I have an increasing number of friends in long distance relationships and it’s left me thinking about a particular dilemma that many folks face. I believe it’s one of those ways that the recession comes to affect our personal lives. Here’s the question: if you were offered a job in another state or country paying double what you earn today, would you move despite a current relationship? It’s basically a tradeoff between financial issues (what’s practical) vs the health of the family or relationship.
Since time immemorial, people have moved because of financial reasons and because they seek greener pastures. Think about the millions of people who move each year (especially immigrants) who make the trek, with a good number of these people doing so because they’ve secured a new job somewhere else.
Are you thinking of moving to a new city? Are you doing so for any of these reasons?
Why Move? Reasons To Relocate
Retirement and health: upon retirement, a lot of folks decide to pull up roots to move somewhere warmer where they can enjoy the sun and shore. A lot of these people do it for their health too — if you can extend your life by moving somewhere less stressful, that has a better climate or improves your overall well being, then it’s a no-brainer.
Family and relationships: seems like a pretty obvious reason why you’d move, right?
Lower cost of living: if you live in a place like California or New York, then this may be one reason you’d flee your coastal state.
Good job prospects: money is a huge magnet, after all.
Just check out this fascinating U.S. immigration map that shows relocation activity per locale. You can play with this Forbes interactive map here (warning: you may encounter a popup ad if you click the link).
But what happens if you’ve got to decide between two competing priorities? Say you got a great job offer somewhere but you’ve also got a great life at your current location. Sure, money is important but if you have no one to share it with, then what’s the point? As always, this is about priorities. Upon a closer look at these matters, I’ve grouped some of the common threads under some overarching thoughts.
How To Evaluate A Potential Move
So here’s the situation: you’ve got a great relationship going but you’ve been offered an excellent career opportunity somewhere far away. What would you do? Perhaps you can ask yourself a few questions, and of course, this means you’ve got to be honest with yourself. Perhaps this kind of thought process can help shed some light upon your situation:
1. Where is your relationship going?
No, I’m not asking you to buy a ring or get a divorce. If you don’t think there’s anything more in your relationship, the move is a good way to inaugurate a fresh start. Leave everything behind and start anew. If you think there’s something more to it, or you’re committed for life, then the decision is harder to make. You would have to consider the needs and wants of both partners and come to a decision based on that. This leads us to question number 2.
2. Can you work out a compromise?
Making a choice to work out a win – win outcome is always tough. On the flip side, a job is sometimes a big part of a partner’s life. A chance to do what they love keeps them alive and is something that makes them who they are, so the move isn’t just for the money; it’s to support them as a person.
Thanks for the picture Materials Aart
3. How would you make it work?
Well, it’s not the end of the world if you do decide to move. But you’d have to be prepared to work towards maintaining a long-distance relationship. Here are a few ideas that you could try to help preserve what you have:
- Work towards seeing each other again. I have friends who split a discount airline ticket each month (for use during a long weekend). It gives one something to look forward to and lends itself to short term goal setting.
- Commit to keeping in touch the hard way. Build your communication skills. Modern times allow us to use Skype, help us book bargain vacations online and allow us to get regular phone dates. We are now also able to use online methods such as email, Twitter and Facebook to stay connected. It’s not the same, but these methods can help you test how good the communication is between the two of you. Possible silver lining: can this in fact allow you to develop better communication skills?
- Learn how to negotiate.The first two points are tough matters to live with. That’s why it’s important to agree that it won’t be that way forever. Will the job be permanent? Are you looking at how it’ll work for the next 6 months? You may not be able to answer that before the big move, but these are important things to bring to the table. You may also need to make compromises.
4. What’s got to give?
I’ve heard several stories where people have been given an ultimatum of some kind: to choose between their partner and their job. It’s sometimes easier to think of it this way: current location or new location. What would your decision be if you took the relationship out of the equation? Try this exercise: what if you took out some of the factors necessary to make your decision? You may be able to see things from a different perspective. You may actually realize that even without the relationship or your emotions in the picture, the reason to move is simply not compelling enough. It could mean that you would choose between staying in a familiar situation with a smaller amount of money, and choosing to go somewhere new where you could earn more but you’d have to start all over again. Could you do that, and would the extra money you earn be enough to make it worthwhile?
These are great insights by Shaina, SVB’s niece.
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