I'm a 29-year-old straight man and I'm currently going through a divorce from my wife of four years. My wife and I were together ten years altogether before she decided that she couldn't be with me. We met in college and dated exclusively from freshman year onward. After school we got married and bought a house together. Shortly after that, we decided to start exploring ethical non-monogamy and eventually polyamory. While this was going on, my wife was having anxiety issues and depression and eventually came to the conclusion that she didn't know who she really is and that she wasn't giving me what I needed and that she can't figure out who she is and what she really wants while maintaining our relationship. We decided to file for divorce four months ago and now two months into that process I've hit a bit of a snag.
You see, while all of this was going down I met another partner who is incredible. She's extremely easy to be with and whenever I'm not with her I'm thinking about her. We can talk about the future together and it seems like we want the same things. I love her and she loves me and it just all feels so right and like it should feel when you know somebody really has your back and is committed to being with you. I'm aware of NRE, and I won't deny that some of these feelings could be that so I'm cautious here, but it also feels real to me. My girlfriend and I have only been together a few months but click on a completely different level than I've ever had with anyone and we’ve both discussed moving in together once my divorce is finalized.
The problem here is that I am comfortable in the place where I live and my career is well established and my friends are nearby and my family somewhat close. She wants to move across the country and explore new parts of the world. Part of that is that she just doesn't like the current state we're living in. She's five years younger than me and is wrapping up school. Recently, the subject of moving came up again and she basically made it clear that if I'm not going to consider moving when she's done with school (about a year from now) or shortly thereafter then she wants to break it off. I don't want to lose her and a shot at real happiness because I know you don't find that often if you're lucky enough to find it at all. But I also don't want to uproot my entire life at this point and try to transplant somewhere else. Am I just afraid of changing? Does this seem like a red flag situation to you? Should I pack up my life and give this a go or would that likely be the worst mistake of my life?
Confused and Apprehensive Romantic Liability
If you pack up your life and move away with your new girlfriend and it works out* and you're together forever**, CARL, then it wasn’t a mistake. (Please note: "works out" and "together forever" are very high bars that most romantic relationships fail to clear. As you know.) If you pack up your life and move with her and it doesn’t work out (as most romantic relationships don’t), then moving away might turn out to have been a mistake.
If you’re miserable and broke and alone and marooned in a new place—if there’s no way to move back home and you never make another friend or meet another person you want to date—then you'll be able to file the move under “worst mistake of your life.” But it’s possible you’ll wind up in a place you like as much more than the place you’re in now—and even if you and Ms. Few Months don't work out, you may wind up meeting someone in that new place you love as much or more than Ms. Few Months.
You never know, there are no guarantees, why is my lunch taking so long to arrive, etc.
The only potential red flag I see here is Ms. Few Months insisting on a decision now. Tell her you’re open to the idea of moving away but you're not ready to make that decision and you'd like to continue seeing her in the meantime. It would be unreasonable of her to demand a decision from you now—so early in your relationship and while you're in the midst of a divorce, which isn't the right time to make any major life decisions. You're clearly open to the idea—you wouldn't have written in if you weren't at least considering it—but there's no way of knowing whether this relationship will outlast the infatuation/NRE stage.
If she's willing to kick the can down the road, i.e. put off a decision about moving away for at least nine months, keep seeing her, see where it goes, see how you feel in three, six, nine, and twelve months. If she's not willing to kick that can down the road, then...
You may be so much in love a year from now, CARL, that you'll happily pull up stakes and move away with her. You might also be single a year now.
* What we mean by "work out” is “together forever."
** What we mean by "together forever" is "together until one of you dies or both of you die simultaneously," e.g. car crash, airline disaster, salmon mousse.