Q. We live in two different states — an 11-hour drive/four-hour flight away. We are friends from high school (he graduated in 1984, me in ‘86). We reconnected through Facebook in August and fell in love instantly. We both agree that nothing like this has ever happened to us in our lifetime, but it feels awesome.
However, many states keep us apart. Also, his children and grandchildren are where he is, and mine live near me. What do we do? Do we sit back and see where life takes us, do we move forward with our lives independently, or do we take the leap of faith?
A. “We both agree that nothing like this has ever happened to us in our lifetime.”
That’s a pretty big deal, right? If you can swing it financially, try spending a few weeks where one of you lives to see how it feels to be together all the time. Maybe it’ll be so wonderful that bigger decisions will be easier to make.
Grandkids are so important, but so is love. The tone of your letter makes it clear that you don’t want to let this go to keep the status quo.
The leap of faith can be small. It can start with an extended trip — from weeks to months. You can try being in both places, one at a time, to get a sense of what you’re missing. Create a financial plan together so you know what the experiment will cost. (Would the visiting person contribute to household expenses? Would they rent out their place at home?) After these trips, assess feelings. Maybe moving will be a no-brainer at that point, or maybe you’ll be out of love and ready to go back to the way things were. (For the record, I’m rooting for things to stay great.)
The question isn’t “Should I drop my entire life for this relationship?” It’s about what changes you can make to get the best of everything.
Love can feel all mushy at the beginning. Have you been around each other for any length of time? Start there to see if you are even compatible outside of calls/texts.
It sounds like this is something you want. All of the other things can be worked out after you figure out where this is going. Just wait until you spend more uninterrupted time with him. You might find some things you don’t like.
Basically, you are asking yourself, “What is this going to look like once the magic wears off?” One of you will have to move, and that is just the beginning of when perfect has to confront reality and learning how to compromise becomes essential. You can stop now and say, “That was a hell of a party!” or you can start doing the hard work of making it a real relationship.
If their kids are grown, and one or both of them can work remotely or is retired, and money isn’t a concern, they don’t have to live in only one place. It’s a trend for older couples! LAT: Living Apart Together.
I’d suggest spending six months at his place and six months at your place. You can turn the empty place into a rental to diffuse costs. That should give you enough information to make a good decision.
Good luck! Try renting an Airbnb or whatever near each other, so you don’t have the pressure of basically moving in together. Keep expectations low, but it sounds like a very nice situation :)
You do realize that most people in their mid-50s have jobs and other responsibilities they can’t just drop for the sake of a romantic sabbatical.
Grandchildren are fabulous (I have six) but they have an annoying habit of growing up and moving on. Don’t deny yourself this opportunity just for that reason, but DO talk to your children about the impact of an impending move on them. Same advice for Class of ‘84 of course.
Internet romance and real life experience = not interchangeable.
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