moving to a new city for a "girlfriend"
January 19, 2016 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I met this girl from an online dating site from Peru, and we have been chatting by text and on skype for seven months. Now she has moved to Toronto in Canada for school, but I live in Boston, and we agreed to do a long distance relationship for some time while I look for jobs in Canada or Buffalo, NY (which is close to Toronto). I only know this girl through 7 months of skype and texting, and she came to visit me one weekend recently and we got to hang out, and we had a really good time together. But I am having doubts about moving to a brand new city for someone I hardly know but I am still attracted to her, and as far as I know she has a really nice personality. Would it be worth it to leave everything behind to move to Toronto just to be close to her? The other thing is that I really like Toronto as a city, and I have a close friend who lives there.
posted by pieceofcake to Human Relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's not just a brand new city, it's a different country. If neither of you has citizenship in Canada and you don't have a work visa there, how would this work out?
posted by zadcat at 4:07 PM on January 19, 2016 [23 favorites]

Never move to a new city without a job you're excited about. You can't survive on love alone. Never do anything for a romantic partner that impacts your future career unless you're 100% certain it's the right move for you; only take a job that is equivalent or a step up from what you do now.

Maybe save up money to visit a few times more before you make any commitments.
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:08 PM on January 19, 2016 [18 favorites]

No. You move for a great new opportunity, or because you're in love with the city and want to experience living there. You don't move just to be with someone you've actually hung out with once.

Do the long distance thing, meet in places that are equidistant from your locations, or switch back and forth. Get to know each other really, really well. Then make life changing decisions.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:08 PM on January 19, 2016 [7 favorites]

I don't think Canada is realistic unless you have dual citizenship in Canada. Work permits are not very easy to get. Buffalo could be more realistic.

That said, I disagree with blnkfrnk that you should never move for a relationship/without a job you're excited about. My husband has done it for me! But. We are married. I wouldn't move for a relationship that isn't at a pretty high level of commitment (i.e. engagement or marriage), and understandably it sounds like you guys are not there yet. At a minimum you guys probably need to plan quite a lot more visits to see each other.

Another thing to consider is what you have in Boston -- that is, what you're giving up. If you're young and just working in a retail job or Starbucks or something, and feeling like you'd like to try living in another area -- I would say you're in a much better position to just go for it, with no expectations about this relationship. This is about moving somewhere new and having adventures and if the relationship moves out, that's just a bonus. If you're in a settled career that you would be giving up, I would be much more hesitant.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:12 PM on January 19, 2016 [8 favorites]

what does she think? and if you're not at the point where you can discuss this, then no.
posted by andrewcooke at 4:20 PM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

but I am still attracted to her, and as far as I know she has a really nice personality
I passed through Boston recently. There are some pretty good looking ladies in Boston and I'm sure plenty with nice personalities. This is like moving to Toronto because they have milk.

There is nothing in your description that is really that excited about the girl herself. Nothing about how you have a special feeling you've never felt before or some deep personal connection that is too enticing to let go.

So I'm going to vote "no" on moving for the girl. But if you still want to move there taking her out of the equation, I say go for it. Just land a job first.
posted by deathpanels at 4:29 PM on January 19, 2016 [34 favorites]

I agree that it seems unlikely you'd get a job in Canada, so you'd be living in Buffalo. Are you excited about living in Buffalo? Can you find a good job there? Then there's no problem with moving, but it doesn't seem like it would advance this relationship much. You'd still be about two hours apart.
posted by chaiminda at 4:30 PM on January 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

She's in school-- does she have a spring break? Summer vacation? Can she visit you for more than a couple of days?
posted by yarntheory at 4:32 PM on January 19, 2016

Uh, those cities are a short flight or a medium drive away. It is insane to move to a new country for someone you've met once.
posted by deadweightloss at 4:33 PM on January 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

I feel like you're leaving a few details out.

we agreed to do a long distance relationship for some time while I look for jobs in Canada or Buffalo, NY (which is close to Toronto)

why did you agree to this - it seems like you had already agreed on this plan, and now you're thinking about how it might not be a good idea because you don't know her that well.

Do you now feel like it might not be right, whereas you did before? Was there something about the time she came to visit that didn't feel right, or didn't feel like enough?

