Should I stay and give a new relationship a chance, or move for a new job?
August 2, 2012 12:30 PM   Subscribe

A year ago, I moved across the country for a new job, and unfortunately, I ended up hating it and quitting recently. Now my lease is about to expire, and I have a job opportunity back in the city I left (3,000 miles away). I would go back, but I've just started a new relationship and don't know what to do...

I met someone a couple of months ago and we started dating. I love spending time with him, and we've had a great time every time we've seen each other. We've taken it slow, at his request— he got out of a long relationship about a year ago. We're both in our early 30s.

I like him quite a bit, but I don't feel like I want to bring up a discussion of serious feelings quite yet-- things have been light and comfortable, and slowly growing at a pace that feels right. And yet, he's really the reason that I would stay in the new city. Otherwise, I think I'd head back to the other coast.

In favor of returning to my old home: I like the city better, have a good job opportunity and more chance of other jobs in my field, it's near family, and the quality of life is better, overall. Right now, I'm doing freelance work (and it's challenging finding quite enough), and haven't found the right full-time opportunity in the new city.

The guy is pretty great-- he makes me laugh, he's smart, attractive, kind, talented, and I feel like we could talk endlessly. We're slowly getting closer, and I'd like to continue that without placing premature pressure on the relationship. But I'm also afraid to pass up the opportunity to take a stable job (nothing amazing, but good, and well-paying) back in a place that I know I love.

If I sign a new lease, I'd still be able to break it with 60-days' notice. But I don't have long to decide about the job. Basically, I'll need to make decisions before the end of the month, but likely a lot sooner. So, if I talk to the person I'm dating, how would I frame this and what should I ask? I have a feeling that if I asked if he sees long-term potential, he might not know yet.

tl;dr I'm in a new relationship- I like him very much, but don't know where it's headed. In some ways it's probably too soon to tell. But I don't know how to decide about a new job opportunity I know have in a city far away (in a place where I lived before, and would rather live). Help.
posted by three_red_balloons to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take the job. Leave the relationship.

You're moving slowly and light and comfortable isn't really any basis to give up a solid opportunity to live where you want to live.

I mean, you don't have a job where you are. Your lease is up. (Will they even extend the lease with someone who doesn't have a job?) It just seems to be a natural end point if he doesn't know where it's going.
posted by inturnaround at 12:43 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

Take the job, stay friendly with your new beau.

If it's meant to be, you'll get together.

If where you want to be is back at your home, then that's what you need to do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:51 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

My intuition tells me that you should take the job and return to your old city, so that's my vote.
posted by Citrus at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2012


If you stay, then you are putting incredible pressure on that relationship. You've given up a job, better city, stable income and better quality of life for an iffy deal. Even if you never discuss it with your boyfriend, it's huge pressure to make the relationship work.

Long distance relationships are tough too, but that has a better chance of survival than "I gave up everything to nurture this new relationship."
posted by 26.2 at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Please take the job. I know so many people who have chosen fledgling relationships over career security, their own desires, or their own independent path towards building the life they want to live

The disappointment when those relationships didn't work out was painful and palpable.

I'm down with someone choosing their relationship...when they're married/partnered. There can be times when that makes the most sense.

But now: choose yourself.
posted by vivid postcard at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely move.

You know you have a great situation there, you don't know you currently have a relationship that's worth that kind of sacrifice.

If you're moving to a great city where you'll be happy, have enough confidence in yourself and people in general to trust that you can meet someone there.

And speaking from experience, if the connection is truly extremely special you guys will realize you don't want to live w/out each other after you've lived apart; and then you can take appropriate steps.

But if not, you'll have dodged a bullet and feel extremely relieved.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 1:16 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ugh. I think I'd give the same advice to someone else as you're giving me, but my heart is protesting. Re the lease, yes, my landlords will sign again even though I'm working freelance. I have a wonderful apartment that I love, in a great neighborhood (the place is dramatically underpriced for the location). I'm a little afraid that I'll regret either decision. I don't imagine something long-distance working for me. He's also relatively new to the city but settled into a good job that he loves.
posted by three_red_balloons at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2012

Flip a coin. While it is in the air, what you want will become obvious.
posted by bensherman at 1:22 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

I dunno... I can see the sense in all the "move back" answers, but I think you've also made a decent case for staying awhile.

You'll only be locked into your lease for 60 days beyond whenever you decide you want to move. In a few months you may know more about the future of the relationship.

You say the job opportunity you have is good, but nothing amazing. So it's not like you'd be turning down your dream job.

You say there are more job opportunities in your field back home. Meaning, if you turn down this job, it's not likely to be your one and only chance to get a job there if you do decide you want to move back home in a few months.

I don't see a huge downside to staying where you are for a bit, so why not give it a little more time and see what happens? The choice will almost certainly be more clear a few months down the road.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2012

Life is never lived without regrets. But I do think your heart is farther along than he is. He can't give you the solid commitment you need in order to stay. So it's not just about just what you want. It's about what he's capable of giving and willing to give.
posted by inturnaround at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2012

if the connection is truly extremely special you guys will realize you don't want to live w/out each other after you've lived apart; and then you can take appropriate steps.

This. You can negotiate that sort of thing with another person with whom you have a connection, but if you turn down the job and it doesn't work out with the dude, you can't call the job and have an emotional heart-to-heart about how you can't live without it.

But why don't you tell him you got this job offer and see how he reacts? I mean, tell him as neutrally as possible. If he goes, "oh man, that's awesome! Have fun in your old city. We'll miss you!" it will tell you something. You can't really make this decision without feeling him out.

But I would take the job.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:28 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eh. I dunno if that coin trick works for everyone. Especially the more indicisive of us. Seriously, though: imagine if, the day after you officially turn down your job opportunity and send email to all your family and friends saying you won't bee seeing them soon, he sits you down as says, "this time ha been great, just like you, but my ex is back and we've decide to elope. Goodbye."

