After graduating from college, I ended up spontaneously moving halfway across the country for a job. I stayed longer than planned, and during that time met someone who I dated for about a year. We broke up a month ago when I spontaneously moved far away for another job. He was still in school, and I had to chase my dreams. Besides how stupid-big America is, there were no issues between us, and he was – and is – one of my best friends. We continued to talk, and it felt like we were still dating, so I knew I had three options (1) stop talking to each other to fully move on and heal, (2) ask him to start a long-distance relationship even though he was always explicitly against them, or (3) say nothing and just go with the flow. I decided on the ambiguity of option 3, but he went for 2. We were talking on the phone one night and he said "it was a mistake we didn't try long-distance." He told me to take a week to think it over.
Every day that week I felt a different emotion and had a different answer, but my gut said I should try it. Now we're talking about how he can eventually move so we can be together. We are discussing fears, hopes, expectations, and scientific studies that say moving for love has a 48 percent chance of failing and most people regret doing it. I know he is my person, but I keep grappling with whether we need to mature on our own first before attempting to date again. His happiness is the most important thing to me and I am going to feel guilty if he moves to me and is unhappy.
I realize there is never going to be a clear answer. Mostly I am looking for guidance. What questions should we be asking each other to determine if long-distance and moving is going to be worth it for us? I know people suggest talking finances and children before considering marriage, but what do you suggest talking about before trying again and moving for love?
You broke up because of distance, so it's not like you need to work out a bunch of relationship problems before you get back together. You were having a splendid time and can pick up where you left off.
You can also grow and mature while in this relationship. There's plenty to learn while building a life with someone you love.
The most important conversations you can have at this point are about expectations for the move. You say you don't want him to relocate for you and then find himself unhappy, but he will have miserable days – and excellent ones – wherever he lives. That's just life. There's no way to skip over the awkward feelings that come with change. Not all of those feelings will have to do with you, by the way. Some might be about leaving school. You can talk about giving each other the space to have some bad days without making them more important than they are.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific study that can predict how it will feel to be together in a new place, taking new risks. Every couple is different, and every move comes with its own challenges.
It sounds like you're both wonderful with communication (good for you!), but don't talk yourself out of the excitement. Moving for love can be very fun.
Readers? What conversations would you suggest having before moving for love? And ... 48 percent?