New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
I have been with my amazing boyfriend for over five years. After dating for a year he moved to a city four hours away for an amazing job opportunity. For the next two years we dated long distance until I finished university and moved to be with him. We have been living together in relative harmony for two years now and I can honestly see us being together forever. The problem, though, is I miss my family like crazy. We’ve always been extremely close, but now they live eight hours away and although I get to see them practically every month I find myself wishing to be in my hometown almost everyday. I know they miss me as well and they talk often about me moving back home and giving up living with my boyfriend.
Recently, my boyfriend and I started talking about marriage and it has made me realize that I may be tying myself to a location far away from my family forever. I have talked about moving closer to my hometown but my boyfriend would hate to give up his job where he excels and makes an amazing salary. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place! I love my boyfriend so much, yet I can’t imagine living far away from my beloved family forever, especially since I want my future kids to have the same close family relationships I had. So many of my friends have moved far away from their families to make a life with their partner and have no problem with it. Am I extremely immature? Any advice? — Mama’s Girl
It may seen like you have a difficult decision to make, but it’s actually quite an easy one. It’s the consequences of the decision that won’t be so simple. But you have a choice: stay with your boyfriend and remain far away from your family for the foreseeable future — possibly forever, or break up with your boyfriend and move back home where you have the option of meeting someone new and eventually starting your own family close to the people you love. Either way, you’re going to be heartbroken, but it’s up to you to decide which option leaves you less heartbroken.
What you can’t do — or what I don’t recommend you do — is make your decision based on how other people have made similar decisions. It doesn’t matter if everyone you know has left home to make a life with his or her partner. If that’s not best for you, it’s not best for you. It doesn’t make you immature to have different priorities, needs and values. It just makes you you.
And speaking of priorities, needs and values, let’s not leave your boyfriend’s choices out of this either. I’m assuming he knows how important it is to you to be close to your family, and yet, he has chosen a career that takes him far away from them. So far, he hasn’t been faced with difficult consequences to that decision. You’re the one shouldering most of the burden. But what would happen if suddenly he were faced with sad consequences — if you told him that he either has to quit his job and move back with you to your hometown or risk losing you? Suddenly, the tables have turned and it’s not just your priorities, needs and values put to the test. Knowing where you fall on his list of priorities may help you make a decision — and deal with the consequences of that decision.
But in the end, it’s your decision to make. Your boyfriend can’t make it for you. Your family can’t make it for you. I certainly can’t make it for you. You have to weigh your options and decide which choice leaves you the least heartbroken and in a better position to create the future you’ve always envisioned for yourself. As difficult as the repercussions of that decision will be, the good news is that if your family is as loving as you say they are, they’re going to have your back and provide tons of support no matter what you decide. Good luck.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected].
maynard April 6, 2011, 9:19 am
I don’t think I have a polite way to throw in my 2cents
caitie_didn't April 6, 2011, 11:24 am
I agree. I would give my right arm to be where the LW is right now. That is, in astable, happy relationship that is heading toward marriage, with someone I love. I certainly would not risk that because i missed my parents.
Being a grown up means having to sacrifice for what’s important.
MissDre April 6, 2011, 11:27 am
“Being a grown up means having to sacrifice for what’s important.”
Yes, your are right but it goes both ways. If the relationship is her priority, she’ll need to sacrifice being close to her family. But if raising kids near her parents is her priority, she may need to sacrifice her relationship and find one that better suits her.
elisabeth April 6, 2011, 11:32 am
Yes! And he may need to sacrifice, in turn, to allow the LW her priorities. The trick is fitting them together into a whole picture, even if it doesn’t happen instantly. The LW isn’t the only one who should be required to compromise here.
caitie_didn't April 6, 2011, 12:18 pm
You’re right, it does go both ways. But I don’t feel any sympathy for her having to end a relationship with an amazing boyfriend who wants to marry her. Really, she seems pretty lucky.
maynard April 6, 2011, 11:34 am
I also don’t get the indication that she’s actually ready for marriage (with this guy at least) and she’s looking for an “out”. But that is MY opinion
elisabeth April 6, 2011, 11:36 am
I’m not sure that it has to be either of those. She can consider the long-term of her relationship even if she knows she’s not ready for marriage yet (and I agree, she may not be, but then, who are we to judge), and she can consider wanting to move back home without trying to find an excuse to break up with her boyfriend.
cmarie April 6, 2011, 2:55 pm
It’s not immature to want to be close to family. It’s a decision based on individual needs and values. What works for someone might not work for you. And thinking about moving back home is considering the long-term. She’s considering the long-term future that may include children, children she wants to raise close to her family. That’s a responsible, mature part of life to consider. It’s unkind to her to imply that she should sacrifice her needs and her values for a wonderful guy. Sure he’s wonderful but it’s hard to appreciate all the great parts when you’re miserable. He’s not that great of a guy if he can’t understand that she values a close family relationship and she would be doing a disservice to him if she wasn’t honest with him. Her long-term plans involve building a family within the network of her extended family and there is nothing wrong with that.
baby.blanka April 6, 2011, 10:31 am
Lol, now I definitely want to read it!!
maynard April 6, 2011, 10:47 am
H0nestly, I just think the LW is being immature and needs to grow up and live in the real world. That’s great that she’s close with her family, but you can’t have everything you want in life all the time and I’m sorry but if I found the man I wanted to marry, I wouldn’t even consider dumping him to move back home with mommy and daddy, especially if I still see them once a month (and presumably on holidays as well). I think she’d be doing herself a big disservice by moving home when she’s only 2 years out of college and has what she described as a great life with her boyfriend. What if she is offered her dream job somewhere else? What if she has the opportunity to travel abroad for some time? Is she going to turn down every opportunity in life just because she can’t be with her family 24/7? There is a difference between being close to your family and (physically) NEEDING them every day.
Life is full of changes and obstacles and tough decisions. You can’t just give up and go home every time you miss your parents. Sometimes a phone call has to be enough.
MissDre April 6, 2011, 11:07 am
Sorry, but I disagree with you. The situation is different for everyone. I DID leave home for a year, and realized that I am not the type of person who is ok with being so far from my family. It was too hard for me, so when I finished school I came back home. Yes, I had friends in my new city. Yes I had a job, yes I went to the gym and had a life… but I still wasn’t happy.
And YES I would turn down opportunities for a dream job elsewhere, because I know I can find equally great job opportunities in my home city and build a life that’s just as happy as anywhere. Why would I want to work at a fancy advertising agency in New York City if my job was all I had? For me personally, I would just not be happy no matter how great the opportunity was. I gave up the chance to be a media buyer, but I DO have a job that I like, that provides security, and I’m SO much happier being close to my mom and my brother and his wife.
Would I move away for marriage? I don’t know. I think I’d have to be actually faced with the decision. But right now, my gut says no.
Maynard, if YOU are the type of person who can handle being far away from home because your dreams/goals are more important, that is fantastic and I wholeheartedly congratulate you and support you! I honestly wish you the very best. But what works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. And that DOES NOT make them immature or mean they need to grow up.
The LW needs to follow her own heart, not anybody else’s advice.
maynard April 6, 2011, 11:19 am
“The LW needs to follow her own heart, not anybody else’s advice.”
Then don’t write into an advice column? Of course my advice is based on my point of view and opinions. That’s what makes it my advice.
Jenny April 6, 2011, 11:36 am
I think Maynard and many other readers are having a bit of trouble sympathizing with the LW. I know I am. I am also very close with my family, and due to my husband’s job, I am currently living across the country from them. I would LOVE to live 8 hours away and see my family once a month.
It seems that the LW is in her 20s…from someone who got married at 23, getting married in your 20s is a lot riskier than getting married later on in life. People in their 20s (especially their early 20s) don’t tend to be as established in their careers as people in their 30s, 40s, etc. Aside from issues of maturity, there’s a lot of risk when you decide to settle down with someone who hasn’t already established his/herself. Many couples in their 20s face these difficulties. Sometimes you can be compatible in every way except the one way that really matters.
silver_dragon_girl April 6, 2011, 12:13 pm
I agree with you. I’m actually jealous that she only lives 8 hours from her family. I’m a 14-hour drive from mine, or about 6 hours of plane travel, which I can’t afford to do very often. The time it takes to drive makes it difficult to go home for less than a 5-day stretch, which is hard to find in my work schedule. So I burn all my vacation time going home for holidays, and never get to go anywhere “fun.” I’m actually probably going to start looking at grad school and jobs a little closer to home. Yes, I have friends and a great job here, but…I miss my family.
But I don’t think anyone can really tell anyone else “you need to NOT move home. Live your life! See the world!” Well, she’s done that, hasn’t she? She’s been away for a couple years now and she doesn’t like it.
Which doesn’t really help the LW make up her mind at all, but…I can totally see where she’s coming from.
The_LW April 6, 2011, 4:41 pm
Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed hearing about someone who has been in a similar situation as me and still had feelings of missing their family. Sometimes I feel alone in my feelings when I hear about my friends adjusting well to living away from home while I am contemplating moving back.
The_LW April 6, 2011, 4:43 pm
Sorry I forgot the @missdre… 🙂
JustMe April 6, 2011, 11:09 am
This is the thing, everyone has different priorities, what they are willing to give up and what they won’t. It just might be for this woman, family is her priority. So for her, a dream job will never be a dream job if it is further than a couple hours away from her family.
Beyond that, living close to your family has a lot of advantages, especially when you are settled and have children of your own.
I’m in a situation similar to the letter writer, though I’m older with kids. My husband and I moved away from both our families for work, and I’ll tell you, it’s really tough in a lot of ways. Tough enough that we keep an eye on the job situation in the home town, and if a prospect came up, we’d probably be moving back.
I think the letter writer is very mature, in my view. She is figuring out now what she can and can’t live with, and is going to take the appropriate steps. That’s all any of us can do.
MissDre April 6, 2011, 11:21 am
@JustMe, I agree with you. I know firsthand how hard it was to raise my brother and I, so so far away from her family and her friends. She moved across the country when I was a baby, for my dad’s career. But three years later, they went through a nasty divorce, and she didn’t want to move back home because my brother and I had already started home in this new city.
So, she raised my brother and I with no physical support from anybody. It’s fine if your friends back home sympathize with you, but that doesn’t mean shit if they can’t watch your kid for 2 hours after work because of some other emergency that has come up…
So to anyone jumping to the conclusion that the LW is immature, please cut her some slack. She has every right to make her family a priority, if that’s what’s best for her.
elisabeth April 6, 2011, 11:14 am
Whoa whoa whoa – The LW isn’t talking about needing “mommy and daddy,” as you so condescendingly put it, to hold her hand. She’s been through college and is two years out, presumably she’s been living away from them for a good deal of time, and on her own for part of it. She’s not stuck in high-school mode. She has a very serious decision about her future ahead of her. Wanting to maintain a close relationship with family isn’t an immature desire, and she definitely needs to figure out how to approach the subject with her boyfriend before making her decision. Maybe he’ll understand the importance of family and agree to look for a job closer to the LW’s hometown. Maybe he won’t, and she’ll realize he doesn’t place the same importance on family as she does, and maybe that’s a light-bulb moment for her.
I don’t think the LW’s path is an obvious one – as Wendy said, she’s the only one who can decide, ultimately, and yes, there will be pain either way. It would be immature to expect that to be easy, and obvious the LW is beyond that.
maynard April 6, 2011, 11:16 am
I SAID I couldn’t be polite in my response.
MissDre April 6, 2011, 11:24 am
Then don’t respond?
Sorry, just your own logic: “Then don’t write into an advice column?”
maynard April 6, 2011, 11:30 am
I don’t think it’s a requirement to be nice when commenting on the internet.
If you think she doesn’t need anyone elses advice, then maybe YOU shouldn’t repsond, eh?
MissDre April 6, 2011, 11:46 am
“If you think she doesn’t need anyone elses advice, then maybe YOU shouldn’t repsond, eh?”
Not the smartest response, considering I did not offer her any advice. I told you that I disagreed with yours.
