Dating long-distance is no longer a total deal breaker. With Skype and Facetime, love is capable of spanning great distances. But if you and your partner really want to continue dating long-term, one of you will have to give up your life and move. So when is it okay to move for your significant other? How do you know if you’re making the right decision? Read on to find out!
First, I always say that you should never move in together until you’re engaged. Without a promise of commitment, you’re not guaranteed anything. Plenty of people are cohabitating before marriage now, and that’s totally okay. In fact, I encourage it. But if you move in together, and you two haven’t discussed marriage, there’s a chance you’ll never take the next step. Why? Because you’re already living as though you’re “married,” but without the commitment! So before you even consider any type of big move, make sure you and your mate are on the same page – and that marriage is in the picture (I recommend actually getting engaged, but if you’re confident a proposal is in your near future, you can use your best judgment).
Next, take the time to talk and figure out whose life situation is more negotiable at the moment. This doesn’t mean that one partner is more important than the other. But if one of you has been accepted to a master’s program in California, and the other is in an entry-level position they don’t really love, moving to California is probably your best option. Or maybe you’re between jobs at the moment, and your partner just got offered a promotion… in Miami. Essentially, who’s more capable of being mobile? Can you two meet in the middle to figure out a lifestyle that will accommodate both of you?
Now that you’ve decided how to compromise and where to live together, take stock of what you two will both gain from the move. For example, if you’ve decided to pick up and move to be closer to your partner, will you feel isolated and lonely? Or do you have contacts in the area, so you can structure your own life? It’s very important that you don’t become completely dependent on your partner. If you can find your own passions, hobbies, and spots to hang out in your new surroundings, the relationship will be much stronger. It’s important not to rely solely on your partner, so take this opportunity to explore and learn more about your new home. Take your Sunday afternoons for yourself and set out to find a great new bar, or a cute boutique.
Once you’ve settled in to your new shared home, communicate CONSTANTLY about how you’re dealing with the move. If you’re not happy, do something. Change something! But most importantly, if you want the relationship to work, keep your significant other posted on how you’re feeling about the new location. Are you homesick? Are you struggling to make new friends? Do you feel lost, confused, or anxious? If your partner genuinely cares about you, they’ll make a strong effort to ensure that you feel comfortable and secure in your new home.
It goes without saying, but remember, you can always go home. Don’t sacrifice your own happiness to live somewhere new, even if you’re crazy about the person you’re dating. If you can find a way to make it work, that’s wonderful! Love will always find a way. But don’t lose sight of your own needs!