In traditional marriages, there is often a give and take between man and wife regarding whose career takes priority at any given time. More often than not, especially historically, it was often the man’s career that took precedence and the wife would often relocate and change/leave jobs for the good of the family unit and the betterment of the husband. While this is shifting even in heterosexual marriages, there are no real rules of the road for LGBT couples.
This weekend Kim and I celebrate our 16th anniversary of being together. Around 14 years ago we were faced with a relationship ending decision. You see, we were both young and just out of college and had juggled the emotions of coming out (to ourselves and others), our first full time jobs, and a long distance relationship. The whole travel I-78 thing every weekend and having to separate in the wee hours of Monday morning to make the return commute was growing old and dramatic. She wasn’t out to her parents at the time and we were attempting to build some sort of relationship foundation and future.
The question became – are you willing to give up your job to make the move? I had the better paying job and lived in the preferable location so it came down to her having to decide. We knew it was either move in together and stay together or give it up and go our separate ways. While I know there are plenty of folks who can and do make long distance relationships work, that is not something either of us desired.
With a deep breath and a flourish that left her parents befuddled and disappointed (after all, who leaves a good job to move 2 hours away to live with a “friend”??), she took the leap. It was a courageous act for both of us, but especially for her since she was the one leaving a job she enjoyed. At the time I was young, without obligations (other than rent), and working a well paying job (even though I hated it) so it wasn’t a big deal for me to handle the bulk of the financial obligations.
Looking back I wonder how we ever managed, at that stage of our lives and personal evolution, to take the risk and make it happen. Back then I was about as risk-averse and possessive of my apartment as they came. But, we did it and I can certainly say from where I stand now I am so thankful we did!
What have been your relationship experiences when it comes to deciding who moves or who delays/changes/gives up careers for the relationship bigger picture? Have you found it more difficult to make these decisions because of being in an LGBT relationship and all the related financial and legal inequities that go along with it? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments.