Six months ago, my world turned upside down. I met a woman who’s lit up my world. I am really happy. Why, then, am I writing to a website for help?
I’ve been notified by my job that my company is relocating from NYC to Washington DC in February. I love my job. I have been with the company for several years, have earned several promotions, and have been told that I will have a leadership role in the re-location.
My girlfriend is in a graduate program that will keep her in NY for at least two more years but before all of this, she had every intention of staying in the city and with the company she’s established herself with.
We’re having the “should we try to do the long distance thing” conversation and it’s maddening. It’s rushing our relationship status. The solid start that we’ve had to our relationship is suddenly filled with sadness over the thought of being apart.
I am seriously considering turning the job down and staying here in NY. She means that much but my family and friends are telling me I can’t make that kind of permanent decision for someone I’ve only been with for 6 months.
How do you make this kind of decision?
I don’t want to annoy you here but you know I can’t answer this for you. I can’t tell you what to do here. Hopefully, my response will work for you but please do recognize that my advice here won’t work for everyone.
I think if I answer your question with a few questions of my own, you might be able to find your answer.
If you were already the person you wanted to be and in the life you wanted to have, which path fits?
If you weren’t dating this woman, how would relocation have felt? Would you have accepted having to move from NY? Does a life in DC, with or without her, make sense for you? Can you see it fitting?
If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in DC without her, what does that life look like? What does the travel to and from NY feel like for you? How big of an energy drain would that be?
Your letter rather implies that she is the only thing keeping you in NY but she might just be the most important thing. If not for her, would you want to relocate or just be willing to?
Can you see yourself being in something long distance? Can you see that working for you, your personality type, and your relationship style?
For example, my husband is now a doctor, finishing his fellowship. Since he started his medical training, we have met many couples who have had to be separated because of their training. We have always said that would never be us. We know ourselves and our relationship well enough to know we wouldn’t make it. His training demands re-location sometimes. My profession doesn’t. I’d have to follow him wherever he was assigned, in order for us to work.
Likewise, does staying for love fit with your personality?
It doesn’t matter what your friends or family think. If deciding to stay is something that makes sense to and for you, that is something worth paying attention to. If staying and passing on this career advancement opportunity gels with who you are and how you want to live your life, consider that.
How have you guys managed this so far?
You didn’t ask for a relationship test but your relationship has been tested here. How has the communication been? Have you felt like you are on the same team? Do you feel heard and supported? Does she?
If the way you have managed this as a couple makes you feel good about your relationship, pay attention. It’s worth knowing how you manage as a couple when life throws a curveball.
It comes down to this: You have to want something more than you are afraid of it.
Behind the reason you are writing is the fear of making the wrong decision… the fear of regret.
If you stay in NY, you have to be willing to risk giving up your job for a relationship that ultimately doesn’t work out. If you go to DC, you’re risking leaving a happy life for a job that doesn’t fulfill you enough to balance out the loss of the life you left behind.
Whatever you want has to be bigger than your fear.
What I can reflect here for you is that the only fear connected to staying that I hear is the fears of your family and friends…not your fears. You seem more fearful that your relationship is cracking now, not that you’d have to start your career over with a new job, if you were to stay.
What are you more afraid of: losing this relationship or starting a new job?
How to respond to the critics:
Your loved ones are worried for you. They don’t want you starting over at the bottom or looking back and regretting this if you and your girlfriend were to break up.
Tell them what you want them to think:
I love her. I see my future with her and I am not willing to jeopardize that for my job. I know starting over won’t be easy but I’ll have a severance package, strong resources, and I am willing to make this change. I am not willing to lose someone who has become so important to me.
I know the risks and I am willing to risk being wrong on this more than I am willing to risk losing her. I know you want me to be happy and whether you get it or not, agree with me or not, I can’t see myself happy without her.