Should I Move to the City Where My Long-Distance Boyfriend Lives?

“Should I move to the same city where my long-distance boyfriend lives?” That is the question on the table for today. The topic came across my radar when I received this email:

I am currently in a looong-distance relationship (me in Norway, him in the States). Long story short: We are both serious about this relationship heading toward marriage, and what we are looking at is me moving to the States after I finish school. From what I understand you also moved to where your husband lives.

Moving across the world and into a new culture is a huge step of faith for me, considering being away from family, church, and deep friendships on a permanent basis. I’d love to hear your story. Bet it’s a great opportunity to lean hard on the Lord.

(I’m going to assume that this girl is talking about finishing college, not high school.) That said, let’s dive in.

Four Questions to Consider Before You Move Near Your Boyfriend

Dear “I’m considering marriage . . . and moving across the world,”

It sounds wise that you plan on finishing your schooling before you move. Here are just a few questions for you to think through before you take this big step:

  1. Have you visited each other in person?
    I would definitely recommend several in-person visits before you make such a big move. Use these times to make sure he’s the same guy you’ve been getting to know online. (Trevor and I took turns visiting each other about once a month.)
  2. Is your boyfriend a fellow believer in Christ alone for salvation? Is he actively pursuing God? Do you trust that he wouldn’t put you in a bad situation?
  3. Have you thought about who you would move in with? Or would you live on your own?
    I’d recommend living with someone else rather than on your own for several reasons: You’re going to need help adjusting to a new culture, and it’ll also be helpful to have a place to hang out with your boyfriend with other people around for accountability.
  4. Is your boyfriend involved in a solid church where you’d be able to find friends and community?

Should One of Us Move? (Our Story)

You asked about my story. Before Trevor and I were engaged—but knowing that was coming—we talked and prayed about when it would be appropriate for one of us to move to live near the other. (Near, not with!)

We were older, we knew we were intentionally moving toward marriage, and we wanted some time to observe each other doing life on a daily basis. It just seemed like a good idea to be close enough to see how the other navigated dynamics like family, flat tires, and stress when considering something as serious as marriage.

We talked lots about whether he should move to Michigan or whether I should move to New York. While some would say that the guy should always take the risk and move to the girl, for me and Trevor, it seemed to make the most sense for me to move.

Trevor was committed to his city and church. If we were to marry, I knew we would be living in his city. I understood I would face a ton of change all at once if I married him, so I wanted to get a jumpstart on things like building new friendships, getting involved in his church, and learning my way around a new city. I figured it would be change enough to dive into my brand-new role as a wife a few months later.

Also, Trevor had a good job in New York, and my work place was flexible, allowing me to work off-site. Besides, I’d been living in a small Michigan town for a decade and had been itching for a new adventure for a while.

My Move to New York

In April 2015, Trevor asked me to marry him, and a few days later I trailed the yellow moving truck he was driving to New York in my Toyota Avalon. (I just may have locked my keys in my car at a rest stop somewhere along the way . . . Pennsylvania, maybe? But that’s another story for another day.)

When we finally arrived in New York, we were met with a group of people from his church who unloaded the moving truck and welcomed me to my new home for the next five-and-a-half-months. My roommates consisted of a kind married couple from his church who invited me to stay with them rent-free!, another girl who was engaged to be married three weeks before me, as well as two dog and three cats.

Looking back, I have no regrets. It was the right decision for us.

May the Lord lead you to make the wisest decision for you, your boyfriend, your relationship, and ultimately God’s glory.

Was it risky? Sure. I knew full well going into the move that it was possible something could come up and our engagement could be broken off. It was a risk, though, that I was willing to take, because the benefits outweighed the risks for me.

Hopefully my story will help you as you think through a potential move. Your story will probably look different than mine, and that’s okay. Be sure to be seeking God about such a huge decision and listening well to advice from older, wiser Christians in your life. May the Lord lead you to make the wisest decision for you, your boyfriend, your relationship, and ultimately God’s glory.

Blessings,

Paula

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • Guitar Girl

    This is an interesting point of view for me because I’ve never considered that I might have to move when (if) I get married. You made excellent points!

  • Jenn

    Hi Paula,

    I recently read your article about a Christian dating an atheist and thought I would comment on a less crowded strand.

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year now. He is an atheist and I am trying to follow God to the best of my ability. The thing is I don’t think I can break up with him. We’re happy except for that but I can anticipate the problems that will come with the future.

    I just feel so far away from God. I want to feel moved and at peace but I don’t and don’t ever remember being so. I have earnestly and genuinely asked Jesus to lead my life several times.. I’m not sure what else to do.

    I’m so confused with life right now. If I marry him will I go to hell? How does that work if I believe in Jesus and love him but still really struggle not to sin…

  • Paula asked us to step in to help her with some of her responses. We hope that’s ok.

    Could it be that feeling far away from the Lord is because you are not walking in obedience to him in your relationship with your boyfriend? We encourage you to reread Paula’s article on dating an atheist. Go to each of the Scriptures she shares and pray, asking the Lord what He would have you do in light of His Word. You will not go to hell if you marry him. God is always ready and willing to forgive our sins. But even though we are forgiven, there are consequences to our sins.

    We encourage you to find a godly woman who is married to an unbeliever and ask her about the consequences she is facing because of that decision. She may have come to faith after she was married but she will still be dealing with the consequences of an unequally yoked marriage. If you don’t know of one, perhaps your parents or your pastor can suggest someone for you to talk to.

    We are praying for you, Jenn. You say you can’t break up with this guy. We know it seems hard and your emotions are caught up in this, but it is possible. We encourage you to step away from the relationship. It will be hard, but God will get you through it. Use this time to dive deep into God’s Word, get the counsel of godly people you trust and pray through what God would have for you. Will you do that?