Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Relocating for Love

As you enter the world of online dating, you'll soon find out that you can search for your potential mate from 1 to 2,000 miles away or more. While this gives you a wide range of choices, it presents a wide range of problems. If your long-distance relationship succeeds and you fall in love, the next obvious course of action will be one of commitment. One of you will need to relocate so the two of you can be together. Here are some things to consider before you hire the moving van and pack your bags.

Housing Issues

Depending on how settled you are in the town in which you live, you may be giving up little or you may be giving up lots. There is little risk of loss if you currently live in an apartment, but there are potential risks should you own your own home. You should consider the following if you're a homeowner.

Will you gain or lose in the current marketplace? What expenses will you have in selling your home? Will the cost of a realtor eat up any equity you may have gained? Will you need to invest money to make any repairs to make my home marketable? Will the proceeds from the sale of your home give you enough cash to get started in a new location? Does it make more sense for you to keep your home as an investment and rent it out, just in case you need to return?

What you leave behind is important, but where you're headed. Do you have the money to move? Will you haul it yourself or hire a moving company to do so?Have you thoroughly checked out the housing situation in the town you're moving to? For example, rent and housing pricing, location, schools, shopping. What is the housing market like? Is it thriving or in a down swing?If you decide to move in with your new found love, what will you do with all your furniture and other items? Will you bring them? Will you store them? Will you sell them and just move with essentials?

Career Issues

Career issues are huge decisions. If you're not getting married right away, how will you take care of yourself? Have you checked the unemployment rate in the area you're moving to? Have you checked the median salary ranges for your career job type? Does it make more sense for you to relocate or for your partner? Who will lose the most if they quit their job? Will you move first and find a job when you arrive or will you find a job first and then move? What will you do about benefits if you're unemployed, such as health insurance? What will you do if you can't find work or a long period of time?

Family Issues

What about your family? Will you be breaking ties locally with close family members? Do you really wish to leave them? What about your lover's family? Will you be moving close to them and will they accept you as part of their world? What about children? Will you be relocating your child or children to a new area, new schools, and having them leaving their friends behind? What kind of support system will you give your children in the relocation process?

Relationship Issues

The fact that this relationship started on a long-distance note, gives it extra challenges for survival. Before you decide to relocate, you should be extremely certain of the following:
  • Have you spent enough time with this individual to truly know who they are?
  • Do you have a commitment for marriage or are you going just hoping it will come to that?
  • Have you thoroughly checked out this person, done background checks, etc. to make sure you're not being scammed?
  • Do you like their family and friends?
  • What will you do if after you move, it doesn't work out? Do you have a Plan B in place or any contingency backup plan?
  • Has this person committed to helping you in your relocation or will they let you sink or swim?
Personal Experience

The author has personal up-front experience on relocating for love. Having done so myself, I met someone online who lived 450 miles away. We became engaged after eight months. Our relationship consisted of telephone calls, occasional meetings, and tons of emails. I eventually made the decision to move, since we were going to be married, but had not set a date. His career was more settled than mine, so I made the sacrifices. I left a brand new home I had only been in for one year, a wonderful job, a thriving business on the side, and my son's senior year in high school.

The outcome? Three months after I got there, he got cold feet. I spent the next 18 months dating him, but couldn't find a job. The town in which he lived was "quaint," but economically depressed, small, and I was an outsider. No one would hire me. After 40 job interviews, I finally found a part-time job that paid $600 a month before taxes. He gave me no financial support, so I lived off of retirement money and paid steep penalties to the IRS for early withdrawal, plus outrageous taxes. I lost over $40,000.

Still cold in his marital commitment, I finally decided to return to my hometown and restart my life. After I returned, it took me another four months to find work, and eventually our relationship died a quick death. A few years later, he married another woman, who he found on the Internet that moved across state to be with him. I guess his feet were warmer this time around, and I hear he's miserable.

Before you make the decision to even start a relationship online with someone who lives far away, consider the potential costs There are success stories. Yes, some relationships have happy endings; however, not all moves for the sake of love are successful. I'm a prime example of live and learn.