The Time Between


This would be easier if you'd just want what I want

by Elisabeth Snell, Contributing Editor

The Time Between | A Practical Wedding

We have these friends. I’ll call them Maria and Mariah. I love them dearly. Yet I cannot help being the tiniest bit jealous of how they companionably, easily appear to be in agreement, at all times. “Let’s order Thai tonight.” “I was just thinking that!” “We LOVE the new restaurant with the rooftop microgreens garden.” They even share the same clothes, and they look equally good on both of them. Oh, how I long for your greener grass and micro-greens, Maria and Mariah! Because right now, K and I are going through one of our hardest conversations to date, and it feels like we’re using megaphones from either side of a waterfall.

“This would be easier if you’d just want what I want,” K said glumly from behind a cup of coffee in a little cafe on a grey day. And I agreed with her, and fervently expressed that I did wish I wanted what she wanted, and also wished SHE wanted what I wanted, and we sat for a minute, united in agreement in the midst of yet another long conversation about Where to Move.

See, we’re trying to decide when to leave New York, and where to go. This isn’t a new angst. Everyone knows that both living in and leaving New York is a unique difficulty. But it’s new to us, and now that we’ve entered the actual planning stages of our New York ending and Somewhere Else beginnings, our differences are starkly outlined. Though we’ve known that from the beginning, it doesn’t make the now any easier.

I’m the kind of extrovert that thrives in a small place. If you suddenly needed me to go organize a community garden on a remote island just off Newfoundland, I’d be on the next boat. This big fish loves a small pond, and I feel so lonely in this overcrowded city. I yearn for a front porch with an open door policy, for frequent and spontaneous dinner parties at home, and I have never quite managed to find that in New York, where if your friends live in the next borough on the wrong train line, you might see them once a quarter.

I spend a lot of time trying to shoehorn Brooklyn into a small college town, and that social calendar generally tends to exhaust K, who is quite introverted. She is the kind of introvert that likes being around a lot of acquaintances and activity partners while doing a lot of not-talking to them, and New York works pretty well for that. (One of my favorite things is watching her with one of her best friends, and while you can tell they’re having a total blast, most of what they’re talking about, when they actually talk at all, is sparse commentary about Romanian dead lifts.) I mean, I like activity partners too, I just like to verbosely explore the pros and cons of Gestalt versus CBT therapy while we’re powerwalking.

I have always known my time in New York was limited, and that I would soon be moving back to a reasonably sized New England town to live out my days with easy access to water and mountains, maybe a star turn or two on the community theatre stage, and a slower pace of life.

The only slight wrinkle in this plan is that I fell in love with someone who would not have picked that as her life’s dream. K isn’t wedded to New York, but worries that a smaller place will have a smaller queer community, thus increasing her visibility as a gender-non-conforming person. She worries she’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and be lonely on the Outside if we move to, say, a small coastal village. And her job, at the moment, requires a fairly major airport. Logistics aside, the vast, messy diversity of a city is a big comfort to someone who feels like they don’t quite fit in, since there’s lots of tons of people around all the time who also don’t fit in. And anyway, she hates winter, and especially hates camping.

So, do I suck it up and stay in this city where I feel like my light is slowly dimming? Does she give up New York’s companionable anonymity? Does one of us “win”? You see our dilemma. You may be asking why, knowing this about each other, we decided to go ahead with a lifelong commitment to each other if we can’t even figure out where to set down roots. I can only say that there are a million other ways in which we love each other, and take tremendous pleasure in each other’s company. And though I once wrote in my journal that my true love would be someone with whom I could paddle the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, well, things don’t always turn out how you think they will, and you might end up doing a lot of day hikes with your true love instead.

We vowed to take the long view, trust that we’d figure the harder stuff out, and not be afraid to ask for help from our community or professionals if we ever felt like we hit an impasse.

I can’t give you a neatly wrapped ending to the story because we haven’t actually figured it out yet. It would be so easy if one of us could just decide to stay or go for the other. It’s damn hard, and I spend a lot of time reminding myself that Maria and Mariah are having difficult dialogues behind closed doors that we aren’t privy to.

But the good news is that we are so much better at this than we were. That this time between staying, deciding, and going has taught us a lot of grace, even though it doesn’t look how I thought it would. We’re learning, and forgetting, and learning again what the ebb and flow of our communication, our love, our marriage is, and testing out the balance between hers, mine, and ours. I can hardly articulate it, but it feels like we both lean on the marriage itself when we can’t find common ground. When someone makes a less than enthusiastic comment about someone’s mother, and someone leaves in a huff, we meet an hour later at our favorite restaurant. I’ll order the grits, and give her half, and she’ll put her hand on my knee the way she’s always done. We start over. And I think regardless of where we end up, that grace will serve us for a long time.

Elisabeth Snell

Elisabeth is an MPH working in public health in New York City. Her old okcupid profile said she’s really good at: fixing socially awkward situations at parties, return trips to Ikea, whipping up excellent mac and cheese on camping trips, leaping into the ocean, being chronically late, and having Friday night adventures all over Brooklyn. In September 2013, she married her introverted, punctual K.

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  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com/ Superfantastic

    I just love your writing so much.

  • Anon

    Have you considered Providence RI?

    • J

      Or Northampton, MA – smaller than Providence, but, I believe, very open to gender non-conformity. We’re about to move to Davis, CA for just about the reasons you describe (and no winters!). All that aside, beautiful essay. :)

      • K-G

        Double agree with Northampton!!!

      • Moira

        I came here to say this! Amazing restaurants, organic food, wonderful queer community, gorgeous scenery, easy drive to Boston if you want to spend the weekend in a city for some reason.

      • JDrives

        Davis is great! I’m in Sacramento, not far away, which also has a strong LGBT community presence and the “city” feel.

        • Becca

          I’m in Sac, too! APW meetup?!

          • JDrives

            !YES! Email me, jendriver at gmail dot com

      • JenClaireM

        I’ve been reading through this thread hoping someone would mention good smaller towns/cities in California. My husband and I are in Los Angeles, a city we both love, but I’m starting to feel oppressed by the hugeness of it and daydreaming about a not-too-distant, somewhat more low-key spot.

        • JDrives

          Davis is pretty rad. It has a smaller town feel while being close to a bigger city.

