July 23, 2013, 2:59 pm

        What if it’s Bakersfield? That could be a difficult town to move to.

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    • theattack

      theattack July 23, 2013, 9:19 am

      Agreed. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I have a hard time imagining that a city is so awful for someone that it could ruin their career and their dreams. Unless you have a geographically specific career, or you’re a celebrity or something, you can probably find work in most cities given enough time. It’s fine if the LW doesn’t want to live in his city, but without more information, it seems like a shame to completely throw out an otherwise good relationship without testing the waters.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary July 23, 2013, 9:35 am

        The only way I could see it ruining her career is if he didn’t live in a city, but lived in a small town. I would LOVE to move back to my hometown but it would take me like 5 years to find ANY job in my career field. At which point a lot of my skills would be obsolete. Or she could work in something like fashion, which isn’t that applicable in a lot of cities.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 9:38 am

        That’s true, but she did refer to his hometown as a city, so I’m assuming he lives in at least a small city. Some careers don’t transfer well to smaller places. If that’s the case, I wonder if there’s a city near his town she could work in.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:39 am

        Yeah, after moving to NYC, I’ve noticed several fields that can’t be done anywhere else. Or ones that can’t be done well. Like journalism, you can find work elsewhere, but if you have a specific niche, like newswires or larger publications, then you are going to have trouble finding that elsewhere. If I wanted to work at a large, national publication in New York, then it would be hard for me to agree to move to a smaller city and work for a regional magazine or do PR for a company or something.

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      • lynn

        Lynn July 23, 2013, 1:42 pm

        I guess it just depends on how attached she is to her career. I mean dreams and plans change. I work in PR for a large company in a top 5 market, and I can easily move to a smaller town (which I have no issue with, so that does make things different) and do boutique PR. As long as I like my job, I’m happy.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 1:55 pm

        True. I guess I was going off of what a lot of my co-workers in journalism had to do where they wanted to leave the newspaper, but wanted to stay in the area, so they went to PR. Not because they wanted to do it, but because that was the only other option within their field in where we lived. Anything that involved writing that they could get hired for, essentially. I wasn’t necessarily talking about people who are already in PR, because I can see how that would be an easier shift to make.

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      • avatar

        bethany July 23, 2013, 9:42 am

        I had a bf who was from Michigan, and we talked about me moving out there with him. I loved his family and spent a bit of time out there, but man, that place was not for me. I could NEVER have lived there and been happy. I’m glad I realized it right away. I’m very East Coast, and just couldn’t deal with people out there.

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 23, 2013, 9:50 am

        It’s not just about finding work, though. It’s about finding work that you love. I can sort of understand the idea of giving up career goals because of a city…. because I will never find the kind of job I dream of where I live. I’ve been trying to find a job in my field for 5 years (I specifically went to graduate school for advertising management) and there’s nothing here. It’s not even a small town…There’s just no market for it. Everyone I went to school with has moved away to Toronto to work for big agencies and I’ve been trying to make do with working in business communications for B2B software companies (which I hate). I’m not willing to leave my city, so now I’m going back to school to learn something new.

        Anyway, my point has nothing to do with her relationship and I’m not sure if she should or should not move, I’m just trying to say that I do understand how she could be giving up career goals.

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 9:31 am

      See, maybe I am biased because I have lived so many places, but you can find most careers in a place. The bigger deal is if you are a city person and moving to a town of 100 people where the nearest mall is two hours away. Otherwise, most major metropolitan areas can provide some semblance of the lifestyle a person wants. Maybe not everything but enough to build a happy life with the person you love.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 9:34 am

        Exactly. Obviously the LW can make whatever she wants a deal breaker, but it seems like a real waste to me. Same goes for her SO, but she can’t control what he does. The fact that she’s willing to move to other cities but not HIS city suggests to me that her career isn’t all that specific, and she just doesn’t like the city. That’s a real shame she’s giving up on it so early since she hasn’t even given it a try yet.

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    • avatar

      Temperance July 23, 2013, 10:09 am

      This sounds like a letter written about my former neighbor from his girlfriend’s perspective, honestly. I just assumed he was a local musician and had a following on the local music scene but wasn’t seeking a successful career in it. I could be wrong, obviously.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ July 23, 2013, 10:36 am

      I don’t get the sense that BF is arguing he should stay in his hometown because the town itself is great for music, but because that’s where he’s comfortable and wants to stay anyway, AND he wants to work on his music. So I’m not sure that’s relevant.

      And besides, LW’s feelings on the town are going to be very subjective. If she named it, and we all came in here saying “Oh Citytown isn’t so bad, there’s this and this and this going for it!” that won’t change her gut feeling about whether she feels comfortable in that environment. I can think of a few cities that you could not pay me enough to live in (LA and NYC included), and a few that I feel almost supernaturally drawn to (Asheville NC at the top of that list). Not because I think LA and NYC are just horrible places, but I believe strongly I’d never feel comfortable or at home in either of them, even in a suburb and even if I could stay on my career path.

      I do agree with Wendy’s advice to go spend some more time in that city and try to view it more open-mindedly, but she shouldn’t force herself to try to love a place that turns her off and reroutes her life path (re career and such).

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      • Miel

        Miel July 23, 2013, 10:58 am

        I agree with you, there are just cities that I would never want to move to (NYC and LA are in my list too), and even if I had job opportunities there (in my field, I would), I’m sure I would make excuses to still not move.

        I tried in the past. I spent an entire summer lost in central valley, CA, explaining to everyone and convincing myself “this is not too bad. If you can ignore this and this and this and this, it’s almost nice to live here ! I’m happy to spend the summer in such a place !” When I finally left I was actually crying, because I had been so unhappy with how the city was, and I had convinced myself so hard that “I’m happy here” and I wasn’t. And I was in the city to work on a job that I loved, so that wasn’t missing…

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce July 23, 2013, 11:53 am

        Did you live in Fresno, too? I lived in that area for a while and was the most miserable I’ve ever been. The Central Valley is horrific.

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      • Miel

        Miel July 23, 2013, 12:12 pm

        I lived in Merced. Fresno didn’t look good when I drived through it !

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce July 23, 2013, 1:37 pm

        With Fresno, what you see is what you get. 😉

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce July 23, 2013, 11:12 am

        I agree with you that someone’s feelings about a city are subjective. I also could never live in several cities that plenty of other people love; they’re just not for me.

        Sure, there may be things to do that I enjoy but it’s not just what’s there, it can also be what’s not there that’s important to someone (family, decent weather, proximity to forests/ocean to name things that are important to me). For example, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere in the lower half of the US simply because of the weather (heat makes me VERY grumpy) which is why I like the Pacific Northwest. Our summers are only a month long and it’s heavenly. And everyone has different points of view. Also, what if it’s Detroit?

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 23, 2013, 11:23 am

        Ha, I had the same thought re: Detroit.

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      • avatar

        No Detroit love? July 23, 2013, 1:05 pm

        It’s hard to love detroit unless you grew up there. It’s way better than Florida and the flesh-eating zombies on bath salts.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 23, 2013, 1:25 pm

        I know, and that’s why I didn’t say it immediately, I don’t want to hate on Detroit (it has enough problems without me shitting on it) but I could see that being one of those cities that someone would not want to move to and spend the rest of their life there. I think my mind jumped there too because I come from Dayton OH where the catchphrase is “At least we’re not Detroit!”

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 1:30 pm

        I think a lot of people are thinking about the Detroit job situation more than anything. It is hard to move there knowing the unemployment numbers.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Yes! And the bankruptcy. I’d want to see the fallout from that before moving there.

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      • Copa

        Copa July 23, 2013, 2:29 pm

        Detroit has VERY nice suburbs that are in one of the nation’s wealthiest counties.

        Also, yes, Detroit has a lot of problems, but I can guarantee a lot of what you’ve heard is myth propagated by people who have never even been here. Like that there are no grocery stores in the city. WTF. There are actually nice places to live within the city (yes, the city proper), fun bars, great coffee shops, shopping, entertainment, etc.

        And when you turn 19, you go to Canada to catch diseases and drink legally. 🙂

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray July 23, 2013, 11:53 am

      Oh god it’s probably Nashville, I get it now. Haha.

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    • avatar

      Boosker July 23, 2013, 1:18 pm

      Yeah, it seems like the city would have to be either Nashville, New York, or LA. And I really don’t see how you couldn’t find a way to be happy in any of those cities with so much to offer. I didn’t love New York the few times I visited, but I know there’s so much more than the parts of the city I saw. When you’re in a town large enough to support a music career, surely your career opportunities can’t be that limited. Even if you prefer country living, you don’t have to live right in the city to work there.

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      • avatar

        Pamplemousse July 23, 2013, 2:21 pm

        Really? It doesn’t seem to me like it is a big city or music mecca like Nashville. If he wants to have kids and settle down, I doubt he is pursuing a big time music career in one of those places (unless he is totally irrational). I actually got the impression it was a smaller, more “out of the way” city where he could be a big fish in a small pond.

        Of course, we have no way to know, but just my 2 cents.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 2:27 pm

        I read it that way, too. And to be fair, a city doesn’t have to be NYC or LA or whatever. When I lived in the Midwest, we referred to where I lived as a city and it had 60,000 people. So, I don’t think we can make the assumption that wherever he wants her to go has tons of amenities, culture and opportunities. I assumed that he maybe had a local fan base or else fellow band members that he wanted to work with before uprooting himself. It makes more sense to me that she lives in a big city, and he knows that he’d get swallowed up there and never get anywhere with his music.

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  • avatar

    Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 9:19 am

    So, I moved my whole life following my dad’s career. Here is the thing, sometimes life makes changes that you don’t expect. Like for example, he is following music in NYC but gets a gig in Nashville or Branson and you guys could move then. You could both lose jobs and depending on the city, be forced to move like all the people forced to leave Detroit.

    If it was me, I would move and not get married yet. I have found (if you are in the US) most cities have good people and bad people, McDonalds, culture, events, and art. Some you have to look more than others. Also, if you really don’t vibe culturally, you can find other transplants. We were corporate nomads, and we always moved to areas with a lot of other people like us. So you can find people like you.

    Maybe you can agree on living in a nearby town that is more to your liking. Every metropolitan area I have lived in (St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Minneapolis, NYC, Philadelphia, and DC) have all had family areas, trendy areas, rich areas, poor areas, artsy areas, and conservative areas.

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce July 23, 2013, 11:20 am

      I’m very hesitant to encourage the LW to move, though I understand where you’re coming from. Personally, I also moved around a lot from when I was born until I graduated high school because of my dad’s career. The moment I was old enough to move to a place where I was happy with the area, my whole life changed for the better.

      As far as vibing culturally, I think it’s a bigger deal for many than it may have been for you. Being a very liberal person in a lot of the very conservative places I lived — even after finding like-minded people — was really hard on me growing up. Being able to move to a place where I have lots of opportunity to be who I am without being obviously judged all the time makes a big difference in quality of life.

      I would trust my gut on a place if I were the LW.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 1:29 pm

        I will say there are places that I liked better or worse but mostly, it was my family that was most important. If my husband wanted to move, I would choose him every time because I love him more than any climate or “vibe”. It is the vibe of us that is more important than anything to me.

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    • avatar

      applescruffs July 23, 2013, 12:25 pm

      I did too. And I found something to love about every place I lived, even the small town in Utah – and that was pretty rough for me. But finding your home is about fit. New York, for example, does not fit me, but I’m sure as hell glad it exists. I spent four years in Portland, and I miss a lot of things about it, but not enough to move back. I’m sure I could find a way to be happy in most places, because I already have. But it would be really hard for me to consider leaving the place I feel in my heart is my home.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 1:32 pm

        See, my heart is where to people I love are. And my soul could not be away from husband. I would give up everything to be with him.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 1:36 pm

        That makes sense. But not everyone shares that view. Or maybe they do, but they have a few conditions or exceptions. Or maybe this isn’t the guy that she’s willing to do it for.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay July 23, 2013, 9:19 am

    Wendy has great advice. I know you’re giving the idea that you’re 35 as a reason to settle for whatever you can, but as she mentioned, that can easily be an argument for not wasting more time with someone if being with them isn’t going to make you happy in the long run. I think it’s a really awful idea to make a decision because you’re afraid you might regret not doing it. Make a decision because you think it’s right for you and because it’ll make you happy, not because you’re terrified of the alternative.

    I mentioned in the forums once that I like to do the “grandma test,” where I imagine that I’m telling my life story to my hypothetical grandkids one day and explaining why I did what I did. Imagine telling your hypothetical grandkids that you chose to move to this city that you hated because you were afraid that you couldn’t find anyone else if you broke up with your boyfriend. Not too appealing of a story.