I mean, people do things like this all the time and it works out or it doesn't. You can always move back and it could be great and you end up married, happy etc, whatever you want. I'd at least work out the visa issue first though, ideally get a job first.
posted by sweetkid at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's very reasonable to not know if you want to, like, marry someone and actually live with them, from seven months of Skype and texting. But if you're still saying you "hardly know" her and you've been talking this way for seven months and the best you can say is that you think she has a nice personality and you think she's attractive? I wouldn't. I agree with rainbowbrite--if this is going to be an exciting adventure for you, that's one thing. If you're madly in love and you're in a position where it's not going to have a permanent negative impact on your life--like, you're not having to sell a business to do it or something--then yes, absolutely. But don't pick up and move for someone who you can't be more excited about this for, after seven months.

Also, Buffalo to Toronto is still a two-hour drive--there are nonstop flights of about the same length between Toronto and Boston. Yeah, you've got the airport to deal with in between, and it costs a bit, but maybe you guys should look at flying back and forth for weekends a few times before making bigger changes. If it isn't worth that, it isn't worth moving. I have known people who did move between states or even countries for relationships that had until that point taken place almost entirely online, and I've seen it go well, but those were couples who were a) crazy about each other, and b) not able to visit one another for a weekend for the cost of a plane ticket.
posted by Sequence at 4:36 PM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Toronto has a brutal job market right now. As a non-Canadian, you'd have to be something special to get a job/visa. If you happen to work for a multinational with a Toronto office and somehow get a transfer (probably not the easiest thing for everyone, even with that), that's something else.

You could go as a student (paying international fees). But that would mean completely uprooting your life in case it worked out.

There is no way any of that (barring an easy transfer, with the option to come back) makes sense (to me) unless you have your own, real interest in being in Toronto.

Fyi, the cost of rent for a room in a shared apartment in Toronto is ~$650-800 CAD, +/- utilities. Granted, the Canadian dollar is at 65 cents on the US dollar, but you'd be earning CAD. Canadian salaries are lower than than in the US, and taxes are (usually) higher.

Long distance relationships are one thing. (It may help you to do a search of questions on that to see what kinds of challenges come up.) Going through visa pressures as a new couple, in addition to that, is rough. Some people feel forced to commit - i.e. get married - before they're really ready to, because that's usually the easiest way to get past the hurdles, and because they think (but aren't sure, because of the distance) they like their partner enough. Any uncertainty can lead to a lot of problems - like resentment, among other things. It's just a huge hassle and stress that no couple needs when they're starting out. Unless it's a big huge love with other reasons for commitment that are clear to, and affirmed by, both people, equally. There are issues, too, about where to settle (harder if/when kids or aging parents come into it).

If you can find anyone local (i.e. American) to date, date that person. If you really, really, really like this person, date long-distance until you're sure either way.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:52 PM on January 19, 2016

The bus is way cheaper than flying but you still have to go through customs. Well, not just you - the whole bus does and you wait until everyone is through. So add that to 2 and a half hours of driving.

It's WAY too early to put yourself out like this. I'm sorry to say this but she's in a new school, new city, new country and between studies and socializing, much time will she realistically be willling to devote to whatever it is you guys are developing?
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:55 PM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ordinarily, not a good decision. But I'm always in favor of people moving to Buffalo because it's awesome.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:00 PM on January 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yeah, moving to Toronto isn't like just moving from Boston to New York. You'll need a work visa at the very least, and those are not easy to get.

The thing about online relationships is that while they may feel real, they're not based in reality; they're a relationship between two projected fantasies, even more so than an in-person relationship is. You don't actually know her, you've never heard her fart or had her be annoyed with you because you left the cap off the toothpaste again, or whatever.

(Virtually) shake hands, part as friends, and find someone who lives in the same area code.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:07 PM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

On the other hand, how old are you? 20's? Go for it! These are the things that make great stories later :)
posted by eggkeeper at 5:17 PM on January 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

How exciting! Long-distance relationships can and do work; many don't but plenty do. You sound committed to pursuing this and she sounds interested in seeing what happens. If you're willing to take the risk, then I say go for it! (If either of you have dependents, I'd give different advice but it seems you're both single without children.)

The logistics are hard but do-able even though it may take years (literally.) Unfortunately, it's very difficult for Americans to get jobs in Canada without a special connection through work or family (marriage, etc.) It's also difficult for Peruvians to get visas to come to the US and the anti-immigrant sentiment is growing, so I can imagine it's only going to get harder. However, it's possible that she could get a work or marriage visa here one day just as perhaps she could sponsor you once she's done with school and has a job. (Again, we're talking a potential long period of time here.) You two could even eventually look into opportunities in Peru or a different country!

