I know you left your life once before for love, and I’m wondering how did you cope? I’m a military spouse, I still don’t like saying that, a million stereotypes flood me every time it comes off my tongue, but that’s what I am. I had everything I needed in our hometown. My friends, family, a job I loved. And here, on the other side of the planet I have nothing, except the love of that man and an unborn child. And I don’t know how to survive like this. I just don’t. And I was hoping you do. How do you deal with leaving your life for love?
Dear Alone and Away from Home,
So love has got you globe trotting, eh? Well, I will say there are worse reasons to travel. You’ve packed up your life and shipped you and your plus one off to some foreign destination where you know no one and have nothing. Scary. I hope it’s at least somewhere somewhat interesting – Anguilla? Or peaceful – Bali? (Praying for you it’s nowhere in Texas).
What a particularly strenuous time to move away – when you’re building a baby and what not. I can certainly see why you’re aching for the comforts of home and loved ones. If you didn’t have that bun in the oven I’d advise you a bit differently here, but your stakes are higher.
I’ll say this: You’ll eventually find yourself tousling with the thought what have I ever done for myself?
I can’t say when, maybe when the tyke has gone off to school and can tie his own shoes and unlock the front door and doesn’t quite provide for you the purpose he surely will for the next several years. But eventually you and the thought what have I ever done for myself will meet, and you’ll feel selfish for fantasizing about things like getting your masters, starting a business, or, hell, taking up knitting. But it will nag you. And you’ll perhaps come to understand that when you moved for love what you really did was move for a man. Because love can happen anywhere, and isn’t hindered in the least by distance or time zones. Love – that resilient, insistent little f*ck – can survive almost anything. Like a cockroach.
So let’s be honest with ourselves before we get any further – you moved for a guy (in this case, your spouse). Don’t worry, I’m not going to be sarcastic here. Quite the opposite.
Good, healthy love is rare. And it feeds on risks and sacrifices. And risks in life are often worth it. And life should be dynamic and changing. And bold choices propel you forward. And I’m happy that something has unearthed you from your hometown and put you somewhere unfamiliar for a bit because I think that’s the stuff of growth and exploration. Moving for another human being whom you care deeply for is as good a reason as any to relocate. Certainly no more secure than a new job and no less defensible than a simple change in scenery.
But… love should not be painful, and you sound depressed and desperate and that will simply not do.
So what I’ll say is this – make this decision to move about you. Instead of seeing this as leaving your life for love, make it about what you want and what you want for your life and future. Maybe part of that is having a family with the man you love. But when you think about this uprooting you’ve done, energize it with reasoning that feeds back into your personal story. Own this move as something you have consciously chosen to swallow into your life. Otherwise, you risk repeating the narrative that you have moved for love, and oh what pressures that puts on the other person involved in this equation…
You will need to remake your life. You will need a new job, and new friends, and new places that know your coffee order by heart. But you’ve committed to this change and to this person and so own it. You’re not an immovable object acted upon by an outside force; you are no victim of circumstance – you are an empowered young woman who made a bold and assertive choice to follow her heart despite the potential for difficulties and setbacks. And in this new and uncomfortable place you will find another version of life that will eventually grow soft and familiar, like old jeans. And just when you’ve settled in who knows, the world may tilt on its axis and send you spiraling yet again. (Don’t get comfortable anywhere but in your own skin.) And you will soon have a baby who will need you to be present and nurturing and full of love.
And for that, lucky you, it won’t matter where on Earth you are.