    So, if you go, go because you want to and think you can make a good life there. It’s nice that you and your boyfriend are “great for each other” and you “haven’t met anyone else like him,” but he’s not the Hope Diamond, there are other people out there that you could be great with too.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay July 23, 2013, 10:25 am

      I don’t know where else to post this, so I’m going to post this here. I think it’s good for her to visit and consider what her life would be like, and to be open to it. But maybe the relationship really isn’t worth her leaving her job and current career path, her friends, her favorite restaurants and other places, her home, the culture of her city. And I think that’s OK. Most of all, I don’t think she should be made to feel like she has to prove that she’s tried hard enough or prove that she can’t find any sort of job there in order for it to be OK to choose not to move there.

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce July 23, 2013, 11:59 am

      I love this! I’ve never heard of the “grandma test” before but now I want to use it for everything:

      Why did I gain so much weight in my twenties? Because Grandma liked wine and nachos.

      Why did I sleep with so many guys in college? Because Grandma wouldn’t apologize for her sexuality.

      Why did I dye my hair blue when I worked a corporate job? Because Grandma refused to let The Man tell her what to do.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 12:13 pm

        Hahaha. That’s so awesome. I need to start using it like that…

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  • avatar

    bethany July 23, 2013, 9:36 am

    Don’t move, and don’t continue seeing this guy. You’re not going to be happy there, and you’re going to grow to resent him. Some people never want to leave where they’re from, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Frankly, I don’t understand that mindset at all, but lots of people feel that way, and I’m pretty sure that’s one of those things that they don’t change their mind on.

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    • avatar

      Miss Terri July 23, 2013, 11:42 am

      I agree with your comment…. I found myself in that situation a few years ago, and I was SO MISERABLE!!
      And I had a good job and was making good money, but I HATED the area! One day I pulled my car over to the side of the road and starting crying! That was when I realized I couldn’t stay. My fiance’ at the time was sympathetic, but told me he “couldn’t leave”. So I left – and I never looked back (yes, we broke up), but my sanity was worh it!!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle July 23, 2013, 9:40 am

    I think it’s a bit weird that you’ve two have come to such an impasse, so quickly? Right after taking the next step towards commitment? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but this seems like almost an artificially created problem. The issues in your letter read more like a drawn-out break-up (where one person—in this case, him—suddenly takes a hard line stance on something previously compromised upon) than a simple disagreement, now that you’re talking in concrete terms, over where to live. I’m sorry 🙁

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    • avatar

      Boosker July 23, 2013, 1:20 pm

      That’s a very good read of what’s going on here.

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  • katie

    katie July 23, 2013, 9:48 am

    WWS.

    i really dont “get” people who have emotional connections to places. and i mean, emotional connections in the way that they could never move away. that is such a foreign thing to me, i dunno, i cant wrap my head around it.

    but on the flip side, i also cant really wrap my head around having such a terrible emotional response to a place that i would refuse to live there. unless it is a tiny town and you are used to the city (or the reverse or whatever)- but that is a lifestyle problem, not a location problem.

    i dont know, im confused about both of you- why cant he ever move? thats weird. and why do you hate his hometown so much? thats weird too.

    but, definitely, WWS about the theoretical vs reality- there is a huge divide between those two, and no matter how many naked, post sex cuddle sessions you had discussing your potential lives together, when it actually happens, its very different.

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      lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 9:55 am

      I haven’t read the letter yet, but I totally do get that, only because it usually has to do with friends/family being there. Like, its not the place so much as it is the people.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 23, 2013, 10:39 am

        How on earth do you read the comments before the letter?? *mind boggled*

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:41 am

        I usually never do, haha.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 23, 2013, 10:51 am

        “usually never” 😉

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:06 am

        Maybe once. I thought katie’s comment on the sidebar was for yesterday’s letter, so I saw her comment on this before I read the letter. JEEZ, BACK OFF KKZ! 🙂

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 23, 2013, 11:26 am

        haha I was razzing on the word choice there. Usually and never are contradictory, it’s an oxymoron. But YOU are not. 🙂 I got what you meant, after my little English Major tirade yesterday I think I’m just stuck on words right now.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:29 am

        Ohh. Sad I didn’t even pick up on that. haha.

        ftr, I’m a big fan of correcting grammar, so by all means, correct me 🙂

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay July 23, 2013, 10:00 am

      I don’t think she hates it an unreasonable amount because she was fine with living there for 3-5 years, but that’s a lot different than committing to live there forever. I have a co-worker who grew up in Alabama, and though he likes it enough (you know, for the football and food), he hightailed it out to New York. He has no desire to live there again, and much prefers the culture here. He’s liberal, gay, likes art, likes diverse cuisines, etc., so he definitely has a strong attachment to the city and region. I doubt he’d be as happy moving back to the South, even if it were a city like Nashville. Regions and cities have personalities, and some people are more attached than others.

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      MissDre July 23, 2013, 10:02 am

      I’m the opposite. I don’t understand how somebody could just pack up their shit and move away for a job. I can’t find work in my field where I live, and many people have suggested I move to Toronto but I can’t do it. There’s so much more to life than my career. My family business is here. My brother and his wife. Being involved in the business, being physically there and seeing what they are working on and laughing and pitching in with hard work and celebrating their successes fills me with joy. Having coffee with my mom on the front porch in the morning makes me so happy. Family dinners. Movie nights with my 2 best friends. And so many other things that I would not be able to take with me.

      I’ve lived in Toronto. Went to college there. And more than anything I just wanted to go back home to my family. So, whatever it is I need to do to bring home a paycheck, I can do it here surrounded by everyone I love.

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      Temperance July 23, 2013, 10:12 am

      I couldn’t ever live in the place where I grew up (or anywhere like it). I’m from Northeastern PA, outside of Scranton. Awful place – no good jobs, very close-minded, not a lot of culture or fun things to do. I’ve been to places like it and I always have an emotional DO NOT WANT from the get-go.

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        kerrycontrary July 23, 2013, 10:54 am

        This is sort of funny because my friend recently broke up with her BF of 5 yrs and he lived in that area. She couldn’t be permanently happy there, but he didn’t want to live anywhere else.

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        Temperance July 23, 2013, 12:14 pm

        It’s SO common for anyone who is from there to not want to leave. Like, even if they go to college away, they have to go back and if they happen to meet someone in college, they expect the person to move there. Although most of them don’t actually leave for college, either. I remember meeting a dude who went to the Penn State commuter campus up there who was actually transferring after 2 years rather than attending PSU Main because he “didn’t want to miss his siblings growing up”. Yes.