        • J

          I felt really similarly to you. I grew up in SF and always thought I’d go back there or to one of the close-in suburbs. My husband grew up in the country (like, literally on a farm) and wanted more space, plus he thought it would be financially irresponsible (or not possible) to spend as much on a house as we’d need to in order to buy in that area. Then we had a baby and we both wanted a slower pace of life. (I want the option to work very part time for awhile and he didn’t want to work crazy hours and travel tons for work.) We started looking into Davis/Sacramento and figured out we could afford to buy there, while having the kind of work-life balance we were looking for. It’s kind of a leap of faith because we haven’t spent all that much time there, but we’re really excited about it! You might also consider include northern Marin (once you’re too far from SF for a reasonable commute, prices come down!) and possibly some (less touristy) areas around Napa/Sonoma.

  • Mari

    Great post. I can definitely relate — my husband and I are frequently on the “I wish you wanted what I want” side of things. Thankfully, it always works out. We live in (and love dearly) New England. Consider Boston (neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain are super queer-friendly and community-oriented, plus Boston is fairly easy to get around via public transit. Boston is just many different neighborhoods) or the Five Colleges area of western Massachussets. Northampton is very queer-friendly, while still having a small-town/slightly urban vibe, and the greater Five Colleges area (Amherst, Hadley, South Hadley, Easthampton) is very community-oriented, completely GORGEOUS, and really fun in a festivals-and-hiking sort of way.

    • J

      Ha, I just posted about Northampton before seeing this. And I live in Jamaica Plain! It’s fabulous – part of a big city, but with an amazingly tight-knit community feeling to it. And I’d estimate that 10-15% of the women I’ve become friends with through various local new moms activities are married to other women.

      • A

        I live in Jamaica Plain, too! There are. . . apparently a lot of us on APW! Seriously, it is an excellent place to be a gay lady. Also you can have a porch here with an open door policy and all your friends will think it’s awesome.

        • J

          Speaking of porches, there was a JP Porchfest this weekend where tons of people volunteered to have bands play on their porches and anyone could go watch. We were sadly out of town but it sounded awesome. And very indicative of the kind of community you’ll find in Jamaica Plain. :)

    • anon

      If you are seriously considering Boston (and everyone should. It’s amazing.), and you are seriously considering kids you might want to think about somewhere Boston-adjacent like Brookline or Cambridge which would give you all the benefits of Boston (public transit, liberal leaning) without the madness of the Boston public school system. Though with school aged kids still being several tears away, that’s more of a long term consideration. If you really wanted small and coastal Provincetown, MA is probably the most queer friendly small coastal town in the world.

      • J

        I think this depends on your attitudes toward both schools and certainty. I know people who are very happy with their kids in Boston public schools. However, while your kid can get a great education there, they are definitely grittier and less shiny that I would expect schools to be in a place like Brookline. Also, and this is a bigger issue for me, you don’t have any guarantees that your kid will get into a school you’ll be comfortable with, since we don’t really have neighborhood schools. (There’s a zone system currently so you theoretically should get a school near-ish to you, but there are likely schools you’d take and schools you might not take in that zone.) So when you settle down into a community, you don’t know for sure that you won’t be scrambling for options, and possibly considering moving, once you get your school results. You may end up with a great option, but you just don’t know in advance. For me, that would be hard, but plenty of people are just fine with waiting to see.

  • Anne

    Well, I know you’re looking at the East Coast, but what about somewhere like Ann Arbor in Michigan? College town, an hour from a city where there are things to do and lots of people working to make a difference, close to a major airport (the Detroit airport is about half an hour away). I’m in grad school here right now, and while it’s certainly not perfect — my best friend here is gay, and he finds the scene on the small side — it sounds like a place like this might be a compromise for you. My husband and I are both city people, so when we leave here we both hope we end up in a big city, but people who love the smaller town feeling really seem to love it here. We had a similar experience when we lived in Cambridge in the UK — only a 50 minute train ride from London, which has everything, but also a small college town.

    Anyway, good luck getting through this choice! We’ve moved so many times in the last 10 years that the thought of someplace permanent still seems like such a pipe dream.

    • Another Meg

      I’m in a very similar situation to Anne, and I was thinking the same thing. College town close to an airport and bigger city.

      Good luck with your search, and your conversations.

    • Amy March

      Ann Arbor is fantastic, and Detroit is becoming an interesting city to live near

    • Megan

      I too was going to mention Ann Arbor! I’ve lived here for 12 years and the closer leaving here approaches, the more I appreciate it. A very educated, liberal town, and I like to think of it as queer-friendly although I am straight and can’t speak for the queer community. The Detroit airport is super nice and never that busy. For a college town, we have a great arts and cultural community. But we have winter…which just really sucked this year. But when it’s not winter, it’s perfect. It’s a cheap place to live–I pay $1000/month rent for a two-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 2-car garage! I’m spoiled.

      This post was so timely as last week the fiance and I came back to our recurring discussion/arguments about moving. He’s from Boston and it’s the only place he wants to move because his family is there. I’m okay with Boston, but every time we go and spend so much time in traffic, driving around, and learning how much people spend on crappy apartments, I get scared off. Ann Arbor is such an easy place to live. I also feel weird choosing to move closer to his family than mine…but his is just more complicated than mine and being close could help solve some problems. It’s nice to see so much Boston love here though, it makes me feel a little better. I just hate to take such a step back from the everyday luxuries I have (no commute, no traffic, lots of space, etc) because I really value that inexpensive quality of life.

  • Eleanor

    Move to Northampton!

    • Zoe

      Hahahah. I know this is not the point of this great article, but seriously. I think Northampton/Pioneer Valley/Western MA has you covered on almost every angle. Nature, culture, huge queer and queer friendly community. Lots of interesting people around. 40 minute drive to Bradley for the airport for K’s job.

      But bossy advice aside, I love your thoughts about how to work out differences without worrying about who’s “winning.”

      • Amy March

        Bradley really isn’t a major airport though. If K is doing a lot of business travel that’s potentially a significant increase in non-direct flights, travel time, and expense.

        • Laura C

          So, not really the topic of this post of course, but I have to say, Bradley consistently surprises me with its good options, and if you have a car, it’s less time to get therefrom Northampton than it is to get to Logan via public transit from big chunks of Cambridge. (Which, car vs. public transit is a questionable comparison, but realistically you’d want a car in a smaller town and might not in Boston-Cambridge.)

        • Bets

          Airport-wise, if K’s job involves international flights, NYC can’t be beat for the convenience and flight deals. If she mostly does domestic flights, though, then many suggestions here might be more viable.

  • Katelyn

    All I was thinking while reading this post was “MOVE TO BOSTON!!!!” it’s the greatest city in the world in my opinion…big enough for K, small enough for you. Easy drive to the beach or the mountains. Good luck with your decision, I’m confident you two will work it out.

