I Followed a Boy

When I first moved to San Diego, sometimes I felt like lying to people. The first question out of people's mouths when I told them I was new to town was "so, what made you move?" and I really, really wanted a cool story to tell them, like I was recruited for some really impressive job and that I had a condo on the beach. Instead I told the truth because I really suck at lying, and had to admit that I followed my boyfriend. In fact, I have followed him twice, and I'll probably follow him a couple more times because that's just the nature of what he wants to do with his career. (It makes it easy to keep friends via my blog, not so easy to keep friends in the Real World.)
I think I am finally okay with telling people that I moved for him, but for at least a few years I was really struggling with the fact that his ambition was going to determine where I lived. I credit my best friends and family for convincing me that it was okay, that moving together was good for both of us. I remember this mini-breakdown I had in New York about moving in together (I had a lot of those) and an older, wiser co-worker told me that what I had was a beautiful thing and to quit listening to people who tell you what you're supposed to be like in your 20s. Thank you co-worker. I'm really glad I did.

Anyway--I was up late thinking about it and wondered how many people were in the same boat. Have you or will you move for your partner? Anyone else follow a boy or girl?


Jamie said...

I don't think you should let this bother you at all.

I went in the opposite direction and have let my crazy work/life, with its constant moving, keep me from dating and relationships. I can tell you it is equally hard to keep moving for your career and watch that choice result in missing out on opportunities to share a life with someone you love. When it is all said and done a career isn't great company in the evenings and on weekends.

Megan said...

I'm never had to move for my now husband, but I am having to stay put for him. I'm finishing my b.a. in may, and all I want to do is go ahead and go off to grad school somewhere far away from Texas. But he isn't finished yet. So, that means we will be here for another year - him student teaching and me working some lame, menial job.

Paul said...

=) you could've basically written the exact same post about me. i have frequently felt embarrassed about telling people why i moved, first to the east coast, then to new york, and now to dc. i sometimes even try to lie...like, oh, maryland was really my top choice of schools, or something like that. but the truth always comes out.
i imagine it's a bit harder as a woman, with the added pressures of feminism, and wanting to be "independent." but i agree with you, that even though it was a hard decision, and sometimes feels a little dependent, it has totally been worth it. i am much happier to still be in a loving relationship 7 years later, rather than mourning a failed long-distance relationship. and i've surprised myself by making a home in cities i never imagined living in.
but yeah, the friend thing is probably the hardest. i do sometimes wish i was back in the bay area. and i have already made many a great friend who i later lost touch with.
still, i think it makes for an interesting life, which is much different than thinking of it as a compromise.
we've come a long way since those late nights of gossiping about new relationships back in college, eh?

buhdoop said...

I haven't moved for a guy yet, but only because I didn't have a connection. I will definitely move wherever my fiance moves too.

We are kind of old fashioned and my Mother always says that the woman should move with her husband. I agree.

DFY said...

Yes I have. In fact I drove cross country (from Florida to San Diego) once for him!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Me! Well I followed the boy after we got married though (hence moving up the wedding).

It can be hard. We're both independent women with our own aspirations and talents. But my husband and I always said that we would follow each other - he just happened to get the cool job first. I'm glad the Singapore move will be for a few years so I can find a proper job.

I was totally going to post about this too. Not just the following your partner but settling yourself while moving around. Hmm, guess those are two posts.


I never had to follow but I totally would. We moved into the city together for college and have lived together ever since. I think it's so sweet that you are willing to follow him wherever he goes. That's true love for u :)

Luxeville said...

I met my fiancé while I was living in Vancouver for 4 months back in January 2006... We made our Vancouver,BC-Austin, TX romance work 10 months before I decided to make the move to Seattle, WA. I've been here ever since... and now, after all this time, I'm finally set on doing everything possible to move to Vancouver!

Even though I didn't immediately move to Vancouver to be with him... and opted instead to stay 3 hours away from him(in the event it didn't work out), I still received a lot of criticism from some unlikely sources. My best friend even told me she "looked down" at me for making this move for a guy. But the truth is, I knew NO ONE in Seattle and made a life for myself out here on my own. I have a good job, good friends, and a wonderful relationship that was worth relocating for... and I am way more adaptable than most people, I'd say. So many people can't start over in a new place like that without their family and friends they grew up with...

You and the boy have been together for over 7 years. Obviously, you knew he was worth it... don't listen to what others say. Remember, what you've done has made you stronger... you're in grad school now so that you can have a better career afterwards. If you were really just some girl chasing around a boy... you'd just be at home, playing house not caring about your professional future. And most importantly, while you struggle to find this balance in your life, you've got the love and support of your hubby-to-be. Remember that and cut out the rest... ;)

Katie said...

I haven't done it in the past, but my turn may be coming.

When he finishes grad school he wants to do a prestigeous post-doc in a city far, far FAR away from Colorado. And I've told him that I'd move for him.

Maggie said...

Been there, done that... TWICE, for two different guys! See, there's always a worse story :-). But really, one choice in life leads to the next, so hold your head up and enjoy where the journey has taken you.

A Los Angeles Love said...

