Sometimes a traumatic move has an unexpectedly happy ending. Peter Hess* left a job he loved in London to be with his fiancée, Sonya*, a fashion model living in New York City. But a year later the newlyweds faced another dilemma: Peter's company wanted to move him back to London, and they wanted him there in one month's time. “When he told me, I basically started crying and screaming and completely freaked out,” recalls Sonya. Though she and her husband are both from Europe, "New York was the first place that felt like home for me," she says. "All my friends were there I had just bought a horse; and I knew I wouldn't be able to work half as much in London."
The two had numerous discussions and arguments about it. "Two weeks passed before I realized there was no way out of it," she says. "He had been in his position in New York for a year and he wasn't happy. It would have been way too selfish of me to tell him to stay in a job he didn't like, especially when he had given up the job in London for me." She did have a couple of demands, though: the company had to move her horse, and if she was still miserable a year after the move, the couple would have to come up with a solution.
Sonya was unhappy for the first six months, as are many spouses who move for their partner's job. "The person moving due to a new opportunity isn't going to feel the same stress," Love warns. "He'll have a built-in support group at work and the elation of a new job; she'll be hunting for the grocery store, the cleaners, maybe a job. This dichotomy at first can create stress. It calls for massive doses of reassurance, understanding, and appreciation."
Peter's understanding was expressed in part through an impulsive apartment purchase in quaint North London. "That's where Peter compromised," says Sonya. "When the agent told us the apartment was for sale, not for rent, he said, 'It's crazy to buy when we don't know how long we'll be here.' I really wanted it, though, and he caved." Once removed from their "all-beige" corporate apartment, Sonya began to settle in. Several years later, they sold the apartment for a hefty profit, and they are now happily settled in a house in Kent.
"Nothing is forever," says Sonya. "You can always change something if it's terrible. I certainly did not want to leave New York at the time, but that's what a relationship is about: compromise."