Jul 2014
Josie Bungert

What it means to plan your future for two (no, I don’t mean a baby)

Since graduation, I have been getting endless support from family and friends, all across the country. Their support includes emotional and financial, but also, career support. I’ve gotten links to job postings, good words and references passed on, and much encouragement.

This is all wonderful, and goes to show how much people really do care about my success. Unfortunately, many of the items for the job search that have been passed onto me are not located in the state I currently and indefinitely live, and therefore are not ones I can consider at this time.

I say “unfortunately” not because I am vehemently opposed to moving somewhere else, but because I am not really in a position to plan my future just for myself at this point. As a woman in her 20s in this modern age, yes, I enjoy my independence and yes, I believe I can make it in this world an independent woman. But, as a woman also in a long-term relationship, I am thinking for more than myself.

I don’t consider this a burden, since I feel I am lucky to be in the position that I am in in my relationship. My relationship status simply means my planning is different than others.

Four years ago when we were making our decisions on where to go to school, we did so just for ourselves. Because, at 17, we had been dating for a year, and were not thinking about our future together as much as our futures individually, as we should have. Our college choices and our decision to stay together lead us into a long distance relationship in college, which only meant we chose where was best for us.

I am proud of us for making this big life decision for ourselves. But this was four years ago, a time that our relationship was simply a bonus to our young lives instead of a genuine part of it. Now, as, I guess, “real life adults,” a lot of our individual decisions could affect the other. Though we are not engaged or married, we aren’t planning on ending it anytime soon, which makes us in the decision making process together.

Upon graduation, many asked what I was going to do, where I was going to go, etc. My desire has always been to return to Minnesota, despite my boyfriend being there, and many didn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to go somewhere new, try new things, move far, far away. Well, for one, I’m a homebody, so that’s not something I would do anyway, but I was also planning for the both of us. My boyfriend is still in school in MN for one more semester, which means that even if we were to consider moving, it won’t be for awhile. I had been the one to go to school six hours away, and my boyfriend was still at home. So, I came home, to my family, my life, my boyfriend, and my hometown.

Most were supportive, as they understood my love for the state of hockey and that my boyfriend and I had been long distance for four years and were over that lifestyle. But others didn’t understand how I could try to revolve my life around my boyfriend.

Well, despite what they thought, that’s not what I was doing. My boyfriend was not telling me to come home. In fact, he was doing the exact opposite, telling me to apply where I wanted and we would figure it out later. He has always been incredibly supportive, which is part of the reason I didn’t do as he suggested; I wanted to come back here and be just as supportive of him as he finished school.

My returning home was not a sign of giving up on my future and succumbing to life following my boyfriend around in whatever he wanted to do. It was exactly the opposite. My moving home was something I did for us, so that our future could move forward smoothly, and could be something we shape together.

So, what does it mean to plan your future for both you and your significant other? It means it’s possible to be independent while making relationship decisions, since you can bounce ideas off each other. It means it’s possible to “have your cake and eat it too,” so to speak, and it’s possible to choose a future for yourself while also including your significant other. It means twice as many ideas, opinions, and exciting hopes for the future. I myself couldn’t be more excited for my, as well as our, future together.

Do you disagree? Are you or someone you know in this position, and don’t know what to do? Tweet at me, @jlbungert