Our kids live in different places

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My boyfriend and I are faced with a dilemma. We have known each other for a year and a half, dating on and off, and made it official about three months ago. But then reality set in, and this is our challenge; he has a daughter who lives on the other side of the country, while I have two children here with us. He is retiring from the military in two years and is faced with either moving closer to his daughter to be with her and raise her better, or stay here with me and pursue a future with my family.

It would be difficult for me to uproot my children from their home, so I am faced with deciding whether to fight tooth and nail to get them out of state or sacrificing my time with them to move with him and his daughter. Nobody can give us advice on this because there are three children and two locations. One way or the other, a huge sacrifice will be made by one of us, and and either his daughter or my kids will suffer for it.

What to do, what to do?

– Uproot?

There are other options to consider that put the children first. You could try long-distance when he retires from the military, both of you living with your kids until it's easier to be with each other. You could look into spending summers together.

You're talking about something that won't happen for two years, right? You've only been official for three months. It seems too early to know how you'll feel about him in a year, or what you'll both learn about the needs of your children as they get older.

My advice is to see how this plays out over the next six months or more. Pay attention to your kids. Engage with him about his daughter, and meet her if that's a comfortable option for everyone. Make no plans to uproot anyone at the moment; just live in the relationship. For now, assume there will no move – so you can be in the moment.

You didn't tell us much about the relationship, only about logistics, and I think that's telling. Think about what you know – and what you still have learn. Do your kids enjoy your current setup? How do they get along with your boyfriend? How does your relationship fare when there's distance? Keep track of this stuff, and the decisions might come easier later.

– Meredith

Readers? Too early to plan? Is it ever OK to uproot for a relationship?