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Living near family vs. living here
My husband and I are struggling with decision to move away from the area in order for him to pursue a great work opportunity. We would leave behind some family and great friends. We would be near some important family in the new location. There isn't a job locally right now and probability is low that we could find one for him that will be nearly as satisfying. We have 2 young children. Without the young kids I think I could tell myself I would visit often and make it work, enjoying the chance to be close to the other family in the new place, try some new things etc. However I know I won't be able to travel often and easily and I dread leaving behind the wonderful connections and community I have built here. I want my children to have those rich relationships. But I also want my husband to have opportunities for his work, I don't want to be the breadwinner and I think that less than satisfactory work for him won't be good for our whole family in the long run. How have others reconciled the need for job satisfaction, family connections and the conflicts of geography? Anon
My father was in the military, and we lived in a variety of places while I was growing up, and we remain in contact with many of the people to whom we were close, all over the country. Distance is not the only determining factor in friendship. I find a lot of people here assuming that they need to stay in place for a long time, so they and their kids can have friends, and while that is a nice goal, moving around does not make it impossible to have and keep friends. And it sounds like this would be just one move for your family, so not that disruptive, in the big scheme of things. I know it's a hard decision. Good Luck Donna
I'm a single parent of a 4 year old boy and I need some advice! I moved back to the Bay Area about 16 months ago after my husband and I split up because my family lives here and I felt I needed there support. My ex moved to San Diego and my son sees him about once every 4 to 6 weeks for a few days at a time (definitely not enough time). I'll be leaving my job at the end of March and I don't know what to do. I am sick and tired of being a single, full-time working-outside-the-home, parent! I know others do this successfully but I just feel overwhelmed and frantic all of the time. My question is, do I move to the San Diego area so that I can share custody with my ex (we are in agreement on this) so that I can perhaps have some kind of decent, less stressed filled life (and of course the very added benefit that my son will spend time with his dad on a regular basis), or do I stay in the Bay Area so that I can remain close to my family (who help out when they can, though neither of my parents are very interested in being grandparents and my siblings have there own lives)? If I move to SD I could go back to school, then hopefully get a more fulfilling career, but I won't know anyone (and I find it's rather difficult making friends), but if I stay here I'll be stuck in the same relentless rat race that I'm in now. My poor little boy has to bear the brunt of my discontent and the thought of how this is affecting him makes me want to cry!
At the moment, I never have time alone and all I seem to do is run frantically between work, preschool, grocery store, dr's office, etc, etc, etc. I don't have time to exercise, read a book, stare off into space, do anything remotely creative, or just have fun doing goofy stuff with my son. I know this sounds like one big self-indulged pity party but I truly need some advice. What would you do? Just another stressed out mom!
The reason I'm telling you all this is because I want you to know that I understand completely how you're feeling about your lack of support and time to be you, separate from your son. It doesn't mean you're selfish, it just means that you were a person before you had a baby and you still are! I love my daughter more than I can put into words, but I really could use a break from her company from time to time.
Sooooo, even though you moved here because you thought being close to your family would help with being a single parent, it hasn't, right? If you and your ex get along well and agree that you could come up with a joint custody arrangement, it really may be in your and your son's best interest to move. If you're not getting the support or help you need from your parents or siblings, and your son's father wants to be able to be a hands- on dad, then I think that would be wonderful.
I too have a hard time making new friends, but having a child is an excellent ice breaker. You can join a mother's group, gym, church or chat with and get to know the other parents where your son goes to school. Being new in town should bring some offers of a few casseroles and shown around town.
Incidentally, we honeymooned in San Diego and I thought it was someplace I could live. I bet it would feel much less like a rat race and the people would be warmer than we've experienced here. Good luck! Jennifer
Hello, I am hoping that you all can help me in making a really tough decision...
First, some background... My fiance and I have been together for over 10 years and have a 1 1/2-year old son together. We do not currently live together and our relationship has been rocky, to put it lightly (we've been in counseling for over year). However, we have recently gotten engaged so it seems things are moving towards better times. We are planning on getting married next year sometime in the summer. Both of us live in the bay area and I work on campus with a very good position (stable, good pay, benefits for me and my son - especially important in these trying times). My fiance (he's a physician just out of residency), however, has been job hunting and after months of searching, interviewing, and sending out resumes, he finally landed a position on the east coast - a one- year fellowship. Happy for him, not so for me. I am very unsure of what to do and need advice, especially from those of you in similar situations.
After much thinking through this, I've come up with several
Option 1 - I quit my job, move out to be with him. Positives: keep our family intact, our son doesn't experience the separation. Negatives: lose my job, unsure of job market there, no family, no friends around, question stability of our relationship to withstand a year of living together.