    • KEA1

      Ha, I thought I would be the first to beg–uh, I mean suggest–that you move to Boston. There’s lots of good rowing here, too…

    • Kayjayoh

      As someone preparing to move to Boston, I won’t argue with this…only I’ll put an asterisk by the greatest city thing, given my love for a couple of midwestern cities starting with an M.

    • Daisy6564

      I live in Boston too and I echo all the positives, however, I feel like it shares some major negatives with NYC. The first being cost of living. One of the things that makes NYC impossible to live in long term is the expense, a problem that will not be mitigated by moving to Boston.

      Massachusetts though is full of midsize, gay-friendly cities. North Hampton jumped to mind. K would certainly not “stick out like a sore thumb” there and there is a big theater and arts scene.

      Portland, ME is artsy and close to the mountains. Providence, RI may also be a good solution. And it’s close to a very easily accessible airport.

      • Laura C

        Northampton’s my hometown and definitely should be on the list! But as someone who just moved from New York to Cambridge, let me say the cost of living is definitely lower here.

      • Joy

        I’ll second the Providence bit. It’s got a fantastic queer community, is artsy, has delicious food, ocean and mountains are a drive away…

  • enfp

    I always love Elizabeth’s writing, and this piece was *just* what I needed to read this morning. We had the “I wish you want what I want” disagreement last night, about where to live (in our case buying versus renting). Also, what is this marvellous sounding Northern Forest Canoe Trail, and can I paddle it with you?!

  • Sarah D

    Oh yeah!! Gotta put a vote in for my beloved Boston (even though you totally didn’t ask for places to move.) I live in Savin Hill in Dorchester and it is the best of all worlds. Right on public transit but has a neighborhood feel. Little shops and restaurants to go to but the ability to have your own garden/ space. Close the airport and a vibrant LGBTQ community. Also you’re a quick bus or train ride back to NYC to visit friends :).

  • Amanda L

    What a timely piece. “This would be easier if you’d just want what I want” could be in a theme in my relationship. From wanting him to propose before he was ready (and then waiting not-so-patiently), to the kid discussion, to some other heavy issues in our lives, it would just be easier if he wanted what I wanted. But then, our relationship wouldn’t be the wonderful give-and-take that it is now. We wouldn’t still be able to surprise each other six years into it with some new opinion. We’re different people, which means we want different things at different times. And I’m ok with that (for now) ;)

  • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    Many times we assume others have it so easy. Good for you for remembering that other couples have their own ongoing discussions. And good for you for sticking through the hard conversations. We love who we love regardless of whether they fit our previous idea of our ideal partner. Life works out in its own way. I completely understand thinking others have it so much easier. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece.

  • STM

    “She is the kind of introvert that likes being around a lot of acquaintances and activity partners while doing a lot of not-talking to them” — thank you for summing up in minimal words what my version of introversion is.

    • J

      And likewise, thanks for putting words around how I feel as an extrovert!

  • Ana

    I’m at this place in my marriage too – my wife is finishing her PhD in May 2015 and August 2015 academic jobs are just starting to pop up all over the place. Every few days we’re talking about a new place – most recently Newark Delaware. For us, the perfect marriage of “city” life with a college town feel is Northhampton MA or Ithaca NY – though every major city on the east coast is still on the list. I feel you, Elisabeth, though in my situation I’m at the mercy of the academic job market so there is much less debate (which is kind of nice?).

    • anon

      As an academic my initial reaction to this piece was to think how different life must be when you can just choose where you want to live. Sometimes it makes me angry. My partner and I are about to leave a city we both love for a place that would never have been on either of our radars (but, considering where we could have ended up, is not so bad). I definitely had those moments while sending off applications where I thought “do I really want to live in Wise, Virginia? Can I really ask my partner to move there with me? Is that fair? Maybe I should just not apply for this one. But what if it’s the only offer I get?” It’s tough. But sometimes I guess it’s freeing to not have to make the choice yourself. We have family in two countries and friends all across the globe. Anywhere we picked to live would hurt someone’s feelings. It’s nice that we can’t be blamed for choosing Toronto over Atlanta, or London over LA, etc.

      • Anne

        Fellow academic here (although not quite as close to finishing) — I just needed to chime in that yes, seriously, I would give almost anything to be able to choose where I live.

  • Mandy

    Although already posted, Providence, RI or Saugatuck, MI might be good options. Both are known for having an open LGBT community. Saugatuck, MI is right on Lake Michigan and is about a 30-45 minute drive to Grand Rapids, MI airport. It is definitely a smaller community and a resort town during the summer months for people from Chicago, but has delicious food, cute stores and an artisy vibe.

    • Anon

      Here to second the Saugatuck recommendation. Another bonus is that it’s less than 2 hours from Chicago, if you want to scratch the big-city itch.

      What about Portland, ME?

      • Amanda Hollander

        Shocked this is the first recommendation I’ve seen for Portland, Maine! It’s got a great LGBT community, easy drive to BOS, and a great airport in PWM. City feel, country or ocean at every turn!

  • Sarah Harshman

    You two are so wonderful. I don’t know you, of course, but I just want to give each of you a big hug. I can’t begin to detail how much this one resonated with me. Thanks for another piece of beautiful writing.
    We moved to Hartsdale, NY in august for similar reasons. NYC was draining me completely, but P is a musician and has to be nearby. We have a cottage and a few pots of tomatoes, which is a good start. Like you, we just try to keep talking and loving and learning. I know you two will find where you need to be. Best of luck!

  • Rebecca

    Good luck with all of that! I live in a small town I would not consider queer positive, and there are queer people who live here, where I work with half the couple, who then introduces their partner to me as roommate. It breaks my heart. Breaks. I think you would find the spontaneity in a town circa this size to a bit bigger (5 000 plus), but I think it would be too hard.

  • Anon

    How about Cleveland? I know it tends to get a bad rap. But, its got a pretty active gay community in the suburban areas – I think Lakewood in particular. There’s a major airport there, very easy to get to. Lots of small town communities to get involved with. Lakeside beaches are everywhere and the valley is a fun place to run/hike.

  • Sara

    Good luck with your search! Moving is always a tricky business, hopefully this is the hardest part of it for you.

  • Jess

    Thank you for capturing all the strain and difficulty of knowing you want to be with someone, but not being sure how it will look or how it should look.

    That’s right where I’m at now, only we’re not good at talking about it yet.