Look, I’m not trying to pick a fight with you maynard. As I said before, I support you 100% in your dreams, goals and priorities and I am very happy that you know what works for you. My point was, it’s not fair to call the LW immature just because what works for her is different.
maynard April 6, 2011, 2:02 pm
Umm, you got me? That’s great that you support my dreams and goals, even though I never mentioned my dreams or goals and that has nothing to do with this letter. I’m not picking a fight, either, just stating my opinion like you are. No biggie.
BecBoo84 April 6, 2011, 12:22 pm
@ maynard, I generally agree with what you’re trying to say, but I have to disagree a little bit with this specific point. I do think the anonymous feature of the internet gets people to say overly harsh things they would never say in real life. Obviously, the LW is going to be reading all of the comments very carefully, so there’s no reason to write mean things that are going to make her feel crappy just because it’s the internet.
maynard April 6, 2011, 2:00 pm
I definitely don’t consider what I wrote overly harsh or mean and I actually would say that in real life.
ele4phant April 6, 2011, 11:17 am
Gotta disagree. Being close to your family and wanting to live near them is not the same as moving back in with mommy and daddy. Not every family is like yours, not every person is like you, and for some seeing family once a month is in fact not enough. And that’s fine.
For me, I live thousands of miles away from my mom, and while it would be nice to see her more often we are fine with just phone calls and texts. But I do have friends that live in their hometowns and see their family everyday. However, they are just as “adult” and mature as I am.
Life is full of changes and obstacles and tough decisions. Her tough decision that she needs decide between building her adult life with a man she loves, or building her adult life near her close-knit family, and allowing her future children to be part of that huge family network. She’s not giving up to go live with the ‘rents.
Jess April 6, 2011, 2:39 pm
the US is one of the ONLY cultures where people move around a lot and away from their families. I’m in europe, a german speaking country, with one of the best economies in the world, and people think its a sad (and odd) thing to move away from your home for a long time. Sure, people work abroad for a few years at a time, but they always come back to raise their kids near their family.
The US is one of the only countries where people frequently move away from family and long term friends. It also has the highest rates of depression.
Emsz April 6, 2011, 5:30 pm
I agree. If I were to move four hours away from my parents, I would actually have to leave the country!
MonMon April 6, 2011, 4:57 pm
Maynard, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The LW made what I would call an “adult” decision initially to move in with her boyfriend. Things are going well, she says, and yet she is considering moving back in with mom and dad…. my guess is she hasn’t really thought it through completely. The point of being raised at home, then going off to college, working, dating…is to grow some wings so you can learn to depend on yourself and not mom and dad anymore. If and when you meet someone who you eventually start to discuss marriage with, is the time to leave home and make a new one with your spouse (and a family, if one chooses to).
When the LW says she is 8 hours from home, I assume that’s an 8-hour drive. This may be objective, but an 8-hour drive is nothing. My mom made the decision to move to an entirely new country, let alone continent, after getting married. Now, it’s a 12-hour flight to see her mom and family whom she misses like crazy.
The homesickness will probably not go away, but it’s an indication of really loving someone…which is not a bad thing. I have always had a wonderful relationship with my grandparents even when sometimes I didn’t see them for 2 or 3 years at a time. They still wrote, sent cards, and when I was old enough I did the same. Relationships always find a way to work.
Yeah, the LW could “find someone new” who is closer to where her family lives, but either her current boyfriend is “the one” or he’s not. I’ve been with my boyfriend over 2 years and I am aware that he is absolutely irreplaceable to me. Nothing could change my mind to go somewhere where he cannot follow. This is something the LW needs to weigh out too. If her man is replaceable, then this is a different story and her choice should be easy.
delilahgem April 7, 2011, 9:44 am
@Maynard I agree with this statement:
“Life is full of changes and obstacles and tough decisions. You can’t just give up and go home every time you miss your parents. Sometimes a phone call has to be enough.”
I would also agree that this situation is different for everyone. My sister lives 5 hours away. I miss her terribly, but it was her and her boyfriend’s decision to move there. I haven’t seen her in a couple months, but we (try to) Skype and talk on the phone when we can.
I live only half an hour away from my parents, and it’s still difficult at times to see them as often as I’d like. There were a few times during difficult times where my friends/acquaintances would ask why I didn’t move “back home” with them, and I just reasoned that I was an adult, whatever mess or circumstance was mine, and I couldn’t justify doing that no matter how close I am with them.
I know that if given an opportunity to move for a job, we would take a lot of things into consideration before taking that leap, but wouldn’t rule it out because we had to leave our families behind. There’s a whole big world out there. As much as I love where I live, it wouldn’t bother me to leave, especially if the one I love was with me.
kali April 7, 2011, 1:26 pm
With some families, the further away they are, the better!
ReginaRey April 6, 2011, 9:21 am
Great advice as usual, Wendy!
Ultimatums don’t work. This is clearly VERY important to you, so don’t begin this discussion with your boyfriend by saying “You either quit your job and move back home with me, or I move home and we have an LDR again or break up.” No one faced with an ultimatum usually choose what YOU want them to…it’s too degrading and disrespectful.
I think what you absolutely SHOULD do is this – sit him down and have a serious discussion about marriage. Ask him if it’s something he really sees, and if so, how far into the future he imagines it happening. Then, you have to tell him the truth. “It’s extremely important to me that we live near my family, and raise any future children in a close-knit environment. Are you willing to find a job closer to my family if and when we get married?”
Relationships are full of difficult compromises. If you two want to be together forever, then I think your’s should be waiting to move back home until you get married – that gives your boyfriend plenty of time to digest the change and for you two to make a solid plan together, as future legal spouses. His compromise is moving close to your family, because it means that much to you. I don’t think it’s immature for you to have this desire. I may not have the desire, and the majority of people may not have it, but it isn’t crazy to want to be close to your family and to raise future children in a close-knit community.
If you KNOW you cannot compromise that, then your future spouse has to be able to agree to it. If not, he isn’t the right future spouse for you. It wouldn’t be fair to either of you – you’d be living unhappily away from your family, and he’d be unhappily working and living somewhere he didn’t want to be. If you can’t come to an agreement, it’s time to MOA.
Mainer April 6, 2011, 9:35 am
As per usual I refreshed the page before submitting my thoughts to see what was said while I was tediously editing. You pretty much summed up everything I was going to say. Only, like, better.
ReginaRey April 6, 2011, 9:57 am
@Mainer – Thank you! 🙂
I’m also wondering…There’s a very thin line to be walked between being selfish, and not compromising on your values. I think it would be selfish if she up and moved back home, without giving him time to really think things through. She might find that she is ultimately more important to him than the exact job he’s doing, where he works, and how much money he makes if she waits to move until marriage. On the other hand, I think he’d be selfish to expect her to live away from her family forever if it means THAT much to her.
Am I wrong to wonder – If someone is unwilling to move for you, or if you’re unwilling to move for them, can it ever work out? Does marriage have to mean “I’d follow her/him anywhere?” I wouldn’t know yet!
Jenny April 6, 2011, 10:05 am
ReginaRey…I think if you’re going to be serious enough about spending the rest of your life with someone, you have to be willing to handle the unexpected…long distance moves included. Now, that doesn’t mean compromising your values for someone…but I do think, in order for a marriage to work, you need to put your spouse first. Of course, that means that both spouses need to compromise when it comes to where they live. But if you’re not willing to move across the world for someone…well, no, you probably shouldn’t marry them. I know a lot of people probably won’t agree with me. But marriage is supposed to be for a lifetime, and a lot of unexpected things can happen. In order to weather the storms that life throws you, a couple needs to be committed to each other above all else.
ReginaRey April 6, 2011, 11:24 am
I agree with you, Jenny. I think that spouses should definitely be committed to each other above all else.
But what happens when you aren’t spouses yet? When you might not be ready for marriage just? My boyfriend *may* get the opportunity to move abroad for work – this would mean at least 2 years of international long distance. While I love him, I don’t think I could pick up and follow him right now. Every single one of my friends is here, my family, my job, my whole life, minus him. I love him and want to be with him, but I’m not ready to get married yet.
I’m hoping that the fact that I couldn’t move across the country, or OUT of the country, with him doesn’t mean we aren’t right for each other. I just don’t feel I’m ready for that yet…maybe the LW, or more likely the LW’s bf, aren’t ready for marriage yet. Maybe when they both are, he wouldn’t have a problem moving, or she wouldn’t have a problem staying with him.
Jenny April 6, 2011, 11:44 am
I see what you’re saying, ReginaRey, and I sympathize with your situation. I don’t think the fact that you’re not currently ready to marry your boyfriend doesn’t mean you won’t be ready someday. Decisions like this are really fucking hard. I think people want to believe they can have it all…their dream job, their dream spouse, live in their dream city…unfortunately, for most people, it just doesn’t work out that way. However,despite what many people say, long distance relationships CAN work if both parties are committed. I wouldn’t advise a long distance relationship being the long term plan, though. But, the LW has been with her boyfriend for 5 years…and to me, if you’re having her level of doubt at this stage of the game…it’s probably time to admit it just wasn’t meant to be. Like I said above, twoo people can be compatible in every way except for the way that matters the most.
applescruff April 6, 2011, 1:04 pm
True, she’s been with him 5 years, but she’s also only two years out of college, which makes her – what, about 23, 24? So she’s been with him since she was 18 or 19. It seems to me that relationships at that age, that are serious, by necessity tend to develop more slowly.
EC was here April 6, 2011, 11:50 am
I think if you’re in a long term committed relationship, then compromises have to be reached and discussed. My husband and I take the time to talk about anything we deem important and that is going to affect either one of us and BOTH of us.
In this case, I agree with the other comments that the LW seems to be immature. I think she is looking for a way out and since she hasn’t brought up her homesickness to her BF during their conversations, that shows a sign of immaturity. You can’t have the whole picture if you haven’t asked your BF if he’s willing to move closer to your family.
Mainer April 6, 2011, 10:05 am
Well, you can’t blame him for not wanting to move back anymore than you can blame her for not wanting to move away. I think if she gave him the ultimatum he’d chose her over the job, but he may resent her for it later in life when he’s flipping burgers at Applebeas because he can’t find work anywhere else. Ultimately in situations like this someone makes a sacrifice. In looking at the bigger picture of starting a family of their own, which sacrifice is going to have the least impact: sacrificing a solid income for a tight knit family community (at least for HER), or moving away from family to start one of your own in which you may be able to live comfortably? Obviously this is based on a very large assumption that his type of work is not available within the confines of whatever proximity to her family she wants to live.
maynard April 6, 2011, 10:49 am
“Am I wrong to wonder – If someone is unwilling to move for you, or if you’re unwilling to move for them, can it ever work out? ”
How COULD that work? Long distance marriage FOREVER?
ReginaRey April 6, 2011, 11:12 am
Haha! I would hope no one would ever agree to a long distance marriage! I guess what I meant was – can you ever overcome a mutual unwillingness to move or give up goals/dreams for another person…and if it’s wrong to give up things you value.
Feather April 6, 2011, 11:30 am
Celebrities agree to long distance marriages all the time, and look how those work out most of the time….
Jenny April 6, 2011, 9:24 am
Marrying my husband meant being away from my family for the foreseeable future, too. I also want to be close to my family. But you know what? My husband is worth it. I’d follow that man anywhere. My advice to you is: doubt means don’t. I think you love your boyfriend very much…almost enough to be away from your family. You already have the answer to your question. I wish you the best of luck.
Jenny April 6, 2011, 9:51 am
To put it a little more simply…sometimes you can love someone very much, but the “Me” doesn’t line up with “We”. And that’s okay.
cdj0815 April 6, 2011, 11:30 am
“Me” doesn’t line up with “We”. And that’s okay.
Jenny, I like how you put that, well said. I also hope to see more letters in the future where the man is having to relocate with the woman because of her career choice.
PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 12:10 pm
“My advice to you is: doubt means don’t. I think you love your boyfriend very much…almost enough to be away from your family.”
