Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote a piece called Where She Belonged. It was a momentous occasion, this return visit to New Jersey after my permanent move South. But the visit wasn’t significant only for the reasons expressed in that post. Though I didn’t reveal it then, this was the moment in which I reconnected with my past love after 1.5 years of silence. Little did I know that by sending a single text with the lone word, “hi.”, that one year later I would be at this very moment anticipating his permanent move to Atlanta. That I’d have a stunning rock on my finger and would be planning our wedding. And that I’d be this unbelievably happy. It really is wonderful when you think about it… how quickly life can change.
But while I’ve shared my joy and my excitement about getting engaged and all the wedding chaos (and will continue to do so!), it is only fair that I also share the tough things. It’s important to me that my blog always stay honest and open, no matter how difficult it may be to share or how vulnerable it makes me feel to do so. So, here it is.
Our relationship has been long distance for this entire year. It has been extremely difficult at times, but we both made the best of it. And even though I’m beyond excited that the time has finally come …
I’m scared about him moving here.
He is, too.
We’ve discussed this major milestone at length and are not treating it lightly. It is a big, enormous deal for him to leave New Jersey and all his family/friends, to move to Atlanta to be with me and start our new life together. I am so very incredibly blessed and grateful that he would make this huge leap for us. I make sure to tell him often.
That said, I want to fix it. I want to make damn sure that his move here is an easy one. And I can’t wait to show him all the things about Atlanta and Georgia that I love. But I’m also struggling with the fact that I am not in control of how he feels or how well this move goes from his perspective. It is a difficult reality to face, that I can only do my best to ease him into southern living and empathize at the times that he might struggle with it. (I’m not naive enough to think he won’t.) To be a good listener instead of instinctively defending our “ways” down here. And to make the transition fair and equal.
As such, I don’t think it would be fair to ask him to just move his things into my current home and stay put. It wouldn’t feel “his” as much as it would feel like he is just living in “mine”. My perfectionist/planner self has already decided and discussed with him a plan for leaving my current residence – a townhome rental – and heading inside the perimeter (ITP for locals) to a fun location in the thick of things. I’d think moving to a more “city” feel, with nearby spots that are walking distance with a fun, urban vibe would be much better than say, plopping the poor man right into the middle of suburban mecca. Because, holy reverse culture shock would send him running back to The Garden State. I should mention that I really wanted to live ITP when I first moved here, but let’s face it – rental prices are way better with two incomes! (For my NJ readers, the $$$ is comparable to Bloomfield vs. Hoboken. Big difference.) Additionally, wouldn’t it be f’ing awesome to live it up in the heart of Atlanta for a year, before we start thinking about home ownership and (GULP) a family?!? Whoa. But cool. But WHOA.
Even on new and level turf, the next year or so will be a time of adventure for both of us. We’ll each need to find our way in a new place, make time to visit our friends back in the old town, make new friends and the biggie: learn to co-habitate with each other again. Will he remember that I’m a sprawler? Will we ease back into joint living or will it be a stubborn tug of war as we both relinquish our single ways? I guess we’re going to find out soon enough.
Through all the inevitable struggles and maybe even a few tears, I will make a promise to him. I promise to do my best to remember in his times of frustration that I too, was once a fish out of water. That I understand how strange it must be for him – how much slower things move here, that good Latin food is hard to come by and that he now has to pump his own gas (the horror!). I promise to remember that this is hard. That it may take a long time for him to adjust to Atlanta. And that I need to be gentle with him as he does.
Because this man that I’m going to marry? He is amazing and he is doing an amazing thing for me. May this fear we feel now be soon replaced with the joy of having each other’s company on a daily basis. The rest, we’ll tackle together.