Is It A Good Idea To Move For Your Partner?
I didn’t expect to fall in love during a pandemic.
When I reconnected with an old “friend” from high school—and by reconnected, I mean I slid into his DMs—we realized neither of us had stopped thinking about each other over the past nine years.
We talked for a month, then safely met up in person. When we started dating, the relationship moved fast, and as we nervously said, “I love you,” we both acknowledged how atypical it seemed to have serious feelings so soon.
Yet it was—and still is—unbelievably good. The only catch? He lives across the country.
To make a stranger period even stranger, I’ve decided to move from Los Angeles to New York City for him. It’s been a conversation for us from the beginning, and on an extended visit to his city, I made a choice; ultimately, I knew I was ready for a change. This year at home has left me restless while also proving that I can maintain friendships from afar. I want nothing more than to be with the person who brings me joy I never thought I’d experience in a romantic relationship.
I’m nervous, excited, and about to jump into the unknown. And because I’ve never moved for a partner, I reached out to others for their perspective and advice.
I want to know: How do you navigate these lifestyle changes with a partner? And is it worth the work? Here’s what they had to say:
Communication Is Key
Communication is everything, explains Lauren Andersh, a graphic designer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ben, her then-boyfriend (now-husband), moved for her after graduating college. Andersh wanted to be closer to her family, so her husband chose a law school nearby, despite having been accepted to higher-ranking schools across the country.
“[There were] times when he was a little bit bitter about being here,” Andersh says, noting that honesty about their feelings was necessary for the relationship to work.
When moving for a partner, there may be times resentment gets in the way—especially if you’re sacrificing a job, friendships, or feelings of familiarity. Talk about those feelings with your partner instead of letting them build up. You’re doing yourself both a disservice if you don’t communicate honestly about the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of moving. Share your concerns with your partner, along with what you’re excited about and how you hope to work together going forward.
Building A New Life Is Your Responsibility—Not Your Partner’s
It’s important to establish your move as your choice, not your partner’s. If there’s pressure from your significant other and resistance from you, then both of you will be miserable.
Isabella (whose name I changed for privacy) was in a long-term relationship when she got a job opportunity in Los Angeles. She asked her then-boyfriend to join her, and he reluctantly agreed but made little effort to establish his own life in their new city.
“Once we were there, he hated it, never left the apartment where we were living, was angry that it was sunny all the time,” she recounted. “He wouldn’t make friends even though he knew a lot of people that lived in LA. He actually knew more people than I did but just didn’t want anything to do with them.”
To make a new city your home, you’ll want to establish your own support system. Relying too heavily on your partner—especially if you haven’t lived in the same place before—can quickly breed that bitterness and resentment we’re all trying to avoid.
If you don’t already know people in your new city, find alternative ways to create connections. Making friends as an adult can seem like an uphill battle, and it’s okay if it feels scary at first. But try to establish your own routine and seek out opportunities where you can meet others.
Are you looking for roommates? Do you have friends of friends who could show you around? Will you be at a new job? Are there any volunteer opportunities that excite you?
While you wait for those new friendships to grow, take time for yourself as well. Here are a few tips for how to be friends with yourself.
If Possible, Visit Often Before You Move
If you haven’t spent time in your partner’s city, consider visiting at least once to get the feel of your next possible home. Moving can be an overwhelming transition, so scoping out a place first can make all the difference.
Comedian and writer Jordan Myrick started dating girlfriend Kendall Landreth (also a comedian) long-distance during the pandemic. Landreth’s visits to Los Angeles have allowed her to get to know Myrick’s life and the people in it before she moves. “It’ll be nice that she gets along with my friends,” Myrick shared.
You can also do some research beforehand so that you’ll be better prepared and more excited to make the move. By putting systems in place, you may feel more like “you,” even when you feel like a fish out of water.
Think of the types of places and activities you enjoy where you currently live—such as coffee shops, bookstores, public parks, and restaurants. Use Google Maps or social media to research places you want to explore and visit after you move. You’ll be feeling like a local in no time!
Trust Your Gut; Life Is Short!
Even after all this work, you have to make this decision knowing it may not “work out,” and that’s okay. For me, I’m reminding myself to trust my gut.
“You just don’t know, until you really invest in something or someone what that could be [like],” Courtney Altom Kehl shared from her home near Austin, Texas. Happily married with three children, Kehl still doesn’t regret the time she moved for a boyfriend in her twenties, despite it not working out.
Similarly, Roso Ferrante, an interior designer based in New York, moved several times for boyfriends over the years and is continuously grateful for the adventures he was able to have.
“You only get out of life whatever you make it. Nothing falls into your lap.” Now married, Ferrante knows exactly the kind of living situation he enjoys and the people he wants to surround himself with.
Since moving isn’t an option for every person or relationship (and long-distance can work with the right tools), I’m grateful my circumstances make moving for my partner possible. I’m mid-twenties, freelance, childless, and have the financial means. I’m ready to take this chance, whether my partner and I stay together forever or end up parting ways.
Let the adventure begin—wish me luck!
Audrey Stanton was born and raised in the Bay Area and is currently based in Los Angeles. She works as a freelance writer and content creator with a focus in sustainable fashion. Audrey is deeply passionate about conscious living and hopes to continue to spread awareness of ethical consumption.