Option 2 - I don't quit my job and do not move. We do a long distance thing for year. Positives: keep the job, the stability. Negatives: family is split up, question stability of our relationship to withstand the stress of long distance.
Option 3? - anything I haven't seen yet.
I don't know what to do. I keep thinking if we were married, I would definitely move, but because we are not, I wonder if moving is worth it for me to totally uproot myself (and our son) into a world of uncertainty. Honestly, I don't think I'll be very happy moving to a new place with no job, no family, and no friends, and most likely not very much help from my fiance with our child (being with a doctor is rough; the on-call thing really sucks!). But, how difficult is it to do a long-distance relationship? I feel equally selfish and guilty for not moving since it means separating my son from his dad (they have a great relationship). Would not moving screw that (and him) up? HELP PLEASE! Anonymous Please
From your writing it sounds like you are future thinking about MAYBE being a family. Ask yourself if you are a family right now or not? (Marriage does not a family make.) Life is happening right now. Your son is living and breathing right now. If you don't have clarity about what is happening now you can't begin to make informed decisions about the future. If you are not a family, then whatever is in the way of being a family, inside of you, is the place to focus. Be willing to tell the truth about it, as hurtful as it may seem.
If you are not a family right now, why would you even consider moving. If you are a family, then you and your son's father need to start thinking and behaving like one. And both of you need to ask what is in your son's best interest. Since you are both working parents, another option to consider would be to have Dad take care of the child for all or part of the time you live separately. Your reaction, not Dad's, to this last suggestion may inform you on the family question I posed earlier. anon
When my husband and I got engaged, I had more friends and support in another town which was where we had agreed we would probably move to after my husband passed the exam for his professional license. He had grown up and lived all his life in the same Bay Area town and he gave me the impression that moving would be a grand adventure for him. I took a job which was supposed to be about a 6 month temporary and then , at the end of 6 months,
I started looking at other jobs where I expected we would move to. But my husband didn't pass the licensing exam. We had to wait 6 more months for him to take it over. At that point he was offered a job in town which paid him more than he would have made where I wanted to move. At the time, the salary seemed quite attractive to him. He told me it meant being able to save up more money for the move and to look for a job and a home. Well, 12 years later we are still in the same place as when we were married. We live in a town where still I have no family and very few friends - essentially no support system and my husband is always off doing his own thing. Meanwhile, we have two young children which I take care of while he is out goofing off with one of his college or high school buddies. My only friends are at a job I have had for a few years but it took several years of living here and working in painful situations before I got that job.
My opinion is that you should ask your fiance to try to find a fellowship closer to this state. I know getting a fellowship is not an easy process and this may be one he particularly wants. So if that is the case - let him go for a year but keep your stable job. I woud not uproot myself to go somewhere where I had no support basis, to possibly have to move at the end of the year again either because things didn' work out between you or because he got a residency somewhere else after his fellowship. Where he ultimately winds up will depend upon his specialty and whether he passes the appropriate licensing where he wants to live. If you think you can move there with the hope that you will both come back here and get jobs when he is done and have a hapy home etc. etc. I would think twice because there are too many unknowns in what will happen in his situation in the next couple of years.
You are worried about separating your some from his father, but truthfully, the father will be so busy with fellowship and residency for the next year or so, I wonder just how much time he would have to spend with his son even if he was there with him. It may be hard on you to stay here and take care of your son by yourself, but it sounds like you may be doing that already and it sounds like you have a job and some friends here who can maybe help you occassionally if you need it. If you move you will lose this and I think you will still be a ''single mom'' even if you are livng in the same home as your fiance. anon
I think many bosses at UC are somewhat flexible with taking some time off per family leave act, etc if you explain your dilemma. You could take 4-6 months off and go east and then come back and spend 6 months apart. That way you would keep your job and lessen the amount of separation between you and fiance and son. It's worth checking with you boss to see if s/he would be amenable to that at all. --Just a thought
My second thought is that having a piece of paper that says you are ''married'' should not be the determining factor in helping you make your decision. You have already made a lifetime commitment to each other...having a son together. If you even consider not going with your fiance, my feeling is you are not completely sure you want to spend your life ''together'' otherwise there would be no question.
Ultimately, you have made a choice already. You have a son together, and if he, your fiance, is a good father, and they have a great relationship, as you claim, I don't think (remember, you asked for this advice) you should deprive either one of them of that because of your need for security/stability. Part of making a marriage and/or a family work is making compromises and sacrifices! I would recommend you make the commitment to your fiance AND your son and go---yes, it will be hard...but life is! Think of the reward... anon
And given how rocky your relationship is, I frankly don't think it makes sense for the two of you to even be engaged -- your relationship is so rocky, that you can't even live together NOW! Marriage won't fix a relationship that's not working any more than having a child together fixed it. You really ought to get to the point where you can stand to live together *before* you get engaged! And if, after 10 years of being together, and a year of counseling, you're still not at that point, I think you should take a long hard look at whether or not it makes sense to be in this relationship at all. And just think how much more of a strain it will put on that relationship to move 3000 miles and live together in a new place where you don't know anyone except each other. My advice is, stay put and rethink the engagement! -- anon
I understand why you would go if you were married, but you are not yet and are still going to counselling. And remember that even if you are married you are still an individual. I am only hoping that the counselling is working and that is the reason for you getting engaged. The status of your relationship on paper is pretty irrelevant really. Even if you were married you should still be asking the same questions based on how your relationship has been with your fiancee and your son. The thing in question is the quality of your relationship with your fiancee and with your son.
