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He Quit His Job For Me. This is What Happened Next
by Donia Duchess
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October 8, 2019

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He Quit His Job For Me. This is What Happened Next

She got her dream job offer 2,827 miles across the country, and her partner agreed to move to be with her. But the story was just beginning. Fights, delayed move dates, and layoffs took them on a journey of self accountability, radical honesty, and trust, that eventually ended in “I DO.” 

Courtesy of @doniaduchess

“Love isn’t about finding someone who won’t fight with you or make you sad. It’s about finding the person who will still be standing there wiping the tears away, holding you in their arms after a fight. The one who will never leave, no matter how hard things get.” –Unknown.

Joey and I met online – POF (Plenty of Fish) to be exact. He messaged me, we started chatting, and I asked him what he did for work. He sent me three long paragraphs in response. I was running out the door at the time and thought to myself, “I’m not reading this!” I met up with some girlfriends and decided to read the message out loud. All of us immediately thought, “HE’S AN ANGEL!” He talked about his work with TBI (traumatic brain injury) patients and about how important and fulfilling his job was.

Related: How I Met My Husband Online

I knew on the first date that he was the one. We were at the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut.  At one point we went for a walk outside by the river and saw two swans and a rainbow, and Joey started singing Aerosmith. As if that wasn’t enough, he began speaking in a British accent, so I played along and did the same. In that moment of complete nerdiness, I knew he was who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It was like we had known each other in a past life and I could be myself.  Completely. I got home and told my mother, I met my husband.

I was 26 years old, still living at home and never had the responsibility of having to pay rent. While Joey was 33, working three jobs, living on his own, and hustling to get ahead.

About a year into our relationship, I had a huge break in my career and was given the opportunity to move to Los Angeles to work as an associate producer on a major talk show.

About a year into our relationship, I had a huge break in my career. I was given the opportunity to move to Los Angeles to work as an Associate Producer on a major talk show. It was an opportunity I had been waiting for my whole life. Without hesitation, without pause, Joey told me I had to go, and that he would join me later. I’ve always been an incredibly determined woman, so, with or without his blessing, I would’ve gone.  But it was honestly an uplifting feeling to have a partner that fully endorsed my decision and had my back. He said with confidence that we would make it work, and that, we did.

But, the truth is, the year-long distance was extremely hard. I would be lying if I fed you rainbows and butterflies about how magically in love we were. It put our relationship to the test, pushed it to the limits, and forced us to grow individually as much as as a couple. But, going in, we didn’t forsee any of that.

Looking back, I always give Joey credit for putting up with my bratty, life of a dreamer, “always wanting things my way” traits. I was asking a lot of him, but both he and I knew early on in this adventure called life we were about to go on together that it would all be worth it.

Courtesy of @doniaduchess

The day came for me to leave and we made a plan. We knew the both of us would have to make a conscious effort to make this work. So, we decided we wouldn’t go longer than 6 weeks before seeing each other and we would speak every day. With the 3-hour time difference we got into a routine that worked for us. In the mornings on my way to work, he was on his lunch break, so we’d chat. When I got off work, he was already in bed so he’d wake up to hear the stress of my day and let me vent. Weeks would go by and he’d come visit me in L.A. or I would fly to Connecticut. Before our visit was over, we would mark our calendars for the next trip, so we always had a date to look forward to seeing each other again.

Related: From Single in the City to Married and Pregnant in Japan in Less Than a Year

One of the first things that comes to mind when people consider the difficulties of a long-distance relationship is the lack of sexual intimacy. Without going into detail – we live in the digital age, so there are ways to get creative and enjoy each other.  But, for me, I simply missed his hugs. The first time we saw each other after being away for a few months, he hugged me, and I cried like a baby. Tears, hyperventilating, boogers, the works! I didn’t realize how much I just needed a nice big hug and to feel his arms wrapped around me.

The pain of our separation was setting in. We missed each other and were frustrated.

The pain of our separation was setting in. We missed each other and were frustrated. There were countless arguments about when he would move to join me in L.A. We would discuss a date, and the closer it got the more hesitant I noticed he would get. After a while I stopped asking and began to understand that while it was easy for me to move across the country, not knowing anyone, with five suitcases and a dream, the uncertainty of it all was much more terrifying for him.  He didn’t have any connections, no jobs lined up, only questions: How would he provide for us? How would he contribute? 

In that year we played out different scenarios of when and how we could be together. Whether that meant me moving back home or continuing to be long distance. We had some tough talks and even wondered if we would be better off broken up.  

