Transitioning to a new city as a couple represents a significant milestone in a relationship. Regardless of whether you opt to reside in the same dwelling or maintain separate abodes, relocating to an unfamiliar locale can evoke feelings of excitement and apprehension. Reflecting on my own experience, there are a few things I would have appreciated knowing before embarking on this adventure.
1. My thoughts, feelings, and goals matter too
After completing college, I relocated to the same city as my boyfriend for a job opportunity that would enable us to be together. Although I had the choice to pursue another position in a different location, I prioritized maintaining our relationship. In retrospect, I realize that I placed my romantic interests above my personal goals. Thankfully, the job was still beneficial for my career growth. However, my primary focus was on preserving the relationship rather than my individual well-being.
2. It's important to know where your relationship stands before you move together
Moving to the same city with your partner should not be a spontaneous decision based on impulse. Even if you feel positive about your relationship, it is crucial to have a sincere conversation with your partner to understand the reasons behind the move. I made the mistake of assuming everything would work out with my boyfriend after a brief chat about our future. Looking back, an open and honest conversation about the direction of our relationship could have helped manage my expectations. Perhaps then, I would not have been as devastated when we eventually parted ways.
3. You can't get ahead of yourself
When my partner and I moved in together, I quickly assumed the role of a domesticated wife. Even before we officially lived together, I gave him a key to my place, stocked up on food, and made him feel like it was his home too. Looking back, I realize that I may have come on too strong. He simply wanted a girlfriend, not a spouse. I wish I had taken things more slowly and allowed us time to adjust and figure out what moving to a new city meant for us.
4. It's important to make your own new friends independent of your partner
When moving to an unfamiliar place with your partner, it is natural to rely on them to help you make new friends. However, in hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to establish my own connections instead of solely relying on my boyfriend. While we did make many new friends together, it made things complicated when we eventually broke up. Our mutual friends were put in a difficult position, and the social network I had built crumbled. I felt very lonely and wished I had branched out to form my own friendships, so I wouldn't feel so isolated after the breakup.
5. There's more to the city than your partner
In a similar manner, it's important to have your own secret hideouts when moving to a new place with your partner. If the relationship ends, having a safe haven that your ex is unaware of can provide immense comfort. And if you remain together, having a personal retreat can offer a sense of independence. It's a win-win situation, and exploring the nooks and crannies of the new city while discovering these hideouts can be a delightful experience.
6. Moving to a new city together always exposes your weaknesses as a couple
I had hoped that moving to a new city with my ex would magically strengthen our relationship. However, the opposite happened as every weakness in our relationship was exposed. The things I thought would naturally improve with a change of scenery were brought to light in the most unpleasant manner.
7. People change when they're in new environments
When my boyfriend and I moved from college to a new city together, he underwent a significant transformation. The nerdy, studious guy I fell in love with became a party-loving, late-night hanging out guy. It felt like he saw moving to a new city as an opportunity to reinvent himself, whereas I wanted him to remain the same. In hindsight, I wish I had prepared myself for his change.
8. If you move in together, have a backup plan for yourself if you break up
It's crucial to have a backup plan in case of a breakup unless you're engaged or married. If you live together, where will you move, and who will keep the apartment? If you don't live together, what's the plan for unraveling your life together? Will you still communicate, or will you need to cut off contact? Do you depend on your partner for anything significant like transportation? These issues can become overwhelming when breaking up in a new city without roots. From personal experience, I wish I had considered these questions beforehand.
9. You have to keep an open mind
Moving to a new city with my boyfriend didn't work out as planned, and when we broke up, I felt foolish for moving there with him. I initially felt like my life had come to a halt, but it wasn't the end of the world. Looking back, I wish I had remained open-minded about the situation, as things eventually improved, and I was able to carve out my own path in the city without him.
10. Trust your gut if it's not working
I realized that my relationship wasn't working after six months of moving to a new city with my boyfriend, but I held on because I didn't want to admit I was wrong. However, deep down, I knew it was doomed. Since I made the move about our relationship, I couldn't see all the opportunities ahead of me. In hindsight, I should have ended things earlier, rather than dragging it out and causing myself more pain.