To Move or Not to Move?

Jamie writes:

I am currently in a now long-distance relationship. My boyfriend just left the marines and is now in another state. We know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together, but there is one issue. We can’t decide who will move. I have an 8 year old daughter, and have been established at a hospital for over 6 years. Not saying that I couldn’t find a job at another hospital. We did both agree that once we were married I would move to where he is. Now that he is out he is enjoying his family time that he missed for so long. He hates where I live and almost says he cannot do it. He is planning on starting school, and establishing himself.

What do I do?

Hi Jamie,

My girlfriend and I actually went through something similar when we started talking about moving in together. We always thought I’d move to where she lived—but when we sat down and really talked through all the pros and cons, it became clear that it made more sense for her to move here. I know it can be a difficult and almost overwhelming process, but maybe getting all your thoughts laid out in front of you will help.

I think the first step in your decision is to sit down and make a list for yourself. Write down all the reasons you’re hesitant about moving to where your boyfriend wants to live. Is it mainly that it’s a change and you’d be out of your comfort zone? Or do you have other concerns?

Reasons to move:

  • You’re sure that you and your boyfriend want to spend your lives together. His happiness is clearly a factor here–if he “hates it” where you live, that mindset could be tough to overcome.
  • Your daughter is young. At 8 years old, she’s at an age where she should be able to adapt and make friends in a new school.
  • You have good prospects of finding a job in your field in his city.
  • It will push you to grow and try something new.

Reasons not to move:

  • Can you see yourself and your daughter being happy there? You don’t say much about what you think of his city. If you have doubts about the schools or neighborhoods, your daughter’s well-being trumps his reservations.
  • Other ties you might have to your current city—consider any obligations to extended family in the area, and how your friendships will handle the distance (in a way, you’re trading a long-distance relationship with your boyfriend for a long-distance relationship with your family and friends).
  • Leaving a job you’ve been in for six years.

Unless you have serious concerns about your own or your daughter’s well-being in your boyfriend’s city of choice, I say you go for it. But give yourself an “out”: talk with your boyfriend and see if you can come to a “one year” agreement. That is, you agree to move to his city with your daughter. But if you’re miserable after sticking it out for a year, then the two of you will either move back to your home city, or move somewhere else completely new.

I know it’s scary to take such a big leap, and move away from family, friends, and a good job. But keep in mind that one of you will have to move away from the city you love if you want to be together, so the goal is to find the most appropriate and fair solution. If you can, arrange to visit him over a long weekend so you and your boyfriend can spend some time discussing the pros and cons in person—and maybe he can also give you a little more perspective on why he changed his mind. While you’re there, get a feel for his city. See if you feel comfortable there and if you can picture you and your daughter making it your home.


  1. Laura says:

    I disagree that one of you ‘has’ to move. There is another option–continue the long-distance relationship for now and see where things are when he’s done with his education. This might be less stress in the long run, or at least allow you time to make a decision that feels fair to both parties. There’s no rule that says you have to end the long-distance relationship now that he’s no longer in the military.

  2. P-Funk says:

    Altho staying in an LDR could be good to figure out what you want to do, somewhere down the line a decision will have to be made. Why prolong it? I was in one for a while and it sucked. It took us about a year to finally figure out what we were going to do, and we’re happy with the choice we’ve made. So my advice is not to rush into anything–it’s OK to be long-distance for a while, but don’t put it off. Take that time to come to a decision instead of procrastinating because it could be really hard to have to be apart for so long.

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