        I’m sorry for your friend, but I am SO GLAD on her behalf that she didn’t move there. It’s such a terrible f’ing place, lol.

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        rachel July 23, 2013, 11:59 am

        Yeah, I hightailed it the hell out of there and never looked back.

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        Temperance July 23, 2013, 1:20 pm

        I have to ask – does your family do the thing where they just assume that you’re moving back there in the future? My parents are convinced that’s the case … but it’s been 10 years. Literally. LET IT GO.

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        rachel July 23, 2013, 1:47 pm

        No, I think my mom gave up on that one, though she has a fun guilt trip tactic where if I tell her I’m looking at jobs in, say, California, she’ll say “Of course, your goal is just to move as far away from me as possible!”

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        rachel July 23, 2013, 2:04 pm

        Seriously though, I can’t imagine living in my hometown as an adult. My mom was all excited describing this froyo place that opened in downtown WB, and I was like…um…yeah…that’s not new anywhere else.

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      • avatar

        Temperance July 23, 2013, 4:57 pm

        BOTH my mother and mother-in-law do that – although my mother is worse, for sure! My mother-in-law gave us “permission” to move as far away as Virginia because she can drive there.

        They both still get excited about seeing movies at Cinemark (where I totally worked from 16-21 and was part of the opening crew LOL) like it’s a thing people should be excited about, 13 years later … or when Starbucks opened “at the Shoppes”.

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    • lemongrass

      lemongrass July 23, 2013, 10:57 am

      I will never move away from the ocean. So it’s not necessarily a place, but likely I won’t move off the island I live on. I can’t imagine being away from the water. It’s home to me!

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    • avatar

      Christy July 23, 2013, 11:32 am

      Yeah, I gotta chime in on the side of everyone who “gets” it. I love my family, and I love being near them. I love my friends that I’ve known since I was 11, and I love being able to hang out if we want/need to. More than that, I LOVE Baltimore. I love it. It’s in my blood. I love that I can get blue crabs and Utz potato chips. I love that I see the Natty Boh icon as I drive through the city. I love the Domino’s sign that I see driving through the city as well. I love knowing the skyline. I love being 3 hours from the beach and three hours from the mountains. I love that I know exactly what the traffic reporter is going to say every day, and being frustrated that they report a backup on the Bay Bridge as if it’s news on a Friday afternoon. I love that my family all lives within 10 minutes of each other, and that my uncle 30 minutes away is a “trek,” and that no one will ever visit me even though I live an hour south near DC. I love family dinners with my stepfamily, where 20 of us get together and it’s just the immediate family. Oh and I love my goddamn Orioles and Ravens.

      So yeah, I love where I’m from. I’m tied to it. And you know what? I’d move for my gf. But I would only move to her home area (in a broad sense). I’d move somewhere near her family, because it’s important to me to be near family. I’d move to better weather near her home area, because it’s important to me to not hate summer and winter. And I’d move to somewhere important to her, because that’s important to me too. But there are conditions, like being able to keep my job or find a job I want.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:22 am

    I get everything’s thinking that a test run would be great, but how realistic is that? I couldn’t test run a life elsewhere without losing my job, and home, so if the test run didn’t work out, I’d be going back to a job and a home that no longer exists.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:27 am

      Its kinda crazy to me that neither of you ever really discussed/really agreed on where you want to live. How did this only because a big issue AFTER you got engaged? You two should’ve been reading Wendy’s lists! 🙂

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      • katie

        katie July 23, 2013, 10:43 am

        It’s the theoretical/reality divide. They did have a plan- but now that its sinking in to the boyfriend that he will have to move, it’s not working out..

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    • theattack

      theattack July 23, 2013, 10:29 am

      That’s true, but that’s a risk that you take if your relationship is important enough to you. It’s fine if the LW values her city over her relationship, but she has to be willing to live with the fact that she gave up her relationship without even attempting to like his city first. I know I wouldn’t want to live with that, but she might be fine with it.

      Also, I don’t want to call it a test run. I think she should just move there and try to like it. If she doesn’t, she can break up with him and move OR let him decide if he wants to move with her. Yes, that’s hard, but that’s what relationships are.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:34 am

        Its not just her valuing her city over her relationship, its valuing her job, probably friends and family, vision for her future and where she would raise her kids, giving up the life she knows and loves. I couldn’t do it.

        Its not that simple to just come back if she doesn’t like it. Not even close to simple.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:35 am

        But she was willing to do that as long as it was just a few years, and she was willing to move to other cities. Just not THIS city. So I don’t think those factors are problems for her.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:37 am

        That’s true. Sounds like she tried to compromise and he didn’t.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 10:39 am

        But it’s like what Wendy was saying. She was willing to leave her life in Chicago to move to a place she really liked. It’s different to give up all that for somewhere you don’t even want to live.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:46 am

        Right. Well that’s kind of my point. It’s about the city being more important than the relationship, which is absolutely fine. Nothing wrong with feeling that way, but there’s nothing holding her back here but herself. There’s no reason to pretend that it’s about something else when it’s not.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:47 am

        I hear you, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he is unwilling to move to a city for her. Would you be cool with that? Knowing your fiance wouldn’t budge for you, but that if you want him, you have to budge?

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:51 am

        We didn’t have this specific issue in our relationship, because we both willingly moved to a city we hate for his job. But we’ve had other issues that he was unwilling to budge on where I compromised because he was important enough for me – marriage being the big one that comes to mind. Ultimately I valued him more than I valued my reasons to stay unmarried. It works the same way here. He’s either worth it or he isn’t. That’s all the LW can control unfortunately, even if that’s unfair.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 23, 2013, 10:48 am

        Well it’s not just her…she hates his city…living in a place you don’t like SUCKS…letters on here are good examples, love can’t fix everything and he doesn’t want to leave. It’s not just her. It’s him too.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:53 am

        Not arguing with that. But unfortunately all she can control is HER actions, not his. Plus I tend to think that these things even out over time if both people are willing to give of themselves for the relationship. She might be giving on this issue, but he’ll give somewhere else in the future.

