Father Tony

Move It Or Lose It

Filed By Father Tony | May 13, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

Dear Tony,

I'm 38 and love my job. I met a guy who lives in San Francisco. I live in Worchester, MA. Six months go by. Now he asks me to move to SF and live with him. I think this is love but I've never had it before so I don't know for sure. I want to go but every night I go to bed thinking what are my chances? I wish I knew the percentages. How many guys give everything up and then regret it? This is the first time in my life when I don't know what to do. Wish I had a crystal ball.


Dear R,

I'm happy for you. Love is the pearl of great worth. Many sell all they have to possess it. But you are wondering if this is a real pearl or just a plastic bauble. This may help you become an informed consumer.

Let's look at "Caution" because that is really what you are talking about. Caution is often billed as prudence and wisdom. Bah. Meh. Feh. Caution is its own reward. A cautious man stays out of traffic because it might injure him. He may live longer than the man who jumps into traffic but he never goes anywhere. Is that what you want? A long, safe and empty life on the sidewalk?

Listen to billionaires talk about their lives. Most of them describe many bankruptcies and failures before their success.

I have many friends and more acquaintances whose answer is "Some guy." when asked why they moved to SF or NYC or Miami, etc. Without scientific study, I'm guessing that most of those kinds of relationships did not work out but that the mover found happiness in his new surroundings and built a life there - with no regrets. The road to happy is a twisted one.

Two nights ago, at midnight, I watched a giant sea turtle come up out of the waves to dig a pit in the sand, lay her eggs, cover them up and return to the sea. So many instincts at play. Doing without thinking.

Until we know the reason for our being here, all of us creatures with two eyes and a nose and appendages that scoop sand are like actors on a stage without a script. We can either stay perfectly still or we can improvise. When last I checked, the arrival of a script was not predicted for this century.

My advice would be to go for it, but like the turtle, take a protective shell of prudence and sensibility with you. It's probably part of what he loves about you.

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Love is at least as important as work. Of course, I would try to see if I liked San Francisco as much as my new lover, and if San Francisco liked me back. I might move to San Francisco for a lover, but not Amarillo.

Almost 15 years ago I packed twp toddlers and our clothes and climbed on a plane in Houston and moved to the Boston area. I ended up getting married an have built a pretty nice life mostly.
I did have a safety plan in my employer in Houston who said that sh hoped that my kids and I were very happy but if things did not work out she would spare no expense to bring me back to Houston and put me right back in charge at the office.
Sometimes you have to take a risk but if you can have a safety plan you should.

In this economy I certainly would not give up a good job for a boy friend, no matter what the connection. Jobs are few; men are plenty.

Kirk Lammert | May 13, 2010 1:36 PM

I have to agree with Joe. If possible with your present job, I would take a 2 week vacation in SF with the new guy. Be sure to live with him for that 2 weeks, get a small feel for what it would be like to live with him. If that works, then start looking for comparable jobs in the SF area and have one before you move. If this doesn't work out... you need to be able to support yourself.

Nothing wrong with taking the plunge... as long as you know for a fact you can swim to shore without a life raft.

A year ago I moved from Michigan to Minnesota because of love. Well, it wasn't supposed to be a move. I was a college junior, going into my senior year, and I had been chatting online with a woman. We'd known the other for a year or two already through the internet and we had been flirting pretty heavily. It was getting to the point where the interaction was going beyond mere flirtation. It was the summer break and I didn't have anything planned, and wasn't having luck with finding work, but since I knew I had a job waiting for me when the semester started I didn't fear spending the money to travel out and be with her for a couple weeks.

Because, it was only supposed to be for a couple weeks. I wanted to meet her, have the option of leaving, and test to see if the relationship had a chance. I bought train tickets, and started to get a few things packed. I told my parents, who I was living with for the summer, where I was going to be for how long. The flipped out, to say the least. They even threatened to take away their financial support, which they promised to me earlier without condition, if I went through with this.