  • Alyssa M

    My relationship has this sticking point on to stay or go. We both love the city we live in, but I’ve lived here longer than anywhere ever. I’m antsy to move, and dream of the adventure of moving somewhere new with him, but he wants to stay put, and dreams of growing old here (Me: never ever live anywhere else!?).

    So far I think we’ve compromised with staying here and traveling a lot… but why can’t he just want what I want!

  • kcaudad

    Here is my take on this: sometimes, someone just has to make a compromise to be with the other person. As a wise person told me, marriage is a give-and-take; and sometimes the giving and taking don’t happen at the same times. But, you assume that it will all ‘even-out’ over time.Maybe one person ‘gives’ now by making a compromise on the moving issue, and the other person ‘gives’ more in a few years by making a compromise on another big issue, etc, etc, etc. S
    Personally, I didn’t really ‘want’ or plan to live here for the rest of my life, but this is where we met and where some of our family lives, and where we got decent jobs, so it just fell into our laps. I finally decided to accept the fact that we would be staying here for a long time. We bought a house, and now I really do like our medium-sized city. I hate the winters, but I made the decision to be with the one I love in a city that makes sense for us.
    Good luck with your decision!

    • Bets

      But what if the give-and-takes don’t even out? Or make one of us really unhappy?

      (I don’t expect you to have answers.)

  • Amanda

    I was going to suggest Minneapolis, but if K hates winter that would be a no-go. Northampton would be a good compromise though! We have just touched the surface on this discussion for ourselves. Currently renting just outside DC, but at the point where I’d like to think about moving further out, putting down some roots and buying something. He is more on the, I’m not sure if this is the area I’d like to raise a family side of things and pokes around for jobs in other locations sometimes.

  • Kayjayoh

    I realize that the point of this was not to solicit suggestions, but still: Madison, WI sounds like it has what both of you crave.

    • Kayjayoh

      In our own set of compromises, my husband moved from his beloved Boston (well, Waltham) to be with me in Madison. He’s loved it here but has been super homesick the entire time. I also love Boston, and told him I would move with him to Boston once I had some job and family things settled enough to leave *and* we were married. Now that is all happening.

      Of course, now we need to agree on *where* we want to live in the Boston area. We are getting an apartment in Newton for the next year while we look to buy. My heart is looking toward Jamaica Plain, Savin Hill, and maybe Camberville (depending on what we could afford) whereas he likes the western suburbs (he commutes to Lexington). I keep telling him that I love him very much, but I’m not getting a car again, so any place we end up has to be public transit and walking friendly and I am likely going to be working in Cambridge. He also like modern and spare, whereas I grew up in a huge old Victorian shamble, so that style is mine.

      My next year is going to involve going on (and dragging him along on) transit-based walks around many neighborhoods, to see where we can both be happy.

      • Becky

        I grew up in Boston, and I currently live in Madison (I’ve been here for 6 years). Madison has a lot going for it – affordability, great farmer’s market, easy access to canoeing, camping, great biking, etc – but I don’t think that it necessarily has that open-porch feeling you’re seeking or the accessible anonymity that K craves. I think Boston would give you all of those things – as well as access to a large airport and relatively easy access to smaller (Providence, Manchester) airports as well. Best of luck with your decision-making!!!!!

      • Eloise

        We’ve lived in Jamaica Plain for over 5 years now and my enthusiastic crush on the neighborhood continues unabated. It’s very walkable (plus buses and the Orange line); we have a car for groceries and whatnot but I get pretty much wherever I need to go without it. I have a friend who commutes to Cambridge and is okay with it, though it’s probably about an hour door-to-door.
        I’m guessing apartments are more expensive than Madison but still cheaper than Cambridge or closer to downtown, and they’re even building some more modern condos by the T. It’s just a delightful place; a more diverse mix of people than you expect from Boston, lots of useful independent businesses, plus a lot of nature for a pretty urban place.

  • Megan

    It has been helpful for my partner and I to remember that we have the rest of our lives together, and the places that we might want to live will likely be around for years to come. For lack of a better expression, we can “take turns” for what we need. I moved up to a tiny town in the Yukon Territory to be with him, and was surprised to find how much I loved it there. He wanted to leave after year one, but I wanted to stay – so we stayed. After year two, we left to move to the giant city of Toronto, in part because he wanted to be closer to his parents, who are older than mine. He has always made it clear that if I feel the need to go back home, we will make it work. My situation is a bit different, as I don’t have particularly strong feelings about where I live at the moment, but for me, just knowing that the option is there in the future, and that we are on the same page in terms of willingness to compromise with the other when it is needed, makes things a lot easier.

  • Sarah E

    You totally need to move to Lincoln, NE. It’s a decent-sized city with a small-town feel. When I moved here 3 years ago, within about six months I had a network of acquaintances that were turning into friends because I saw them everywhere, and the same crowd was involved in a lot of the different community work I was doing. There’s also a pretty vibrant queer community, and Omaha’s major airport is an hour away.

    . . .I can’t lie about the winters, though. But they can’t be much worse than NYC. Plus, K grew up in the Midwest, right? She’ll be used to it :-)

    (on a more related to the central idea note, I expect a similar dialogue when we have to decide where to move next)

  • Sheila

    Beautiful story, now please move to Denver. Close enough to the mountains for your outdoorsy adventures, small town feel, and enough of a city for your partner to feel at home.

    • Allie Moore

      more unsolicited advice but an enthusiastic YES TO DENVER! perfect balance of big city/outdoorsy/small town qualities.

  • Kae

    I’m gonna go ahead and recommend Winnipeg, even though I’m sure many would disagree. Pretty much a big small town with an airport.

    • Carly

      Oh man, smallest “big” city in the world! But the winters?? Killer.

  • Enthusiastic Texan

    Here’s some more unsolicited advice, and you may think it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out: Texas. You’ve got two options. The first is Austin, which is a relatively large, very open and accepting state capitol with a huge university. And it’s diverse and accepting and within striking distance of the Texas Hill Country, which has loads of outdoor options. Second option, and this may sound even crazier: Houston. Still within striking distance of a lot of fun outdoor opportunities. Major airport with loads of direct flight options. Large like NYC but friendly and definitely has defined neighborhoods with lots of front porches. And surprisingly diverse and accepting: openly gay female mayor, second largest pride parade in the country, local ordinance protecting domestic partner benefits, etc.

    • Becca Daniels

      I was actually thinking of recommending Austin (since I live here), but I don’t know how cool E and K would be with living in a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage (yet). I am normally one of those native Austinites who is sick of everyone moving here, but I would totally make an exception in this case.

