The Unexpected Benefits Of Quitting My Job For My Relationship

Earlier this month, I moved in with my fiancé. Aside from a few months of cohabitation here and there, we’ve been long-distance for the majority of our four years together. Both of us are extremely excited to finally live together — for more reasons than one. No more driving three hours (each way) every weekend! No more nightly FaceTime calls littered with “I wish you were here”s! Maybe best of all, we finally get to be a team and enjoy the little things (eating dinner together on a weeknight! waking up together every day!) that many people take for granted.

As exciting as this move is, it’s also pretty terrifying. For the first time since I graduated from college, I am unemployed. On purpose!

A little background information: My fiancé is in the military and is stationed in a tiny town in Texas that can only be described as the middle of nowhere. The nearest city, where I lived and worked for three years, is 150 miles away. There are approximately 30,000 residents, two McDonalds, few job opportunities, and zero Targets where he lives. And now that I’m here, reality has set in: I probably won’t be able to find a job in this town.

I’ve always taken pride in my ability to support myself financially, so the thought of quitting a job without another prospect lined up was enough to send shivers down my spine. Without a steady income, I’d have to rely financially on my fiancé for a while. Even though he is the most supportive person on earth, I still felt like I would be a burden.

As I thought more about it, however, I realized that moving to a tiny town with few-to-no job opportunities could actually be the push I needed to further my career — or rather, start a new one.

Because we are getting married in less than a year, I knew that I would eventually move in with my fiancé. We couldn’t be long-distance forever. I also knew that, because of his military career, we would move a lot in the next few years. Having a traditional career is almost impossible when you uproot your life and move every two to three years.

What that meant for me is a shift towards a non-traditional career. I’ve always loved writing — in previous jobs, I’d ask for more writing tasks, no matter how mundane or bizarre. Write a native ad about termite infestations? Sure! Research the best fly-fishing in town? Bring it on! I’d eagerly taken on various freelancing projects throughout the years as a side hustle, but never really thought that writing could become my long-term career. It seemed more like a pipe dream than a tangible goal. But moving to a small town with limited opportunities meant ruling out 9-5, office-based jobs. Suddenly, freelancing was no longer an enticing daydream, but my best bet at a fulfilling career.

That realization was just as exciting (and nerve-wracking) as moving out was. There’s no easy way to give up a steady paycheck and 401k, especially when freelancing is so volatile. However, the flexibility that freelancing offers, plus the freedom that it gives me to work anywhere in the world, means that writing is my best career option for my situation.

Once I committed to the idea of freelance writing full-time, quitting my job was a little less intimidating.

A few factors made my choice easier. Thanks to my previous office-based, salaried positions, I have a decent nest egg saved up. More importantly, I have no debt. I know I’m lucky. I probably wouldn’t have had the guts or the means to quit the corporate world if it wasn’t for my relatively stable financial situation, plus, of course, my fiancé’s support. Not many people can quit their jobs willy-nilly and expect their partner to support them while they ~follow their dreams~.

Of course, there are growing pains: change is never easy! After I told people about my plans to move, I was constantly on edge. I dreaded answering the “do you have a job there yet?” questions. I was nervous talking about my plans to start freelancing. I constantly worried that no one would hire me to write anything. I feared that people secretly looked down on me, or thought that I was throwing away my career to become a housewife. And while I have taken on more work around the house, I worry that I am not contributing enough. More than anything, I don’t want to be a disappointment.

These thoughts are pretty hard to stifle, but I’m working on it. The knowledge that this choice is the best one for me is encouraging. Plus, it helps to have an incredibly supportive significant other. Now, I can confidently say, yes, I did leave my job and move to a small town for my fiancé’s career. But quitting my job turned out to be the best thing for my career, too.

Now, I’m excited about the change. Living with my fiancé in a tiny town is the best thing for our relationship, and I honestly believe that it’s right for me professionally as well. As much as I cherished the stability of my job and the pride that came with living on my own, my previous jobs weren’t sustainable for the long term. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and now, I can fully and confidently commit to my writing goals. As I turn my focus to our relationship and my new career, I’m excited for what the future holds — and where the two of us will go next, together.

Alexis is an event planner turned digital marketer turned writer. She currently lives in Texas with her fiancé and their sweet senior dog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram if you like dogs, travel, and food.

