My fiance, Michael, and I have been doing the whole long distance relationship thing for at least four years now. At first I moved an hour and a half away from him for a new job. At the time he was still in school, but we got to see each other most weekends when one of us would drive out to see the other. Broke college student life and only one of us having a job taught us how to budget and still have a good time. We kept this driving back and forth bit up until Michael found a really great job … in another state … 250 miles away — as in four hours of driving. UGH!
Don’t get me wrong, we both knew this day would come. Michael is a computer programmer. We both grew up in a part of the sticks where sheep, horses, and cattle outnumber the humans in the area. When we first started going out, we discussed the very real possibility that he would have to move closer to a large city if he was going to find good work in his field. Huge looming future possibilities are much less real when you are still casting your resume to the winds, hoping someone will take a bite. His moving to Connecticut really shook the foundation of my world. Never before did we have to spend so much time apart.
Neighbor’s dog back home in the sticks
Hardcore suckfest does not even begin to describe the change in our circumstances. Michael is a total introvert and would happily remain under a dark, warm, ethernet-containing, caffeine-stocked rock for the rest of his days. Leaving behind everything and everyone he had grown up with hit him much harder than me. It also didn’t help that his very first housing arrangement was basically a living hell with three roommates, two of whom I hope step on Legos, wail their shins on the corner of something sharp and fall pantsless into a patch of poison ivy.
Eventually Michael adjusted to his new life and moved into a much better house until he finally found an apartment of his own. Now all I have to do is find work and join him out in Connecticut-landia. Simple right? Yeah, fast forward two years. After two years of searching and constant standard lowering, I have now found a job in Manhattan. I know, Manhattan is NOT in Connecticut. Yep, that bit I know. My new job is an hour and a half from his office (one of those lowered standards). We plan on splitting the difference once his current lease is up.
Now we have a whole new stack of problems. Michael lives in a 500 square foot studio apartment in what I would generously call the ‘hood. That tiny little hole in the wall runs him $1600/month. I’m living in a 1200 square foot two-bedroom townhouse right now for a whopping $685/month. Our broke-asses simply DO NOT have the means to muster the $2000-$3000/month it will cost to upgrade to even a one-bedroom apartment. Sure, I can rally $2000 if I need to, but that is just rent, it doesn’t account for first, last and security which most places I’ve hunted want. That’s a minimum of $6000, up front. Then you need to add on the $400/month train and Metro passes I’ll need to get to work since my new office does not have parking. I’m crazy excited about my new job and the opportunity its offering and FINALLY being close to Michael again. But the financial strain it is putting on me makes me want to vomit.
Grumpy Cat understands me at least
It’s not like I don’t have savings or an emergency fund. We have managed to muster about $10,000 cash to pay for our wedding in a year and four months. Problem is, all that wedding fund saving strained the other kinds of savings. I found a place to live until June 1st. Hopefully I can rally the other thousands I’ll need to find a place where I can actually bring my stuff with me. I’m stoked for the open door ahead of me, but why the hell do I have to go barefoot across broken glass and hot coals before I can get to the other side?