        Clearly she’s not willing to give that up, and that’s fine.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:08 am

        I just can’t imagine wanting to marry someone who refused to even compromise with me.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 23, 2013, 11:13 am

        Yeah. I get what TA is saying—& I think it’s a good thing to keep in mind for other relationship situations involving compromise—but, in this case, he’s not only NOT compromising, he’s backtracking on their previous compromise on this issue. Which is fine if that’s how he feels (just like it’s fine that ~she~ feels unable to permanently live in his city), but it’s definitely a sign (IMO) that the relationship is on its last legs.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 11:15 am

        Eh, we all have hard and fast deal breakers about something or another. You can’t have them about everything, but one or two things are to be expected.

        Also, if he wants a specific town because his friends and family are there, another town isn’t going to work. If she’s fine with moving to another city, her position is more flexible.

        I just can’t imagine breaking up with my partner of 5 years over location without even trying first. It seems like she’s just being stubborn to me, or she has cold feet about the relationship.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 23, 2013, 11:17 am

        Well he seems willing to lose her over location too. He won’t compromise. And there are compromises moving outside of the same town, but remaining in reasonable driving distance from friends and family (keeping it under and hour…under half an hour…whatever), but it’s possible to compromise on that.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:19 am

        Obviously we disagree that a different city and an unwavering partner are big dealbreakers. For some people, relocating just isn’t a big deal, and you seem to be one of those people. I’m not, so I guess this is why we’re not agreeing.

        BUT, I don’t get how you can say that about her, without saying the exact same thing about him. He doesn’t value her enough to compromise. That’s fucked up to me. He’s essentially saying take it or leave it, but I’ m not budging. So why is that ok? Why should she have to be the only one bending here? Why come down on her for not bending, rather than come down on both of them?

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 11:21 am

        That’s true, Lady in Purple. I wonder if they’ve talked about that option.

        I just don’t think relationships work well under eye for an eye philosophy. “He won’t move, so I’m not going to either” just won’t get you anywhere. Again, if this is a for real deal breaker for her, she shouldn’t do it. My entire position is just that she should consider whether it really is all that bad, or if she knows enough about it to make that decision before even giving it a try.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:22 am

        “He won’t move, so I’m not going to either” just won’t get you anywhere.

        Maybe it will get you somewhere…in a relationship with someone more compatible with you. 🙂

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 11:26 am

        “BUT, I don’t get how you can say that about her, without saying the exact same thing about him. He doesn’t value her enough to compromise.”

        Well he didn’t write in to Wendy. If he had, I would be telling him much more harshly that he’s fucking it up big time. He’s for sure the one more at fault here, but the LW can’t make him change. All she can do is look at the facts as they are and make a decision.

        And for the record, moving out of the South is a deal breaker for me. I was willing to move from a city I loved where I had a job offer to a city I abhor with few job opportunities, but they’re in the same state. I’m NOT willing to move up North. My marriage is not worth that for me right now, and I told him that much beforehand. So no, I’m not 100% willing to move anywhere. There are deal breakers. I would just urge the LW to take another look and see if this is actually a deal breaker for her.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:28 am

        Fair enough. It certainly can’t hurt to be 100% sure this is a dealbreaker for her.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

        I think it’s important for her to decide whether his revocation of the compromise is just about this issue or if he has trouble compromising on other issues. It’s one thing if location is a dealbreaker for him, but I’d want to make sure that he wouldn’t start taking back other plans we’d talked about later on.

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      • katie

        katie July 23, 2013, 1:10 pm

        i have to disagree that its not simple to just come back- of course it is. people do that all the time. you might not have the *exact* same job, live in the *exact* same place, but you can absolutely move somewhere, decide you dont like it, and move back.

        that is huge, huge thing we have as free people. we can do that.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 1:16 pm

        Sure, I guess I wasn’t clear about coming back to the exact same/very similar life. I’d hate to have a trial run, decide I hate it, and then come back to the old place, but have it be in a different home, with a different job, which both might suck.

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      • katie

        katie July 23, 2013, 1:27 pm

        but if you never tried, wouldnt you always wonder what if i had just moved there? i would much rather say that i tried, i did it, but i made the informed decision to come back.

        and also, how do you know what true happiness is if you have never experienced what life is like somewhere else? there might be other places and situations in the world which would make you infinitely happier then you are now, but if you never venture out, how would you know either way?

        and i mean theoretical you, not literally you, LBH. but if you want to ponder those questions, go for it! i am so happy for all the different lifestyles and places i have had the pleasure to experience- because i really feel like i know what it is that makes me actually happy now.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 1:32 pm

        I’ve imagined living in other places. I considered moving to the town we vacation in for a bit (I know, still a place that’s comfortable and not new to me), or moving somewhere super amazing like Paris or whatever. Its funny, my brother has lived in a ton of places and is a huge traveler, and he told me that when he’s ready to settle, he’s coming back to the area. I feel like my life is opposite. I was “forced” to settle down young and raise a kid, and I’ll probably be more adventurous when she’s gone to college, etc. and I feel like I can move around and see what’s out there. I’m definitely sheltered, but I’ll have plenty of chances to not be like that (hopefully) once the kiddo is older.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 1:22 pm

        Exactly, Katie! I wasn’t even going to try to argue that point, but you’re totally right.

        LBH, you really must be right about having issues with change. You wouldn’t even be willing to risk moving with the option of coming back to a different house? How are you even going to manage moving to your new house when you buy it? haha Not making fun of you, but you really weren’t kidding about not liking change.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 1:26 pm

        Make fun of me! I do! I hate change, its really bad.
        I’d probably be ok moving to a different place (only bc I’m not in love with the place I’m in now), but I would hate to have to find a different job.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 1:28 pm

        The farthest I’ve lived from the house I grew up is probably 10 miles, and 90% of the time I’ve only lived maybe 2 miles away. I love the place I live, love that Lil is growing up there, and that I can be near my parents. Luckily Peter is the same as me and we’d never move unless our parents left or Lil finished school. Its crazy.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:36 am

        I guess I’m not a fan of saying her relationship isn’t important enough. Its more like is her relationship the only important thing in her life, and is it worth sacrificing literally everything else in her life for it.

        Add to that the fact that he’s willing to give HER up so he can stay in the place he loves. There’s no give and take there. I am 100% certain that I wouldn’t do it if I knew that he was not willing to do it also, and he isn’t.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:39 am

        Do we know for sure that he isn’t? That was something else I meant to bring up. Has the LW had a conversation with him telling him that she will absolutely not go there, and if he moves back, he’s effectively ending their relationship?