That was my initial reaction to the letter, as well. If she misses her family that much (even though she sees them monthly) and wishes every day that she was back with them and is considering leaving her boyfriend to move back closer to her family, her relationship doesn’t appear to be “enough” for her. Like you mention, I think she suspects this, and the recent marriage talk with her boyfriend has made her really start to consider her true feelings and thoughts about the future.
Heather April 6, 2011, 9:32 am
Agreed with what Wendy said. No one can make the decision but you. And wanting to be near your family absolutely doesn’t make you immature-it’s wonderful that you’re so close with them, in a time when so many family relationships are damaged, fractured, and just plain messed up.
I would avoid the ultimatum. But your boyfriend needs to understand how important this is to you. The thing that sucks most is he not only has a job in this rough economy but one that he enjoys at that. For him to consider that very important doesn’t make him a bad guy, it just means that he understandably might not be willing to give that up. Which is a tough pill I can imagine to swallow after five years of being together.
Talk to him, LW. And go in doing so with knowledge of the fact that it might NOT work out the way you want it to. But be strong about your convictions. If you do move, you might lose that relationship. But somewhere down the line, like Wendy pointed out, maybe you’ll meet someone who you’re just as compatible with. If you do decide to stay with your boyfriend and far away from your family, remember that it’s your choice to do so, and try not to resent him for it. I wish you luck! I know it’s not easy!
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 9:53 am
One part of the letter really sticks out for me though: “I know they miss me as well and they talk often about me moving back home and giving up living with my boyfriend.”
I have to wonder how much influence this has. If her parents have called her every week for the past 2 years and told her to stop living with her boyfriend and come home, maybe she thinks thats the only option that will make her parents happy. I wonder if she tried to distance herself from them a little (not see them every month, not let them pressure her into leaving her boyfriend and returning home) if she might realize she actually likes living in this new place. Has she really given it a chance?
Imagine this was a college freshman who said she went home once a month to visit her parents because she misses them. Wouldn’t we all advise her to stop going home so often, and try to make a life and friends at school? I would! So how is this different? LW my advice to you is to stay in that city for 3 months, or even six, without visiting home. And tell your family to stop trying to pressure you into leaving your boyfriend. Then decide if you could be happy living away from home forever or if you need to go back home.
As an aside, I had to move 1400 miles away from home for my dream job- it would be a 20 hour drive from my house to my parents’ house, and its about a 3 hour flight. I left a boyfriend (we did long distance for awhile but it didn’t work out), my best friend, and my awesome family behind. It bums me out a little that grandma and grandpa won’t be right down the road when I have kids, the way my grandparents were when I was growing up… but I did what I had to do. I talk to my mom about once a week. They come visit me about twice a year, and I visit home about twice a year too. In the time of Skype and Southwest Airlines, the people you love are never really that far away.
Jessica April 6, 2011, 10:07 am
oh thank god someone else thought this too.
Distancing yourself from your family may be the best option on how to decide what you should do. their influence may be too great.
give yourself a little bit of room to make this decision before doing so. it’s a big one.
BecBoo84 April 6, 2011, 10:50 am
I hadn’t really thought of that point until you brought it up, but you are absolutely right!
maynard April 6, 2011, 10:51 am
I agree. Cut the cord!
JustMe April 6, 2011, 11:35 am
Here’s the thing, what is almost an adventure when you are in your twenties becomes a pain in the a** when you are in your thirties with a family.
Right now, you don’t have kids, so in your mind it’s a bummer that you won’t be living around your family, but oh well. That really changes once kids are a reality.
It’s amazing how it’s not a dream job anymore when you have to save money and use all your vacation time so you can go back home with your kids, making sure the family stays in touch.
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:09 pm
Well I guess I’m lucky that, unlike the LW, my parents encouraged me to go for it and have supported me by traveling to visit often. If my parents had whined about how I need to come home, it probably would have been more difficult to leave home and make me miserable living here. Her parents sound selfish. They should be encouraging her to be happy, not just always mentioning that she should come home.
I’m not saying its easy, but I think its doable. Plenty of people live away from their parents, with kids. Plenty of people have babysitters and close friends to help make it work.
JustMe April 6, 2011, 1:42 pm
I’m not saying I disagree with you as much as I’m saying I have probably 10+ years on you in a similar situation, and I’ve lived through a few things, some I expected to be the consequence of living far away from home, others I should have thought of, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me.
Airplane travel changes when purchasing one ticket now becomes purchasing four, and you have to spend all day in the airport with a baby and a toddler.
What happens when your parents can’t travel anymore, and the onus is on you to do all the travelling home, no meeting halfway, no shared vacation, just all on you?
Close friends and babysitters are great, but what happens when you have two kids and get that 2am phone call that your mom is in the hospital from a heart attack? What are you going to do then with yourself, your kids?
I can’t attest to the selfishness of either the LW or her parents. All I can say is, this isn’t an easy decision, and the LW really needs to think it through and know where her priorities lie so that she and the BF can be on the same page.
Quakergirl April 6, 2011, 8:14 pm
I don’t have any kids, so I can’t say for certain that I know the parental side of this, but I definitely know the kids’ side of this. My parents moved my brother and I away from our entire family to a state where we knew exactly no one when I was about four. We grew up in different states from then on, and basically never lived near family. And not once were we left at the bus-stop with no one to pick us up, not once did we languish at school with a fever because no one could come get us, and not once did we not have someone with us on family visiting day. Yes, it’s tricky when you can’t call grandma and grandpa to help you out, but we had great friends and neighbors in every place we lived who I think of as family now. They were the ones who took us to school when my mom was sick, who let us crash after soccer because my dad was working, who my mom called at 2am when her father had a heart attack 2,000 miles away and needed somewhere for me to stay for a week. Would it have been easier with biological family? Maybe in the beginning. But was it doable and absolutely the best thing for our family because the extra money my dad made was what allowed my brother and I to go to college? Yes, definitely.
emjay April 6, 2011, 9:56 am
I have the opposite problem. I want to move to Savannah GA but FH doesn’t want to leave his family, job, and home (his grandfather built it). I have better job prospects there but it means soooo much to him to stay, that I gave in. And I am happy with that desicion because I love him so much. We might end up buying a summer house there within the next couple of years. So my point is comprimise. Visit your family on the weekends and live your happy life with your boyfriend. But the real decision will be up to you.
phoenix217 April 6, 2011, 9:58 am
I was in a similar situation this past year after graduating college — caught between living close to my family or following my boyfriend wherever his career takes him. I ended up moving close to my hometown, and my boyfriend ended up following me after 8 months of being long distance. At the point where we parted ways, I told him that I was willing to do long-distance but there would have to be an endpoint, and I couldn’t see doing it for more than a year without at least developing a plan for being geographically together. Through the first 6 months, neither of us were sure what was going to happen; but it ended up working out, and I think we are both very happy with the result.
So LW, I’d recommend that, if you do decide to go home, you keep things open with your boyfriend for a while and not have it set in stone that he has to follow you *immediately* or it’s over. You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s very hard to cut off a solid, seemingly loving relationship. Wendy recommends trying to find out where you stand on his priorities list. But, it’s possible that he could change his mind about moving to your hometown once you’re gone from his every-day life and he realizes how important you really are to him. Either way, I think that this is complicated and there just isn’t a “right” answer, but it seems like you know how it’s going to feel for you and him and your family if you stay with him (based on the past couple years) but it’s harder to speculate about how either of you will feel if you move back to your hometown.
demoiselle April 6, 2011, 10:03 am
I can only wish the LW good luck with her choice, whatever it is.
Incidentally, I’ve lived at least 9 to 12 hour drive away from my family since I was 18. It doesn’t have to feel like a great distance. I’m very close to my mother (my father has passed away) and we speak on the phone almost daily and have for twelve years. Even when I was living in Russia. Physical distance does not have to be an obstacle to intimacy with your family.
cat-i-z April 6, 2011, 10:13 am
This is tough.. but I would move anywhere for my fiance… and I am so very close to my family but he is my future and my future family too.. Marriage = compromise and sacrifices… I would make sure that I still see my family as often as possible.
You do need to sit down and be open with your boyfriend.. and you two should decide your relationship outcome.
Good luck to you and I look forward to this update.
rock April 6, 2011, 10:19 am
you see your family once a month and you live 8 hours away? that’s pretty good. plus i’m sure since your bf has such a cushy job, they’ll allow him plenty of time off for holidays and stuff so you can be with your family for a longer ammount of time.
i do think you’re being a little immature, because you can’t have everything you want. what will you do when you move back home? live with parents or friends? i’d rather be living with a boyfriend whom i love, heading toward marraige and stability, then uproot and start all over again just because i miss my mommy.
can your parents come visit you one weekend per month, and you visit them a second weekend per month? compromise.
i really don’t think you want to break up with your boyfriend, which is good. and i think you also don’t want to give him an ultimatum, which is good. but if you want to be with this man then you’ve made your choice, you cant ask him to give up what he’s worked so hard for just because you miss your parents and your childhood life. you’re grown up now, and that means life changes.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 10:24 am
It is very easy in today’s world to stay in touch as long as one has decent Internet bandwidth on both ends. My kids – including the 5 year old – know how to set up a video chat with my parents, who also, at an average of 70 years old, know how to do the same. A laptop with a built-in webcam can be brought anywhere with WiFi. Cheap sub-$100 network cameras can be installed to allow, with passwords, viewing of whatever room(s) you’d like (example: my parents can always watch the kids in the playroom). Phone calls are essentially free anymore. Agreed, none of this takes the place of actual visits, but it’s so much easier now to keep in touch – and so much less expensive.
On the other hand, finding a good candidate for a spouse isn’t really any easier than it’s ever been, should you opt to leave your boyfriend to move closer to family.
If you love this man and think he is the one you want for a husband, and if he feels the same way, I’d decide to stay with him and, together, to work out a plan for moving home at some point. Until then, you can be in touch with your family literally constantly if you want.
This is only my opinion. I don’t expect you to agree. I just know that finding a good partner is harder than opening up Skype or iChat.
maynard April 6, 2011, 11:44 am
No one dares to disagree with _jsw_ 😉
PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 12:09 pm
I thumbed him down just for you, maynard! 😉
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 12:16 pm
Of course, by noting that, you’ve erased the impact of your vote. 😉
Also, maynard: people disagree with me all of the time. Just look at The Frisky, for example, since you can’t access a live feed of my day-to-day life.
The one difference here, though, is that I usually am more concerned with trying to express how I actually feel as opposed to just trying to make a joke out of it all, so I spend a little more time on my replies. These are a bit more indicative of my actual thoughts.
PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 12:27 pm
“Of course, by noting that, you’ve erased the impact of your vote.”
I wasn’t the thumbs down vote – I already had given you a thumbs up. Apparently someone else disagrees with you.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 12:34 pm
There’s another hour of therapy. I hope my shrink is available for an emergency session now.
PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 12:42 pm
I’m sure the package deal you inevitably have with your shrink covers emergency sessions.
JustMe April 6, 2011, 11:48 am
I really agree with your comments on finding a good partner, and I totally get what you are saying there.
However, living away from family is one of those things that is harder as you get older, not easier.
Not only about the kids, though that is huge. You have the guilt that the kids are growing up away from their grandparents and extended family. You have the money aspect that you have to keep saving to visit your family, plus you have the ick factor in that all your vacation time is used to visit the family, so the kids have at least some relationship with their grandparents. It sucks that you have to give up going to new and exciting places because you have to put your kids first.
Beyond that, how do you deal with it when an emergency happens with your family and you are not in the same town to deal with it? As we get older, so do our parents, and that means things like medical emergencies have an increased risk of happening.
I’m not saying living away from your family is the automatic wrong thing to do. What I am saying is that it is not as easy an answer as, “Well, there is skype you know.”
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 12:07 pm
I’m in the position of being far from family and having to rely on electronic communication, and I absolutely agree it isn’t the same. I’d love to live closer to my parents and extended family. I didn’t mean to imply that Skype is the same as a hug, because it isn’t. However, even 1500+ miles away, my mother is able to see all of my daughters’ dresses and drawings and videos of their school events, and they can see her garden and crafts and so on. I can show my dad what I’m working on and see the same at their home. It absolutely isn’t remotely as good as being there, but it’s not nearly as bad as in the fairly recent past, where such interaction wasn’t possible.
