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].