Meeting my boyfriend was a happy accident, and I’ve loved every second of our relationship and could see it having real potential for the future, yet, I’m worried that if I stay here, I will regret never exploring the world and seeing what it’s like to live outside of my state. The stress of this matter is compounded by the fact that jobs in my field are few and far between in the area where I live. I do want to get married and have kids someday, and my boyfriend would be an wonderful person to start a family with, but I’m really at a loss for how to decide which path I should take — whether I should end my relationship and take the risk of moving somewhere new, or whether I should stay with my boyfriend and start building a future right here (Just as an extra tidbit of information: my boyfriend has clearly indicated in the past that he’s not open the idea of a long distance relationship). — Love or Adventure
First of all, this doesn’t have to be a choice between love and adventure, or even love and your career. It really is possible to have it all, even if it does require some juggling and a little compromise. If you and your boyfriend already enjoy traveling together, why couldn’t you continue exploring the world as a couple? Being single certainly isn’t a requisite for globe-trotting. As for living in a different state, is this something you’ve ever discussed with your boyfriend? Maybe he would surprise you and be open to the idea of moving with you, particularly if it’s for a short-term duration. Maybe he even harbors the same desire to see what life in another state — or country — might be like. You never know if you don’t talk to him about it.
As for your limited career options in the town where you both currently live, it makes sense to cast a wider net when looking for jobs. It’s much easier to think about the idea of moving — either by yourself or with your boyfriend — when there is a tangible reason to do so, and there’s nothing like a great job offer to make a hypothetical idea much more realistic. On the other hand, you may find that you have more job options in your current town than you originally thought, or that when the idea of relocating for work becomes more a reality than a fantasy, it’s not as fun as you imagined after all.
My point is you’re adding a lot of stress to your life by contemplating a decision that’s pretty premature to make at this point. You don’t have a job offer in another town, and from the sounds of it, you haven’t talked to your boyfriend about your desire to live elsewhere. You can further reduce your stress by letting your boyfriend make the decision with you. After all, at least part of your decision depends on the future of your relationship and whether you both see it moving in the same direction. Do you know, for example, that you both want the same things? Does he want to get married and have kids too? What’s your time-table for having children? Do you envision being a working mom or a SAHM? Do you want to raise your kids in an environment similar to the one in which you were raised? Making sure you two are on the same page in regards to these issues will go a long way in helping you plan the next couple years of your life. And if you aren’t sure what your own answers to these questions are, it’s probably wise to keep all your options open and not rule out paths that take you away from your boyfriend. Those paths might just be the ones that lead you to answers you can’t imagine just yet.