In April 2021, I met a guy named Iain in front of Buckingham Palace. Much like the first verse of Taylor Swift’s “London Boy,” I saw the dimples first and then I heard the accent. From there, I fell quickly, blissfully, head-over-heels in love. The only problem? I was set to leave the U.K. in a few months, which—I feared—meant our love story was destined to be either short-lived or long-distance. There was no in-between.
Fast-forward to July 2022, when I began packing up my apartment and preparing to move back to London to live with Iain—a person for whom, for reasons both abstract and explainable, it made perfect sense to move.
“Making a move is not an easy decision or a quick act,” says dating and relationship therapist Anita Chlipala, author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love. “It takes thought and planning. It takes time for conversations with partners, family and friends, work colleagues. It takes time for research on what this new life might look like.”
For me, the decision was relatively simple. I love London, yes, but I also love Iain. He could be based in Sydney or Shanghai or Santiago and I’d still gladly pack my life up and move to be with him—partly because my career is much more flexible, location-wise, than his (as a writer and author, I can live just about anywhere), and partly because home is where the heart is, and mine is planted firmly in the palm of Iain’s hand.
“If you don’t move, you may always wonder what could have come of your relationship,” says Chlipala. “If you do move, you’ll have your answer.”
However, that can, of course, often be much easier said than done. Leaving behind all that you know and love can be scary, so it’s smart to be proactive in finding ways to make your new life feel as fulfilling and as yours as possible.
“Start creating a list of ways to combat potential loneliness, especially if you don’t have any friends where you’re moving,” suggests Chlipala. “Although you can rely on your partner, putting 100 percent responsibility on [them] to be your social outlet isn’t realistic. Research organizations, groups, and activities that you can join to make your own social network. You want to create your own life so that you increase the chances that you’ll feel satisfied and decrease the chances that you’ll feel resentment, especially toward your partner.”
I spoke with 14 people who have moved across state lines, coasts, and continents for and with their partners about why it was the right decision for them. Here’s what they had to say.
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