You just met someone, and they’re great. Maybe it was through your online dating profile, or through mutual friends. The only problem? They’re not in the same city, and it’s hard to connect to someone through Face Time when you really just want to sit down with them face to face over dinner on a weeknight.
Relocating for love has been on your mind lately.
It’d be great if you didn’t have to plan out your dates months in advance and watch airline prices like a hawk. You may find yourself asking if things would be easier if you just lived closer to where your significant other calls home.
Moving to be closer to someone you love is a big decision, and one that could ultimately help the discernment process. But before you pack everything up in a suitcase and catch the next flight, here are seven questions to think and pray about.
1. Where are we at in this relationship?
Before you make plans to relocate for love, take stock of your relationship and make sure you’re in a healthy place to make this big move.
Are you just getting to know each other and wishing you could spend more time together? A move is a big commitment for a relationship just in the beginning stages.
Are you and your partner at a place in your relationship when you’re needing to make life-impacting decisions and want to involve each other in those decisions? Maybe moving together could aid in your discernment process.
But you don’t know what stage the relationship is in without having an intentional conversation with your partner.
Don’t be afraid to talk with your partner about defining your relationship. Talking about your future with your significant other is a vulnerable conversation that requires courage. But it’s important to let your partner know what’s on your heart as you discern a big move for the relationship.
2. What about the nitty-gritty details of relocating?
While there are some big, overarching questions to ask yourself before you relocate for love, there is also the practical nitty-gritty to consider, too.
Do you have a job lined up in a new city?
What about a place to stay? (If you’re tempted to crash at your partner’s place for a while when you’re still getting on your feet, here are some more things to consider).
Are you in a good place financially to make the move?
Is the particular city your partner lives in a good fit for both of you?
In addition to the bigger questions about where you’re at in your relationship, discuss these day-to-day details with your partner as well.
3. How will I build a life in this new city?
Does your partner have a healthy community of friends that you enjoy spending time with? Are there young adult ministries you could get involved with, or places to volunteer where you could get plugged into new friendships?
Having a healthy relationship with your partner is a great goal, but it shouldn’t be the only healthy friendship in your life. What will building community in a new city, state, or country look like?
If you’re discerning a move for love, make sure to take the time to think about what life would look like after the move, too.
4. Is this a decision we’re making together?
Is the discernment for you to move a one-sided decision?
Maybe you’re ready to make the move, but your significant other has some red flags. Maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend is asking you to move closer, but you’re hesitant.
This is a decision you should make as a team. If the goal is to move closer to be able to discern a vocation together, make sure you’re weighing all the options equally. Maybe you could move, or maybe your partner could be the one to move.
What solution would be the best for the health of your relationship?
5. What do my friends and family think of this move?
Healthy relationships don’t isolate themselves from others. Take time to discuss your relationship with your friends and family. When you’re in the trenches of the decision making process, it can be easy to miss details and factors that people with a bird’s eye view of the situation can see easier.
Want to combat the temptation to isolate yourselves? When you and your significant other are visiting in person, it can be tempting to just spend time one-on-one. But make time in your schedules during visits to spend time with friends and family, too.
6. Am I relocating in hopes to fix problems in our relationship?
“In times of desolation, never make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determinations in which one was the day preceding desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation, it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly,” Saint Ignatius of Loyola cautions in his rules for discernment.
Are you hoping that moving closer geographically will help smooth out some problems you’ve been facing? Maybe you’ve been struggling with issues like communication, conflict resolution, or community.
Don’t rely on a move resolving all of your relationship woes. Before you make the decision to relocate for love, make sure you’re in a healthy place to discern. If you’re not, consider postponing a move.
7. What if this doesn’t work out?
All relationships end up either in a marriage or a break up. If you’re considering packing up and moving to be closer to your significant other, you’re probably hoping this relationship will lead to the first option. But there’s always a chance that it could end with you two deciding that discerning marriage is not where God is calling you.
What will life look like if you were to break up with your partner? Make sure to have a back up plan in mind in case things don’t work out. Having a back up plan doesn’t mean that you expect this move to be a failure (if you do, consider waiting to pack your bags). It simply means that you’re in the process of discernment. Moving to the same city as your significant other isn’t the same as committing to each other in marriage. It’s simply a step of discernment for you two and your relationship.