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My Long Distance Boyfriend Won’t Move To Me—Why?

If you’re discussing the future with your SO, they may be resistant to the idea of moving away to be with you. You’ll be asking yourself: my long distance boyfriend won’t move—why?

It’s one of the hardest questions in a long distance relationship: who moves from their home to be with the other?

In your mind, it may make perfect sense for him to pick up everything and come to you.

After all, it’s your home! You’ve grown up here, you know everything about it, and it’d be perfect for you both.

Plus, you have your family and your friends. You may even have your own budding career.

While these reasons may seem convincing to you, he’s probably thinking the same things about his own city. There may also be other reasons that haven’t crossed your mind just yet.

Here are some reasons why your long distance boyfriend won’t move.

1. His Family And Friends Are Important To Him, Too

family preparing food in the kitchen

What goes for you, goes for him.

Letting go of a healthy, loving family environment is a tough thing to do.

Even though he may not talk about his family much, it may be something that he relies on without even realizing it.

In my case, I didn’t think I would have a problem leaving my family, either. But after a couple of years, I came to realize that I missed them much more than I thought I would.

Him moving away from his family and friends can be just as challenging, difficult, and scary as it is for you.

2. The Idea Of Letting Go Is Scary

man person smartphone desk

No matter how much you’re looking forward to finally being together, leaving behind a familiar comfortable home is no easy task.

Letting go of your established life—even if you really want to move—can be a scary proposition.

This especially goes for people who aren’t sure where they’re moving to.

Your boyfriend may not even feel that, beyond closing the distance, there’s any incentive for him to move to where you are.

He has to think about starting a whole new life—finding a new job, finding new friends and keeping in touch with old ones, maintaining hobbies and interests, figuring out where you are both going to live…there’s a lot that goes into moving after long distance.

No wonder your long distance boyfriend won’t move—it’s scary!

He may also simply be comfortable where he is. It’s a lot harder to convince someone to move if they feel that they have everything they need right where they are. It can be difficult to not take that personally!

3. Moving Is A Difficult Task

crop man taping carton box while moving

Even if he does like the idea of moving, the actual task of picking up your life and moving is challenging (to say the least!)

It was so much work for me that I ended up writing a whole guide on how to move overseas, from figuring out where to move right up to dealing with culture shock.

If your boyfriend is the kind of guy that sits tight to wait for a better solution to come along, or needs a bit of a nudge, he may be discouraged or simply overwhelmed by the idea of finishing up one life and starting another.

4. He Has Familial Or Cultural Expectations

person holding a stress ball

Another reason your long distance boyfriend won’t move is because he may have other people relying on him.

People in his family might be expecting him to stay so he can continue to support them.

It could simply be out of need, or it could be a long standing tradition.

I know of some guys in Asian families where they were expected to house and take care of the elders in the family. They would house them, feed them, and support them financially.

Asking these guys to drop all those responsibilities so they can be with their long distance partner is not something that can easily happen.

5. There Are Traditional Elements At Play

If your boyfriend is more of a traditionalist, or if he comes from a traditional family, he may have different views on male roles.

He may think that he doesn’t need to do anything, and it’s the woman that should give up their autonomy.

While this line of thought has greatly changed since previous generations, your boyfriend may very well hold these views, and will refuse to move simply because he believes that it’s not his place.

6. He Doesn’t Know Your Needs

multiethnic couple scolding on street

If your boyfriend won’t move, it may not be of malice or stubbornness. He may simply not realize that it’s even an option.

In my situation, I didn’t even realize that me moving to my SO was part of the plan. I always thought (assumed!) that she would come to me.

Not the case.

If you don’t say anything, or explain the reasons why you can’t move, then he may not even entertain the idea.

If you do give a convincing reason why he should come, or why you need to stay, then he may have an added incentive to come to you.

Story Time: I Didn’t Move For My Long Distance Partner…At First

For those of you wondering—I was once that boyfriend that didn’t want to move away from my family.

It wasn’t that I was super attached to them, or was married to my job, or anything like that.

At the time, I had improved my relationship with my family after a lot of work. I had a stable career, a small but close circle of friends, and just bought an apartment.

In my mind, I thought that it would make sense for her to move to my home. My SO at the time was still living at home, and was working temp jobs.

During one visit, she asked if I would be open to moving to her home, and I was honest. Brutally honest. Far too honest.

I said that I simply couldn’t see myself doing that.

It soured our whole day, and it took some real talk to get us past that moment.

What Made Me Change My Mind?

Back then, I knew that her mom was diagnosed with cancer.

I had no experience with the disease—I knew it was serious, but I had no idea how debilitating it really was.

Her mom’s cancer had progressed to the point where she was becoming less and less self-sufficient.

Unfortunately, C had a hard time communicating this to me. She wouldn’t go into detail about the things she had to do to take care of her, and I didn’t have any clue what it meant.

I also wasn’t there to see in person how poorly her mom was doing.

We had already talked through plans for her to come to Australia, to the point where I was helping her prepare immigration forms. 

She kept dragging her feet. I thought that she was simply too attached to home, and didn’t want to move.

Finally, I confronted her one day and said that it felt like she didn’t want to come here at all. She broke down and explained that she couldn’t leave her mom in the state that she was in. 

Her brother was in another city at the time with his own family, and so she felt that it fell on her to take care of her mom.

She didn’t say anything to me because she was afraid that she would lose me if she told me her reasons.

In truth, I would’ve left if she still kept things to herself and left me guessing why she kept delaying her move.

Once I understood what was really happening, I made the choice to move to her instead.

Did It Work Out For Me?

Honestly, it was a hard decision, and I still feel its effects every day.

Unfortunately, her mom has since passed away. But I have already established a new life, resumed my career, and am trying to find my way in a new country.

I miss my family and friends a lot. They always ask when I’m coming back home, and it makes me miss them even more.

Being away from them and struggling to find my own place in this city has been difficult. Finding new friends and trying to connect with my new family has also been challenging.

During particularly stressful times, especially as a new parent, I find myself feeling isolated and alone. I’m learning to share these feelings more openly with my partner; counselling has  really helped me to process my emotions and be at peace with them.

In the end, I was able to be with her, and we were able to move in together and start our own family, just like we wanted. There was a price, but I still think that it was worth it.