    • Jennifer

      LOL Enthusiastic Texan. I love it. Also, currently sick of residing in Atlanta. (I know, we’re crazy…) my spouse and I have been discussing Austin as well. We love a lot of things about ATL, except the rain and are hoping that Austin will be enough drier to appeal to the desert grown out of the two of us (I’m from Colorado and husband is from Texas… so we’re trying to find a compromise that isn’t ‘move back to Colorado’).

    • Caitlin_DD

      Exactly, the Southwest! Another unsolicited suggestion: New Mexico! Beautiful outdoors, and not just desert either. Small city feel with big city population and places.

  • Mezza

    I’m on your end of a similar discussion with my wife, but annoyingly enough, I’m the one who’s inclined to leave NYC eventually even though it’s my job that’s keeping us here. Which makes it much less of a pressing issue, since I can’t exactly argue for a move when I can’t really go anywhere else and expect to find work (ah, professional theatre). She wants to stay because of the diversity, public transit, and incredible assortment of fascinating activities and people.

    That said, though, my inclination to leave NYC doesn’t come from discomfort with the city, rather curiosity about everywhere else. I actually do have that revolving-door, spontaneous-dinner community of friends here (wanna join?), and leaving them would be one of the worst things about moving. Part of me wants to be able to raise my kids more like the midwestern way I was raised, but the rest of me knows we can and probably will make it work just fine here in the big city. I’ll just keep traveling every chance I get!

  • Daisy6564

    I already put in my vote for where to live but I know that is not the main point of your article.

    I understand what it is like to love someone but be on totally opposite sides of a life choice. In our case it is dog ownership. I am a dog person. Like, I can’t pass a dog on the street without petting it (rubbing its ears, cooing at it, etc). I make a beeline for any domestic animal in my vicinity. Friends call me the dog whisperer because I can get even temperamental dogs snuggled up with me, letting my scratch their belly within 15 minutes of meeting. To me life is not complete without a dog.

    Hubs did not grow up with any pets and couldn’t really care less about animals in general. He sees owning an animal as an unnecessary burden (“why would you want to follow something around and pick up its poop?”)

    I really feel like my life will not be complete without owning dogs and I knew before marrying him that he did not feel the same way. I am compromising by saying that we can wait until our kids (not yet born, or conceived) are school age. That puts us maybe 10 years away from dog ownership. It hurts my heart but I had to decide that I loved him enough that I can do without a dog for now.

    • Sarah E

      I hear you. When we moved together, I really wanted to find an apartment that would allow animals, but when we found the perfect place for us. . .it didn’t. It hurts my heart not to have a dog, too, but fortunately my partner gets that, and will certainly be willing to find a dog-friendly place for our next move (I tell him multiple times a week that I want a dog). Our thing is that he’s a cat person. I’m just barely cat-tolerant, but if he’s cool with having a dog, then I need to be cool with having a cat.

      We actually had a funny moment getting to know a new group of friends, and some asked about dog-person/cat-person and we shared a loaded glance, and the new friends immediately joked that they’d really stepped on a touchy subject :-)

      • MDBethann

        I was barely cat tolerant when I met my DH 5 years ago. He came with 3 cats. Because they were part of the package, I learned to love the cats too (the fact that they are declawed helps). My cat loving friends find the transformation HILARIOUS, even though I just love “our” cats and am still not a huge fan of other people’s cats (my parents and sister all have cat allergies, so that doesn’t help things either). I’m not saying you’ll become a cat person, but they aren’t so bad when you get used to them. Added bonus is that they do not need to be walked outside in all sorts of crazy weather to answer nature’s call.

    • Rachelle

      I know so many dog people that married non-dog people who after getting a dog became completely obsessed. If you don’t grow up with them you don’t get it, but once you have that amazing, cute, sweet, fluffy ball of love and loyalty in your life you can’t help but be a dog person!
      You already made the compromise, but just know that his heart will melt once you get to that point and (hopefully) adopt a pup!

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

        I was the opposite. I was *not* a cat person before, but now I totally am. Who knew!

        • Daisy6564

          I’m honestly so starved for a fur baby that I would take a cat, and I am firmly a dog person.

          Hubs doesn’t understand the purpose of pets at all. He thinks animals belong outside in the wild and can’t see why anyone would take on the duty of caring for an animal.

      • Daisy6564

        That’s what I’m hoping for (and banking on). My dad grew up with dogs, my mom did not and thought they were a nuisance. I’m pretty sure my sister and I not-stop begged for a puppy from the time we could talk and mom held out until nearly junior high. When we finally got a dog she was my mom’s baby. Seriously, my mom used to carry her around the house like a baby and talk to her all day long. Twenty years later my mom is the ultimate dog-lady.

        I firmly believe that once hubs has his own little fur baby his cold heart will melt. Especially since he is super good with kids.

  • CH

    My husband and I are going through something sort of similar — we actually *both* want to move (eventually) from DC to the Midwest, where we’re both from.

    And yet…how do we give up our home, our excellent jobs with great benefits, and the amazing support system we’ve created here in DC?

    It’s ridiculous to know that we both want something (to be closer to family, to live more cheaply, to live slower, etc) AND yet feel like we’re not ready/not sure how to go about making that change.

    Best wishes to you and K, Elisabeth — I know you will find what you’re looking for! (Providence, RI is the city that popped into my head when reading what you both wanted, and I see that suggestion echoed many times in the comments!)

    • Lauren from NH

      Living in a DC sub myself and longing to get out in the future, have you checked out Southern Maryland? We went to school down there and parts are just drop dead gorgeous! Nice and quiet, fields every where so the air always smells like warm grass. Calvert Cliffs are amazing. There’s Historic St. Mary’s City and the Pax River. It’s the support system that I don’t want to leave behind or I might push for us to go back to New England. I think/hope that our friends when they settle will end up down that way. If not, within the same state I can make work.

      • CH

        Yes, and we’ve looked into the Harpers Ferry area as well — do you know the MARC train goes out that far? But we’ve decided that the best option for us is to (eventually) be closer to our families, and so the Midwest is where we’ll end up…it’s just hard to basically say we’re trading in our wonderful lives in DC for something relatively unknown, even if it means being within a few hours’ drive of our families as opposed to a few hours’ plane ride. :)

    • Kat

      I feel you. My husband and I both want to leave our current city (in the very south of New Zealand) and move to the north (warmer and closer to my parents). But good jobs and cheap(ish) living kept us here. Eventually we decided there was never going to be a “good” time to move, and it was always going to be expensive, stressful and difficult and we figured we just had to get on with it. So my husband started looking for a job and now we are moving next month! I’m super excited. It’s been just as expensive, stressful and difficult as anticipated but we know it will be worth it.
      (Admittedly it has been made slightly easier by the presence of our 9 month old as this means I can stay home with him and there’s no pressure for us both to have jobs right away. His arrival also got us motivated to actually do something towards moving rather than just talk about it.)