I completely agree that it’s better to raise kids around family when that is an option (well, for most people’s families). My point is just that if family can’t be nearby, today’s solutions are a lot better than yesterday’s. But yeah, no matter how well you can see the cookies, you still can’t eat them unless you’re there.
So yes, I agree that moving closer to home – if it’s a viable option, depending on careers – would be a good thing should the LW have kids. Without children, in my opinion only, seeing family once a month is pretty damned good.
JustMe April 6, 2011, 1:05 pm
My house we rely on video chat as well, and yes, I am old enough to remember when this wasn’t an option 🙂
I guess I’m just reacting to people saying the LW is immature because she doesn’t want to move away from her family. See, for someone like me, who is a touch older – though let’s not get into exact numbers, shall we? – and already has her family established, I find the opposite. It’s the respondents who are showing their immaturity, because it is obvious from their answers they are young and haven’t had to deal with all the ramifications of living away from your nuclear family.
As I said previously, Living away from the family is an adventure in your twenties, but a pain-in-the-a** in your thirties.
And it’s not just about future children, though that is the most obvious place the mind turns (should the kids not grow up around their grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.?) It’s dealing with family emergencies. This last year my mother was hospitalized. I live across the country with two kids. How much was I going to have to pay to get to her, what was I going to do with the kids, how long would I be away from my home, etc.
That is the kind of stuff you have to take into account, and it’s really not a nothing issue. It is a serious issue you have to have some thought over.
Wendy April 6, 2011, 1:18 pm
I totally relate with this. My parents live on another continent, and we’ve been separated by an ocean since I left home for college just shy of 18. Being so far away from them was okay during my 20s when I had few responsibilities and they paid for me to come visit them at least once a year and they came to see me once a year. But now I’m in my 30s, married, and live in an expensive city to visit, all of which make it much harder for us to see each other. Add to that the idea that Drew and I are planning to have kids soon and it would be sooo nice to have family close by the help out and be a part of their lives, that it’s a shame my family is so far away. And I do always worry about if something happened to either of my parents how much harder the distance between us would make things. Last year, my dad nearly died from some complications from his diabetes, and thank God he’s okay, but if he hadn’t been so lucky, my mother would have needed my help with all kinds of things and it would have been an awfully expensive journey to get to her, on top of all the emotional turmoil I’d be dealing with. These are things you don’t necessarily worry about in your 20s, but they are very real issues as you get older…
Skyblossom April 6, 2011, 3:05 pm
My husband’s family lives on another continent and when his dad died it was not only a shock but very difficult because of the distance and the cost of travel. My husband ended up going to the funeral alone because our son had an eighth grade graduation ceremony and our daughter was having a birthday party with a friend who shares her birthday and the invitations were already sent. So we kept calling each other and sharing our days. He missed a graduation ceremony and a birthday and had to go to a funeral without us. He had his mom and grandma but it wasn’t the same.
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:13 pm
“It sucks that you have to give up going to new and exciting places because you have to put your kids first.”
Am I the only one who thinks this is called “parenting?” We lived 20 minutes from both of my grandparents growing up, but my parents still used all of their vacation time and vacation money to take us on vacation. I was 13 the first time my parents went on vacation without us.
I’m sorry but if you need to get away from your kids frequently and travel to many exotic locations, whether you live 5 minutes or 50 hours from home, you might be doing it wrong.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 12:19 pm
I believe what was meant was that, because so much vacation time and money is spent visiting family, none is left over to go anywhere else.
I am completely familiar with that – it isn’t a desire to get away from the kids, it’s a desire to take actual family vacations as opposed to trips home, which, while awesome, are just not the same thing as an actual vacation.
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:43 pm
But what about family vacations? Sure it requires the participation of your parents, but I know my parents would go on a vacation with me and my family (meet us at the grand canyon or something), rather than just expect us to come home. They would also travel to us sometimes, rather than always make us come to them. I live alone, but my parents, grandparents, and sister are all coming to me for Passover this year because I offered to host. And they’re all really excited about it.
I know it depends alot on your parents financial situation, age, health, etc. but to make a blanket statment that such things are not possible, is untrue. Maybe the LW has parents who visit her (we dont know how this once a month meet up occurs) and would continue to do so if she married him and had kids.
BecBoo84 April 6, 2011, 12:25 pm
I think you misinterpreted what JustMe was trying to say…
JustMe April 6, 2011, 1:14 pm
Thank you all for defending me there. In truth, I really could have put that better, just shows what happens when you are trying to write in between other tasks.
My point is, it is never just you and your hubby planning for your family. You always have to take the extended family into consideration, because you need to make sure the kids know their family… and yes, sacrifice is part of parenting. I’m just saying this would not be an issue if the extended family had more of a day to day presence in your kids life.
lemongrass April 6, 2011, 10:41 am
I know exactly how the LW feels. When my fiance and I first got together I was living in my hometown and he was living in a major city 3 hours away. He would drive up on the weekends to see me until I moved in with him in the city.
I would never take back the time we’ve been living here, I love the city and it is great to have so much at our fingertips while we are young. However I want to move back to my hometown in a few years when we start having kids. The houses there are literally half the price and it is a really nice community that is very family oriented.
However, my fiance has an amazing job that he plans to stay with forever and I want him to as well. He may be able to transfer up there and he may not. Either way I’ll be by his side because I love him way more than I love that town.
as April 6, 2011, 10:44 am
I am torn on this one. I know that Family is important but an 8 hour drive is not that far. I believe to make a marriage work you have to live for each other and focus on building the best life for yourselves and for the children you one day might have. I hate to be the practical one but we have just come out of the harshest economic recession seen in this country for decades. For someone to have a solid job with an amazing salary is not a given and your bf needs to think long and hard before giving that up, not just for himself but for both of you. For you guys to jeapordize your financial wellbeing or for your boyfriend to quit for a lower paying less secure job requires a lot of thinking about what your willing to sacrifice for the sake of being close to your family ( it might even be buying a home, clearing student debt, taking vacations) and whether you can expect your boyfriend to make those sacrifices to be close to your family as well.
I would consider one further thing. Lets say you suggest that your bf quit his job because being closer to family is important and he turns around and says ” fine, but if i am sacrificing this so we can be near family i want us to be near my family.” Would you see that as legitimate and would you consider giving up your financially secure life to move next to your BF’s family?
TheGirl April 6, 2011, 10:54 am
It amazes me how many people start talking about marriage without having the all important discussion about life goals! If you are talking about getting married, these are the main things you need to discuss: do you want children, how will those children be raised (religion, parenting style, etc), where do we want to live (and do we want to move around at all), what do each of us want to do with our lives. Does your boyfriend see staying in this job for the rest of his life or is this a stepping stone to something else? If he’s unwilling to compromise and you are unwilling to compromise on any of these, then I think you’ll have to move on. That’s just how relationships work. Just don’t make any decisions if you haven’t had that conversation.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 10:58 am
The LW is pretty far away from being ready for marriage if she still has these attachment issues to her family.
TheGirl April 6, 2011, 11:15 am
They could certainly be more supportive of her relationship, that’s for sure! Any one that ‘often’ talks about you leaving your boyfriend and moving home is clearly NOT helping. In fact, it strikes me as rather selfish on their part.
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:14 pm
Hah i said exactly the same thing above, before reading this. Very selfish.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 10:56 am
Am I the only one who thinks that the LW’s family is being manipulative-bordering-on-controlling?
She deserves to life her own life without comments from the peanut gallery. And by ‘comments’ I mean ‘passive-aggressive emotional daggers’ and by ‘the peanut gallery’ I mean ‘people who need to cut the cord’.
Of course now that I’ve posted this, the LW will come back with “But my father has brain cancer” or something equally as effective in making me feel like an asshole.
rock April 6, 2011, 11:15 am
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:18 pm
If thats the case then the question is “should I move home for a few months to see my relative through this illness” not “should I leave my boyfriend forever and move home?”
If parent is dying, I say yes, go home for a period of a few months. You and your bf can survive the time apart and you can be there for your family. And you can still see your boyfriend once a month if you can currently see your family once a month. But don’t leave your boyfriend forever.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 12:22 pm
honeybeenicki April 6, 2011, 10:58 am
When my husband and I first started dating, I was right in the middle of planning to move to Arizona (from Wisconsin). Actually, I had boxes packed, housing/job/a new college all lined up within about 4 months of us dating. At first, he wanted to come with me, but he has 2 kids that were only 5 and 7 at the time and his divorce was still fairly new so it would have been so hard on everyone. In the end, I decided that I would stay in the frozen tundra for at least a year (to the delightful surprise of my mother) to see where we were going and ultimately at the end of that year, I decided I would rather give up my dream of living in Arizona to be with my husband and his kids (by then I was attached too). So, now our plan is once the kids are in college, we’ll give Arizona a shot too.
Basically, the moral of the story is – only you can decide what the priorities are, what you’re willing to give up, etc. And you definitely need to talk to him about it, too. Is he willing to look for work where you want to live? What if he could get a job that was about halfway to where your family is? Is that a decent compromise. Only you know what you will be satisfied with. Trust me, I thought I wanted to live in AZ more than I wanted anything, but I am SO happy that I gave my young relationship time to blossom so I could decide for sure. Of course, every year when we get subzero temperatures and a few feet of snow, I blame him 🙂
HolsteinHoney April 6, 2011, 11:09 am
Commenting only to state that I am also from Wisconsin. I was born in Wisconsin. I will probably die in Wisconsin too. And I hate the snow. 🙂
Maracuya April 6, 2011, 11:00 am
Yeesh, tough decision. I would say 8 hours isn’t THAT far. My family is 7 hours away and while I do miss them, I have job opportunities here that I wouldn’t otherwise. Instead, I call them almost every day and mail them packages. I can’t afford to go home very often so I see them 3-4 times a year.
My question: I don’t see this as being completely binary. How old are you two? From your email, you said you graduated two years ago so…rougly 24-25? Do you want to start a family *right now right now*? How much experience does your boyfriend have and what are the job opportunities for his field in your hometown? I can’t move home because there are very few opportunities in my field, and almost none in my specialty so the hiring outlook for me is very poor even though the cost of living is temptingly cheaper than where I live now.
Would your boyfriend consider moving if he gained more experience and then could transition to a management (mid-level) position in your hometown? I don’t know what he does, but would causing him to move stall his career or force him to change career paths? Things to think about from his perspective.
Like Wendy said, it’s your choice. I understand the desire to be near family but if you think this man is marrying material he could be your new family. I don’t see why you couldn’t move years down the road as long as you discussed it.
Maracuya April 6, 2011, 11:21 am
I’m just wondering since most commenters assume that he CAN just pick up and find another job there. Some fields are restricted to certain locations and while that may not be the case, we don’t have all the details.
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 12:23 pm
Exactly. The job I currently have exists in exactly one place in the country. If I were to expand to related fields I would have a limited number of places to go and many are not hiring now. If her boyfriend is like me, then leaving is not just as easy as taking a pay cut or simply doing a job search, its completely changing his career path and/or leaving the field entirely. I love my job… I would have to really love the person to give it up and move to be closer to family or for any other reason.
HolsteinHoney April 6, 2011, 11:05 am
It’s really odd that my bf and I have just been talking about this. I’m not a person who has lived a lot of places, I grew up in a small town my whole life and then went to a large college half an hour away from that town. I just got in to veterinary school at this same college (whoohooo!) because it was the only place I could feasibly afford to go to. Basically, the first 25 years of my life will be spent living within the same 1/2 hour radius.
My boyfriend happens to be from the same hometown that I grew up in (we didn’t know each other because he is 5 years older). We were having the “where this relationship is going” talk and he said that pretty much he is going to live where he is at for the rest of his life. He farms, and so he has family land that would be way too expensive to buy anywhere else. Therefore if we decided to spend our lives together that would mean moving back to that same small town where I grew up and practicing veterinary medicine in a relatively saturated market.
