Relationships
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Long-distance relationship: is it for you?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Let me tell you this right away: no one can answer this for you except, well… you. Being in a couple when you’re both in the same city or same home is hard enough, and maintaining an LDR is surely harder. I’m sharing the thinking process that led me to my decision to perhaps help you ask the questions that need to be asked.

This is the third time my husband and I are doing the long-distance thing. While I still think choosing to live in two different places is ‘unnatural’ for a couple, I don’t think it’s weird or unnatural when a couple decide to do so.

Are we strong enough?

For background, we’ve done China-Russia, Belgum-UK, and now Belgium-France and it was always because of a really good job opportunity. We’ve been together for almost 14 years, but the first thing I always ask myself when deciding whether or not to go for a job in another city is, “Where are we in our relationship? Are we in a good, strong place right now?”

If the answer to this is yes, I move forward with my decision-making process. If not, and I do want to keep my relationship, then that’s that. Thankfully, the three times a great job opportunity came up, things were great.

Right now, we’re in the prime of our careers, no kids and eager to keep learning and achieving. For me, I think it’s extremely important for each one to feel fulfilled in one’s own pursuits in order to be fully present in the couple. When either one feels inadequate or that something’s missing in his/her life, that’s when problems arise. I would always support my husband in his next career move, and if I’m ready to give up my job in order to make his possible, then I will. But in some cases, BOTH of us are presented with amazing opportunities, and these won’t knock on our doors again. So it is during these extraordinary instances that we’ve taken the long-distance relationship route. In fact, he gave up his job in Asia in order to join me in Russia because we both decided that the job he had back then was not good enough to justify living apart. So he supported my career opportunity with no hesitation.

Are the opportunities good enough?

So the next couple of questions I ask myself are, “Is the job opportunity good enough for me to consider living in another city?” If yes, “Is his job opportunity good enough for him to consider staying in the current city rather than moving with me?” If yes, then living apart for a while is definitely on the table.

Can we afford it?

Another issue couples, even the strongest ones, tend to argue over is money. So this is a definitely a case of asking myself, “Can we afford this? Does this impact our bottom line as a couple positively or negatively?” Living apart means paying two rents, and two of almost everything. It also means extra expenses for weekend travels when you try to see each other. If the goal is to take a job away from your partner in order to earn more and save more, then make sure this is really the case.

How long are we giving this arrangement?

When people ask, I normally say we’ll ‘wait and see,’ but in my head, I know I’m giving it a year and reassessing if the whole setup is worth it. It helps to have a timeframe in mind. Keeping this arrangement open-ended in terms of timing can cause frustration for both.

Do we have the same vision?

Remember that line by Antoine de Saint-Exupery?

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.

 

For me, I think that at the end of the day, when you and your partner are both making this decision and sacrifice with the same common goal for your couple, everything will work itself out.

Having said all that, I still believe that my husband and I should be physically together. So does he. Life is too short not to spend every second with the one you love. But, there are realities in our modern way of life that sometimes requires us to make these sacrifices. For now, we both love our jobs, we message each other a hundred times a day, we send tons of selfies, we are enjoying the fruits of our labour. It’s only been 3 weeks since I started my new job and we’re too busy to feel sad. He’s super proud of me, and I of him. But if and when it gets unbearable, without a doubt, I will always choose him over a job. 😉

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