I think Buffalo would be a great place to live especially if you've always wanted to move there anyway. However, I agree with the people above who suggested the stability of your current job plus the potential for cheap flights from Boston to Toronto actually would be the best option right now. I'd also try to give yourselves at least a year to have the long-distance relationship without any pressure to move. The logistics of trying to move would take on a life of their own; ideally, you'd be using the time to get to know each other through daily contact and frequent/lengthy visits. Could you go with her to Peru during a break as well?

I'd agree with previous commenters that having an online relationship/long-distance relationship is different from an in-person relationship in that there's a lot of projection and hope. However, that's not all bad and plenty survive the transition to being in person. I had a few long-distance, sometimes international relationships in my twenties. While none were permanent and some had very sad endings, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm not a romantic in general but I now look back and think fondly of the times, places, and experiences. I appreciate my current relationship that started and has stayed in-person but I would not have gotten to this point emotionally had I not had the other relationships.

In an ideal world, life would all work out the way we hope but there are plenty of people who moved for a loved one only to find it didn't work out. Some went home and others made a home in the new place; I wager it's actually the rare case when people feel miserable and stuck forever. People may warn you to expect the worst -- and that's not a bad idea -- but there's plenty of potential for the best or at least a happy ending of some sort. I think often long-distance relationships, especially those that start online, are a sign of some inner longing and an impetus for positive change in our own lives. Perhaps this will be the start of a long and happy relationship -- I sure hope it is -- but even if it's not, it sounds like it could be a step towards pursuing the life you truly want to live or at least an adventure you enjoy along the way!
posted by smorgasbord at 5:23 PM on January 19, 2016

How does she feel about all this?
posted by klangklangston at 6:43 PM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dude, no. You describe her as someone you hardly know. Break it off now, tell her that you've really enjoyed getting to know her but a long-distance relationship doesn't make sense at this point. Look for someone local. I'm sure she's very nice and you like her and don't want to hurt her feelings, but moving to a different country is not a good decision.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2016

Do it! I've moved for less reasons. Moving is a great character building experience. If you can, you should. I really feel bad for all the people saying this is a bad idea. It's not a bad idea, it's a harebrained one, and this could be amazing.

Move abroad. This is like everyone's dream. And in your case, it will be super easy, because you'll move to a place relatively close, with a friend and a relationship already established.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 1:12 AM on January 20, 2016

Never move to a new city without a job you're excited about.

I firmly believe the opposite: Never move to a new city for a job. To me, "I am excited to date a girl who lives in Toronto and I like Toronto and have a close friend there" is a WAY better reason to move than a job. Jobs can come and go in an instant. Life shouldn't follow them.

Of course, it might be a better reason than a job, but it's not a GREAT reason. Maybe you should do more research? Find a way to spend a week in person with her and see how you feel after that? Spend a week in Toronto and see if you would like to live there?
posted by mmoncur at 1:46 AM on January 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Would it be worth it to leave everything behind to move to Toronto just to be close to her?

No. You don't know her well enough to do this. Keep dating her long distance - visit each other during breaks and vacations - and see how things go.
posted by Gray Skies at 5:06 PM on January 20, 2016

Buffalo is not *that* close to Toronto. Having lived in both places I'd budget about 3 hours to drive one way, possibly more - If the Toronto traffic doesn't get you, the wait at the border will.

Also, as someone who has been through the immigration process, I can assure you there's no such thing as "just" moving to Canada. Take a look at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, especially the application processing times. It is not easy or fast. Without a sponsor it may not be possible.

What others have said about the job market in Toronto is true. This goes doubly for someone without "Canadian experience."

Making the move to another country is incredibly stressful on a relationship. The difference between the US and Canada is like the uncanny valley of culture shock. It's kind of similar, but definitely not the same.

It really does seem like you're underestimating what's involved here. For such a new relationship, I'd wait and see where things go before considering this.
posted by AV at 9:01 PM on January 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Well, what is 'everything' that you are leaving behind? An OK job, or an amazing career? A rental unit or a beautiful, paid for house?

As I read your question, it almost sounded like you wanted to move as much for the idea of the city and your friend.

You only live once. If this sounds like a fun adventure, go for it. If this sounds like you are taking a gamble and could lose more than you gain, I would pass...
posted by Vaike at 8:38 AM on January 22, 2016

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