Before he came into my life I always assumed that after graduation I would move to the middle of nowhere because that’s where large animal veterinarians are most needed. But I know I want kids, and I cannot imagine having them without my Mom being available basically 24/7 if we need anything. Is that immature? Maybe, but I feel like that’s the way raising a family has been for a really long time and it’s important to me. I got to visit both of sets of grandparents every week when I was young, and I want my kids to be able to do that too. Webcams and chats are great, but they don’t replace hugs and chocolate chip cookies.
Anyways, LW… I totally respect your decision to want to be close to your family when you end up starting a family. (I also respect other people who don’t need that btw) However I think as others said, maybe sacrificing and staying with him until he can find a great job in that area, or at least you guys can save up some money from the experience would be a smart idea.
rock April 6, 2011, 11:20 am
obviously if she wants help raising her kids then that’s a priority… but she’s not even married yet. maybe 6 years from now, her boyfriend will have an opportunity to change jobs, and then they can discuss moving back home.
elisabeth April 6, 2011, 11:40 am
True, they may not have to make a decision about a move now if kids are a few years into their future, but I think it’s smart to discuss the issue now, before they’re married (if that’s where they end up). Just because you don’t have to decide yet doesn’t mean it’s not important. This seems like the sort of think you discuss early on so they can guage if they’re on the same page, and so that neither of them is blindsided by what the other wants when it *is* time to make that decision.
HmC April 6, 2011, 11:08 am
I’m going to get flamed for this but I have to say it- I disagree with the implications that some commenters seem to be making that LW wanting to raise her kids close to extended family is somehow immature, or the result of her not giving her new city a chance. I don’t see evidence of either of those things. And I don’t care how easy technology makes it for us to keep in contact with far away loved ones, it’s simply not that same thing as being with someone in person, especially for the long haul. That distinction is vital when you’re talking about kids being around their extended family, and extending family having a real hand in helping to raise them.
I know this is America and we’re all about independence and the nuclear family, and I definitely think that how anyone decides they want their family members involved in their children’s lives is person and influenced by many factors. But if you have a large, close, loving extended family, I truly believe that can make such an amazing difference in the life of a child. Especially if both of that child’s parents work. And work and having a fulfilling career are important, certainly, but any job is replaceable. A loving family that wants to help you raise your kids and whom you want in your life is not replaceable. I don’t know, I’m not trying to be judgmental here, but I think that having a happy family situation and personal life is more vital to long-term success than any one single good job. I don’t think society needs more people with successful careers as much as it needs more people with solid family foundations.
Anyway, from what I read, this is not going to come down to LW having to leave her boyfriend. I highly doubt that, given the boyfriend’s current amazing job and high salary, he’d be working at an Applebee’s should he re-locate with her. I think if she makes her feelings clear about raising her children around her family, he will agree to do that when the time comes.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 11:17 am
“I think if she makes her feelings clear about raising her children around her family, he will agree to do that when the time comes.”
I don’t. I think that it’s a possibility that her boyfriend will agree to the move. I also think that there’s a possibility that he feels like he’s being played like a sucker and he tells her to have a nice life. A guy who makes good money and has proven the ability to maintain a successful LTR would last about 3 seconds on the singles market in any town you can name.
HmC April 6, 2011, 11:21 am
Oh yes, he’s a catch, therefore she should relinquish her values because there’s no way SHE’s also a catch and could find someone who respects how she wants to raise her family, if this guy doesn’t.
How is he being “played like a sucker” exactly?
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 11:46 am
I’m just saying that he could completely feel that way and decide to bail… I’m not saying that he’s right. I also don’t think that he should he branded a selfish prick for not wanting to essentially forfeit his entire career for this relationship. Basically, you have two people who have managed to stay together for 5 years while having their priorities completely misaligned. I’ll just quote Don Henley:
Somebody’s gonna hurt someone before tonight is through
Somebody’s gonna come undone, there’s nothing you can do.
HmC April 6, 2011, 12:47 pm
Ok. Still not sure why this comment was directed at mine.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 11:26 am
I’m not belittling your point because it’s a very good one. A few years ago, I turned down a much better job in Chicago to remain with my friends and family in New York. The LW should absolutely place a high value on proximity to her family. I’m just saying that there’s a real risk of losing the relationship with her boyfriend and that he may not melt after a single conversation. She has to be prepared for that and not accuse him of being selfish or an emtional cripple when he shows a bit of resistance.
HmC April 6, 2011, 11:29 am
Well, I didn’t mean to say that he would melt after a single conversation. I’d definitely agree it’s going to necessarily be more complex than that.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 11:27 am
I completely agree about the value of having extended family around once you have kids. I truly wish I did. It’s not the same just being able to call or videochat, absolutely. It’s a lot better than nothing to have those options, but it’s not the same.
However, I think that sort of situation is likely at least a few years away for the LW, barring unforeseen events, as she’s not even engaged yet.
For now, were I the LW, unmarried and without kids, I’d focus on who the right life partner is, not where the right place to live might be, and then plan to move later. She shouldn’t “need” family that often at this point in her life. I mean, she’s already seeing them monthly and presumably in contact far more often than that.
Again, I completely agree that family nearby is often a boon, especially when kids are present… but I think that it’s premature to worry about what to do with the kids before you have them and before you’ve actually settled into a life with the person you want to be their other parent.
Also, depending on where her family lives, he might not end up at Applebee’s, but the standard of living might be vastly less depending on what his career/skill set happens to be. There really might not be jobs that are suitable to him, meaning he’d need to accept a much lower position doing something he doesn’t like. And as much as family is great, hating your job is bad, as is being broke.
Perhaps, in the end, they’ll find a way to move closer if they can’t move to the town itself. For example I grew up two hours from my extended family, and we saw them all of the time.
HmC April 6, 2011, 11:32 am
“For now, were I the LW, unmarried and without kids, I’d focus on who the right life partner is, not where the right place to live might be, and then plan to move later.”
I’d agree with that. I meant my rant more generally, against the “immaturity” allegations. I think what you’re saying about what specific actions the LW should make in the immediate future is accurate.
Skyblossom April 6, 2011, 11:58 am
If a location is important to her then the right life partner would be someone willing to live where she wants and if they aren’t willing to live where she wants then no matter how compatible they otherwise are, they aren’t compatible.
elisabeth April 6, 2011, 11:46 am
I agree with most of your reply, but for this: “I completely agree that family nearby is often a boon, especially when kids are present… but I think that it’s premature to worry about what to do with the kids before you have them and before you’ve actually settled into a life with the person you want to be their other parent.”
I don’t think discussing how and where you want to raise your kids before marriage is premature. If it grows into a gripping worry that inhibits the couple’s daily interactions and day-to-day life, then yes, that’s a problem, but that can happen with any worry. Knowing where your (prospective life) partner stands on issues that matter to you (as family does to the LW) can be an influence on the decision about whether or not they suit each other and help smooth communication down the road, when it *is* time to make a decision.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 12:12 pm
I agree. I think it needs to be discussed now. I more intended the “worry about” to really mean “worry about” as opposed to “consider.” I just don’t think she should be stressed over how the kids will fare when there are, in fact, no kids yet. However, I completely agree that, should kids arrive on the scene, they should have a plan in place.
SpyGlassez April 6, 2011, 3:04 pm
“I don’t think discussing how and where you want to raise your kids before marriage is premature.”
I agree. I think it is just as important for her to have this talk with her BF as it was for the woman who wanted a totally Jewish experience for her kids to talk about that with her BF. If he’s talking marriage and she’s never told him how much she would rather be in Mayberry than New York, then someone is in for a rude awakening one day. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be near family; I have lived a lot of places, and the older I have gotten, the more I have realized I want to live close to my family. Not necessarily in the same town – I’m about an hour away now – but close enough that taking the kids to see Grandma and Grandpa isn’t the 17 hour odyssey it was for my parents when they would truck us down to Alabama to visit my mom’s family.
HOWEVER, I also agree that the parents need to back off in their efforts to convince her to move back. When I was living overseas, I couldn’t start getting over my homesickness till I convinced my Dad to stop talking about how he couldn’t wait for me to get home. I wouldn’t say she’s immature, but I certainly don’t think she’s anywhere mature enough to prepare for the compromise either way.
cmarie April 6, 2011, 11:20 am
Don’t ever underestimate the bond of family. Some people may find happiness away from them but if you’re the type of person that can’t imagine a future without them playing a significant role than it’s not something to dismiss. I always knew that I wanted to raise my children close to my family. I wanted them to have the same close bonds that I had growing up. I want them to play with cousins on the weekend, summer BBQs, random family dinners, etc. I ended up living across the country from them for 4 years and I regret it everyday, and not just because my relatioship went down in flames. I missed a lot of family experience, my nephew was 6 mos before I was able to get home to meet him, I missed Christmases and Thanksgivings, etc. Most importantly I missed out on my mothers last few months of life. Those are times I will never get back and while the next person would have no problem with those sacrifices there came a time where I just couldn’t do it any more. You have make your decision based on your values and whether or not you could be ok with missing out on those things. You’re not selfish if you decide to move back home, there’s nothing wrong with deciding that you’re need to be close to them is too much to sacrifice. Don’t feel guilty for wanting it. We all deserve to be happy and sometimes we have to suffer a little heartache along the way. Good luck in your decision, and remember that it’s really up to you to decide where your happiness lies.
RoyalEagle0408 April 6, 2011, 11:30 am
Ultimately the choice is yours, but 8 hours isn’t that far (I’m about that far from my family and see them far less often than you see yours), and if you’ve been with this guy for 5+ years and want to make it work, living in your hometown might be a sacrifice you have to make. Maybe you can look into a city closer if it would work for both of your jobs.
Like others have mentioned, I wonder how much this desire to move is because of your family’s apparent disapproval (that’s how it read to me) of you living with your boyfriend?
Lindsay April 6, 2011, 11:30 am
This is hard for me to really understand, so I’m going to try to leave my personal opinion out. When I lived 45 minutes from my family in college, I still saw them only at holidays. I now live 1,500 miles away and see them twice a year. I realize, though, that it’s all about your priorities. Wendy and everyone else have already pretty much covered the situation.
I do want to defend the boyfriend. It sounds like the LW didn’t realize that she’d miss her family so much, especially since she was able to see them once a month anyway. So, I don’t want to talk about it as though the boyfriend ripped her away knowingly. Honestly, I think that if a woman wrote in asking whether she should quit an awesome job so her boyfriend could move home, most people would balk at her giving up her career. So, the LW should do what makes her happiest, but the boyfriend isn’t a bad person for staying at his job, either.
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 11:31 am
It would be really helpful if the LW would reply to let us know what the difference in job prospects for her potential husband would be in her hometown. Is it just that he’s got a great job now and might not like one in her town as much, or is it that there’s truly nothing even remotely close within an hour of where her family lives?
The former situation is workable, but the latter is likely to remain an issue for a very long time. The former situation needs a talk; the latter strongly suggests a breakup or a need to re-prioritize family.
Skyblossom April 6, 2011, 11:53 am
You have a difficult choice ahead of you and hopefully you and your boydfriend can come to a happy agreement but you never know until you discuss it.
I’ve ended up living a 20 hour drive away from my parents and I didn’t mind making this move but it is more difficult living at a distance. My husband has a Ph.D. in a specialized field that isn’t very portable. There are not alot of jobs in his field and none in the state where I grew up. He has a good, stable job and moving to my home state wouldn’t be an option. We’re happy here and we have excellent friends but at the same time I see those friends living close to their own families and benefiting. The grandmother of one friend was the babysitter for her son. She took care of him from the time he was an infant and 19 years later they are incredibly close. You don’t get that kind of relationship from daycare or a nanny. Another friend calls her dad to come stay with the kids if they are sick. You certainly shouldn’t drop them off at daycare sick or take them to school that way but lots of people do because they need to be at work. I see kids at school sick because the parents medicated them up to drop the fever and then took them to school. If you have a parent nearby who is willing to drop everything and come over when you need them it is a huge bonus and it helps with your job. Many kids miss out on after school activities because the parents are both at work but if there is a grandparent available they can take the child to the activity. It is a huge support to both the parents and the children and life is richer for it.
