Susie and Breck Overall were living two hours apart in Colorado when Breck was offered a position as a hotel general manager—his career goal—in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "When we started talking about marriage, I asked my boss if I could work remotely from Tahoe," says Susie, an IT manager. Her boss agreed and Susie moved nine months after Breck. It was their first time living in the same town, let alone the same home, and they got married a month later.
Despite their efforts to smooth the transition—"We found a place to live together, so I didn't move into his place; he scouted out friends for me; and I make frequent visits to Colorado," she says—Susie is still struggling with the adjustment. She had always lived in Colorado and envisioned raising a family there. "When I paired with Breck, who is more of a free spirit and moves frequently, I had to face the fact that it's not all up to me anymore."
They agreed to discuss where else they could live if Susie was still unhappy after one year. "I think he hopes I'll fall in love with it here, but I hope someday we'll move back," she admits. "It's definitely the biggest point of contention between us and often it goes unspoken."
Those hopes and feelings need to be voiced, says relationship expert Harville Hendrix, PhD. "In a year, they're both going to build up a lot of thoughts that won't relate to their partner's reality. It's OK to wait a year to make a decision but, still, check in with each other weekly or monthly, even for ten minutes, to listen without judging or critiquing, and to validate each other's feelings."
Couples need to look at the big picture, too. Susie realizes that Breck is now her family, and her future. She also knows there are pluses to having moved to a town where neither of them knew anyone. "We go out as a couple more and find friends together," she says. "My friends and family in Colorado still love me and will always be there. If we don't end up there, I’m not making out too bad with a wonderful, loving husband who is opening my eyes to the world."
Indeed, many couples have found that a move brought them closer in some ways, as they explored uncharted territory together. "Novelty can be an energizer," notes Love. "It's one of the components of passion."