Sometimes you’ve got to take a few steps backward in order to make that giant leap forward in the right direction—because it builds momentum to get over life’s hurdles, right? At least, that’s what I tell myself every time I think about being the girl I always said I’d never be, but totally and completely was: the girl who moved for her boyfriend.
After wrapping up one year in New York City, I decided to move back to Dallas to end the two-year long distance relationship with my boyfriend and start a new chapter together. (I know how cheesy that sounds, but gosh, I loved that boy.) But this isn’t one of those happily-ever-after stories, unfortunately.
Five months after my New York friends threw me a surprise going away party, and The New York Post followed me and my then-boyfriend around to complete my bucket list before moving (they literally followed me with a video camera and posted the video on their site), I found myself back in Manhattan—alone, puffy-eyed, and with our new puppy in tow—but this time I was determined to start my own business… after I found an apartment, of course, and pried the proverbial pint of ice cream and Adele album from my hands.
I want you to know that this article isn’t about a break-up or boy-bashing or a bitter rant to urge girls not to move for their significant others out of spite. No, this is a story that lists the questions I wish I would have asked myself before I bought the one-way ticket. Many girls find themselves having to make the same decision, and for some of them, moving is the right one. Every situation is different, but we should all ask ourselves the same things. The difference is, do these things matter to you?
1. Does the location hold you back in detrimental ways?
Yes, you may technically be the one in the relationship with the flexible job or the career that isn’t quite figured out yet. More specifically, you may be lucky enough to keep your current job and work remotely, or have a hot skill set that will easily get you a good job in this new city.
But, whatever the case, be sure you don’t feel as if you’re settling for jobs in locations that you know will slow you down or plateau your career, especially if goals like working at the headquarters in a different city or starting a business in a specialized industry outside of those city limits is important to you.
Look, relationships are absolutely about sacrifice, but what’s a relationship that’s overshadowed by underlining resentment if you’re not emotionally ready for that kind of a sacrifice?
2. Do you have friends and networking contacts there?
These two things, in my opinion, are super important, especially if you’ve been dating long distance. They are crucial to your initial transition—hey, we all need to blow off some steam from the trials of work and lovers’ quarrels with a glass of wine with girlfriends—so having at least a friend or a girlfriend to chat with is key.
On the career-front though, ask yourself if you’ll be in a place where things that could enhance your career, like conferences, meetups, launch parties, and openings (if applicable to your career goals, of course) are at least within reasonable travel distance for your budget and schedule. For example, with my covering office style and trends for female nine-to-fivers and entrepreneurs on my site, and my trying to launch an online boutique that sells related products, New York is the ideal place for me at the moment.
I can grab coffee with editors at the last minute, or swing by worldwide networking events after work. I say, be in the heartland of your industry if having your finger on the pulse of your craft is something you’re itching to do.
3. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend happy or settled in their career track so that they can be as supportive to you as you will be for them?
This one, in my opinion, is the most important. There’s nothing worse than picking up everything and moving for your better half only to find out that they hate their careers and/or are having doubts about what they should be doing and where they should be living to do it. (This has happened to a few friends of mine.) A little notice would have been nice, right?
Believe me when I say one unsure partner plus another doesn’t equal two peas in a pod—it equals two people in one hell of a stressful predicament and probably an expensive plane ticket back to your original location. Just sayin’. In the end, moving for your relationship should be something that you’re wholeheartedly ready for in that you’ve asked yourself the appropriate questions. Hey, you’d berate your best friends with the same nagging questions in a heartbeat wouldn’t you? You owe it to yourself to be the same annoyingly awesome friend that you are to your best friends.
One final note: I don’t regret my decision to move for my ex-boyfriend. I think everything happens for a reason, and the next time I do this for someone special, it will be for the right reasons I’m ready to live with.
Would you ever move for a significant other? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Jen Rubio, Head of Social Media at Warby Parker, about her biggest career move!