I don’t live close to my family and probably never will and I’m happy but I know what we’ve sacrificed to be here and I know that not everyone is willing to make that sacrifice and not everyone would be happy if they did make that sacrifice.
I do think your family is undermining your relationship with your boyfriend because they are asking you to leave him and come back to them rather than asking the two of you to move closer to them. Do they want you by yourself? Would they be happy if he came with you? Do they think he’s right for you? I’m not sure from your letter what they think and if their real concern is that they want you to leave him. You said you visit your family but you didn’t say that your boyfriend does. Do they get along? What does he think of your family?
Skyblossom April 6, 2011, 12:27 pm
Another thing to consider. If you leave your boyfriend and move back home, will you resent your family if you don’t meet someone as nice as your current bf?
Amber April 6, 2011, 11:54 am
LW needs to cut the umbilical cord.
nawilla April 6, 2011, 12:00 pm
What concerns me about the LW moving back home is: is she missing her family/hometown or is she missing the time in her life when she lived with her family/hometown?
Some of her quotes seem to me to be very nostalgia/rose-colored glasses driven.
“The problem, though, is I miss my family like crazy. We’ve always been extremely close, but now they live eight hours away and although I get to see them practically every month I find myself wishing to be in my hometown almost everyday. I know they miss me as well and they talk often about me moving back home and giving up living with my boyfriend.”
She is visiting them very frequently for the distance involved, she wishes for her ‘hometown’ every day, and she is often getting influence/pressure to move back. The question is, what will it REALLY be like if she moves back there?
Well, the parents won’t miss her, so some of the emotional charge might be removed from the situation. Her friends have all left home, so her ‘hometown’ is not composed of the same people it was when she lived there. She doesn’t articulate anything about what she is actually missing emotionally. Does she miss girls day out with Mom? Hanging out every weekend with her high school friends? Activities she took part in before college? Or actual people that she wants to physically interact with more than once a month? I ‘miss my family’ could mean ‘I miss being around them and interacting with them’ or ‘I miss being in the child role’ or ‘I miss being a dependent and not having to be a responsible adult’ or ‘I miss the good times with my friends who don’t live there anymore’. I think the LW needs to figure out what she thinks moving back home is going to get her and be like before she makes any sort of decision.
She should also talk to her parents and family if she is making long term life plans that require them being in a certain place. It’s all fine and dandy that she wants her kids growing up with her strong family relationships, but do her parents plan on staying in the area or moving to Florida? Are her siblings remotely interested in even having kids in the near future, much less being around to play ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’? Moving back home is no guarantee these goals will happen, and it’s foolish to assume otherwise.
So yes, both the LW and her boyfriend need to talk this out, but the LW needs to figure out exactly WHAT she is missing and exactly WHAT she can reasonably expect to get with either choice, not what she thinks is a given.
mf April 6, 2011, 1:39 pm
I was thinking the same thing. It’s easy to glorify the idea of a certain place when we’re not actually living there. It would be a shame if she left her boyfriend to move home and home turned out to be not what she remembered.
RoyalEagle0408 April 6, 2011, 1:48 pm
When I was in HS, I couldn’t wait to get away from my hometown. Now, I count down the days until I go back. Your opinions and relationships change when you’re away from something. As much as I love going home, I know I can’t ever truly move back there. I have less responsibility when I’m home (no job for example), and life’s just different. I definitely agree that we romanticize places we’re not.
kamsgirl April 6, 2011, 3:14 pm
Totally agree with this. I live 2500 miles from my family and I have been going through some really, really roughs years (economy, job, relationships) and many, many times I wished to move back, just pack up and go, it would be so easy. But then I do what nawilla says to do – I really think about why do I want to go back and what would I be going back to? And I realize that I want to run back to the past, to when I didn’t have to deal with life and finances and work and stress and men and bills and office politics and all that other adult crap. And I know I can’t do that – you can’t run away from life. So I am still where I am, doing fine and making my own life and finding my peace, happiness and place along the way. The LW really needs to examine in a bright light her true motivations for wanting to move home.
And, BTW, for the first few years I was away I was pressured regularly to “come home.” I finally told them (nicely) to quit it and they did. But that type of pressure has a lot more influence on you then the LW may realize, especially when you are already in an uncertain state…
JJ April 6, 2011, 12:05 pm
LW-while it is a tough decision to make, you will have to make a choice sometime. I understand that you are homesick and miss your family very much. At the same time, if you two are seriously discussing marriage, both of you will have to make sacrifices. You mentioned that you see your family “practically once a month” which seems like a good deal to me.
I am not saying that you should not miss your family but I think that there needs to be a balance between your family and your boyfriend, especially since marriage has been discussed. In several months, I will be moving in with my boyfriend 5 hours from my family/friends and he will be 2.5 hours away from his family. I know that we will both get homesick at times and that is natural. We have also discussed marriage and it’s only a matter of time before we get engaged. I think that offering an ultimatum is unfair, especially since he excels at his current job. If you feel that your boyfriend is truly worth the move, then go for it. I am sure your family will be supportive once you explain to them what your reasons are for staying with him.
From personal experience, my boyfriend and I have both gotten comments of concern of us being far way from them. They also understand that it is better for us to live together before getting engaged/married. Yes it will be hard sometimes being away from your family but you can’t stay tied down to one place because of them, especially considering that he seems like a good guy. You have to live your own life and do what is right for you. Good luck.
jena April 6, 2011, 12:07 pm
I live 20 hours away from home, miss my family like crazy, and haven’t been home since 2009 thanks to unemployment, a breakup leaving me with all the rent to cover, and general brokeness…. I moved here to be with a boyfriend and we broke up. Seeing my family every month would be fantastic, LW, just for a little perspective.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com April 6, 2011, 11:33 am
I want to be careful not to apply my own experiences/needs onto LW but I do tend to agree. I think that time away from your family at this age is maybe hard but can be very enriching. Maintaining those relationships once a month and via phone helps to fill some of those needs so she’s not totally without family.
You can’t know what the future will hold. He may change jobs. You may change jobs. Some of your friends and family may move away from your hometown so that the concept of home becomes more spread out. Life is full of change.
I completely understand the notion of missing home. I lived abroad for years and wrestled with the benefits of the fabulous life I had against the growing feelings of homesickness. But I learned so much about myself by being out on my own. I learned how to make new friendships because I didn’t have my childhood friends to lean on. I learned how to deal with heartache, car problems, holidays, and moving into new apartments without my family near. I came to love and appreciate them that much more.
Home is always going to be there. The chance to explore and wander –is much more limited.
And then there is your relationship. And as Maynard said, men you want to marry —they don’t come along that often. Talk to him about your feelings. Might you be able to come up with a short term and long term plan? Would you feel better if you agreed to a 2 year commitment to this job and location? Maybe having an end in sight would enable you to better enjoy your present.
There is no wrong choice, as Wendy said, but DO consider what you are giving up.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com April 6, 2011, 11:33 am
oops, I meant I tend to agree with Maynard.
Chaotonic April 6, 2011, 12:35 pm
Okay let’s say LW does move back home, and her Amazing boyfriend follows because he does love her and wants to marry her. What happens if he doesn’t get a job in his field, or can’t get a new job, or has to take a much lower position then he was originally at (perfectly acceptable considering the economy and whatnot). So his amazing salary is pretty much gone out the window, he might have to downgrade his and LW’s living style (I say her’s too because I get the feeling that she might hold a lower paying job then him since she calls his salary amazing), he’s giving up his new core group of friends he spent the last 3 years making and coming back to a town that he effectively left without really looking back. I honestly think the boyfriend will end up bitter and he’s going to have to struggle to get his life back together, they’re going to go through a hardship and he might just say F-it it’s not worth the trouble.
Has LW honestly even stopped and sat down and discussed how HE feels about her parents, or even moving back closer to them? To issue a sort of ultimatum before even talking things through would be a terrible idea, what happens if he thinks LW’s parents are clingy and obsessively controlling with her life and doesn’t want that for his children?
The letter just talks about her, her, her. Her feelings, her needs, her wants, what she needs to think about is both her and her boyfriends needs, wants and feelings instead. There’s this thing called compromise, see if he can find a job closer to your hometown, maybe a 2/3 hour drive where LW could see her parents every weekend .
Skyblossom April 6, 2011, 12:42 pm
You’re right. Definitely not much we in this letter and her boyfriend might not want to see her parents once a month let alone every week.
RoyalEagle0408 April 6, 2011, 12:49 pm
I agree with what you’re saying, but small point- there’s no mention of where the guy is from. The LW was 4 hours away from where she is now when they met. This guy might never have lived anywhere near where the LW wants to move, which could alter things as well.
In the end, your comment about how it’s just about “her, her, her” is exactly it. We don’t know about this guy’s background, because it’s just not mentioned. Maybe he had a rough childhood and doesn’t have a good relationship with his family or maybe he’s currently closer to them and doesn’t want to give that up either. We really don’t know. Can’t wait for this update!
Moonshine April 6, 2011, 12:36 pm
Oops, I can’t relate. My family lives in 5 countries on 3 continents. I don’t think we’ll ever have another family reunion for the rest of our lives.
However, my parents (well, my dad) told me that as soon as I have children, they will sell everything they own in the home country, and come live with me to help me raise my children. Luckily, they won’t have to do that any time soon, and I would feel terrible for my parents to give up everything (literally, everything – their house, their friends, their independence – they don’t speak the language, so I don’t think either of them will ever get a driver’s licence) just to see their grandchildren grow. But it’s their decision. Guess it’s about priorities. (Parents’)
My mom is a lot like LW’s parents – come home, live with us, we miss you so much. I (and my dad) fight her – this is my life, I want to be happy, I am happy. Be happy for me. Eventually, she got it. (Or, in other words – it’s my turn to be selfish. You had me around for 18 years, let me go already 🙂 )
And another thing – once you get something in life, you’ll want something else. I had a marriage and my family was close (well, a lot closer than now), I wanted a career. I have a career (I absolutely love what I do!), but I lost my marriage in the meantime… Now I don’t want a marriage anymore, and I would give up my career for a kid… All your life, your priorities will change, and you end up playing catch up.
Whatever you choose, don’t ever regret it. Regardless of how it turns out, it was the right thing to do at that moment.
spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 12:44 pm
OK, time to wake up the elephant in the room.
How the hell does a couple stay together for 5+ and not have this issue addressed a long time ago? That is a serious breakdown of communication. This probably won’t end well.
Chaotonic April 6, 2011, 12:47 pm
Honestly I was thinking the same thing.
Amber April 6, 2011, 3:48 pm
I think it’s probably part due to age. It sounds like a large majority of their relationship was spent in college and probably weren’t thinking about things in terms of where do I want to live long term, etc. It’s usually not until you get in to the ‘real worl’ that those issues come out front and center. Granted you would think that in those 5 years they would have had a converstaion or two about the future….
Moonshine April 6, 2011, 5:28 pm
My guess is she had to live away for a while, in order to figure out that she wants to be closer to her family.
hana April 6, 2011, 1:12 pm
Ill start with I do not think it is wrong to want to live by your parents. However, if she wants to live with her parents I think that is a little strange for someone just out of college.
I do think LW is being a little selfish if she truly loves her boyfriend. I have to wonder if they have ever talked about the future. Forever is a long time, and nobody can predict what will happen. Perhaps he wants to make sure he is established and financially independent before getting married or moving to her home town which may or may not have the same opportunities. She should ask him if he would be willing to move home with her, and if he says not now bit in the future accept that. It is a terrible economy and jobs are hard to come by. He may be willing to move but waiting for an equal opportunity for himself.