You say that at the present time you do not live with your fiancee. How does your son deal with this situation already ? If he seems fairly stable it might be that he is now used to that situation and suddenly hurling him into a situation where you are all living together, plus in a strange place, might affect him as much. Also, he is bound to pick up on strains in the relationship between you and your fiancee.
Having said all of this, you might find the new experience a totally energizing one and things may improve in your relationship. My husband and I recently made a similar transition but from a different country and the change has been the best thing that could ever have happened to us. But we needed to escape the stress and move to a more relaxed lifestyle where we spent more quality time together. AND we were both on an even keel - ie. we were both moving for the same reason. I have also moved to a new city and given up a good job etc for a dream job that my husband had wanted to do for years. Immediately the siutation was imbalanced because I didn't really want to go. On top of that, he threw himself into his work and seemed to have very little time for me. This made for a lonely, and painful time and it did cause some serious relationship problems.
It doesn't sound as though the extra time together thing is likely to happen since your fiancee will undoubtedly be working extremely long hours.
Unfortunately you will have to make the decision for both yourself and your son. A year is a short time and maybe the distance will let you both re-assess your need for each other. 10 years is a long time and seems to be the breaking point for a lot of couples. I think it is because people suddenly realise that they have lost their identity. Yet again, sometimes a move can spur you into starting again. It can make you more assertive, more empowered and more enthusiastic about what you want. But it can also cause you to become more introvert. If you are the kind of person who is a go-getter and is very sociable then you might find that a new job, etc will kick you out of the rut you are in. In turn that might give your relationship a whole new energy.
It is hard to tell and only you can make the decision and know what feels right.
Just be wary of what you commit to. If it goes wrong, the worst that will happen is that you will come back here and start again. But, in a year's time your fiancee might decide that he hates it in the East and want to return here.
Have you voiced your concerns to your fiancee ? I think that you MUST do that first. It will be far better being done now than when he has moved and has his head in his job - then there will be no getting through. It seems a little selfish that he went ahead and took the job without consulting you first. Or did you just not voice your concerns from the start ? Whatever you decide, I hope you have luck and sort things out with your fiancee. Remember, if you are miserable then so will your child be since he will be potentially spending more time with you. Good luck Anon
Based on my experience, if I were in your shoes, I would stay here with your son. A long distance relationship is very difficult, and requires much soul-searching. It made me really consider my relationship, and neither of us were sure it would last, but in our case, it got stronger. You sound unsure about the future of your relationship in general. I agree that moving you and your son to an unknown area with no family (except your fiance, who, yes, will be working a lot), no job, etc. would be very difficult and stress- inducing, and I worry that it would cause you to resent your fiance.
If you stayed here, your relationship would be tested fiercely, and the separation may prove to be helpful to you; will the relationship stand the test of time or not? As for your son, hopefully he could see his father often, but even if he can't, I think he's young enough to not remember the separation down the line...and hopefully you will reunite at the end of the year, and their close bond could be reestablished. anonymous
It was very hard on all of us, but we were already married and living together. The kids missed their Dad terribly and I felt quite resentful of my new role as a single mother. It was hardest with my 20 month old because she just didn't understand where Dad had gone and she grieved. I would say that while she certainly loves her Dad today, she never really bonded to him after that experience. Looking back on it I can say that I would do this differently now...emphasizing the importance of family unity over jobs and money.
However, you are not living with your partner now so his absence might not feel quite as acute. Your partner only has a job for a year, then what? Will you all move somewhere else again, or go back to California? I think I would ask some questions of him...does he really have to go? is this such an important career opporunity that it is worth leaving his family for a year?
On the other side, can you take a year's leave of absence from your own job and then return to it? Making plans to return might make a year away an adventure rather than a long-term seperation from friends and family.
If he decides to go and you stay, then I would advise reunions as often as possible.We were able to get together every couple months and that helped. My husband did most of the traveling to see us. We had a difficult time reuniting as a married couple and as a family. I certainly grew up and changed during my time as a single parent.
