Jan 25, 2011

Difficult Decisions

The merging of two lives into one, while full of hopefulness and excitement, rarely goes smoothly. I think most couples can expect to run into a few roadblocks, whether it’s something small like arguing over the wagon wheel table, When Harry Met Sally style, or something more complex.

For Mr. B and I, the location of our jobs was the issue. In the area where we grew up, it’s basically expected that you go to college, get a job in New York City, and move there with your high school buddies. Mr. B was no different than anyone we knew: He graduated, got a great job at a big firm right in the middle of Times Square, and figured he’d move with all of our friends.
I went against the grain. I don’t know if it’s that I naturally don’t love cities or that I felt an inclination to hate on what everyone else was doing, (or maybe a combination of the two), but I had no interest in New York City. I took a job near the Jersey Shore, my favorite place in the world.

It could have been doable, but my job was transferred to Maryland when I started. The move wouldn’t happen for two years, which meant I had a long time to agonize over the stay-or-go decision. My gut reaction was, “There is no f’ing way I’m moving to Maryland, I’ll quit.” That lasted about six months, or basically until I realized I had a great job in a terrible economy. It was stable, I'd gotten a big promotion, and had great work/life balance.  I started to think that it was ridiculous to quit and move to a place I didn’t want to live. I thought that Mr. B should consider seeing if his company had a Baltimore office, or even taking a job at my company and moving. He claimed that while I had a network in Maryland already due to work, he had nothing- no family, no friends, and no definite job. "Our people are here" he told me. "You should stay here." 

We went back and forth for a year and a half. He was set on staying put. Some weeks I was positive I would have to break up with him if he couldn’t consider moving, other weeks I couldn’t imagine leaving Jersey, with or without him.  I struggled with why I was making the decision- if Brad weren’t an issue, would I move? Was I afraid to move, because I was afraid it would break us up, and if so, what did that say about our relationship? Was I ridiculous to make Mr. B a decision factor when we weren’t even engaged yet? And what about me? Could I realistically survive in rural Maryland when I was used to a super surburban Jersey mallrat lifestyle? 

Ultimately, Mr. B's actions led me to my decision. First, our friends all moved to the city, and he stayed put, not wanting to leave me alone. Considering how much he’d always wanted to live there, and how much easier his life could be if he avoided the 3 daily hours of commuting, that was a big decision that said more about his love for me than anything up to that point. A few months later, he offered apply to my office, see what happened, and said that if he got the job, we’d move.  As soon as he said that, I realized I didn’t want him to. I’m a Jersey girl, and I knew I couldn’t function in another state. I barely got through college in landlocked, horrible Philly.  All I wanted to know was that he loved me enough to change his life for me if we had to. And he showed me that he did.

We got engaged in early December, and I put in my notice in a few weeks later. I don't feel one bit of regret about this decision. Mr. B is doing extremely well in his career and moving up quickly, indicating a level of success greater than what would be possible in my company. it. I’ll be employed until my office physically shuts down, in another 8 months or so. I’m a little nervous about not finding a job, considering that I have no idea what I want to do, and that there aren’t exactly a plethora of jobs out there. It’s scary too that the fun of planning a wedding makes it easy to ignore the threat of looming unemployment.

But at the same time, I honestly kind of feel excited about the direction my life will take. Will I love New York? I don’t know. But I know I miss our friends that are there, and it really feels like I’m moving on to a place full of opportunities. We're going to have fun there. We’ll figure things out. And in the mean time, I’m happy to know we got through a big decision in a way that made me feel our love was even more solid, even though at the beginning of it, I thought it would break us up.

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