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why you should never move for a man (and why I did it anyway)

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

They say women should never make a relationship their entire life. They say we should have our own friends, hobbies and careers and shouldn’t look to a man for financial gain or to complete our lives like the final piece in a complicated jigsaw puzzle. They say that when two people come together it should be like two full cups joining to make one huge overflowing cup.

Well, they say a lot of things.

And I don’t actually disagree with any of the above. My romantic relationships have always been important and meaningful, but they haven’t been my entire life. I prided myself on being pretty strong and independent. Until I found myself in a situation where he not only became my missing piece, but the entire puzzle.

When I met him, I was travelling with a best friend. I had been single for almost three years and had got to a place where I was okay with it. Yes, I was in my mid-30s and yes, I thought constantly about freezing my eggs and whether leaving my last relationship was really a good idea. But I had a career and passion projects. I had loving friends and a wonderful extended family. I loved the Canadian city I lived in despite the cold winters. My cosy apartment, with large insulated windows and my ugly cat themed throw pillows, which everyone hated, but I loved, made the freezing months bearable.

But back to meeting him. It was on Tinder. Not something I’d had much experience with but I figured when in Rome, or Croatia, as I happened to be, why not? He was a cute Australian based in Sydney who I seemed to have much in common with, or as much as can be deduced from a Tinder profile. He was travelling in Croatia with his family, who he needed a break from. I was looking for a fun story to take home with me. We met up at a local bar and talked for hours. I remember being disappointed because he was so engaging and funny. The worst kind really when you’re just looking for someone in the will-do-for-a-night category.

As the night went on, he managed to upgrade to the someone-I’d-really-want-to-date-if-he-didn’t-live-in-Australia category. So, of course, I couldn’t sleep with him. Not on our first date. Because you don’t sleep with someone you like on the first date, right? Right!? Is that still a thing? I feel like there still isn’t a definitive answer on that one.

In any case, we ended up keeping in touch. And then a year later I found myself moving to Australia for him. A country so far from everything that I quite literally exist a day-and-a-half ahead of everyone I know. The result has been many calls from my mother asking incredulously what day and time it is here.

But let’s rewind. The Aussie and I lived so far apart that, at first, I didn’t entertain the idea of starting an actual relationship with him. Then we decided to meet up again. And again. And then we were in a long-distance relationship. LDRs have a bad rep, but I’m not sure why. You have the security of a relationship without having to deal with any of the issues that arise from day-to-day co-existence. Yes, the lack of actual physical intimacy sucks. And without actually having to deal with issues that arise from day-to-day coexistence, it’s incredibly hard to judge if you’re actually a good match at all. But overall – highly recommend.

That said, it’s so difficult to make a meaningful connection that when you do meet someone who feels right, you do everything you can to make it work. Even if it means moving to Australia. Right?! Right.

I don’t regret the move and I am learning to truly appreciate the extended summer months and words like “heaps” and “keen.” And exploring a new city can be fun and exciting. But the truth remains, I left my work and social life behind in Canada and moved to Australia for him. I am in a new country because of him. My life for the time being is an extension of his.

This is changing of course, and the longer I’m here, the stronger my own orbit is becoming, which is the ultimate goal. In the meantime, I have to let go of the belief that a relationship can only work if both people’s cups are at capacity, but also allow my cup to be filled with the highs and lows that come with any new adventure. And by the sheer fact that I was brave enough to (again, quite literally) turn my life upside-down. After all, we only live once, so they say.

Truthfully, the cognitive dissonance can be the biggest challenge, as I never imagined myself moving across the world for a man. But here I am. Still a strong, independent woman as far as I tell. As for my feminist values, they remain intact, though they may have been shifted somewhat in certain ways. It makes sense. Australia is very far and it was a really long flight.

Amelia Wasserman is a freelance writer and producer from Canada. She currently resides, works and sometimes tweets from Sydney @AmeliaRebecca

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