And 8 hours is still close to your family. Its a short car trip for the weekend. You can call your family every day if you want. Its hard for me to understand needing to be physically close to your family when you still see them once a week and have phones.
fallonthecity April 6, 2011, 1:29 pm
I just want to chime in to disagree with the people who are saying the LW is immature or that she needs to cut the umbilical cord. I am extremely close with my extended family, and all my big decisions have been about staying near them. I am making sacrifices when it comes to my career for it. But those are my priorities. I want to be around my extended family because we are close knit and always have been. I want to spend time with my grandfather before he passes away. I want to be there for my parents as they age, and make sure they are being taken care of. I want to be able to bail my little cousins out of jail when they get arrested for drag racing when they’re 16, and let them sleep on my couch when they’ve had a huge fight with their parents. It doesn’t matter if I meet the most amazing man in the world, I am not moving more than an hour away from here.
So I can see where the LW is coming from. But this is just something she needs to have a long discussion with her boyfriend about. It doesn’t make her immature to want to move home, and it doesn’t make home a bad person to want to stay. Just, LW, make the decision that will make YOU happy, not the one that will please your family or your BF. And good luck 🙂
mf April 6, 2011, 1:31 pm
I love my family and like living close to them, but if I had to move to Siberia to be with my fiance, then I’d do it in a heartbeat. Would I move away for my dream job? Maybe, depending on where I’d have to go and whether my fiance would go with me. For me, it’s really a question of what I can’t live (happily) without. I would miss my family terribly and would always wonder “what if?” if I passed up on my dream job, but I can live happily without these things. Leaving my fiance? Unthinkable.
Mostly, it sounds like the LW doesn’t know what she wants. I don’t think she should make a decision before she’s really sure what she absolutely needs to be happy.
Also, Moonshine makes an excellent point about fighting your family for what you want. My sister moved twelve hours away from my family, and my parents were devastated. That was five years ago. She has made a life in a new state with her own family, but my mother is STILL urging her to move home.
My point is, your parents may be doing you a disservice by trying to convince you to move home. Of course they want you to move home–they miss you, which is why they keep bringing it up. But could those conversations be increasing your homesickness? And do they want you to move home because they miss you or because it’s what’s best for you? You need to make this decision independent of what anyone else thinks and wants. Don’t stay because your boyfriend loves you and wants to marry you. Don’t move because your family misses you constantly. Whatever you do, do it for yourself.
SpyGlassez April 6, 2011, 3:13 pm
Likewise, my mom moved “up north” from Alabama about 32 years ago to be nearer to my dad – a 12 hour trip at the time. My Grandma still talks about how my parents should move “down south” to be closer to her, how my dad could probably find another job, how the weather is nicer, etc. Mom NEVER wants to live in the south again, but of course she can’t exactly say as much to my Grandma, so all these years have gone by with Grandma’s guilt-trips about how we live so far away.
Theresa April 6, 2011, 1:37 pm
Many readers are judging the LW harshly for wanting to live close to her family. These readers may not understand her feelings because they are not as close to their families as she is. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family and could hardly wait to move out and create a better life for myself. I never missed my family at all.
I am now mentoring a high school student who is going away to college this year. She is close to her family and leaving is going to be hard for her. It is hard for me to understand how she feels, so I am trying to find a frame of reference by thinking of friends who I have missed.
Elizabeth April 6, 2011, 2:11 pm
My husband of two years and I each brought different strengths to our relationship (we were together 5 years before getting married) … I was good about talking things out, him not so much. But he was great about always seeing/seeking a third (or fifth or 12th) option or solution to any situation. Combine those two approaches — a willingness to talk things out and the ability to think outside the box and seek creative solutions, and it’s a winning combination. Talk to you guys, explain you concerns, find out his concerns and work together on a solution. You might surprised at what you come up with — maybe he can telecommute, maybe you guys can move closer but not back to your hometown…the real answer will depend on all the specifics and variables of your situation. But I bet you can work out something that will make you both happier.
callmehobo April 6, 2011, 2:36 pm
I also wonder what culture/ethnicity the LW comes from. I know that many cultures, like some Hispanic and Asian cultures, place a VERY high priority on family ties- even to the point of multi-generational households. So maybe her closeness with the family is not just a personal choice but a cultural construct that she’s been familiar with all of her life?
The_LW April 6, 2011, 2:39 pm
I know it’s super tacky (and possibly breaking the rules?) for a LW to respond to comments about her own letter but I just wanted to clear something up. I know a few commentators have said my family is selfish and controlling but I just want to say that is so untrue and if my letter in any way gave that impression then I did them a big disservice. My family is so incredibly loving and supportive and kind. They constantly make the effort to come visit me, they text me and call me all the time and they are a huge comfort to me. Do they tell me they miss me? Of course. Do they wish I still lived close to them. Yes. Are they trying to emotionally blackmail me into coming home? No. This is something I have just been thinking of as my boyfriend and I move in the direction of together-forever- Am I willing to live this far away forever?
My boyfriend and I have discussed this on multiple occasions and it boils down to he doesn’t want to leave his job that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to get in my hometown. And that is completely understandable, I’m not denying that or trying to make him out to be the villain. Now it’s up to me to decide where my priorities are.
Thank you so much for all the comments and advice people have given. This has been such a weight on my heart and reading peoples opinions on it helps me to clarify things and think about different angles to this I may never have considered before. I know to some I may sound like a selfish princess ( Oh no to many people love me and want me to be with them) but this is truly a problem I have been wrestling with for awhile and I just needed people who were outside of the situation to give me their unbiased view. Thanks again!
_jsw_ April 6, 2011, 2:51 pm
“I know it’s super tacky (and possibly breaking the rules?) for a LW to respond to comments about her own letter…”
Actually, we really appreciate it when people do just that. 🙂
SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 2:57 pm
I don’t think its tacky or against the rules. We call it like we see it, and if you can help us see it clearer, why shouldn’t you chime in?
Has your boyfriend considered that he probably won’t have this job forever? From the details given, I assume you’re both mid-twenties. Even in the most stable industry, in the best job you could ever imagine, most people do not do the same thing for their entire lives. Retirement for him is 40+ years away and though this is the best thing for him right now and he can’t imagine leaving, there’s a good chance that he probably will. Maybe this is a factor that you should introduce into the conversation and it might change it.
I will readily admit that I have my dream job, but I already know that I can’t do it forever, and probably won’t be here 10 years from now. Maybe if he thought about it, he would realize the same. And maybe you could agree to stay with him in this other city for no more than __ years, after which you would move on (closer to your hometown) together.
TheGirl April 6, 2011, 3:10 pm
Glad to hear your folks aren’t stressing you out about it! I like to think people were just concerned (I know I was). My other question to you would be, is there any other option for the future? Perhaps in 5 years you and your bf could move to a town halfway closer to your family? Four hours would be a lot easier to deal with than 8. Anyway, if that’s an option, and he’s still not willing to compromise, then that is NOT a good sign for your future. Marriage is a two way street, and if he’s expecting you to do all the compromising, you’re just going to end up resenting him. If its not an option, then you definitely have one tough decision in front of you.
Also – totally NOT tacky OR against the rules to comment! We love to hear from the LW. I think it helps keep people in check to realize that this is not just some anonymous made up letter and that there is a real person with real problems behind it!
Maracuya April 6, 2011, 3:13 pm
Nah, it’s not tacky at all.
“My boyfriend and I have discussed this on multiple occasions and it boils down to he doesn’t want to leave his job that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to get in my hometown.”
So I take it then that he could continue his career in your hometown? Or would he have to leave his current career path to do so? (If you don’t mind me asking, what generally does he do?)
It’s a toughie. Good luck. 🙂
SGMcG April 6, 2011, 6:28 pm
Growing up, I had amazing times with my family, not just my parents and sisters, but also this wonderful close network of aunts, uncles and cousins. I wish my potential future kids will have that experience as well. However, it may not happen since my husband and I currently live a 24-hour drive away from my family. A move is definitely not in the future as we currently have job opportunies here that are not easily transferrable to where my family is now – damn economy!
And yes LW, I do have a problem with it. I miss the times I have with my sister. I miss the opportunities seeing my godson grow up. I miss getting ridiculous with my cousins, teasing my uncles and bonding with my aunts. However, if I left everything I have now everytime I miss them, I’ll have the problem not being there for my husband as he is for me. I’ll have a problem not being in bed with him almost every night like I do now. I’ll have a problem not having his children and I’ll have a problem not growing old with him.
Remember LW, as your bf and you move in the direction of together-forever, you are also in the process of starting your own family as well. The two of you will constitute a family unit too. Your definition of family is not only those you left behind in your hometown – they will always be there to welcome you back. It is also is the life you guys are starting NOW. Everyone, whether it be those you left behind or the one you’re living with now, will have to cope with the decisions you make and be there for one another – that’s just what families do.
Can you consider your boyfriend your family now? That should be the main question that should address your priorities. Good luck finding an answer LW. 🙂
WatersEdge April 7, 2011, 3:00 pm
I don’t have much time to write out a well-thought-out answer (work has been crazy! for once!), I will chime in that I think things are being viewed a little bit too black-and-white. I like 8 hours away from family right now. I’d stay here forever for my husband, but we both agreed that our endgoal is to get back closer to home. ClosER. Not all the way back. That would be unrealistic.
For example, in a few months we’re moving halfway back home. We’ll be 3 hours away instead of eight hours away. And our eventual plan is to be about 1.5 hours away, sometime around when we have kids. But to get to this goal, we have BOTH sacrificed professionally. I had two job offers on the table: one that was 20+ hours away, and one that would move me 3 hours away. I liked the 20+ job better, but I took the 3 hour-away job because it moved us closer and was the best move for my husband. Similarly, my husband is switching careers so that we can be near family by the time we have kids. He’s figured out a way to do something else that he loves because he loves me and he wants our kids to have access to our family.
It would be unfair of me to try to force my husband to find a way to move all the way home (if that was even what I wanted… which it isn’t). But 1.5 hours away, in his favorite city, is our compromise. We have BOTH altered our careers to accommodate each others’ values and goals. I suggest that you broaden your vision of what you want the future to be like. Could you live away for 5 years if you knew you’d move back at that point? Could you be happy living closer but in the nearest major city, where your boyfriend might have better job prospects? You can’t have everything you want, and part of every relationship is compromise. If your boyfriend is unwilling to compromise on this job and you don’t want to live 8 hours away, he may not be the right guy for you. But if you show that you’re willing to compromise, then he may loosen up too.
oldie April 6, 2011, 2:56 pm
Before LW gives an ultimatum to her FH, she needs to better understand her parents’ expectations and have some agreement on what her life will be like, should she move back home without FH. The parents sound very controlling and LW’s wording implies that she’d be moving back into their home. After college away from home and living with FH, is she really going to be content existing under her parents’ house rules? Will her parents be content if she gets an apartment close to them, or are they expecting a celibate live at home, with curfew?
cmarie April 6, 2011, 3:14 pm
A lot of people have commented on her parents undermining her relationship and in their defense I have to ask how much does the LW talk to them about how unhappy she is? If you’re a parent and you listen to your child talk about how unhappy she is and how she wants to come home are you really going to be able to tell her to stick it out? Any parent would tell their child to come home because no boyfriend is worth being unhappy. She may be a mature, responsible adult but your children will always be your children and I doubt they can just quash their protective nature because she’s grown up. If your child is truly unhappy wouldn’t you want to say something, wouldn’t you want to do whatever you could to make it better? I had family tell me to come home a lot when I lived away and it wasn’t because they were manipulating me or trying to ruin my relationship, they knew I was unhappy, they knew I was depressed and homesick, and they wanted to see me happy again. I changed so much in the time I was away because I was so unhappy and they could tell. I hope the LW finds what she needs to make herself happy.
Amber April 6, 2011, 3:55 pm
When I read that part I was thinking the same thing. I moved about 12 hours away from home after college and I found that what I thought was going to be a great place to live wasn’t. I was miserable and everyone who talked to me could tell. My family begged me to come home multiple times. Eventually I did, and it did have it’s own repercussions (took longer to find job in my field, etc) BUT I was so much happier that I didn’t even mind having to work a job not in my field while I was job hunting. I was on my own so moving was easier than when you have a significant other to consider. However, I think this is the perfect time for the LW and her bf to talk about this. If what she realizes she wants after talking to him and thinking things through is to move closer to her family, I don’t think there is a thing wrong with that. Just as he might potentially resent her for giving up this job and moving closer to family she might grow to resent him for keeping her away from them. Neither is a good situation. And I would be interested to know as someone up above also asked, where is his family? Are they from the some town, does he have a similar relationship with them, what if he wanted to move closer to them. Things that they definitely need to consider before making a commitment like marriage.
fast eddie April 6, 2011, 6:49 pm
Only herpes and psoriasis lasts forever. Moving away from the old hometown may be difficult but it opens the door to new opportunities. The family will always be there but finding a good partner isn’t at all easy. If you want to have the financial security that his job allows, you would both be foolish to give it up for the sake of Sunday dinners with the folks. The information age provides lots of devices to keep in touch with around the globe.
Quakergirl April 6, 2011, 7:54 pm
Here’s the thing that seems to stick out to me the most about this letter. LW, who do you see as your primary family? It sounds pretty obvious that at the moment it’s your parents/other biological family. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, at some point, when you’re in “the relationship,” your partner becomes your family. You’ll get that same feeling of love and safety that you probably get from your parents from your partner, and you won’t be able to imagine being away from him because he’s your home. And if you’re not at that point with your boyfriend, there’s no shame in that. You’re just not ready to create your own family with him apart from the family you grew up with.
But before you leave behind the start of a life with your boyfriend, think about whether you’re ever going to be ready to let go of the idea of yourself as your parents’ child and embrace the idea of yourself as your boyfriend’s wife or long-term life partner. If you truly can see yourself as the latter, then be careful about walking away, because I seriously doubt he’d be willing to take you back after being told he comes in second place in your life. If you don’t think you can ever see it, then maybe he just isn’t the right guy for you, and when the right one comes along, you’ll be willing to be each other’s family. Or maybe your relationship with your parents *is* a little too close for comfort and you need to kick yourself into gear and try to make a life for yourself as an independent adult, regardless of your relationship status.
SouthernGirl April 6, 2011, 10:52 pm
I completely agree with Wendy that you need to make a decision about what is most important to you, but keep in mind things don’t always progress like we think they will. When I was 20, I moved in with my boyfriend (now my husband) in my hometown. 6 months later, we moved 500 miles away, and it was very hard adjusting to not being around my family, but I did. For the next 10 years, we bounced around the country, but next month, we’ll be moving back to my hometown. This after years of him swearing he’d never move back. Our lives at 30 are nothing like we thought they would be, and I’d keep that in mind. Successful relationships are full of compromise, we spent years doing what he wanted (building his career) and now we’re going to do what I want (live close to my nephew and niece). It could be that this won’t happen with you and your boyfriend. Have you talked to him about it? I know you mentioned he doesn’t want to give up his job, but he won’t be there forever. Either way, make sure you can live with the decision you make.
Herself the Elf April 7, 2011, 5:39 am
Obviously the decision is up to the LW, since it’s a matter of her figuring out what her priorities are. But for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think it’s “immature” to be close to your family. It doesn’t (necessarily) mean she never cut the umbilical cord; it just means her family is important in her life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I didn’t grow up with relatives. I sort of wish I had. I never really knew my grandfather, didn’t have any bond with my grandmother, rarely saw my aunts, wasn’t at all close to my cousins. Everyone just lived too far away for us to see each other…or even really know each other. I grew up in a rural part of the country, and most of the kids I knew at school lived near their grandparents and other family. I was a little envious of them then, and maybe I still am a little bit now. I would have liked to grow up with a big family. I think I might have been happier, less lonely—who knows.
But if the LW knows that that’s how she wants to raise her kids—then I think she should stick to her guns. Family is a blessing. There’s nothing immature about that.
Herself the Elf April 7, 2011, 5:42 am
(Well—a happy family can be a blessing, anyway. I didn’t mean to be rude to anyone who grew up close to relatives but had a bad experience with it.)
Flake April 7, 2011, 11:47 am
You do know that if you decide to stay and marry your boyfriend, he will become your family? And, personally, I live 8 hours away from my family and get to see them only a few times a year due to everyone’s busy lives. Even if I was right there I probably would see them once a month, because everybody is busy with their lives (kids, homes, jobs). I think you should consider that once you do get your own family (I mean husband, kids, house and a job), unless your relatives live across the street, seeing them once a month is a pretty good target. That is a part of growing up. At least now you have someone with you that enjoys your company and whose company you enjoy as well. You might be surprised that when you move back people do not have as much time for you as you hoped for.
BeckyGrace April 8, 2011, 2:12 pm
Maybe I missed it but did anyone notice that the LW states:
“I know they miss me as well and they talk often about me moving back home and giving up living with my boyfriend.” Sounds like she is getting a lot of pressure from her family to move back home as well. I think the LW needs to seriously look at herself, her own dreams and goals and life and decide what SHE wants. She moved because her boyfriend wanted to… is she wanting to move back because her family wants her to? I miss my family but we all live in the places we want to be, not because others want us to be there.
Linda July 31, 2011, 11:08 pm
I disagree with Maynard as well..
I’m in a similar situation. My entire family lives in california. (certain circumstances brought me here to philly where I met a great man.) We’ve been together for over 5 years and currently engaged. I miss my family daily and grow more and more sick of this place everyday. It’s a completely different environment. It’s not just family that I miss, it’s everything there. Opportunity, the beach, friends, the freakin weather lol. After 5 years of trying to make this place my home, I’ve decided to go back home to cali. That doesn’t mean I’m moving back in with my mom either. I just don’t want to start a family without MY family being in my children’s lives. I grew tired I’d letting others dictate what I should do with my life. If there is anything I’ve learned from this whole experience… It’s that no one knows your happiness but yourself..
Linda July 31, 2011, 11:08 pm
I disagree with Maynard as well..
I’m in a similar situation. My entire family lives in california. (certain circumstances brought me here to philly where I met a great man.) We’ve been together for over 5 years and currently engaged. I miss my family daily and grow more and more sick of this place everyday. It’s a completely different environment. It’s not just family that I miss, it’s everything there. Opportunity, the beach, friends, the freakin weather lol. After 5 years of trying to make this place my home, I’ve decided to go back home to cali. That doesn’t mean I’m moving back in with my mom either. I just don’t want to start a family without MY family being in my children’s lives. I grew tired I’d letting others dictate what I should do with my life. If there is anything I’ve learned from this whole experience… It’s that no one knows your happiness but yourself..
scarlettochasedit February 6, 2013, 11:40 pm
This thread has been dormant for a while, and I have no idea if there will be any further activity, but I’ve been reading every comment closely for the past hour, because I’m in a very similar situation myself, and have already made my decision.
Similar to The_LW, I met my BF when we were freshmen in college, and we’ve dated for the past 6.5 years. We went to college in the northeast, where he and his entire (huge) family is from. I’m from the south, 15+ hours away driving. I graduated during the height of the recession, and the best job offers were in our college town after graduation, so I stayed there. Now, my BF and I HAD talked about location, many times, (we knew it was our one and only point of disagreement) in our time dating, yet I found myself in The_LTW and Linda’s situation after 6.5 years of carefully having those discussions. See, when I expressed my desire to live closer to my family when kids came along, the BF replied with “It will all work out, don’t worry too much, I’ll be flexible.” At 18, I was too naive to understand that I should press harder, and took him at his word. At 25, I knew better, and that’s when we realized how misaligned we really were. He would not move for me, for reasons of career and being close to his family, and I would not stay with him because I was too far from my family. Also, as Linda says, the whole city made me miserable. The culture especially, didn’t align with my values.
So, this is all to say that I feel very acutely the pain of this kind of decision. Ultimately, I decided to move home and let him sort it out for himself. I told him I would be perfectly fine with living somewhere in between, but he doesn’t see the point of that. Living in my hometown is not really an option for him career-wise, so a midpoint is my best suggestion at this point. In July I moved home and began a Master’s program, so I elected to give him up. Still, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, and I’m still, 6 months later, crying myself to sleep on a regular basis. I feel like this is just going to hurt and suck terribly for a long time, no matter what I do. He was a perfect guy, and I really shocked myself when I decided that my convictions about being near my family & culture were stronger than my love for him.
CardinaT September 23, 2013, 11:58 pm
The_lw is there anyway you could update us on the outcome? I’m going through the exact same thing right now and it’s tearing me apart. Help
Agnes August 26, 2014, 12:22 pm
I’m in the same boat. 3 years into a relationship (turning 27 soon, so getting a little too old to keep ‘starting afresh’ and really want to find a suitable man and settle down soon). found the perfect guy except for the one crucial fact – he wants to be on continent A where his family and job is, I want to be on continent B where my family is. It’s a 10++ hour FLIGHT apart and many hundreds of dollars. i see my family twice a year and for about 2 years now, at huge personal expense using up tons of savings (I’ve been away from home 7 years now) I’ve been longing to return. I always thought I’d return home eventually, right from the start, after I had my day in the sun. had it not been for this guy I would have long gone home. I said this much to him when we first started dating (i had just come out of another long and painful relationship lasting many years) and actually tried to break it off multiple times because I knew geography was an issue. he assured me it was fine – when the time came, if we were still together and wanted to be, he would make the move back with me. so the time has come, we’ve been considering marriage for the last year or more, and it has become apparent he will not move after all (in fact, the ultimatum has been given to me – stay (forever) in his country or break up and return home). to get back to my home city, I can find a job with some hunting and tradeoffs but he will not be able to move jobs (he pretty much has to change career track to do so). as much as I am angry with him for promising something (which I relied on only to find out to huge cost that I never should have done) and then breaking his promise – smacks of a lack of commitment (how am I to trust him again?!). yet, how can I ask him to give up his job and family and lifestyle to move back with me, not to mention at 10++ hours and different continents we’re talking about a real difference in culture/country/race/etc. if I feel panic and dread thinking about staying in an altogether different country from home in the long term (after being there 7 years and acclimatising+ building a pretty stable life and career there), how can I expect him to do the same + give up his job and family, with no experience of living abroad long term. I’ve tried to adapt and see how life is like if I were to stay in his country long term. my parents initially were strongly opposed to our being together and kept pressurising me to go home but in the end relented and are supportive of my staying there now. ironically, it is I who has come to the realisation that I really need to return home and that even if I force myself to stay for him, it will be just that – forcing myself. how can I be happy that way, and how can we be happy together that way? and yet, he has become so large a part of my everyday life (we moved in together fairly early on) I cant imagine life without him and everytime I think coldly and logically and arrive at the conclusion I should return home (all that about acute and sharp pain that hopefully goes away with time being better than a long drawn out pain and guilt (of abandoning my family/parents in their old age) that will carry on for life!)I feel a hopeless sense of depression and a stab to my heart and just want to curl up in a corner and sob uncontrollably (which, of course, I cant and do not do since I have a day to day life to lead). how can I get through this? how can I hold myself to one course of action long enough to get across to the other side (whichever side that is)? I’ve been in this limbo state long enough to know this cant go on forever- it will lead to depression and I will bring him down with me (if I don’t drive him away by then). yet, taking either course of action will make me so unhappy, how can I be happy again? and ultimately (and this is the least of my concerns now, but it is a concern), I’m afraid if l let go of my chance at happiness now, I may never find someone to settle down with (time is not on my side) and I have always wanted to have kids and a family of my own! in fact, 10 years ago, I thought I would have been married by now with a kid – and now I see all that evaporating steadily….my elder female relatives (which I have a lot) are mostly single/divorced rather than happily married, and growing up I always assumed having a happy family of my own (like my parents) would just happen when the time came. more and more, I find myself thinking, what if I am in the unhappy majority after all? is that really what life is?
Aisy May 4, 2017, 9:45 am
Agnes!!!! You are me! I am the same age, same time period away from home, same everything. Same problem. I applied for a job at home becusse I was unhappy here with my boyfriend. Now I’m happy again but I have the job. And jobs are so hard to get in Ireland that it’s a massive opportunity. My hearts breaking though and like you and The LW my boyfriend has his life here and doesn’t want to move. What did U do in the end Agnes? I’m so torn
Aisy May 4, 2017, 9:48 am
Does anyone know what date this was posted and did the LW made a decision?