Transitioning out of a long-distance relationship and into a more conventional same-city romance can be super exciting. After months (possibly even years), you and your partner will finally be able to spend time together without the lingering sadness of an imminent goodbye hanging over your heads. However, living closeby after being long-distance may also take some getting used to. One of the most important aspects of managing expectations is to make sure you're both prepared for the reality of what's ahead. According to relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter, it's normal to feel anxious or nervous leading up to a big move.
"You're taking a big step by uprooting your life, and leaving your support network behind," Winter tells Elite Daily. "You're taking on a new job, or hoping to find new employment, which is added stress. Plus, there's the underlying stress of worrying if it will all work out." So, if you're feeling a little on-edge, don't fret. There are several steps you can take to ensure the move doesn't put too much pressure on the relationship. Before taking the plunge, Winter recommends doing some pre-move networking. "You don't want to move to a new city and the only person you know is your partner," says Winter. "That puts an undue burden on the relationship. You'll be asking that your partner be your everything and that's unrealistic." If you aren't able to make some contacts before moving, once you arrive, it's vital that you start attending Meetups, connecting with new people via social media groups, or enroll in a class that will expose you to potential friends.
If you and your partner feel ready to move in together right away, great! Just make sure you're also ready to see each other's not-so-sexy sides. "You will see the person in a new light," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show previously told Elite Daily. "A light that is much more raw, far less guarded, and much more flawed." To help avoid unnecessary conflict, Dr. Klapow recommended asking as many questions as possible to get an accurate picture of the co-habitation situation you'll be walking into. Here are a few of the topics you should both discuss to ensure you're on the same page:
What are your expectations for the co-habitation space? What do you consider "clean"? What are your expectations, needs, or desires for your space? Do you want to entertain together or separately? What makes you feel good, comfortable, anxious, and angry when it comes to your space?
On the other hand, if you and your partner have decide to take things slow and not move in together right away, living apart can make transitioning a bit less overwhelming. Living separately means you'll have your personal space, time, and the freedom to cultivate friendships of your own, while still getting to enjoy the perks of seeing your partner regularly.
Once you've decided on your living arrangement, it's time to figure out a plan for how you're going to financially support yourself. "Having a sense of independence enables you to weather the emotional fluctuations in your relationship," says Winter. "Being financially dependent upon your mate adds undue burden and strains the relationship. If you're looking for work, make sure you have enough assets to sustain yourself." Putting together a best-case and worst-case scenario budget and saving enough money to be able to live comfortably for several months with zero income would be ideal. This way, if you find a job right away, you have some extra money to have fun with, and if it takes a couple of months longer than you expected, you don't have to stress too much.
Lastly, Winter notes that you need to be realistic when it comes to your final decision to relocate. "Is this a city that you like," poses Winter. "Can you see yourself flourishing there? Had you never met your partner, would this be a place you would like to live? These are important considerations. Relocating should be a 'plus' for you, independent of moving for your mate." If your partner lives somewhere that you don't like, the truth is that you probably aren't going to like living there. If you're skeptical about the location, you should be honest with your partner about this before the move for the sake of transparency.
If things don't work out in this new city, would your partner be open to giving your city a try? Would moving to a new city neither of you has lived in be an option? Would you both be OK being long distance again if you get there and are miserable after a few months? Although it can be scary to talk about these scenarios, communication is key. Ultimately, uprooting your life is never easy, and you can definitely expect a few bumps along the way. But, if you're both willing to put in the effort to overcome these challenges, finally being together is so worth it.