Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

10 Signs You’re Ready to Move for Love

long distanceOne of the most frequently-asked questions I receive as an advice columnist is some variation of: Should I move for love? And as someone who DID move for love after being in a long-distance relationship for a year and a half, I have some ideas on the subject. Obviously, if you’re in an LDR, one of you has to move or your relationship will never progress to the next step. Deciding who in the couple should make the move can be a challenge. Should it be you? Here are a few signs that it could.

1. You’ve been in a relationship with your significant other for at least a year and, if you’ve never lived in the same place, you’ve at least visited each other several times and have met one another’s important people.

2. You actually love — really, really love — this person — enough to sacrifice the life you have now.
You have to love your partner MORE than the life you have without him or her. If you don’t, it simply won’t work out.

3. You’ve got a job in your significant other’s town (or reason to believe you will easily find one). If you are in school, you’ve been accepted to an affordable program where your significant other lives.

Not only is having steady employment necessary for financial survival, it’s pretty important for your emotional well-being too. Anyone who has ever been unemployed for very long can attest to how depressing it is to be out of work. Add to that the isolation you will likely feel being in a new town where maybe you don’t know many people other than your significant other, and it can be super lonely.

4. If you don’t have a job lined up, you have enough savings to pay for movers (if you plan to use them) and live on for at least six months.

5. You won’t be missed.
Of course you’ll be missed, but what I mean is you won’t be missed by someone who is very dependent on you (like an elderly or disabled parent, or your child).

6. You like your partner’s town.

You may love your partner, but do you love his or her city? If the answer’s no or you aren’t sure, spend more time there and imagine how you’d feel if you never came home. Does the idea of staying there make you feel “stuck”? Does it fill you with dread? Do you spend a lot of time wishing your significant other could just move to your town or that you could find a neutral city where you could both start over? If so, then maybe moving to your partner’s town isn’t the right choice.

7. You have a place to live.

Will you be living with your significant other right off the bat? Getting your own place? Staying with him/her before you get your own place? If so, how long will you stay? Will you be paying rent? If so, how much? What if your partner has a bachelor pad that you want to re-decorate? Would he be open to that? These are all questions you need to discuss together and be in agreement on before you move. It’s a lot to talk about, but these discussions are much better to have before you make the move rather than after!

8. You’ve discussed a long-term future with your significant other.

If it seems too soon or too awkward or too inappropriate to discuss marriage or a long-term, serious commitment to each other, then it’s too soon, too awkward and too inappropriate for you to uproot your life and move to a new city for love. If you can’t imagine a life together at least five years down the road, then stop packing your bags and stay put until you can.

9. You won’t resent your partner if you move and the relationship doesn’t work out.

Moving for love is a leap of faith for anyone, but if you feel in your heart that you’ll be bitter and resentful if the sacrifice doesn’t lead to the happy ending you’re hoping for, you should reconsider whether you’re really ready to make the jump.

10. You have a back-up plan.

Shit happens. Relationships combust. Jobs are lost. Feelings change. People get sick. While you can’t possibly anticipate every issue that might arise after you move, you should have some idea what your back-up plan would be if your new life in your new city isn’t working out. When I moved to New York, I brought my cats, laptop, and two suitcases, but I left most of my belongings in storage in Chicago. That way, if things didn’t work out between Drew and me, I could move back to Chicago without paying to ship my things twice. I waited until I was 100% sure I wanted to stay in NYC before I sent for my belongings. It took five months for me to be certain.

19 comments… add one
  • GatorGirl February 11, 2014, 1:38 pm

    I like #2 a lot. Life with your partner, even in a completely different location, has to have more weight than life with out your partner (if you’re going to move).
    IDK about #6 though. To some location is super important, but to others (like me) it’s not such a big deal. I didn’t love (and still don’t) the town I moved to for GGuy, but I don’t care that much. But for some (like LW a little while back) who would be devastated to live in a place they don’t like.

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    • theattack February 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I agree that #6 is different from person to person. I don’t think you have to love a city to live there, but you should certainly be sure you’re not miserable there. I really hate the town we live in, but it’s still worth it to me because life with P here is better than life alone was in my preferred city. It’s all so subjective. As long as you can see yourself being content somewhere, it should be okay.

      It doesn’t mean that I don’t daydream of moving on a weekly basis though.

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      • GatorGirl February 11, 2014, 1:52 pm

        Who doesn’t daydream about moving somewhere? All though FL weather is pretty spectacular this time of year…

      • theattack February 11, 2014, 2:01 pm

        Very true. I do seriously want to move soonish though. This town is supposed to be a starting point for us, and I do not want to have a child or buy a house here. I’m hoping that something changes in P’s job in the next couple of years so that he can either transfer to the Memphis office, open an office in another city we like more, or he just has a different and better job somewhere else. There are very few jobs here for me (another one of Wendy’s excellent points!), and there is quite literally nothing to do here except go to the movies. I really do hate this town. It’s still worth it overall, but I won’t live here forever.

        So another point to add about location is to be on the same page about if the new location is long term or not, I guess.