  • Hannah B

    Me and Fh have the same discussion all the time. Now I’m gonna look into Boston with all these Bostonophiles going wild in the comments!! Good luck. Maybe do that thing from the original Dr Doolittle where you just throw darts at a map and go see what’s there (or dissect the place on trip advisor and see if it would be worth it). Maybe your next few weekend trips could scout out potential locations. Maybe fate will just throw a different place your way without you even trying!

  • Bets

    We have the same problem. It’s kind of comforting to read this and realize that we’re not alone.

    I am also really jealous of Maria and Mariah. Whenever we talk about something problematic that’s come up in our lives, not necessarily related to geography, I wish that our conversations went the way Maria and Mariah’s did.

    And for the record – “I’m the kind of extrovert that thrives in a small place… K is the kind of introvert that likes being around a lot of acquaintances and activity partners while doing a lot of not-talking to them” – I think I am both. For most of my life I’ve been like K where I loved being the quiet one who can hide in a crowd, but recently I’ve had to take on responsibilities like organizing community gardens in small towns, and I realized that I really liked it. I would still ultimately be more comfortable non-talking, but I’m also really proud that I can organize a garden and proud that I’m able to make some conversation at a dinner party.

  • Lauren from NH

    While I love the city mouse-country mouse story (it’s our story too), the tale of the little green monster is the one I identify with right now. I think I am starting to internalize the pressure for engagement perfection. I have been reading the narration of a former classmate’s amazingly romantic indie honeymoon roadtrip and it’s making me internally dance around and stamp my feet like one of the Wild Things. But comparison is just crazy making when we never know the whole story. I am trying to take this feeling of jealousy and say, “well what can we/I do to encouage healthy conflict, communication and harmony? What patterns, assumptions, and attitudes in our lives can can we look at anew to evolve and grow our happiness?” I consider it mental exercise (kind of related to the mental health discussions from yesterday). Turning negative feelings into positive actions and reflections. So hopefully someday someone wants to punch me in the face for being so happy haha!

  • Claire

    Has anyone handled this dilemma when torn not just between two cities, but two families? My family is 1,000 miles away from his. We each want to live near our respective families. Has anyone put down long-term roots in a city far from their family? How did it work out? Did you resent your partner? Did you feel like a bad son or daughter? How did you pick?

    • Lauren from NH

      For me it was a move towards work, friends, and living with my guy so leaving my home town was very voluntary and not unfamiliar, I have left home for extended periods many times in my life. Resentment only arose during fearful/ugly fights in our first year of living together, and then it was fear (what the hell am I doing, being an adult sucks!) not true anger that brought it out. I have certainly missed my family, who have since my move been living more local to eachother, making me feel a bit left out, but our relationships are pretty durable. They call me and dork around, which I love. It only an hour flight too, so I visit when I can afford a ticket. Another factor is my mom needs and wants to move in the next 3 years or so when she retires and moving near me is on the table since two of her brothers and my half sister are around here too. One more item of note, it means I win Christmas since we live near his family…score!

      • Bets

        “One more item of note, it means I win Christmas since we live near his family…score!”

        That’s actually a really good point, and a fair compromise for both sets of families. On the downside though, I’m not thrilled to be flying every Christmas for the next 10+ years of our lives.

    • Megan

      Oh, I feel you on this. It’s a hard thing for me, and I definitely have guilt issues. I’m in Toronto, and my family is in Virginia, while my partner’s family is here in Toronto. I don’t resent my partner, but he gets strange guilt sometime, and feels like it’s his duty to make sure I’m happy here (while I feel like I made the decision to be here, and my happiness is not his responsibility). My siblings also live near my parents, which assuages some of the worries of “OMG who will take care of my parents if something bad happens” feeling, but also increases the feeling of being left out that Lauren mentions. Skyping in to special celebrations can be a bit of a bummer.

      As much as I care about my family, I ultimately have to be okay with what’s good for me. Living in my hometown is not the best place for me, personally/career-wise/socially. I like the new home I’m building, and I have to trust that though they might miss me, my family just wants me to be happy.

      I found that texting and emailing frequently with little updates or “thinking of you!” messages helps instead of waiting for a big monthly catch-up phone call.

      Good luck! xo

      • Bets

        “I don’t resent my partner, but he gets strange guilt sometime.”

        I’m from Toronto, with family in Toronto, and I’m pretty sure I would experience that strange guilt if I asked my partner (also from the US) to move here. I will probably be responsible for taking care of my parents further down the road, whereas my partner’s siblings will probably be the ones who’ll take care of his parents. But I would still feel very uneasy if we had to make that decision, because it feels like you’re choosing one side over the other.

        I think the Toronto inferiority complex also factors into the “strange guilt”, though, that “there are so many great cities in the world, Toronto kind of has all these great things going for it but it’s still not New York” sentiment.

        • Megan

          That’s a good point about the Toronto/Canadian inferiority complex (which is still hard for me to understand, because I think it’s such a great place, but my partner says this way of thinking is kind of ingrained). I guess his guilt is always striking to me because I did choose this, and I know that he would be open to discussing other options if I didn’t actually want to live here. It requires trust that there aren’t any feelings of resentment, or that I’ll speak up if bad feelings start to emerge. I also left an earlier comment on this post about how choosing where to live doesn’t have to be a permanent decision.

          Another major factor was how it was relatively easier for me to emigrate and live/work in Canada than it would be for him to do that in the U.S.

    • Cynth

      Our families are on separate coasts- I think the key here is “nothing is forever”- as in, just chose for now (or the next 3-5 years), then it can change. We also make some of these choices based on other factors- can one family travel more easily? versus being older and less mobile? Does the weather/city size/culture match you better near one or the other? I echo some of the earlier comments that life is long, and change is good! No one has to “win”, and if doesn’t work you can try something else! (and sometimes distance from either or both families can be a good thing!)

  • Lindsay

    “I just like to verbosely explore the pros and cons of Gestalt versus CBT therapy while we’re powerwalking.” if you stay in brooklyn, please let’s be friends! but i hear you on this discussion. i’ve lived in brooklyn for almost 5 years. my fiance has lived here for almost 3. he’s still madly in love with it, and i’m getting a little tired of the constant hustle, the particular hopelessness of waiting for the g train in the airless july underground heat, and of course, the cost. but neither of us has a driver’s license or is particularly interested in getting one, and new york seems like the place to be for both of our careers. for now.

