Couples disagree all the time. But a major disagreement can sometimes shake down your entire relationship. Often, people want to relocate for greater opportunities but run into a problem: They want to move but their partner doesn't want to. In fact, recently, one Fairygodboss member wrote into our Community to ask for advice on her and her husband’s latest argument, which could have heavy consequences for her career and well-being.
“I want to move, but he doesn’t,” she began.
“My husband and I verbally made the decision that we were going to move from a small town in Iowa to Washington D.C.," she wrote. "Although I have a job, he doesn't and D.C. has so much more opportunity for him. We both love the city and want to move to a place where more opportunities for ourselves and our kids would exist. I have the luxury of being a contractor, so I can kind of move wherever there is Internet. Recently, my husband was offered a permanent job. He hasn’t taken the role yet, but I can tell he wants to take it. He is afraid of change and I’m afraid of staying. I’m so bored here and cannot take this much longer. Ladies, advice? Please?”
A few other FGB’ers responded to her plea for advice with words of wisdom.
“Push for change! I think change brings personal growth, breaks bad patterns and releases our potential,” one woman wrote.
“Maybe you need to explore the new town together, and get a sense of what new opportunities you will have to enjoy,” another said.
“I'd really sit down and lay out all the advantages that an eventual relocation will bring to both of you,” a FGB’er advised.
While most advice for these situations tends toward subjective, here are a few objective suggestions.
First, open communication is so important to any marriage. Tell your partner exactly how you feel – no filter and no holding back. He needs to know all of your concerns, especially with staying in the same place. But remember, discussions are a two-way street. You must also listen to his concerns and take them into consideration.
Sit down to have a conversation with this being the only item on the agenda. Start with how you feel — use "I" statements and avoid assuming their intentions or motivations. Ask them to explain how they feel about moving and why. Then, try to come up with a solution that addresses both of your concerns. For example, is there a way to move somewhere you are both comfortable? If money is the issue, is there a way to bring in extra cash to support your move?
One FGB’er offered a great piece of advice on how to have this conversation.
“Let him come up with his own list of pros and cons, and you do the same. Then, swap lists and talk about them. Develop a plan together that addresses both of your primary concerns. Maybe you don't move this year, but in time for the new school year in '19. You can't un-stuck him. He has to do that. But you can help him,” she wrote.
And we agree. A decision this big must be discussed in detail.
“My suggestion would be to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him,” another FGB’er said. “First, spell out exactly how you feel. In all fairness, he’s not a mind reader. Then, give him the chance to talk about how he feels. Is he afraid of change? Or is there some other reason he doesn't want to leave? After that, you both need to figure out who this means “more” to. Is his “fear of change” greater than your strong unhappiness?"
Remember that marriage is a compromise, but it's also a system to build each other – and your ambitions – up. We know you've got this.
About the Career Expert:
Leah Thomas is a content creator who writes on all things women. Her work is published on Fairygodboss, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, i-D, Marie Claire, Business Insider, and more.