Anyone who has seen Going the Distance (RIP Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as my favorite quirky celeb couple) or has actually experienced their own long-distance relationship (because I guess sometimes real life is not a rom com with only hot celebrities??) know how difficult a LDR can be, and how tempting it is to move wherever your significant other is. As job hunts become “wherever I can find one” and people can spark relationships online instead of IRL, more and more couples are having to face the question of what the future looks like when a relationship is long distance.
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Now that it’s 2019 and many women are finally able to spend their 20s and 30s focused on careers instead of having families, there’s no longer an assumption that women should (or can) uproot their life because their partner gets a different job. It’s no wonder many couples choose to make long distance work (thank god for Facetime!), since any other option is becoming (at the risk of sounding like a relationship Scrooge) increasingly bleak. But if you and your partner have decided moving to the same location is the right decision for your relationship, how do you know if it’s actually the right decision for you?
On one hand, a move is the ultimate grand romantic gesture, sacrificing for your partner and knowing that your life with them is the greatest priority. On the other hand, relocating for love prematurely can waste a lot of money, can lead to resentment, and worse, can even make you feel trapped into a life you don’t really feel happy in. There’s a fine line between grand romantic gesture and biggest mistake of your life, so if you’re thinking about relocating for love, ask yourself these nine questions to know if you’ll regret the move, or if it’ll be the happy ending you have in mind:
1. Are there any deal breakers in the relationship?
If you’re making any huge life decision together, you should be at the point in your relationship that there are no more deal breakers. This means that no amount of dirty towels on the floor, messy dishes in the sink, or future fights would be enough to break you up. You’ve seen each other through thick and thin and feel committed to each other through better or worse.
If you don’t know your partner well enough to know how they’d act in bad times or think there could be deal breakers for either of you in the relationship, it might be wise to pump the breaks and get to know your partner better before making such a big decision.
2. Are you both in a good financial situation?
As unromantic as finance is, it’s logically one of the most important aspects of a big move. Strategize your own financial situation, and since moving is expensive in itself, figure out if you can comfortably afford it on your own. Have a discussion with your partner about your financial plan as a couple regarding the move — if you don’t find a job for six months or a year, can they cover rent? What about groceries and other necessities? If you’re moving in together, your partner should be in a good enough financial situation (and willing!) to support both of you while you’re job searching, and you should have enough saved up to not solely depend on your partner to move.
3. Would you actually enjoy living in the city you’re moving to?
Even if you’re the reincarnation of Jack and Rose and meant to be together #4EVER, is it really worth living in a city or town you hate? Think of all the factors that go into the new place you’ll be living — if you’ll be away from your family, whether or not there are factors in your life now that you can’t live without, and if you could see the new city you’re moving to feeling like home. A relationship requires sacrifice, but if you’ll never be able to think of the city as your home, then you and your partner should make a compromise to find a city you both can live in.
4. If things don’t work out, what’s your backup plan?
Even if there are no more deal breakers and your relationship is serious #goals, the logical thinker knows there is always the chance it might not work out (even if the chance is small — like minuscule). You should always have a backup plan, or at least think about what you would do if the relationship did not work out. Would you keep the job you get and continue pursuing your career in the city you moved to, or would you quit and move back? Make sure you have a plan you’re comfortable with before you make the move, so you’ll never be in the position of being blindsided by the end of a relationship without knowing what to do.
5. Would your partner make the move for you?
You and your significant other have probably worked out which person should move and which location you should move to, based on logistics. Maybe that meant their professional life was more flexible, or you agreed being closer to your partner’s family was most important. But unless both of you would give up jobs, friends, or a life to be closer to the other if the roles were reversed, don’t make that big of a life change. If either of you feel like it wasn’t a move out of mutual love, you’ll end up feeling resentment.
6. Do you and your partner have the same idea about the future?
Don’t make the move unless you know you’re both on the same page. If you’re not planning on living together right off the bat, make sure you’re both in agreement on a general timeline when you would move in, get married, have children, or jump into any other big steps you’ve discussed. If you want totally different things out of your lives — whether it’s marriage, children, or even when to change location — the relationship may not be worth making the sacrifice for.
7. Do you feel like you’re giving up too much for your relationship?
Any time you move for love, there’s going to be a lot of compromise and sacrifice. But if it feels more like sacrifice than it does exciting, listen to your gut. If it’s worth moving to be with your partner, you’ll still feel even more excitement to get to be with your significant other in a brand new adventure, no matter how hard it is to leave your current city. It will be hard to say goodbye to your friends, your job, and your home, but ask yourself whether or not your “future self” will be happy you made the move. If the good outweighs the bad, you won’t regret relocating for love.
8. What can you do by yourself in the new city you’re moving to?
I totally understand the supercut running on repeat through your mind — the two of you strolling along the beach with that adorable dog you’ll obviously get, pancakes and coffee in bed on weekends, and laughing while wiping the latte foam off their mouth at your local coffee shop (this always happens in rom coms! Why??). But real life is not so edited. You’ll find yourself alone for at least some of the time, and will probably even want to be alone. Your life in this new city is not just a constant rom com — it’s your life and you need it to be just as fulfilled with your partner as without them. How will you make your own friends? What will you enjoy doing with your free time when you’re by yourself? And most importantly, how will you have a career that fulfills you?
9. Are you moving to fix relationship problems that came up from being long distance?
If you’re changing jobs, locations, or lives to be with your partner, then your relationship should have an extremely strong foundation to start with. If your LDR is rocky and you’re moving to save your relationship, it will only put a temporary band-aid on bigger problems in the relationship that will come out — whether you’re long distance or not. Long-distance relationships are hard work, yes. But “hard work” means missing each other and navigating how to communicate best when you can’t be together. It does not mean worrying whether or not the relationship will last.
If your love is the rom-com kind that’s worth crossing oceans for, walking 1,000 miles for (à la Vanessa Carlton), and yes, even worth moving for, there’s no distance long enough to break you up. Move because you want to be with your partner and build a life together, not because you’re worried what will happen if you don’t.
Have you relocated for a relationship, or are you thinking about it? We want to hear from you! Tell us in the comments below.
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