When you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a while, much of the focus is on moving to be closer together. It can seem like the ultimate goal you’re working toward, and your conversations will focus on who should move and when. But before you take the leap, it’s worth thinking about how you’ll handle the weeks right after you move.
If your partner moves to your city:
It can seem like a lot of pressure, to be the reason someone leaves their friends, family, and job behind to move to a new place; but your sweetie’s success in the new city is not your sole responsibility. However, there are some things you can do out of fairness and love to make the transition easier.
-Help with the career search: Your partner will have left most (or all) of their job contacts behind, so reach out to your own network of peers—maybe you know someone who knows someone who’s hiring. Talk to your partner about which parts of town to focus the job search in, and which companies are highly regarded in your city.
-Sow the seeds of a social life: Hopefully, your partner will make an effort to meet people and make friends of their own, but it can be hard at first, not knowing anyone. Invite him or her to get to know your friends, and find some community events for the two of you to participate in.
-Know when to stand back: To feel truly at home in this new place, your partner needs to feel independent there. Let him drive himself places and learn the streets; let her try out that pottery class she’s always wanted to take.
-Know when to be supportive: Moving to a new place is hard, and your partner will naturally feel homesick from time to time. Make it easy for them to call or visit friends and family at any time, and be a shoulder to lean on when all the change feels overwhelming.
If you move to your partner’s city:
-Take the initiative: Pick up your new city’s newspaper to find local events and classes you might be interested in. Drive around, get lost, find your way back to your new home. Introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
-Lean on your partner, but don’t expect them to carry you: Needing support and reassurance is OK, of course, but do what you can to adapt to your new surroundings.
-Take it slow: Don’t feel bad if you miss things about your hometown. It will take some time for this new place to grow on you—to find new favorite restaurants and parks and shops, and to get the hang of your new job. Give yourself permission to make the transition at your own pace.
It will take some time, but slowly build your own identity in your new place, whether it’s finding work you enjoy, making friends, getting involved in the community, or simply letting yourself fall in love with the city itself. Although your partner might always be the main reason you’re living in that particular area, you’ll feel much more at home if you can find your own happiness there, too.