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 10:40 am

        She said they were ready to part ways because of it, so sounds like he wasn’t willing to move anywhere or compromise. And she’s just worried that if she doesn’t go along with his wishes, she will lose him.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 23, 2013, 10:45 am

        I don’t know, to me it sounds like she already had that conversation? “I’ve offered to compromise and stay in his city longer than I would like, but after two months of trying to convince him to compromise, he won’t budge even though he says he still wants to marry me.” If she’s offering to compromise, that must mean there was some kind of “You want to live there FOREVER??” exchange that happened. It also sounds like he’s willing to walk away, but she’s still holding on: “…we are on the brink of walking away for good, but I can’t seem to let go.”

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 10:48 am

        To me it sounds like he’s trying to have it all and doesn’t realize that’s not an option yet. Either way, I guess that doesn’t really change LW’s options.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:27 am

        I wonder how you would feel if it were a different issue. You obviously were willing to move for love, but I’m sure there are things you aren’t willing to budge on. So what if, when you were engaged, he insisted you do something that you would never budge on? Would you rethink your relationship regardless of how much you love him?

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      • theattack

        theattack July 23, 2013, 11:32 am

        Yes, of course. But I would look at both things. 1) Am I sure I can’t budge on this? and 2) Is my relationship worth this? LBH, I’m not saying anyone should just blindly give up things for love. I’m saying that you have to be willing to question your deal breakers, even if you don’t give in to them. If the LW doesn’t even consider moving as an option, she might regret it. If she genuinely considers it and still doesn’t want to, that’s fine and she has her answer. Same goes for her boyfriend, but he’s not the one writing in.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:40 am

        Yea, I saw your comment above a minute ago where you said that she should just be sure or whatever that its really a dealbreaker, and that I do agree with. I guess I wasn’t reading your other comments that way .

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 11:57 am

        Same. I agree with questioning your dealbreakers, but I’ve been reading a lot of people’s comments as “it can be a dealbreaker, but it’s a dumb one.”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 11:59 am

        Its interesting to see how different people’s dealbreakers are. There is no chance I could/would move for love. No chance. And so many people would be willing to. It amazes me. Then again, I’m a chicken when it comes to change.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 12:10 pm

        Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually have moved a lot and would totally be open to moving for love, but only if I felt the move respected both of our careers and lifestyles and if it were somewhere I liked. I’ve lived in big cities and rural areas, so I know it’s possible to be happy in a lot of different places, but I also know that each place has such a different vibe and personality and isn’t for everyone.

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      • katie

        katie July 23, 2013, 1:14 pm

        i have moved for so many reasons, moving for love would be nothing new. i mean, thats why i dont “get” it- i dont get why she doesnt want to move there, and i dont get why he wont move away- i mean just move. one of you just move, its simple. if you dont like it, move somewhere else. repeat until you find somewhere you like.

        also- why dont they just take both of the options off the table- staying in his hometown and moving to where she wants. take both of those off the table and find a third option.

        i really think they need to talk about is lifestyle. because, this has to go deeper then just a physical location. lifestyle is very important- so what are the two lifestyles they are trying to mesh? why wont they mesh? if it is really so rigid as a physical location, then thats the answer and break up.

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        lets_be_honest July 23, 2013, 1:59 pm

        katie, my sister and her boyfriend are in the middle of that right now…finding a new place, since neither wanted to live in the other’s current place. My vote is for where I live. 🙂

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp July 23, 2013, 10:42 am

      But she was willing to walk away from her job for 3 years so it can’t be that much of a factor. In some industries, three years out could destroy you.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana July 23, 2013, 10:27 am

    First: WWS.

    Second: The thing about life is you can’t choose to do or not do something based off of the idea that you may at some point regret it. We will all do things we regret (most likely) and we all have to make choices and sometimes when we make a choice, if things don’t pan out instead of trying to make it better we regret the choice. Don’t fall into that sinkhole. Make a choice live it with conviction, if it doesn’t work out figure out how to make it better.

    Your situation is complicated because on the one hand-If you love your boyfriend and want to marry him, then I think you would be able to find even a few things about the place you were moving to to make it palatable-you have a really negative view on everything. So yeah maybe spending time in the city would help, but it seems you have sort of already decided…In the same breath if he wanted to marry you he would be open to a compromise somewhere down the line. As in we do 5 years here if you still hate it then we move somewhere new. But like others have said you can’t go into it HOPING he will come to that realization once you have been there fore 5 years, that has to be discussed and decided before you move or marry.

    Relationships have to include compromise from both parties or THEY WILL NEVER WORK. As in, they may “last” but you can guarantee the person doing all the compromising will be miserable, resentment will build, love will be smothered, and it will most likely end on non-amicable terms. If you can already see this happening, then it seems like you may have made your choice. Maybe since you have been mostly long-term you haven’t had to make as many of the compromises that come with same-location relationships. One thing I love about long-distance is really the ability to still have your own life, do your own thing, and you don’t always have to do the small little sacrifices and compromises that are standard in relationships. So maybe this is just a way of it coming to the forefront that maybe you are not as compatible as you think?

    As others have said you may have found a great guy whom you love, and I am sure he loves you; but if both of you aren’t willing to compromise or sacrifice on this to make a life together possible, then I have to say its likely there is someone else out there who is a better fit for you.

    Also a note on where they could live: it could just be a lot of places that aren’t necessarily huge “music centers”. Maybe her boyfriend will never be a huge music star, but my ex was into the local music scene where I live in a relatively small city, in a band, probably won’t ever be huge but that was a huge passion of his and I could see that being enough for someone to want to stay put and pursue it. A lot of people who are in bands and make music don’t do it just to become famous, so he may not live in a Nashville, just somewhere with a vibrant music scene in which he is heavily involved and has deep roots. To some that may seem like a silly reason to not be willing to move but if I were her I would rather know now he wasn’t willing to make me a higher priority than that, then moving somewhere I hate, living there 5 years and then realizing he was serious about the whole never moving thing and she’s now in a much worse off spot.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 23, 2013, 11:32 am

      I didn’t read everything you wrote, but this immediately stood out:

      Make a choice live it with conviction, if it doesn’t work out figure out how to make it better.

      This, this, this!