You have even more pros and cons since you are already feeling uncertain about the relationship. Perhaps the seperation could be a time of figuring out what you both really want...I think I raised more questions than offered advice, but it's a tough one and my heart goes out to you. Good Luck! anonymous
I would like to ask wiser minds out there what they think about what's more important when raising kids: close ties with extended family or the overall culture of the place you raise them in. Let me explain. My husband will be graduating from law school next year and we're trying to decide where we want to finally settle. We have two kids who'll be 6 and 3 when he graduates. Here's the conundrum. I grew up in L.A. and my entire family, with whom I am close, continues to live there. I moved up here in 1983 and until recently, never entertained the idea of moving back down. My entire circle of friends and all my ''social capital'' is here, and I feel completely in my element.
Lately, especially now that my kids are old enough to really be into their grandparents, uncles and cousins, I'm starting to really wrestle with the idea of moving back. My husband and I could both easily get work in LA, and we'd then enjoy all the benefits of having family close by - willing babysitters, lotsa cousins for my kids to grow up with, and the security and connectedness that comes with regular interaction with one's extended family. And heck, even West Hollywood is cheaper than here.
But then I remember what I hated about LA growing up. I don't want to raise my kids in a place where nobody's out on the street, where a pretty face is worth so much more than a sharp mind. Sure, we could live in a funkier, more walkable neighborhood than the one I grew up in, but it would still be LA. I go around and around on this one. Can anyone offer some perspective on this for me' Will I wreck my kids if we move back to LA' Will I be depriving them by staying up here so they only see their grandparents a few times a year' And what about me - will I make new friends and find new daycare, etc. etc.' I'm obsessing about this, obviously. Anyone have words of wisdom for me' Thanks so much, Julie
My impression is that, besides the superior, cheaper bread in Berkeley, you can find everything in LA that you find here. The LA area is as culturally diverse as the Bay Area. There are great restaurants, museums, concerts, lectures, etc. Both areas have similar problems: flight from the public schools, traffic and parking, high housing costs, and many others.
I lived in two different LA area neighborhoods as a child, where kids played together on the street, and the kids on my old block still do. (My parents still live in the house I grew up in.) If you mean people on the street going to restuarants, shopping, etc., there's Melrose, Old Town Pasadena, Santa Monica, to name a few areas. Both here and in LA there are plenty of neighborhoods where there is ''nobody's out on the street.''
The other issues you mention are so personal, it's hard to know. How much will you miss your Bay Area friends compared to how much you will miss your family? If your kids are going to be 3 and 6, you have experienced what raising children here is like. You've know whatever level of babysitting and grandparental visits you get. Depending on the age of your parents, that level will either probably remain constant, or decrease as travel becomes more difficult.
I think as an adult, especially if you have children who take up most of your time outside work, it's harder to make friends than before. This makes keeping your present friends more important. It depends on your personality, and also how many social contacts you have. With so many family members in LA, you might have enough company, and they might make in easier for you to meet other people. It's hard to say.
My parents live in LA. Although they are retired and well enough to travel, they only come up here about 5 times a year, and then only for the weekend; this despite both of their children and all four of their grandchildren living within walking distance here. We go down occasionally, but it's harder because we work. (And my husband doesn't like us to visit because my parents have an unfenced pool, and we have two children under 4.) It makes me sad, when there could be so much more contact if we lived closer.
If I can offer any more insight, feel free to contact me. Karen
My husband and I moved from LA 4 years ago leaving behind family, though joining many friends in the Bay Area. Since moving here and starting our own family, we have been heavily recuiting all family members to move up here.
Short of that working for you, I think growing up amongst family is more important than living in the Bay. Yes, I too enjoy the Bay Area much more than Los Angeles, but like you said there are more desirable parts of LA to live in then say Sherman Oaks or Brentwood. There's a great neighborhood a bit east of the Beverly Center which is located near all parts of LA, I lived on Beverly and Flores for a while and loved it! Some parts of Santa Monica are more laid back, and parts of North Hollywood (yes, the Valley) are fun too. Eventhough I grew up in LA, I grew up alongside all my family and cousins and wouldn't trade that for anything. anonymous
People in the Bay Area love to disparage Los Angeles and presume that there is no intelligent life there. This is pure balderdash. L.A. has a vibrant arts scene, fabulous restaurants, great public radio and some really wonderful neighborhoods in which to live. And sadly, the Bay Area now features many of the same blights that L.A. is renowned for: traffic jams, the astronomical cost of living, and people talking about real estate not social change these days. As someone who attended UC Berkeley over 20 years ago, my impressions are that this area really has NOT changed for the better.
You can create a great life there as well as here, but a relocation of this magnitude takes a few years to bear fruit (aside from what you would gain right away by being close to your family). Two things really helped me to enjoy living in L.A. all those years: live close to work so that the commute is not a killer, and keep your sense of humor about you. I guess the same could be said about living here. Anonymous
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