I admit, I would have been judgmental about this in my early 20s. But I was fiercely independent, traveled around the world by myself, and also felt a little bit lost and just wishing I'd had a meaningful connection. I was definitely searching for something I didn't have, though I'll never regret the time I took to look for it and adventure. However, the flip side is that now I'm grappling with NOT adventuring, primarily due to him. I'm tied in a new way that never existed before. In some ways it's easier because we both had our own lives in LA and could just meld them, but we all give something up when we enter into something serious with another person. Yours is the more obvious moving "for a man." Mine is the lack of moving. It's all worth it, because we've decided it is and we know it is. Life happens and we make it our own. You may have moved for him, but you kept what wwas true and right for yourself - with this blog, with school, with making a place for yourself in the world. That's the part that matters - we all compromise, the question is by how much and what we're left with that's ours.

dognbird said...

It's rather romantic to have followed your love. I like that story!

Cori Jessy said...

I followed my boy... once admittedly and once in denile when we were apart. Then once again to be with him. Then he followed me, and everything was right. It was complicated, but now we go together, and that is much better.

When you love someone you love them, and you do what it takes.

Abbie said...

I'm staying for my guy. There's not much for me in my town for growth potential, but he wants to stay... so I'm staying, too. It was something we discussed prior to getting married. In fact, he waited forever (we were together for 7 years) before proposing because he wanted to make sure I was willing to stay. Hey... you do crazy things for love. ;)

Anonymous said...

Lady Gaga was recently quoted as saying, "Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore."

Clearly, Lady Gaga's never been laid off.

Follow your happiness and own your choices.

anko said...

i came to davis because of kendon! and now i'm moving to the DEEP SOUTH for him....at least we'll be married by then. hehe :P

julia::ordinarysaturdays said...

I haven't yet, but DJ makes the bigger paycheck. Probably always will. So if he got a great job offer somewhere, the plan has always been that I would move (provided his move could support both of us while I figured things out.)

I think that the mindset in the last few decades has been that one should not move for a relationship. I disagree, one should go to great lengths, including moving and closet-purging and career-suicide - but only for the right relationship. The problem is that most of us are scared of going to great lengths for the wrong relationship. If you're sure yours is right (and you seem to be) then you should never feel bad about doing what you need to do to preserve it.
-credit the rambling to one glass of very good red wine.

The Less Than Domestic Goddess said...

My husband followed me years ago when I was working in D.C. Naturally, his mother was furious! I thought it was awesome :)

I returned the favor when I decided to stay in L.A. I probably would've been better suited career-wise in D.C. or N.Y., but I stayed here to get married and because my husband's career required it. In a year or two, we can go wherever we want. But I am pretty comfy in L.A. now :)

I don't think anyone should feel ashamed because they moved for love. But, I know that sometimes it can be complicated...especially when you are young and career-oriented. Interesting post!

Mo said...

Thank you to everyone for your different perspectives and stories. I've had a great time reading them all and reflecting on my own relationship. The things we do for love, right? ;)

@Paul: I miss those nights of gossiping w/you. And I agree--I think it's different if you're a woman. I get the sense that when a woman follows a man, she looks pathetic through society's eye. But did anyone think Lloyd Dobbler or Matt Damon's character (what was his name?) in Good Will Hunting was pathetic? I mean, Hollywood paints the guy who follows the girl as this romantic, sensitive type, while the girl gets cast as needy, or she ends up totally regretting her decision and breaks up with the boy in great triumph and newly found independence.

I'm totally not bitter.

@Chic n' Cheap: Write the posts! I'd love to read them.

@Luxeville: Good for you for making your own life in Seattle and knowing that you made the best decision for you and your relationship. I'm really sorry that your best friend was not supportive. I only received criticism from people I was not close to, so I am not sure what I would have done if someone as close as a best friend told me not to go. Does she/he admit that she/he was wrong?

@Katie: Ahhh doctors. Don't you just love the unpredictable nature of residencies/post-docs/fellowships/medical school?

@Maggie: Well...to be fair I almost did move for another guy! But I think my family snapped me out of it because I was super young. I never regretted that decision, the journey since then has been fun.

@A LA Love: It IS all worth it. :) Thanks so much for your wise words. You always write so eloquently.

@Abbie: Go 7 year relationships! Woohoo!

@hitchdied: Oh, Lady Gaga...bad romance indeed. What an incredibly depressing quote!

@Anko: At least you get cheap rent and really good southern food. It'll be your southern adventure, and then you can come back to us in California!

@julia: Red wine helps me talk too. :) Agreed--for the right relationship, I'm all for moving mountains.

@The Less Than Domestic Goddess: Maybe her revenge is that fertility toilet! I can't believe those even exist, I just can't get over it. Too much craziness, too much! Maybe one day the boy will move for me. There will be much rejoicing in the house if that ever happens.

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

I went to the same university as my highschool sweetheart and tried to convince everyone (including me) that I did for me. That relationship combusted into flames shortly after I started uni, but I got lucky b/c I loved my time at university. It was my first time being away from home and it rocked! So do I regret it? Sort of, but more so b/c I wish I had made a clearly independent choice, but in the end, the choice made me become independent!

Sounds like you made the right choice. Sometimes, you have to follow your heart.

blushingjoy said...

It was really cool reading everyone's replies!! I guess I'm staying for my guy. I would love to take a few years off and go work and travel overseas for a while but his career is going really well at the moment that it will be crazy to take off and go. We're trying to find a balance by maximising our leave though. Hehe...

migui said...

:) Italia, 'sto arrivando!

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