Is your reaction: "ah, well, at least I have this lovey apartment, in this neighborhood I love. It'll be good to stick around here, anyway, and start looking for a job." ???

Or is it: "&$#^*%!!!!" ???

Do not stay if it is not 100% the former.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:33 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

(omg typos iPhone lol - sorry)
posted by vivid postcard at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2012

Have you had a LDR before? I'm guessing not, but if so how you feel about that and how it ended might be the best mental check for what you should do.

Otherwise, yeah, rock and a hard place. This sounds like beau aside it would be a pretty significant quality of life increase, so you should probably bring up the offer in a non-confrontational way (basically, not, 'How do you feel about me so that I know whether or not to pass on this great offer' which could/would poison the well). And, personally, I would be in the camp with Airing Nerdy Laundry.
posted by McSwaggers at 2:08 PM on August 2, 2012


I had the same dilemma many years ago and I went. I regretted it for a little while, but I eventually moved on. He seems to not be in the same space as you regarding the relationship, so I think by staying you're taking a big chance that the both staying *and* the relationship won't work.

As far as asking goes, just ask. I don't think you need to "frame" this in any way at all. The fact that you're asking us and not him, and that you think he'd be ambivalent about your long-term prospects says a lot.

Say "I didn't enjoy my job while I was here and have an opportunity to go back home. What do you think about that?" If he really wants you to stay, THEN think about it. If he says anything else at all, move.
posted by cnc at 2:49 PM on August 2, 2012

Eh, going against the grain here. Dating becomes increasingly harder as the dating pool narrows, and if this is a thing with real potential, I wouldn't discard it quite so easily. A few months in is not too early to speak with him about this, in my opinion. I know you say you don't want to place extra pressure on the relationship, but you two aren't 21 years old - at several months in, it's not unreasonable to ask him if this is a relationship that may develop in a serious direction or not.

It also doesn't sound like you're moving back for OMG your dream career - it's "nothing amazing, but good and well paying" and hopefully since you say the other coast is better for your profession, it or a similar job will be available at a later time if this doesn't work out. It's easier to break a lease or find a replacement tenant than to find a good match.
posted by namesarehard at 4:26 PM on August 2, 2012

I was in pretty much your situation. My advice is to move back. If you stay, the only reason you stay will be because of the relationship. That's a pretty heavy load to dump on something as light and frothy as the relationship you describe.

If you stay, you will be almost guaranteed to kill the relationship. And then you will resent him for your having stayed, even though logically you know it wasn't his fault.

That way lies ruin. Trust me.

Move, but keep in touch. Maybe when you're gone, he will realize how much he misses you, and be motivated to at least commit to a long-distance relationship. More likely - to be blunt - you will both realize that you were much more invested in the relationship than he was, and the whole thing will be left behind.
posted by ErikaB at 4:51 PM on August 2, 2012

I had to say I admire you - I've actively avoided forming relationships in places where I'm not sure I'll stay for this reason....this is a hard decision!

However, if you don't like the place you are, and you've only been dating the bf a few months, leave. Have a talk about whether you want a long distance thing. If the dating pool is absolutely so tiny there's no way to ever procure another mate, then he'll be in the same boat, won't he?

Honestly, considering you guys don't even seem really committed yet (you're trying not to rush him) staying where you are will be pretty hazardous. You're still getting to know each other, and what if you find you don't like what's there.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 9:18 PM on August 2, 2012

I'm with namesarehard. Finding people you want to date is difficult, especially the older you get. Your old city will always be there and you can always move back to it later - apartments and jobs will always be there. People you want to date may not be. I might answer differently if the job offer was your absolute dream job, but it's not.
posted by whitelily at 9:45 PM on August 2, 2012

Thanks, everyone. This is the first question I've ever posted here. As I read your responses, I've realized how much I left out of my question, and that even if I wrote twice as much about it, there would still be relevant details missing (including about one city vs. the other, leaving aside the relationship and job). The challenges of trying to summarize a life.

I like vivid postcard's test. I thought about it the opposite way, too: I'm not sure of the work equivalent of eloping-with-ex, but let's say I move 3000 miles, sign a 2-year employment contract, and for unforeseen reasons it turns out to be the worst job in the history of the world. Would I think, "well, at least I like this city better," or "I can't believe I didn't give him more of a chance?"

Like namesarehard and whitelily, I think it's rare to find someone. I had LTRs through most of my 20s, but have been dating (a lot) for the last few years. I've met good people, but none of them have seemed like the right potential partner for me. Now I feel differently. Even though it's all so early, it's very hard to walk away from. I'm not sure what I'll do.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:38 AM on August 3, 2012

it turns out to be the worst job in the history of the world

yes but you can quit the job and possibly go back to the boy (as pointed out above).

The reverse is less likely.
posted by French Fry at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2012

I have just gone through a similar thing. Chose to end the relationship so I could move.

I'm with those who've suggested ending things on friendly terms (what will be, will be) except to say that there's no guarantee he will be happy to wait and see what happens, so best to be prepared in case it gets horrible/awful/sad.

Essentially, you are having to make a decision on behalf of your future self, which sucks because your present self is saying 'no no nooooooo I don't want to'. But future self says 'seriously? you gotta do this. it's better in the long run'. You probably know deep down what future self would say if they were in front of you right now.
posted by pink_gorilla at 4:46 PM on August 3, 2012

Go home. If you would have used "love" instead of "like," I would have mulled over my advice longer.
posted by manicure12 at 5:11 PM on August 3, 2012

« Older Go Mommy-O!   |   Dallas TX, where to find homeless or hungry... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.