What options do my boyfriend and I have to live life under our personal constraints of work and geography?
My boyfriend and I want to spend our lives together. However, there are external conflicts. I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area, and this is where my family lives and where I'd very, very much like to spend my life. It's important to me to live close to family, and more importantly, to have my children grow up with their extended family, also. I truly want that for my future family.
My wonderful boyfriend is a senior postdoc down in LA, where we met - in cognitive neuroscience at Caltech. He probably has about two years more to go before he's on the job market, but I already foresee difficulties, because academia is a difficult, difficult place.
In an ideal world, he'd be accepted to a tenure track position at Stanford, Berkeley, or UCSF. He could apply to the neuroscience departments, psychology, or potentially economics if the school in question is developing a behavioral/neuroeconomics area. However, I realize this is not something to bank on. Next best would be maybe UC Davis or UC Santa Cruz - schools that would be within 1.5 hours of my family, and would enable frequent weekend visits. Otherwise, I promised him I'd be happy with anywhere in CA, but to be honest, it makes me sad; once one has to get on an airplane to get home, it takes a lot more planning than I dreamed of for my family and me. I genuinely want more closeness and potential for spontaneity than that. And then, most realistically, I have to consider the potential of him not getting any position in CA. I know you can't always have everything in life. But I'm wondering if there are options he and I are not considering.
He's open to considering other jobs, but isn't really coming up with much. He suggested he could teach high school, which I wouldn't allow him to do - he deserves to use the highly specialized skills he's been developing for a decade now. So what else could we consider?
To boil down my questions:
1. Has anyone been in the position of having to live away from family for a spouse despite having always dreamed of proximity? Tell me about the experience. Did you end up resenting your partner and leaving? Was it, ultimately, a sacrifice that didn't leave you wanting to cry regularly?
2. Outside of Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, UC Davis, and UC Santa Cruz - where can a cognitive neuroscientist research around the bay area? Are there think tanks we're not aware of? Companies that would want research for consulting? Anything?
3. If not research, what could he do? Consult for marketing? What industry positions are suited to a guy with lots of behavioral economics, neuroscience, and statistical experience?
4. If we do end up having to move away, what kind of compromises can we consider to make me ok with this? For 5 years I go with him anywhere, then we move back? We spend every holiday with my family (not really fair - his immediate family is overseas. Yes, I recognize he is making huge sacrifices)?
And, I guess...
5. Is this actually something worth considering ending a relationship over? We're happier than we've ever been with past partners, and I love this man and want to be with him, but I worry that these issues will lead to massive resentment, or that we'll end up in a situation where it's just a trade-off of who's miserable...
Thanks in advance, sorry for the length.