Avatar universal

Career or Family?

Hi all,

The time has come for me to make some huge life decisions and any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

My girlfriend and I are both in our mid-20s, have been dating for a a year and a half and have been living together now for six months. She has a child and shares custody with her ex-husband who also lives in the same town as us. My girlfriend and I both have college degrees and jobs, but the problem is our career potential is severely limited here because we live in a small town that is about 4 hours away from any major cities. I moved here two years ago after accepting an entry level job in my field, with every intention of leaving as soon as possible once a better opportunity somewhere else became available.

Now I've got a major problem because I could see myself spending my life with her (she is beautiful, intelligent, we have sex about 10 times a week!), and she wants to get married, but we will likely be unable to move because of the child custody situation. The problem with this is that I'd be in this small town (I have no ties here at all other than to her and her child) until I'm about 40, when her child turns 18.

I feel terrible because I would not want to move a child away from the biological father, but I can also not imagine spending the best years of my life in a town I'm not happy in. I'm incredbility ambitious and believe I have the potential to be among the best of the best in my line of work, which unfortunately would require living in a large city.
We've consulted with a lawyer and researched online and at best we'd only have a 50% chance of being able to move away, if we were married first.

Until now I've held off making any permanant decision, because I've hoped something would just magically happen to let me know what I should do, which was obviously wishful thinking. Now my girlfriend is asking me to tell her I am willing to stay here for as long as I need to (potentially 12 more years,) and she is wanting me to marry her soon to show that commitment. If I don't give her this reassurance or propose she is going to move out.

Thanks in advance.
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Avatar universal
@25 years old that's quite a bit to give up for love.  

Try making a list of the pros/cons of staying and the same for leaving and see what you come up with.  
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13167 tn?1327194124
In my opinion,  this is one of those very few posts where the OP has full information,  and a clear idea of what the different consequences are,  and has to make a decision.

This is up to you.  Most people who post here really are unaware of life consequences,  and facts,  but you know them.

And now,  you need to weight this and make your decision.  

Best wishes.
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134578 tn?1693250592
First off, is there any chance of the ex ever moving to a bigger city?  He might feel as hamstrung in the small town as you do.  You may as well rule out the possibilities first that would mean you still don't have to make a choice.

But if you do have to make a choice, I noticed that in your explanation you said "I could see myself spending my life with her (she is beautiful, intelligent, we have sex about 10 times a week!)," but you didn't begin your story with "I love my girlfriend and can't see life without her," or "She makes me so happy I can't imagine ever doing anything but being by her side."  You sound like you could readily enough see life without her, and that it has some advantages over life with her.

If you have the potential to be one of the best of the best at what you do, and if this is important (to you and potentially to the world that you would impact if you got that good), and you don't feel incomplete without this woman as your wife, then it seems like if you stop at age 25 and park yourself somewhere that it won't happen, you are potentially always going to regret your lost chances.  It's bad to get to 50 and feel like you turned your back on an exciting and desired future.  Your girlfriend sounds wonderful, but other women in the world are wonderful too, and you might meet someone as portable as you are.  I wouldn't say this to you at 45, but at 25 you do still have the chance to put it all together if you are ambitious enough and work really long hours and learn your craft and devote yourself to it.  Have you had offers that you have turned down?  One last thing to assess is how hot you really are.  If you seriously think you have the potential, fine.  If you are just kidding yourself, think it over before walking away from someone great.
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973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  Wow, tough dilemma for sure.  I feel for you as this is indeed difficult.  I'm going to be straight with you.  This comes from an older woman in my 40's that was a career person that married an ambitious, successful man.  I wouldn't trade what I did to get ahead early on for anything.  Nor would my husband.  We moved to places for jobs, we put a lot of effort on getting ahead, we progressed with our careers.  My husband is now our financial supporter and I stay home with the kids.  He's very successful because he set himself up to be that way when he was younger right out of college.  But these are the choices we made to make us happy.  
You have to make your own choices here that will lead to your happiness.

This woman has more than your average to consider.  Many relationships work with ex's 4 hours away and sharing of custody.  Is it best for a child?  Probably not---  it's hard on them.  But couples make it work.  But if you are saying this is not an option----  you are going to have to follow what you feel is best for YOURSELF.  

I've loved many in my lifetime and met my husband in my 30's.  This isn't your only chance at love if you find yourself pulled by career.  And then again, in the end, it's our loved ones that matter most.  So, you are just going to have to think about this really hard and do your pros and cons list.  

There is beauty in whichever way you go so pick what is best for you.  peace and luck
Helpful - 0
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