  • macrain

    Oh man. I think we ALL have a Maria and Mariah in our lives, right? My Maria and Mariah can make me want to shrivel up into a ball and die when they tell me about what they did last weekend, as it sounds infinitely more cool than anything I have probably ever done, alone or with my partner. I think what bothers me most about how ecstatic they claim to be all the time is that I’m pretty sure they are telling the truth.

    • JDrives

      Yep – this is why Facebook tends to make us feel anxious and frustrated. We only see the fun, glittery, exciting “You’re camping in Hungary for the summer?!” sort of stories. It’s the truth, but not always the whole truth (mosquito bites the size of half-dollars, bickering with your partner, pickpocketing, etc). When I’ve got the envies and I’m starting to look down on my life, like Elisabeth mentioned I try to remember that I’m not getting the whole picture. They’re human, they’re messy too.

      • J

        When I feel this way, I sometimes try to imagine what my life looks like through the Facebook lens – just pulling out the photogenic highlights. It’s amazing how pretty it can all look, and that helps me to realize that, if what I’m seeing is other people’s highlights, their full story is probably pretty normal. I’m not sure it’s the healthiest way to manage, but it helps!

    • Kat

      I like to think that even though we all have a Maria and Mariah in our lives, to someone else we probably are Maria and Mariah!

  • Lauren from NH

    I love how almost every comment says, “Oh pick me, pick me! My area is nice! And you can move next door and we can be bestfriends!” (Really I would be saying the same thing if DC traffic didn’t give me road rage. – Country Mouse)

    • Sarah E

      I know, right? We’re so solution-oriented here ;-)

      • Helen

        Or getting-her-to-move-and-be-friends-with-us oriented. My motivation anyway.

  • Laura C

    Well, Northampton-Cambridge issues aside, this hits so close to home right now. My fiance takes the bar in a week. We get married 10 days after that. In between? He’s going on a clerkship interview in pretty much the last place in the United States I’d want to live. Ok, maybe the third-to-last place, but it’s bad. But, I mean, it would be so great if he could get an appellate clerkship, and probably I should just suck it up for a year if he gets the stupid thing? But it really makes me want to cry to think about living in San Francisco.

    And generally, this just opens up the vistas of all the times in our life together he’s going to want to go somewhere I don’t. If it’s visiting Japan, he can go by himself and be welcome, and as far as permanent living situations I think we’re on the same page, or at least adjacent pages. But it might be a while before we get to figure out what “permanent” is, and along the way I worry about these moments. It would almost be better if I didn’t have a job I can do from anywhere, because then I would at least have a reason to argue against going someplace I don’t want to go other than “I don’t wanna.”

    • Anne

      Just throwing it out there — I grew up in San Francisco and I LOVED it. I have very complicated feelings about the city in its current state and the direction it’s heading (I always thought I’d move back the first chance I got, since my husband and I both grew up there and all our family still lives there, but now I’m not so sure), but there are still lots of really, really awesome things about it.

      • Laura C

        I mean, I know tons of people who love San Francisco. I just don’t like it. In fact, I suspect all the people who love it are one of the reasons I moved from feeling meh about it to actively disliking it, in that way that happens. Like “oh, it’s winter in the northeast but here it is 70 degrees, you are so jealous of me.” Yeah, no, I’m not jealous. I like seasons, even when I don’t like the weather. And — not accusing you of this here at all, just commenting on my friends and Face-quaintances — there is no place in the country with so many triumphantly smug provincial attitudes about it. And I say that having lived in New York. So it’s not that I’m unacquainted with what people like about it. I’m just unswayed.

        • anonymous

          Come to the East Bay! It’s where former SF residents eat their words and learn to love summer sunshine and having a yard.

  • MC

    Ha! I had to laugh at this line: “And though I once wrote in my journal that my true love would be someone with whom I could paddle the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, well, things don’t always turn out how you think they will, and you might end up doing a lot of day hikes with your true love instead.”

    I think my fiance feels very similarly. He’s always been very outdoorsy and I… like to read. And after ten years together, we’ve kind of struck a balance – we have quiet evenings where we read just as often as we have outdoorsy afternoons. But I also let him go on some climbing/camping trips by himself so I can get extra reading time in :)

  • SarahG

    The best advice I ever got about anything was: “It’s a long life.” I feel like in marriage or an LTR, you are playing the long game. Yes, as we get older, we are less likely to just pick up and move somewhere new again, but at the same time — it’s a long life, and you have no idea where you will end up. Making this move “THE move” puts a lot of pressure on it; for myself, that’s too much stress, so I tend to think more in terms of “this seems like a good choice for us now, based on the information available.” If you can get to that point, I think you’re solid with your choice. The rest — is incredibly hard to predict and will drive you crazy. Good luck! You guys are amazing and I’d try to sell you on Oakland if everybody else hadn’t already pitched a bid for their towns :)

    • Alyssa M

      Wow I really love this advice!!!

  • Becky

    Boston, Boston, Boston. Cambridge, Somerville, or Brookline would all be good options…though there is a large chunk of my heart that remains firmly planted in Providence, RI.

  • KM

    Philadelphia! There’s grit and diversity for K and smaller-city feel for you. Its a magical place with amazing craft and artisanal communities, and an international airport. Go visit – its super easy day/weekend trip from NYC. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    • KM

      Or, Beacon NY. The Hudson Valley is so full of beautiful sites perfect for outdoorsy types, and some of the smaller towns are so hip and getting ever more diverse as the cool kids from NYC reach the leaving-stage. My wife and I have our sights set on Beacon area in a year or so…we’ll be great porch sitting friends.

    • scw

      I’ve been waiting for someone to recommend Philly!

  • D

    A thing that helped me and my partner when we moved, was the thought that our move would not necessarily be permanent or definitive. We decided to go where he wanted to go (and where we could affort) even if I would have to travel 4 hours a day for work. We agreed that if I didn’t feel at home in our new city we could always move on. We are not married (yet) but I felt a hugely calm knowing that home would be where he is living (and okay, where good coffee is served). Good luck with your home together!

  • Class of 1980

    I’m glad to see all the recommendations. My first thought is that there are tons of smaller places with strong LBGT populations where no one would blink at you.

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    boulder!

    • Emily

      If you move to Boulder I want to meet you!