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  • avatar

    Sara July 23, 2013, 10:28 am

    I am so torn about how I feel about this situation. I lived apart from my spouse for two years, so we could both have careers. We both liked our respective cities and jobs. I am really glad I took some time to follow my career. However, at the end of two years, I am ready to live with my spouse again. In order to live with him and have a job, we are moving to Small-town, Oklahoma, which I’m (very!) anxious about. So, after choosing career and city over our relationship, we are both now ready to choose the relationship over career and city. I think the LW is insightful that values (career, relationships) change over time. Only the LW can know where she is at with her values right now and only she can make the best guess about where her values are heading. But this is a very personal, fluid decision.

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  • avatar

    Vathena July 23, 2013, 10:49 am

    Seems to me the answer is in the “dating…on-and-off for five years.” If you have already had several break-ups, it’s probably not going to work out, no matter where you live.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle July 23, 2013, 10:54 am

      I read that “on-and-off” thing as relating to long-distance? (Like, they were long-distance for some of the time)

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  • lemongrass

    lemongrass July 23, 2013, 11:03 am

    He is not going to change his mind (just as other guys don’t change their behaviour) so you have to look at this as it is: move to his town and live that lifestyle or break up and find someone new who more closely shares your life goals and lifestyle. We can’t tell you which will make you happier. That is going to take some deep thinking from yourself. Go visit him and explore the town. Really look at the people there.

    Shout-out to “shit or get off the pot”! My family uses that saying. In fact my older sister said it to Mr. Grass in a conversation that he now tells me was when he realized he wasn’t waiting for anything anymore and then proposed.

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  • othy

    othy July 23, 2013, 11:10 am

    I was in a LDR with a man who lived in a city that I hated. I grew up in the town, and I had no desire to move back. However, I loved him, so I decided to try it out for a while, with plans to go to grad school if I really didn’t like the city. And, I found I really did like the city. I now live in a very different part of the city from where I grew up. People are much more open minded in my current area. I married the guy, and went to grad school here. I work a job I love, in a field I can be proud to work in, and have a great group of friends. I am quite glad I came into this with an open mind, and don’t regret it.

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  • avatar

    Muffy July 23, 2013, 11:11 am

    I don’t understand – what kind of job did you plan on having for the 3-5 years you were going to live in his city? How we’re you going to move back to your city five years later and just pick up your dream career if you hadn’t practiced it in 5 years?

    I think there’s more to this and either you or your bf is just looking for a way out. Neither of you have actually really tried the other’s city and all of a sudden when the vague plans started to become real he realized he won’t move and you realized you won’t move? I mean is the city you live in THAT amazing for you or is it a matter of pride where since he won’t move you won’t move ?

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    • avatar

      Jodee July 23, 2013, 11:40 am

      Muffy, this is super easy to comprehend. Let’s say she lives in New York and works as a journalist. She moves to, for instance, Asheville (stealing examples from folks above 🙂 – she can still work at a local paper for 3-5 years, and still make contacts. But for her to really excel/grow beyond that level, New York would be her best and only option to truly grow in that career. If she, say, lives in LA and works in film, she could (theoretically) go into documentary in Boston for a few years, and come back and grow more seriously as a TV producer in LA.

      I’d be curious about her boyfriend’s music, and how that would grow or suffer in her current city. I’m also curious why they haven’t considered a 3rd, neutral option (either between the two places, so they could commute – not sure of distance here? – or in a place that has both of their career needs met).

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 23, 2013, 11:55 am

        Yes! I feel like journalism is the perfect example for this letter (and I’ve been using it a lot) because there are technically opportunities everywhere, but that’s only if you’re not picky about what you do. Like you could do PR at a hospital or for some random community org, or work for a newspaper, or some regional business publication or anything. It wouldn’t hurt you to do that for a few years. It’s not leaving the industry. But unless you want to work at those jobs forever, be at a community newspaper for the rest of your life (or until you get laid off and it shuts down), then you’ve going to have to go to one of the bigger cities, most likely New York, Boston or Chicago.

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  • avatar

    You Go Girl July 23, 2013, 11:24 am

    The LW and her boyfriend do not sound compatible. because their differences involve more than just where they will live. He sounds like a “never live the county” man who wants to live his entire life in his hometown without going anywhere, which she seems to be very a adventurous person who wants to explore the world. If she marries him, she will be very unhappy. Not only will she live forever in a town or city she hates, she will probably also be bored because he will never want to go anywhere or do anything.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 23, 2013, 11:48 am

    LW, don’t move! If this guy let’s you walk out of his life all because he refuses to consider living in a town you both like, then really he’s not in love with you enough. Can you imagine? I can’t imagine loving someone so much that I want to marry him and raise a family with him, etc., yet not be willing to even consider living in any other town and letting that person go all because I don’t want to move. Unless there were kids involved. Or ailing parents. Or a dependency issue like that.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl July 23, 2013, 12:09 pm

      I thought you weren’t going to DW during work hours anymore.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 23, 2013, 12:23 pm

        When I posted that comment I had just arrived at work, and under my rule I can DW once when I get to work. So no violation!

        Ok ok this reply is a violation and to that I say BUT IT’S HARD NOT TO DEARWENDY!

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    • avatar

      Boosker July 23, 2013, 1:25 pm

      Yeah, I’m with you. Do you really want to be with someone who loves a city more than you? Obviously the city is not just a city, it’s an opportunity for his music career and his hometown, but still, I would not feel good about my value in that relationship.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl July 23, 2013, 12:35 pm

    LW, you’re going to have regrets either way so do what’s best FOR YOU.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl July 23, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I have a log of thoughts on this but I’m stuck in my hell hole office that is about 6 degrees filling. Blahhhh.

    I moved from my hometown for love. And my hometown is ridiculously amazing. I moved to shifty north central Florida, where it sucks. But I was willing to give up location for my husband. (I do reserve the ring to bitch about how lame fl is though.)

    Also on again, off again is NEVER a good sign.

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  • avatar

    Eagle Eye July 23, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Waaaaah! This post is timely in its own way as I finally just purchased tickets to move away from my (chosen) home to someplace 3,000 mi away, away from my friends and boyfriend for a job, and to be within a 1.5 hr flight to my parents (as opposed to 5-6hr flight).

    So. Many. Feelings.

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  • Portia

    Portia July 23, 2013, 1:19 pm

    WWS! I’m so glad this didn’t turn into a “your clock is ticking” answer! I was almost afraid to read it…

    And I’m not sure where to reply because there are so many comments about the same thing basically, but I totally get the not wanting to move to a certain city or a type of place (suburbs, urban, rural).

