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November 7, 2006

I Was the One That Had to Move

There are an estimated 7 million long distance couples in America — 14 million people with their own lives in their own cities, but with partners living a flight (or drive or train ride) away.

people standing an airport with a plane outside the window

Photo Credit: EG Digital/iStock

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I walk toward Darren, the curbside check in man at LaGuardia Airport who's been handing me my boarding pass every other Friday night for a year. "Many bags today!" he says, motioning toward my three suitcases, which are surely over the 50 pound limit. "Long trip to Atlanta?"

"Actually, I'm staying this time," I tell him.
"You moving for work?" he asks.
I hedge. "Yes. For work."
"Sad," he says. "Come back and visit, pretty girl."

I moved from Atlanta to New York in April 2006 to prove that I could make it as an editor in the hub of the publishing industry. I was a Career Woman-at 26 I had never said out loud that I wanted a husband and children. Women who cared too much about those things seemed desperate, weak. I rendered judgment while highlighting passages in my well worn copy of Naomi Wolf's Fire With Fire. I would be different.

I scored a senior editor job at MC, packed up my life, and flew to New York, leaving behind family and friends, my spacious house, my little Honda, and Fred.

I had picked Fred up at a dive bar in Atlanta seven months earlier. I was cocky and aggressive and thought he would be the perfect man drug to help me recover from an ego deflating breakup. He was that and much more. But he didn't fit into my plan, so I charged ahead with my career, and we decided to be friends.

Once in New York, I kept in touch with Fred through weekly e mails that grew to five, eight, 10 messages a day, which I regarded as innocent long distance flirtation. It wasn't until I was spending the 4th of July on a yacht on the Hudson River with a cute insurance salesman that it hit me: I'd rather be with Fred.

I flew down.

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