Now, this was a serious threat and I knew it. I didn't know if it was a bluff or not, but I did know they would put as many obstacles in the way as possible. But, if I'm anything, I'm a stubborn asshole who doesn't take well to be controlled. After all, I was a legal adult and I was spending the money I had earned. I went anyway. She was just as amazing in person as she was over the internet.

Oh, by the way, a couple details I didn't let my parents know at this point. 1) She is transsexual, 2) she's polyamorous and is currently married (everybody is aware of what is going on, nobody's cheating. If fact, me and her spouse often sleep in the same bed because that one hurts her back). I was unsure if I wanted to go back to Michigan, I didn't have much there anymore. But, I decided to give my parents one more chance. I let them know in an email about both her marriage and her GID.

That got some, shall we say, reactions. My cell phone rang so much from them trying to 'talk sense to me' that I turned the damn thing off. I refused to let them manipulate me over the phone and insisted that communication be done through email (so that I could have the time to collect my thoughts). I told them there was nothing left for me in Michigan and that I was staying here.

I got many emails that night, they stayed up, checking constantly to see if I read their response. I wasn't playing that game, I slept peacefully, and responded on my own terms.

I did enough coursework that I could pick up an associates degree from the university. I then started looking for work. Naturally, I just had to do this during the worst economy in decades. So, still looking, and I'm not looking at what my options are for heading back to college to finish a bachelors. Hopefully I can get enough gov't aid.

Did I make the right decision? I don't know. I do know that when pushed, I stood up for my principles and I am proud of that. I will NOT be bullied and intimidated. I will NOT be ashamed that I'm in love with a transsexual woman (and now also in love with her genderqueer spouse). I'll accept the consequences of this, but I'm not going to give up.

John Herr | May 13, 2010 9:19 PM

Sorry, this is silly but I have to point out that it's Worcester, MA NOT Worchester, MA. I know because I work in downtown Worcester. (sore point for us from here because everyone not from here seems to think there is an H in it).

Sorry to throw that out there. I'm actually in the same boat as the author, but closer. I'm here in Central MA and my guy is in New York City. Long distance is tough, but I don't know if I can live in NYC.

Sorry John. The spelling error is mine. I typically change details like city names to keep people anonymous. Worcester is near the town supplied by the writer.

PS: NYC is one of the most livable places I know, as long as you're energetic.

Agreed. If you don't take chances, you never have the opportunity for success.

Over and over we hear our elders regret what they did NOT do. Don't let this be one of those moments you'll wonder about for the rest of your life. Go for it with eyes wide open.

I'm not so sure. How in love with this guy is he? How good is this job? In this economy you can't really discount that.

As someone who has moved for a guy (although it wasn't that tough of a decision since I didn't have full-time work where I was), eh, it can be regrettable too. I can be romantic to think of all the happiness that'll follow him, but if all he gets is a tiny apartment with high rent in SF and a job at the Dairy Queen, maybe he'll think he should have found his excitement elsewhere.

An Old Man
C. P. Cavafy; tr. John Cavafy)

Here in the noisy café, in the inner part of its
unrest, an old man, bending over a table, sits,
with the day’s print before him, and companionless.

And in the misery of old age, — with its deep void
around him, he reflects how little he enjoyed
the years when he had strength, and speech, and comeliness.

He is aware of his great age: the days are gray
and cheerless. Still it seems as though it were yesterday
that he was young. So fast have gone the years, so fast.

And he considers how he used to be deceived
by Prudence: how, alack! she lied and he believed
her lie: “Tomorrow. Ample time ere time be past.”

He thinks of lusts curbed, and of joys that he denied
himself. All the lost opportunities now deride
his witless wisdom .... But the old man cannot keep

his thoughts together; they disquiet and bedim
his brain; these memories ever vex and weary him:
and at the table where he sits he falls asleep.