The Pros And Cons Of Relocating For Love


Should you uproot life as you know it for the sake of a relationship?

Pulling up stakes for a partner's career is never easy. After her husband asked her to move to Madrid, Jill Johnson began talking to other couples, and to the experts, about the costs and challenges of relocation.

I was six months pregnant, and had just finished decorating the nursery in our new house in Connecticut, when my husband called me from work one day and said, "Will you do me a really big favor?" He sounded a tad too earnest to be referring to a trip to the dry cleaner. "Uh, sure, what is it?" I inquired. "Would you move to Madrid?" he asked.

Oh, the favors we do for our spouses. Tagging along for a job transfer—when it means leaving friends, family, a home, possibly a job—ranks up there as one of the biggies. Despite our first non-rental residence, my promising career at a new magazine, a baby on the way, and three words in my Spanish vocabulary, I couldn't say no. My husband is the main breadwinner, and I grew up embracing new experiences; when my dad was transferred to London in my youth, my mom was obliging.

But not everyone is so quick to pull out the packing tape for a partner. Deciding whether or not to move requires careful consideration and open communication, especially when a couple is at odds over staying or going.

The key is to come to the decision together, says marriage and relationship educator Pat Love, EdD. "If you made a choice, the experience won't be nearly as stressful as if you didn’t have a choice." She suggests brainstorming: "Make a long list of ideas, different potential scenarios, without any commentary. Anything left unsaid or unexamined is going to gnaw at you. Making a grid also helps. Look at money, jobs, moving costs, climate, friends, family, hobbies, stress on the relationship." Keep reading...

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