Dear New Shrink,

My boyfriend of two years recently got a job offer on the east coast. While I would consider our relationship strong, I am concerned about whether we can handle long distance or whether I can afford to quit my job to follow him across the country. Do you have any advice for evaluating job prospects for moving to a new location? Are there any other things I should be thinking about to help make this decision?

Signed,

Moving for love

Dear Moving,

This is a difficult decision because there are so many factors involved. Not only do you need to evaluate the job prospects and new opportunities a new location might provide, but you also need to consider your own future, your boyfriend, and your relationship together. Moving across the country for another person can put a lot of strain on your relationship, but at the same time, it might also be the only way to remain together. While you do not say whether he has accepted an offer or not, if he does, then it is up to you to make the next choice, which puts a lot of pressure on you. Ultimately, it is important that you make this choice for yourself and evaluate your options; there is no one right or wrong choice here.

First, consider his decision to pursue a job offer in another part of the country. Moving across the country is a major life change and it is not that uncommon for individuals to prioritize their jobs over their relationships. Have you been part of this search process all along or did you find out when he got the offer? How does his career fit in with your relationship? Is discussing your future together part of his decision to accept or decline this offer? You should also evaluate his thought process. What are the areas he is evaluating to make a decision? What are his hesitations or reasons for moving forward with this opportunity? His decision has a huge weight here as well. Perhaps the new job will provide opportunities to strengthen and grow your relationship that would not exist otherwise. For instance, moving to a city with a lower cost of living or working in a job that you truly enjoy can strengthen your relationship and lead to an overall better quality of life. However, moving can also change the dynamics of your relationship; a new situation can produce change. Consider whether you feel like the move would allow you to gain or whether you are feeling like you would have to sacrifice something to move and be with him.

If you decide to move, consider the new opportunities that will be presented to you. Start by evaluating the growing trades and industries in that region. Are there companies that you would be interested in or opportunities that you cannot find in your current location? You can begin by reviewing the business journal for that region. These journals often provide guides on the top industries and growing companies. In addition, you can review the local newspaper job section, general job search websites like simplyhired.com and even look at the colleges in the area to see who their big employer recruiters are. Review your address book, Facebook or Linked In pages to see if you have connections to anyone living in that city and ask them for advice.

In addition, consider the social aspects of the move. What will it be like to meet new friends, find new hobbies, and keep yourself busy? Moving to be with your partner can put a lot of strain on your relationship if you do not think about the things outside of your relationship that will help keep you in that city. Look at travel books and visitors information to get a sense of what that city offers. If your schedule allows, schedule a time to take a trip and visit the new city. Explore what it would be like to live there, look at homes or apartments, and try some of the local restaurants. It is difficult to make a major decision like moving across the country without first testing it out!

You need to be honest with yourself and with your boyfriend throughout this process. You each have a major decision to make as well as making decisions together. Being open and honest and communicating your hesitations will help to make sure you are both on the same page. Ultimately, it’s important that you make this move for yourself and not just for external reasons. Good luck!

KATRINA DAVY is a Santa Monica-based professional career counselor who holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Send your questions to newshrink@gmail.com. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters! Visit us online at www.newshrink.com.

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