    It also sounded to me like she knows this place pretty well after dating the guy for 5 years (unless she never went to visit him, or never for extended periods of time, which seems odd), so uprooting her life for a trial sounds like a bad idea to me. There’s only so much compromise one can do and unless she can find a subletter and take a break from her job, she’s gonna lose her home and job and have to rebuild her life if it doesn’t turn out, which is looking pretty likely. This idea looks like a depression waiting to happen.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ July 23, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Honey, I moved across country for my 2nd husband. He KNEW before we married that I did not ever want to leave my home-state. I didn’t get much of a say, as his parents bought the tickets and made arrangements while I was recovering from neck surgery.

    I absolutely hated it. I resented like hell that the control of decision-making had been taken from me, I resented that I had been moved and guilt-tripped during the process about how unrefundable it was if we backed out and his parents took a THIRD mortgage out on their home to pay for it.

    It was five months of hell, only to be told he wanted a divorce.

    Do not change yourself or your goals simply because a potential spouse wants you to. That’s all this guy is – a POTENTIAL spouse. He made pseudo-promises to you that he knew from the get-go were unrealistic to him. It was “pillow talk”. Why? To get you to change your mind after you’d been married a few years. That’s deceptive and manipulative.

    At 35, you still have a little bit of time. Walk away and stop trying to make this relationship work. The sooner you do, the sooner you can move on and find someone else who’s more in step with your goals/living plans.
    Always remember, even if you did move to this town to live “forever”, there’s no guarantee that the marriage will last. You will have sacrificed your career, career plans/goals, and independence for nothing.

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    • avatar

      Boosker July 23, 2013, 1:28 pm

      How far away was this move to warrant a third mortgage for travel expenses?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 23, 2013, 2:08 pm

        Alaska to New Jersey I beleive.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ July 23, 2013, 5:15 pm

        AK to NJ, and WHY they took a 3rd mortgage out was because they didn’t have money in savings to pay for the trip. *sigh* Note that I wasn’t saving for the trip because I had no idea it was even on the table for discussion, having made my case very plain in the beginning of the relationship that I would NEVER move from Alaska.
        Shipping 5 people and half of their belongings (most furniture was given away/sold off, and half of our stuff stayed in AK) across country is roughly $15,000. Not including the purchasing of NEW beds for 5 people (it was cheaper than shipping our beds to NJ), a half-assed attempt at making the 2nd floor/attic habitable, and losing insurance for everyone for 4 months.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid July 23, 2013, 8:49 pm

        Plus, who wants to leave AK? I mean, really.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady July 23, 2013, 3:25 pm

    LW, DO NOT MOVE.

    If you know you can’t be happy someplace, you shouldn’t live there. If your boyfriend won’t be happy anyplace else other than someplace you’ll never be happy, you’re not compatible. One of my very dear friends moved to be with her husband – they got married because she agreed to move – and she’s completely miserable here. And if you’re miserable, making friends with a bunch of people who have chosen to live where you hate it won’t be easy. I’m not crazy about the city we live in, but there are things that I’ve learned to love, and it’s sometimes hard even for me to be around her because she’s constantly trashing it.

    It’s bad enough that it’s affected her marriage – she and her husband fight constantly. She resents him for moving her here (he works in a field that has only four facilities in the country and this was the place he was offered a job) and feels guilty for resenting him. He feels guilty for moving her here – he’s not crazy about it, like me, but like me, he can adapt to almost anywhere – and then resents her for making him feel this terrible about it. This may just be me as an outsider, but I really don’t think they’re going to make it more than a few years. I think some days she really regrets ever marrying him.

    I think this is a recipe for disaster; your location affects your quality of life so much, so it’s important to be someplace that you actually enjoy living. You won’t like his town. He won’t like moving out of it. Don’t settle for less than happy.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle July 23, 2013, 3:39 pm

      “making friends with a bunch of people who have chosen to live where you hate it won’t be easy”

      Is this the same friend you’ve talked about once, who seems to sort of absentmindedly talk shit about the city (town?) you both live in? (yes, I’m just being nosy. haha)

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      • avatar

        painted_lady July 23, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Yup, that’s her. Still talking shit. Though she catches herself and apologizes for it now, at least. She was on my derby team, but she hurt her knee and decided to quit (understandable! I’m just crazy). So I’m around her a lot less these days, and it’s kind of a relief, as much as I hate to admit it.

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  • avatar

    CattyGoLightly July 23, 2013, 5:02 pm

    I tend to think that you probably should MOA. If you’ve been together for 5 years, it’s likely that you’ve visited where he lives as you’re in a LDR, so I think you already know how you feel about the place without needing to take a bunch of vacation and give it a “test run.”

    It’s OK to not jive with a place. I moved for my boyfriend (for only 4 years, as neither of us wants to live in the Bay area forever), and while it’s not my favorite place in the world, it is fine because I know there is an end date to being here. If I knew this was it, forever, I think I would be a little depressed and resentful. It’s OK to not feel at home somewhere, because I really do think cities and places are like people: you like some of them, you dislike some of them. It’s not your fault, it’s just chemistry.

    Also, I think it’s kind of ratty that he waited FIVE YEARS to tell you “Oh, by the way, the only way this relationship is going to be lasting is if you move where I want to live, and this is the only place in the entire world that I will accept.”

    This is the rest of your life we’re talking about, and you probably wouldn’t want to spend it somewhere where you would never be comfortable.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl July 23, 2013, 5:38 pm

      Um, the Bay Area is awesome!!!!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    BreezyAM July 24, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I think being unwilling to move for love says A LOT about both the parties’ commitment to their relationship. No I am not saying “That’s a dumb dealbreaker.” I am just saying it says a lot, and frankly I think he is pulling this because he doesn’t actually want to get married… or even be in the relationship period anymore. Subconscious or no, I bet money that is why.

    I cannot imagine valuing “stuff” and comforts or even a stupid job over my supposed life partner. I’m directing that at both of them, btw. And no I do not think family is a valid excuse. When you get married, your SPOUSE is now your family, and you and your SPOUSE make your OWN family. That is where your priorities and universe needs to revolve, not your parents, friends, uncles, whoever.

    Note: I would NOT move for a “boyfriend.” There would need to be a formal, official engagement (I don’t mean like a youtube thing, I mean a serious will you marry me question popping, and a ring, not just “hey let’s get hitched, cool? yeah cool” thing if I’m gonna be pulling up stakes) and a firm wedding date with plans in motion, within 18 months max.

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