- 3 months ago
- Wedding: June 2020
Hi bees. I need some advice and I’m hoping you can give me your thoughts on this.
Very long post ahead, apologies in advance.
SO and I met in college in New York in 2014 (I’m 24, he is 25). I am from the Midwest, he grew up about an hour from where we live now (we currently live in NYC). We knew pretty early on in our relationship that it was something special and fell in love quickly. We moved in after about a year together in 2015 and have been living together for about 2.5 years and we have a dog together, and plans to get engaged/married in the next couple years once I finish graduate school.
Over the past year, a lot of things have happened in my family that have made me question where I live right now and where SO and I will end up living in the future. There have been some major health scares and deaths. We have talked about moving to the Midwest someday to settle down and be closer to my family, and SO would be *okay* with living in Chicago, which is about an hour from my hometown. Before we moved in together, it was always the plan that we would eventually end up in Chicago after we leave New York and are ready to settle down. SO has said he is not excited about living in Chicago, but would accept it. He is very active and loves the outdoors and cycling and is really attracted to the Southwestern USA, and has also expressed interest in moving to Colorado or California, both which I think would be really cool places to live. My career path will allow me to find a job most places, though SO is a bit more tied to cities. I suggested that we try living in Colorado or California for a few years before settling more permanently in the Midwest and he was really excited about that idea.
However, living in Chicago long term is not that much cheaper than living in NYC. We are getting by in NYC, but not saving as much as we would like because it is so expensive. It also occurred to me that living in Chicago and being an hour away from family and good friends might not be close enough to see them as often as I’d like. You can’t exactly just stop over for dinner or grab a quick lunch. And once we have kids, it would make sense that my parents help us with childcare when we are both working, and an hour away might be too far for that. So from all of this, I wonder if living in Chicago is even worth the increased cost of living when we could just live in my hometown and be closer to friends and family and have a lower cost of living. However, SO has said outright on multiple occasions that he does not want to live in my home state or hometown, and feels like it’s unfair that living in my hometown seems like the only place I would truly be happy living. In some aspects that may be true, because I have a lot of good friends there and family there, and I am happiest around the people I care about.
We live in NYC now, and I’ve lived in New York for 6 years and have never really felt terribly connected to the city or like I had a lot of strong friendships here. I have a lot of close family and strong friendships back in my hometown though. If anything, I think I’ve felt a little isolated and depressed living in NYC sometimes. The only things really keeping me here are my SO and graduate school. SO has a decent paying job (he hates it though), a very small family here in NY, and he has a couple friends but not really anyone he seems to see regularly or have bonds with like I do my friends back home.
To put it plainly, living in NYC makes me feel very far away from my midwestern family and I feel guilty about it. My mom’s cancer recurred last year, and recently a close family friend passed away who was like a second mother to me. My father has also had some health issues. Recently I’ve just become very aware of mortality and the fact that my parents and other family won’t be around forever. I feel guilty and sad for being so far away from them and not truly appreciating and spending as much time as I should have with them growing up, before I moved to NY for college. I feel guilty for choosing to move so far away to attend college and have recently been questioning my decision, wondering if I should have stayed closer to home. I know I can’t change the past, but with everything that’s happened in the past year I have really wished I could move back to my hometown or at least within driving distance from it, and still feel more connected to my family.
These feelings aren’t really that new either. I wanted to apply to graduate school in my hometown last year, but chose not to because SO was not in a position to move at the time because of his job. I did not want to end our relationship nor do long distance as I don’t think it would work well for us. In retrospect, we could have moved out of NYC before I started graduate school and I could have attended school somewhere else because SO later ended up quitting his job that was keeping us in NYC and taking a different position. But how do you predict these things.
This is very long winded I know, and I apologize! Bless you if you’ve actually read this far. This whole thing has been eating at me for awhile and I wasn’t really sure how to get it all out.
Now, where I’m going with this all is this. From what it sounds like right now, once I finish graduate school we will move to either California or Colorado with the intention of only being there for a little while (a couple years), and ultimately moving to the Midwest with more permanent intention. But, I’m afraid that if we move to one of those places we will never get out and we will never move to the Midwest and I will feel isolated and depressed again and just as far away from family. I worry that it makes no sense because moving from NYC to the west coast is a big move. And then we would be moving again in a few years. And an extra move as opposed to just moving to the Midwest outright is more money spent. I am also afraid that if we choose to move to California or Colorado, in the future will I regret choosing to be far away from my family again? If something happens to them, will I kick myself for missed opportunity? Or if we just move to the Midwest right away will I regret settling in my hometown so quick because my parents drive me crazy and it’s not the place I would geographically choose if it weren’t for my ties there? My parents age has also really become apparent to me recently, and I worry what their health will be like in say five or ten years (they are both entering their 60s now), by the time I end up in the Midwest if we move cross country first. I already feel guilty for having been far away for 6 years. I am so scared of losing the people I care about and feeling like I haven’t spent enough time with them.
My feelings about this all are probably exaggerated by the sudden passing of a close friend. But, I constantly find myself struggling between my ties in the Midwest and being close to family and friends there, or being with my SO and what he wants. Coupled with recent health scares, it’s given me more reason to want to move back to my hometown but I’m not sure it’s an option.
I guess what I’m looking for is any advice, if any of you guys have been in a similar situation. Did you choose a place to settle down based on family? Did your SO disagree? Did you regret moving near family, or not regret it at all? Did you move somewhere random you’ve always wanted to live first? How do you deal with the thought of aging parents/declining health mixed into it all? How do you deal with guilt for being far away from family? Any thoughts or advice welcome. Thanks for reading.