I never thought that I would be the type of girl who would pick up and move somewhere just to be with a boy.
You know that girl, the one who is so caught up in her boyfriend that she can’t bear to be without him? It seems like the story always goes the same way: the boyfriend gets a job or goes to school in a faraway city, so she drops everything—her family, her friends, her job. The girl shows up at his new apartment expecting it to be the same, but it’s not. Their relationship fractures, and she has to move out. Alone and broke, the girl who thought she was risking it all for love finds herself completely starting over. If I ever fell in love with someone, I wondered, would that happen to me?
As a young adult, I promised myself that I would never be that girl. In fact, I took this promise to the other extreme. If Mr. Right showed up, he was going to have to fit into my plans and live where I wanted to live, because I wasn’t going anywhere for anyone.
That was… until I met Thomas.
Thomas and I met in college. He was funny and sweet, and when we started dating his senior year, I slipped into spending most of my (albeit limited) free time with him. Right after he graduated, Thomas had to move out of state for an internship. First, it was just across the border from Washington to Oregon, but then he got a full-time job in Hawaii and went thousands of miles away. Meanwhile, I moved home with my mom, and we remained in a long distance relationship for more than two-and-a-half years.
Thomas and I had very little money for visiting each other, and although we still grew a lot in our relationship over the phone, it was not an ideal situation. So, when an opportunity came up for me to move to Hawaii, it seemed like the right thing for our relationship. But I was worried. What did it mean if I took this one-way ticket and things didn’t work out between us? I knew I loved Thomas and wanted to be with him, but was I setting myself up for failure?
I thought about this decision for a long time. I eventually determined that the move to Hawaii was a good thing.
First, I was not going to be living with Thomas. When I moved, I would have my own house, roommate, car, and job independent of my boyfriend. Certainly, we were excited to be living in the same place, and I knew that Thomas would be there to help me settle in. However, if worse came to worse, and we broke up, I would be okay financially and have many other friends to support me.
Second, I knew that my relationship with Thomas was healthy and positive, even if it was just for the short term. In all honesty, at the time I moved, I didn’t know if we were going to make it for the long haul. There had been several rough patches during our long distance romance, and I acknowledged when I got on the plane to Hawaii that there was a possibility that we would break up soon after I got there. The thing is, Thomas was (and is) always a simply wonderful person to be around. I could see that his energy and support were pushing me to grow in many important ways. The relationship was very good in this way. I wanted to move because I knew that my time with Thomas and our relationship would make me a better wife to whomever I would marry, even if that person ultimately was not him.
Finally, the move wasn’t just for Thomas. It was about me too. I was at a point in my life where I needed to get out on my own and prove that I could stand on my own two feet. It was a risk—especially since I didn’t have a job secured beforehand, and I didn’t know the future of our relationship. However, I knew that I would gain a lot of self-confidence and personal strength if I went through with it. Hawaii was the adventure that I knew I needed.
In a way, I did become that girl—the one who leaves behind her family and friends and flies halfway across the ocean for a boy. But it wasn’t a bad move; it was actually a pretty smart one. I arrived in Hawaii, made a lot of new friends, and grew so much as a person. Most importantly, I got to be with Thomas, and we found out that our relationship really does have what it takes for the long haul. I learned that risks in relationships—even really big ones—are not always a bad thing. Sometimes you have to do something a little crazy to be with the person that you love. The key is to be wise and still look out for yourself when you take the necessary risks for a relationship. For the right person, that balance should be possible to find.
Moving to Hawaii turned out to be one the most important things that I ever did, both for myself and my relationship with Thomas. We got married a year-and-a-half after my big move, and I haven’t looked back since.