A few tears, yelling and honest conversations later the answer was always no. To be completely transparent, our arguments were about me feeling hurt that he couldn’t just drop everything, get on a plane and uproot his life for me. At the time, my emotions were valid, because I knew how easy it would be for me to buy a one-way ticket and leave everything behind to be with him if the tables were turned. What I didn’t realize then, that I feel I know with confidence now, is that you can’t force, pressure or guilt trip anyone into being with, or doing things for, you.

What I didn’t realize then, that I feel I know with confidence now, is that you can’t force, pressure or guilt trip anyone into being with, or doing things for, you.

While I was allowed to feel that way, it wasn’t until someone wiser told me to take a step back and let him make the decision for himself. That really hit the nail on the head for me because what I didn’t want was for him to resent me in the end for making him move when he simply wasn’t ready. Joey, having had his growth throughout this relationship, has since apologized for pushing the move date constantly and allowing his fear of change to hold him back. At the end of every day, each goodnight, and I love you, we knew in our hearts that we were better together. Despite being 2,827 miles apart, there was no one else we’d rather be with.

Courtesy of @doniaduchess

After celebrating our second anniversary, I got promoted to producer, was offered a hosting position, and we survived our first year long-distance. Joey decided to propose, pack his bags, quit his jobs, sell his car and move to L.A. We had talked about marriage and looked at rings together, so the proposal wasn’t as much of a shock as the decision to finally move was. He knew that I didn’t want to live with a “boyfriend” (not that anything is wrong with that, just not for me) so the two kind of went hand in hand.

The first year was no cake walk for us. Being that Los Angeles is the mecca of entertainment means the competition is fierce. He decided to focus more on his union work and took on the industry as a Lighting Tech. He was up against hundreds of other people going after the same gigs which meant the work was almost non-existent for him. Not to mention – I got laid off 3 months after he arrived. Yep, read that line again.

Ha! I always say life is like a rollercoaster, you have to learn to throw your hands up and enjoy the ride. Let’s just say, I didn’t enjoy this dip at all, when it went south, it went SOUTH.

I got laid off 3 months after he arrived. 

I remember calling Joey to tell him I lost my job and feeling so embarrassed. After all the pressure I put on him, for this to happen was the worst possible scenario. I was scared that this would mean my journey was over, that we would have to go back to Connecticut. I was devastated that this dream job I moved for and loved so much was no longer mine. His response to me was something I’ll always cherish. He said “don’t worry, I came here because I believe in you, I believe in your talent, and we’re not leaving until you make your first million.” I’ve told this story countless times and it never gets old for me. Each and every time I find myself gaining more and more appreciation for him. For knowing what to say at the right moment, for moving when it felt right for him, for trusting our love and for believing that we would make it work, even in the times I feared it wouldn’t.

I was unemployed without full-time work for 7 months. I booked hosting gigs here and there, some freelance Producing gigs but none of which were enough to cover all the bills. So, while I was unemployed, he was working, paying for EVERYTHING and never made me feel guilty about it. But I felt guilty. I felt like I failed. We went from this easier life in Connecticut around our family and friends to an apartment in a city that was beating us both up – mentally, emotionally and financially. The pressure was on high, our survival in Los Angeles was on his shoulders. 

Courtesy of @doniaduchess

While I know I’m a very strong woman, I also know that life would’ve been much more difficult had I not had him as my backbone. Joey’s always been incredibly supportive, lifting me up when I’m down, reassuring me of my talents when I’m in doubt and having my back at all times. But that’s what love is right? Finding your opposite, your balance, your person. 

Related: My Favorite Love Story

People always say, “everything happens for a reason,” and I believe that one hundred percent. That year was one of the hardest of our relationship, and when we realized that we could make it through that, we suited up and prepared ourselves for everything else life would throw our way. 

That year was one of the hardest of our relationship, and when we realized that we could make it through that, we suited up and prepared ourselves for everything else life would throw our way.

I always tell people, that time in our lives felt like I was hanging off the edge of a cliff, while each finger slipped back, I held on. When my last finger was left, I was forced to let go of control and to put it in God’s hands. Once I turned it over, the blessings started flowing in. We filmed a TLC show together, a commercial, my career took off and Joey made some incredible connections. Five years together, and different challenges later, there’s no one else I would rather go through this thing called life with. He’s my person. 

And, after 3 years of engagement, we got married this past June. Hey Husband!  

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, looking for a relationship or unsure of your current situationship, I want to leave you with this. Love is a tricky thing. It’s fun, beautiful, scary, intimidating, amazing and wild, all wrapped in one. There are so many people in the world to allow one person to make you feel less than. Know your worth!  If you’re blessed enough to find your person, one who is willing to love, cherish, trust, believe and fight for you, a person that is all of the above and a bag of chips, remember, distance means so little when someone means so much.

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