Washington or the Golden State?

A letter writer wonders whether to move state with her boyfriend or to stay with her family.

It’s a tough decision, says our elder – but it’s not irreversible.


Dear EWC

Hi, I’m hoping your advice can bring me some clarity. My boyfriend’s parents decided they want to move to Washington and we currently live in California where my friends and family live. The decision I’m faced with is whether I should move to Washington or stay in California. My boyfriend said he just wants to live wherever I am because he doesn’t want to be away from me. Which is very sweet but I do hope he makes the decision that is best for him in the end even if that’s away from me. On one hand, I really want to stay in California because I finally have friends that I like, which have been hard to find. My family is going through some turmoil and I’m worried if I’m not in the same state as them that they might struggle. I would miss my dad dearly if I did leave. I’d be comfortable. I wouldn’t have to figure out seeing my family while being a broke college student. Also, my boyfriend might get depressed staying in California if it isn’t the best decision for him. Then, if I move to Washington I’ll get new opportunities. Maybe I’ll make my new best friend. My boyfriend will likely be very happy. It will also be easier because if I stay in California, I will have to renovate an attic at my mom’s house to live in because I cannot afford rent in California. My boyfriend’s parents said we can live with them in Washington. I truly don’t have any clue which way to go. Perhaps you have made a similar decision in your life on where to live when in a relationship and you both want to be near to your family. What would you choose? Thank you for reading my letter.


Good-Listener replies

This is one of those tough decisions that come about every once in a while in life, and there are both positive and negative reasons for doing either, which you have articulately described. So, let’s review. By the way, there is no life or death here. I’ve also learned from experience, and moving cross country, back and back again that things are reversible until maybe you get to my age (70). 

I will tell you, from reading your letter several times, my opinion has me leaning towards you staying in CA… at least in the short run, but it’s only my opinion. Ultimately, the only one that matters is yours. So let’s review everything. 

You seem to have a good life in the Golden State. Your family and friends are there, and that means more than you know for moral support. You’re also lending support to them while they go through these issues – or turmoil, as you mentioned. You can see your family while you continue college, and that’s a big deal because you would be able to continue your education (a really big deal!). Also, I know something about missing one’s dad, and being there. Still, you can’t live your life for your parents, but in the short run, remaining may end up benefiting you in the long run.

You say you are “looking” for a new best friend. Risky business to move somewhere to be “looking” for a best friend. These things sort of happen organically, and at the moment you have a network of folks around you. Also, you’re going to be moving in with your boyfriend’s family. Do you know them? For how long will that be? Often this can be a great thing, but, being a realist, keep in mind that sometimes it isn’t. It depends on what goals you have and how long you think this will be. Will you be completely dependent on him and his family? Again, sometimes these things work out, sometimes they don’t. Just be honest to yourself about this. 

Yes, you’ll have to renovate your attic. OK, well, that may be easier than you think with help from friends and family. Just remember that you’re not making a lifetime commitment to never leave your hometown, just maybe until you get your education under your belt, a little career direction, then you may decide to move at that point.

When I was in my early 20s, I had a decision to make, whether or not to move to CA from the East Coast. I was going to do it shortly after graduation from college, but decided to wait a couple of years, and then I moved. My family was also going through some trauma. I moved, lived there for two and a half years then moved back to the East since I was a little bit of a mess, so was my family, and we needed to regroup. However, another two and a half years after that I moved back permanently to CA and lived there for the next 30 years. Ten years ago I moved back here to my hometown because my dad was in a nursing home and there was bad stuff going on with him. The only reason I’m telling you this is because things can change and then change again. Nothing is written in stone. But, at the same time, timing, and honesty with oneself about goals, living situations, etc. should be considered. No matter what happens, you’ll be OK. My vote is to wait – but if you end up going, you’ll still be OK. Good luck!

Article #: 473995

Category: Other

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