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My child and I moved to a different city from my husband for a better career. This long distance relationship might be unusual, but we are making it work.
When a man moves jobs, the woman follows suit. But what happens when the woman moves jobs and the man cannot follow?Add to it, the dynamics of a child. A long distance relationship – does it cement your bond or cause strain?
I recall the day when I had finally reached the melting point in my career of 8 years. I knew I wasn’t valued in the organisation and yet I stuck on. But there is always a hard limit and when that limit is crossed, something drastic is bound to happen. In my case, it was time to look for a job change.
Being in a niche field of investment banking, the opportunities were limited. I didn’t want to get out from one rut and end up in another. So when a promising opportunity from a Swiss bank came up which was ramping up its presence in India, I jumped at it. The only catch was it was in a different city- Pune whereas we were living in Bangalore.
My hubby knew how dissatisfied I was in my then current job. I told him that this seemed like a promising opportunity and I would like to give it a try. I was quite low on confidence despite solid academic credentials of a merit list holder and CA All India rank holder. But the tiny ounce of faith I had in myself and the hard work I put in paid off. I was offered a job with a good package.
Through all of this my husband did not protest. He wasn’t able to move as he had a partnership business in Bangalore since last 15 years. It was going to be a long distance relationship, but we were determined to make it work. I took the job, and moved to Pune with my daughter and mother.
The first few months were tough personally. We had constant fights. There was a lot of bitterness, especially from his side as he was all alone, though to be honest this was not a decision I had taken without his consent. In hindsight I feel we should have discussed this more objectively and in a tangible way.
The guilt of taking our baby away and moving, leaving him alone ate me up. I spent many nights sore eyed. That’s when I realised how much harm I was causing myself and my loved ones. My daughter was too young to fathom, but it worried my mom seeing my state. She was worried that I would get into some sort of depression by constantly thinking of this – as I had moved and this could not be reversed, it was time to accept things and work in a positive manner.
The best thing that happened is that I was doing exceedingly well professionally, my work was well recognised, and I got great feedback and reviews and some good assignments. In fact as I sit and type this post from my apartment in Zurich where I have been sent on a 3 month short term assignment, I knew I had finally found the right organisation. I was very happy professionally. This helped cement the belief that my decision was not wrong professionally at least.
When it came to personal life, I always wonder- there are so many men who move cities, countries and even continents in pursuit of a better career, more money. Why not women then? It is blindly accepted that wherever a man goes, his wife will follow, though it may be at the cost of her own career. I have seen so many talented women give up their jobs just because they moved countries. Whats the point in studying so hard if all we have to do is follow our husbands- make his dreams ours? For me , my own dreams are really special. I aspire to grow, really high in my career and take more women with me, mentor them, guide them, stand up for them and see my tribe flourish at the workplace and not just the kitchen. To fulfil my dream I have to set the right example first by breaking stereotypes.
There is no doubt that when a woman ventures into unknown territory she will be judged. As soon as I put down my papers everyones first question was – if you are moving cities, what about you hubby? When I told them that he wasn’t looking to move at present, the look on most of their faces was one of shock, and doubt if they heard that correctly. A few were genuinely happy for me. In my interview too, I got probed by one of the interviewers about my husband, where is he working, how would he manage etc. The good thing that happened is I raised this to my boss after joining, about the unprofessional and biased interview taken which left me with a bad taste and this was escalated immediately- the end result was a training on unconscious bias for interviewers which was conducted which I led a helping hand to. It was good to see people taking this seriously.
Its been a year and 3 months now of having a long distance relationship, and though my husband and I do have occasional tiffs they have come down substantially. Being transparent is key- he knows I love my career and I have just starred off in this organisation, worked hard towards building my credibility. I cannot just move jobs like it’s a piece of cake. That’s not how a career is built. I have told him I intend to stay here for a few years atleast, the job, set of people I work with, culture gives me immense satisfaction and I have yearned for this but never got it. He understands now and is supportive.
A long distance relationship is not easy but I see lot of couples living together and the relationships are strained. Physical proximity doesn’t guarantee happiness, in fact living apart together can be a wonderful experience when both are understanding, matured, know and accept the long distance relationship mutually, understand that it’s for a bigger purpose- this goes a long way in strengthening the bond of love. My daughter is 3 and she knows Papa comes visiting for a few days, and she is perfectly fine with it. As she grows up, I will have to explain to her some things, which I will do in an age appropriate way. For now we are content in living apart together.
Image source: is a screen grab from the movie The Other End Of The Line
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Good for you Akshata. Plenty of people make long distance work, when the man goes away to a foreign country or aboard a ship and leave their wife and child behind. Its exactly the same thing. Only in that case the male ego is spared because he chose it to advance his own career, otherwise in that case too he is surviving alone without wife and child. Glad you complained about the absurd interview. Good luck with your career and hope you find happiness in your personal life. It’s just a new situation and seems like your husband and you are already on your way to figuring it out and adapting to it.
True Kanika this is something I have never been able to figure out- its completely ok when a man decides to move to greener pastures, no questions asked but its the opposite for the woman. Thanks for your support as a friend and being around on days when I want to ne heard.
Hi Akshata, I very much liked your article ‘This fuzzy thing called love’ which was wonderfully expressed and I have been following this one too with keen interest since the time it has been published. I do not agree or disagree with what you have chosen for each one has to seek their own comfort zone…but all I would say is it is an extremely hard choice to make and a tough path to follow…trust me you have great guts…Me and my hubby both are Chartered Accountants and if you ask me…honestly we can’t stay apart…once I had to go on an outstation trip for a week & my then three year old (now four) couldn’t cope up with the separation anxiety and started falling sick…frankly I myself can’t handle a separation from my daughter for long…resultantly, after she was born I end up taking breaks (though nobody tells me I should) just out of the longing to be there with her and not miss out on this period of her childhood…(continued in the next comment)
my thought is I have worked enough and definitely deserve sabbaticals for creating precious moments and memories with my family…though I have not really given up my career…but in one of your comments you mentioned ‘priority is determined by circumstances’ which is also absolutely true…so if your heart wills something that necessitates choosing an unconventional path then that is also a circumstance where you need to set down on that path to satiate that desire…else you will keep living with regrets which is not on…it’s good that your hubby and kid are slowly accepting the situation…good luck to all of you and more power to you girl…I am sure all will fall in place.
Thanks so much Shubha for sharing your views and its so nice to come across someone from the same profession. I liked the fact tat you say there is no right or wrong. For me what gives me great comfort in the case of my daughter is that my mom is around who has been with us right from the day my girl was born. I do miss my daughter when I travel like I am away right now for 2.5 months in Zurich and I had to leave her behind in Pune. Its tough but its an informed choice I made and I want to abide by it. Maybe a day will come when I feel I have worked enough and now want something else from life, but right now I strongly feel passionate about my career and aspire to grow. Killing my desires and sacrificing would end up making me unhappy and I don’t think an unhappy me can spread happiness or keep up the farce for long.
I am so glad you wrote in- we all should be empowered to make choices free of judgment.
Yes…what matters is it`s an informed choice…again it also depends upon the support system one has at home for the child …I know of somebody who had taken a similar decision to stay abroad for over one year due to job requirements and her child was doing quite well with the had and both set of grand parents who were taking care of her…of course the separation pangs cannot be overruled…but there are people who have done it, so it doesn’t surprise me.
Hi Ahshata, This was a good read. With this evolving society, we are the torch bearers to break these stereotypes. Way to go Girl! 🙂
All the best!
Thanks Gunjan! You said it indeed we are the torch bearers and its a rocky road ahead but walk we must
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