Image via Unsplash

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  • BS

    Wow, this could not have come at a better time for me. My fiance is going to basic training in a month and we are moving out of state at the end of the year. I have always been the breadwinner and I’m freaking out about not having a job lined up after we move. At the same time, I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity to finally do what I want. Thanks for writing this, it’s nice not to feel alone in this situation!

    • Alexis

      Hi! You definitely aren’t alone. It’s a scary transition for sure, but get whatever planning you can done before the move if possible. It never hurts to search for jobs ahead of time (as soon as you find out where you’re moving, anyway). Have a plan, but prepared to be a little flexible. Best of luck!

  • lateshift

    So, these are the “unexpected benefits” based on the author’s sage perspective of the past…2-3 weeks, in the middle of summertime? which also represent her first/blissfully romantic cohabitation experience after years of a travel-intensive LDR? Yep, she’s definitely in a position to soberly talk pros and cons – or in this case, mostly just the pros, apparently – of the decision right now.

    ok, I love you TFD, but this happens like once a week. It’s one thing if these are presented as snapshots in time, with a bit of self-awareness thrown in noting the complete impossibility of really judging the experience at all just yet, but the title makes this sound like she’s in some position to render a judgment on it. She isn’t. I have cartons of milk older than the amount of time she’s been a freelancer, assuming she quit her job around the time she moved. Which I’m assuming even though the information about precisely how long it’s been since she quit her job, or how much work she’s lined up, or what it pays, isn’t actually included here at all in this essay about the benefits (but not much on the downsides!) of quitting her job.

    In short, based solely on the month of July, she’s prepared to say “quitting my job turned out to be the best thing for my career.” Because at her old job, she says, she would say yes to anything, even stories about termite infestation and fly fishing. I almost hate to break it to her, but the reality is that freelance writing – at least to start – will mean writing way, way more stories about termite infestation and fly fishing, and tons of other topics that don’t interest her in the slightest, but without which she will get neither published nor paid, and for which she will be paid…poorly. If she’s a glutton for rejection, and very, very determined, and very, very, very lucky – or if she and her husband can afford to have her writing be a vanity project, rather than an income stream – it’s possible that in a few years it will be the “dream job” she says she expects. For the next year: it almost certainly won’t be.

    (Over the long term, there are other career tradeoffs she doesn’t mention here. To take just one example, right now hiring editors for the big publications, and the peers who will eventually become hiring editors themselves, are almost all hanging out together in the big cities, or visiting them regularly. She is not. I can’t tell if she doesn’t mention this because she’s not aware of that fact, or wants to block it out, or what. But this whole post, like most of these posts, reveals way more about the writer’s psyche than anything about the actual pros and cons of the thing they are ostensibly writing about.)

    • Alexis

      Author here. I definitely wasn’t trying to give any advice, “sage” or otherwise! This was a personal essay about my situation, not directions for anyone else about how to ~follow your dream~. I wouldn’t tell anyone to quit their job without a plan- I’d been planning this move for months. I know that it’s harder for me to find work because I now live outside a big city, and I definitely don’t think that I’ll suddenly have a solid income with minimal work. It’ll be a lot of work (it already has been). The other day someone offered me $1.50 for 500 words, and I’ve had tons of rejection in the past year. But there is opportunity out there, and my specific situation pushed me to try and make writing a full-time career.
      Anyway, not trying to explain myself–this was just my thoughts about my personal situation. It won’t resonate with everyone.
      If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask.

    • Summer

      I totally get what you’re saying and I agree with you that some rather, erm, ‘unqualified’ articles end up on TFD based on someone’s extremely limited experience; but to me, this one didn’t read like an advice piece. The title is clickbait-y, sure, but my guess is the author didn’t choose it herself. Yes, it’s
      a very optimistic piece and yes, there’s the inevitable rose tint of excitement at moving in together, but none of that changes the basic fact that she used the cumulative scenario as an opportunity to take her career in a different direction. I didn’t get the impression that she expected high-paying gigs to start rolling in just because she decided to start freelancing for a living, I just read it as though she acknowledges it’ll take some time to gain momentum, but having no debt and a bit of savings to fall back on and a willingly supportive partner is a really good combination for being able to take a risk.