      • GatorGirl February 11, 2014, 2:11 pm

        Yeah, I think maybe that’s why I’m not too hung up on this place. We’re only going to be here another year (so I’ll have lived here 4) and then we’ll be moving. I feel like I can handle any location if there is hope/promise of moving in the future. I def don’t want to buy a house here, but we might have a kid here. So yes, future moving plans are a must discuss!

    • bethany February 11, 2014, 2:26 pm

      Re #6– I almost moved to Michigan for my college boyfriend. One of the reasons why I didn’t move was that I didn’t like where he lived. Actually, I liked it. It was pretty, they had a lake! But the problem was that I hated the people. No one got me AT ALL. No one understood my humor, I found it really hard to have conversations with people! Maybe I’m just too East Coast for Michigan? I knew I’d never really be able enjoy being myself there. We ended up breaking up before it was time for me to move, which was good. But I’m sure if I would have gone I would have regretted it.

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      • GatorGirl February 11, 2014, 2:32 pm

        Yeah, I think it can go either way. Location can be a big deal and it can not be a big deal. GGuy went to Michigan for a conference and said it was weird too. Glad he didn’t get into school there!

      • bethany February 11, 2014, 2:36 pm

        I really, really wanted to like Michigan. It was so pretty! There were lakes all over the place! But the people were so bizarro. (no offense Michigan peeps!)

      • CatsMeow February 11, 2014, 3:09 pm

        I was actually talking about something similar with my mom the other day. When people think about moving, they usually consider things like weather, cost of living, surroundings, etc. – which is obviously important! – but neglect to consider things about culture, ease of making friends, politeness of strangers, state politics, etc. I mean, you can’t always know those things until you move somewhere, but different regions DEFINITELY have different collective “personalities” and you have to make sure you’ll fit in and be comfortable.

  • mylaray February 11, 2014, 2:11 pm

    I love this list, and even though I’ve never been in a LDR, this is still helpful because we (well, him more than me) want to move somewhere completely different in the next few years. Especially #5. I already feel guilt at potentially moving far away from my in-laws.

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  • ktfran February 11, 2014, 2:52 pm

    I feel like #’s 2 and 9 could be copied and pasted to most LW’s asking about moving.

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  • lets_be_honest February 11, 2014, 2:55 pm

    I don’t think I’d be willing to move for my partner 🙁

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    • Minxy September 23, 2017, 10:19 am

      can i ask why? I am about to be forced to cut my LDR because the man I love doesn’t know if he can leave behind his parents ( they are not mentally or physically dependent on him ) I can understand its a tough choice. But I always thought that if you love the other person enough then the thought of NOT having them in our life should be enough to justify moving. What WILL it take for you to move for your love though? Keen to hear what you have to say.

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      • Dear Wendy September 23, 2017, 6:47 pm

        You’ve emailed me, so I know the details of your situation. I think it’s really unfair to blame a potential break-up on your boyfriend being unwilling to leave his parents, when it sounds like you are equally unwilling to leave your home for his. But you think your reasoning is more justified because it’s financial?

      • Dear Wendy September 23, 2017, 6:47 pm

        Why is the thought of not having your boyfriend in your life NOT enough justification for YOU to move?

  • TeacherNerd February 11, 2014, 3:58 pm

    There are so many variables for so many of us, it’s difficult to apply each of these things to each person in each situation. There are always, always exceptions based on innumerable variables that simply can’t be quantified with a list. I dated my now-husband for 6 months before we got engaged, after which I moved in with him. That might be a terrible idea for many folks, but we were both in our mid-30s at that point, so being older, we knew ourselves very well and had excellent communication in terms of timing and what we wanted, and when. He also owned a house; I was living with my parents because first of unemployment, and then underemployment. He had a full-time job with benefits; 3 1/2 years later, I still can’t find a full-time job in my field. It made sense for us, but I don’t know that I’d recommend it for everyone. I also didn’t have enough money to live on my own, the economy and my field being what they were. I’m “meh” about where we live, but I’m crazy about my husband, and my husband is more important than where we live. (And really, if the place is ever more important than the partner, perhaps the relationship needs to be rethought.)

    I think these sorts of lists can be simplified to many fewer points: Have you talked about your future, do you agree on whatever points you agree are the big points, and what’s your timeline? If they don’t match up, be willing and prepared to be on your own until they mesh.

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  • TheTruth February 11, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Three years ago, I retired from the Air Force and moved to my GFs state 4-months after talking to her on the phone for the first time. We only saw each other one time for less that 12-hours before I moved.

    Of course she was my high-school sweetheart, but we hadn’t seen or talked to each other in over 20-years when we started talking again.

    Best decision I ever made.

    Of course I’m an outlier and sometime you just get lucky.

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  • Lyra February 11, 2014, 8:20 pm

    I will never move for love again. My location is important to me. I like being with my family and friends. I resented him for the ENTIRE time that I lived there after we broke up. It would have never worked, and thank goodness it didn’t.

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  • Kiss Your Life February 15, 2018, 2:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your views but yeah it is difficult situation for us when we ready to move for love because we all love our place where we spent our childhood and create wonderful memories its not easy to move. 🙁

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