What I wish I knew before moving halfway across country for a boy
They say love is blind, but can also just be plain careless. When I was graduating college I, like all of my fellow classmates, was trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. My boyfriend and I had been together for two years, he had gotten a great job in Florida, and was moving at the start of summer. I wasn’t ready to break up, but also didn’t want to leave the life that I had created for myself in Washington, D.C. Without a job, or a plan, I moved to a town where my boyfriend was the only one I knew, and I wish I had known these important things:
Follow your gut, even if you are afraid
Before making the official move, I took a weekend trip down to Florida to see what my new home had in store. I knew immediately it wasn’t right. I kid you not, I was taxiing down the runway after landing and everything inside of me was screaming “No! No! No!” I spent the weekend checking out the new apartment my boyfriend and I would share (nothing like what I had pictured) and grimacing at the amount of driving that would be required to get around (I didn’t own a car). I knew from the moment I landed that this wasn’t the best decision for me, yet I was too afraid to admit it.
It’s okay to change your mind
I knew this wasn’t right, but I had made a commitment. I had already shipped half of my belongings to Florida and gave away the other half. I had put in my notice at work, arranged to end my stay at my apartment, and told everyone that I was moving to Florida. Sure I was terrified, but I was also embarrassed. What would people say? I felt like changing my mind would somehow signify failure, and as my first big-girl-out-of-college decision, I was worried about starting out my new life on the wrong foot. I had forgotten the beauty of life: no decision is permanent. We can, and should, change our minds as we grow and evolve as people.
Sacrifices are okay, but should be mutual
Moving halfway across the country is a big deal. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make for love. And while the sacrifices were aplenty, it quickly became apparent that they were one-sided. I had moved to accommodate my boyfriend’s job, let him take charge in choosing an apartment for us that was convenient to his needs, and arranged my days catering to his schedule. I had moved without a job to support him, but felt intensely guilty about not being able to contribute as fully as I wanted financially. Instead, I busied myself taking care of all the housework, errands, and meals, desperate to do my fair share. Yet, when we were in the Target bedding aisle, picking out our new grown-up-apartment comforter, he was unwilling to compromise on color or pattern. Holding a plain brown and green sheet set, he said “This is what adults do,” and I felt shamed into agreement.
Moving in will not save a relationship
While this is not a new sentiment, sometimes it takes actual experience to understand its validity. Had this been a perfect relationship, the move could have been an amazing continuation to our love story. But, in hindsight, I knew the relationship wasn’t going to work out before I packed the first box. Yet, it was something I needed to do. I wasn’t ready to break up, because I wasn’t ready to be alone. Somehow it was easier to completely uproot my life than to confront this scary reality.
If you make the wrong decision, it is possible to move on
Six months later, my boyfriend and I broke up, he moved away, and I was left with an apartment that was a painful reminder of a mistake I had made. It took a while, but slowly I started to fill the empty spaces left by his half of the furniture with my own memories. I hung up bright curtains and pictures of my family and friends. I burned fruit scented candles, drank the white wine he hated, and watched my own queue of Netflix. And I got rid of that boring comforter.
(Image via New Line Cinema)
The night my long-distance relationship changed forever