  • Kate

    Hates winter, doesn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, outdoorsy activities close at hand, more of a community feel? West Coast. Portland or Santa Cruz come to mind right off the top of my head. Plus activity partners and community gardens abound o’er here.

    • Pileofstix

      Totally was going to say Portland. I don’t live there, but for what they seem to be looking for it seems like a great choice!

    • http://byov.blogspot.com/ iris

      Heck, even Seattle would fit the requirements quite well.

  • http://eatwellpartyhard.com/ Claire Suellentrop

    “We both lean on the marriage itself when we can’t find common ground.”
    And this is what gives me faith in marriage.

  • Elizabeth

    When we were facing the moving decision, going on a vacation to some places that were on the list helped immensely. We stayed with friends who lived there and got a really good feeling of what normal life is like. For example, I learned that New York has actual grocery stores and not just bodegas. And not only that, farmers markets with produce I’ve never heard of! I would have no idea about any of that staying in a hotel and eating out every day. Preconceived notions die-hard and sometimes seeing helps so much more than talking or researching.

  • Tracy

    If you did want to move to Newfoundland, we have a pretty great community, just saying :) I’ll be your friend!

  • AHM

    I’ve lived in Boston (actually Somerville) for 15 years and am about to move to Salem, MA. Based on what you said in your post it sounds like either could work for you I really recommend you check out Salem. It has a strong queer community, great art and food, is on the water and is 30 mins from Boston & Logan airport, plus it’s WAY more affordable than Boston and is totally adorable. Plus it’s close to all the wonderful north shore beaches, hiking etc.

  • HD

    I don’t have any good advice, sadly, but you perfectly described all (and I mean all) of the reasons I returned to the New England countryside, despite enjoying a lot of things about city life for the six years I lived in Boston. I spent so much time hanging out in cities, including NYC and even London, and having a blast. I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved it and how much it enriched my life. Yet, in the end, I really could not make myself see it as long term. It always felt slightly…surreal? dress-rehearsal-ish? Anyway, that’s just my experience, but I’ve never come across an essay that captured my feelings so precisely…well, except for the camping…not a fan of the camping. Ha! Anyway, I wish you and K. all the best, and I’m certain you’ll find a workable compromise soon.

  • Jessie Weintraub

    Come to Atlanta! All the neighborhoods make it easy to pick which one fits your style/feel, lots of gender diversity, and not too cold (except for snowpocalypse this year, but that’s a 1 in 10 year fluke). mountains, beaches not too far.
    My fiancé and I have the same feelings – about wanting the other to want what we want. But then if we both wanted the same thing all the time – I feel like neither of us would grow or learn very much. I know I’ve learned a lot from making decisions more along the lines of what he wanted, and been pleasantly surprised.
    But it is super fun (sarcasm) when I do all the research and put tons of time and effort into wedding stuff and he just tells me he doesn’t like it and wants to do something else. I’m like, “GAH! Then YOU do all the work!!”
    Sorry, and thanks for the space to rant a little

  • galaxie

    Let me be the N billionth person to say “consider Boston!” Actually, though, consider Somerville and Cambridge. We have everything you want.

  • Angie

    Try taking a peek at Buffalo, NY – Elmwood village or Allentown areas. Still urban but your on a big lake and a quick trip down the road to the Allegany Mountains. It’s not a bad train ride across the state to get into NYC either if you have the yen.

  • Caitlin_DD

    With my suggestion in, I will say this is a beautiful piece. Moving is one of the hardest choices in marriage, I think, simply because there is no way to make a compromise like you can with other intangibles. You can’t be in two places at once. And who do we move for? Who makes the sacrifice? It’s a difficult question.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

      I agree. Where you build a home is a HUGE thing that impacts every part of one’s life, and whether or not you feel comfortable there is a big deal. I moved to another country because my then-husband had better work opportunities in his country than I had in mine. And I didn’t mind much, but it was harder than I expected to start over in my career here. And now I am staying in this country even though my original reason is no longer keeping me here. I never would have thought that would happen, just five years ago, which was right before I moved here and got married. A lot can change in 5 years. :) Maybe that’s it…change. Change is hard. And changing something major for someone else…even harder…

  • Anonymous

    Elizabeth, never stop writing for APW! I absolutely love everything you write, and it speaks so deeply, sincerely, and truly. Thank you so much for sharing your writing with us!

  • Helen

    FAVOURITE POSTER LADY EVER. Always pleased to see you back. Love your articulate, pragmatic style. ps. Move to New Zealand. We have beaches and mountains INSIDE our major city.

    • Keren

      Also, Auckland: Big enough to feel anonymous when you want, small enough to find a spotlight whenever you need one. Englishy-enough for people to not feel like companionable silence is weird, Americany-enough for it to be totally acceptable to bowl around to each others’ houses unannounced. And beaches in every direction – black-sand grumpy ones and white-sand lazy ones. This place has it all. Seriously, move here.

  • Jess M

    This post is exactly where my head is at right now and articulated in a way that I have been circling around for ages. Wanting the same thing is an issue in my relationship too, particularly on where to live. My husband and I can’t agree on where to live in the same city, let alone country so we’re really divided! I want to be close to my parents/friends and work and he wants to be near the beach. That would be ok until you factor in that these two desires are also totally unaffordable so I’m the one resisting living an hour away just to be near the beach. Perhaps we can’t have what we want at the same time!

  • Elisabeth S.

    I’d love to do a whistle-stop tour of every place you all just mentioned. Now that I’m out of my own head, your kind comments make me feel like we will actually find a place that comes close to having much of what we both want. Phew, APW, thanks for making me (and us) feel less alone.

  • Britt

    New Orleans! Its like a village with the benefits of a big city including a large queer community and a thriving arts/theatre/music/film scene. Porch sittin and easy dinners? Duh. Community theatre opportunities? You bet. And its pretty cheap compared to the rest of the country.

  • ktan

    I haven’t scrolled through the comments, but I have to recommend Minneapolis! It is a huge small city that has great quality of life and a huge lgbt community. We have things for both urban and outdoor enthusiasts, and an international airport to boot. Seriously though, even though we plan to leave Minneapolis, I would recommend anyone to live here because it is great!

    • ktan

      Having said that, the winter can be the worst, but everything great far outweighs this. Trust me, I hate winter (and I am an East Coast transplant) and I still love it here!

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  • lauren_yearsley

    I feel like suburbia is the best solution. Can definitely put you close to an airport, will give you neighbors to talk to and have impromptu dinners with, and is close enough to all sorts of activities for K!