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What would you do in my situation? Travel first or settle down now, travel in retirement?

Tagged as: Dating, Long distance, Love stories<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (9 July 2018) 19 Answers - (Newest, 17 July 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I have been in a relationship with a man for a year. I'm pretty happy with this guy. We've had ups and downs, but overall things are good between us. We love each other. We have a holiday booked together and are planning to move in together.

However, I want to travel and live in other places. I have a fascination with Asia and I've lived in China and South East Asia. I really want to go back and explore more. He isn't as keen as me to do this.

But I came home to the UK to study and I have been living in my home country for a while now, I'm settled, I've got a good social life and things to look forward to. Living with my boyfriend could help us both save for a mortgage, which I think is important to get as soon as possible so that I am paying into a fundifferent for retirement and not losing so much from rent each month.

I'm coming up to the end of my studies, so I am thinking about the next step. If I were to stay in the UK, Id have to start a new career, because the one I've studied for is not as lucrative in the UK than other countries (Early years or English teaching). My plan was to head to Dubai or China and save up for a mortgage deposit there whilst also traveling and being immersed in a new culture :)

But I know my partner is not interested in this experience, he wants to stay at home, near his family. I've spoken to him about how I want to travel and live abroad. He says that he'd have to come with me, but I don't think that he would if it came to the crunch and I think he'd be very hurt if I seriously told him that I was planning to go.

So, I can stay where I am, and settle with this guy, who is a lovely man and the best boyfriend I've ever had. I could study for a finance job that pays substantially more and get my mortgage. Then in the future I could have enough money to travel and retire in Asia or roam the globe later on. Or, I could follow my initial dream to travel, save up, then come back to settle, but it could be alone :(

Or maybe I should stay at home for another 6 months, go on our planned holidays. Look at job options, both home and away. Then talk to my boyfriend and see what he thinks and feels about his and our future. Maybe things will become clearer after I have completed my studies and I've had time to relax, think, spend more time with my boyfriend and actually look at job options.

What would you do in my situation? Travel first or settle down now, travel in retirement?

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (17 July 2018):

N91 agony auntUnfortunately I’d say the relationship will be close to its end.

You want completely different things in life it seems. You will regret not travelling and very likely grow to resent your BF if you don’t take the experience in the hopes of continuing your relationship with him. Who’s to even say it would last if you didn’t travel and retrained in a job you sound like you don’t really want just to keep things going as they are?

I’m the same as your BF, travelling doesn’t interest me in the slightest and no matter what my GF said to me she wouldn’t be able to convince me to go and as hard as it would be I wouldn’t want to hold her back from something that would make her happy.

The only logical outcome for me from this situation is for you to break up and do what you want. It’s possible that when you return you’re both still single and could pick things back up, if not, at least you’ve made memories that will last you a lifetime and you can then find someone who’s on the same page as you are.

Best of luck.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 July 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony aunt"I would save up faster if I went on less holidays. But I don't see moving abroad for work as a holiday. It is a career move." That's true.... then you said this: " I want to get in shape before I go and I have 3 trips away booked"

So, he's right. You would save up money if you didn't have 3 trip away booked. Most people have one per year, if that. Of course you can't save money if you have multiple trips away.

That said, in terms of your future, moving to China seems like the better option. That said, you will always be coming back to the same economy - will you save up enough money in one year to bridge the cost gap for years in the UK once you move back? Probably not.

I know you'll miss him, but you don't want the same things in life. You want to travel, he doesn't. You want to live in a different country, he doesn't. Those are some major differences and there's no guarantee you'll move back and not want/need to do it again a few years later. His view on travelling is unlikely to change.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 July 2018):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

HI everyone. I just wanted to say a really big thank you for all of your kind answers. I was overwhelmed by the advice you have given me. Thank you.

Ok, so, I want to say that I do have a really good relationship with my boyfriend. We have only been together a year and I wasn't always sure about him. But I know now that he is a great boyfriend who loves me. I feel safe and good with him. He is my best friend and the person I talk to the most. If I were to lose him, I would be very sad and lonely.

But, I do still want to travel. I am 32 so just young enough to not be a sad, unmarried woman, in most people's eyes. Although I know I will be in China. But the point is, I am pretty confident and ok with being single and childless, if that's what happens, yet I would like to marry a good person.

The point is, I know there are opportunities out there to travel whilst at the same time, earning double the money I earn in the UK.

Houses are very expensive in the UK and on a children's nursery worker's salary, I could only afford a very small, dingy flat far from my town. And even then it will take me another two years save enough money for a deposit.

If I moved to China, I could save a substantial deposit in one year, and have a blast doing it.

But I would be very depressed to be apart from my boyfriend. I talked to him about how I have been thinking about going to China again. He went quiet and took a big sigh, it killed the conversation. He knows that I really want to travel. He encouragesaid me to go the accountant route, saying that I would save up faster if I went on less holidays. But I don't see moving abroad for work as a holiday. It is a career move. I would make an extra £1,000 per month than if I stay here and retrain.

It really is a case of love or money/career. But it's true. Why should the woman always be the one to make a sacrifice? I don't want children so I don't have to catch a man to support me and future children. So I am free to do whatever I want. I just know that I will miss him.

As one of you anonymous ladies said, it doesn't have to be black and white, now or never. I can finish my studies, then take a few months to think about the next step. I'm in no position to pack up and go. I will need to sell and clear out all the stuff in my house first, as I have accumulated a lot. Plus I want to get in shape before I go and I have 3 trips away booked. So I will focus on that first, then decide after that what I really want to do.

Thank you for your help.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (11 July 2018):

No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Do the things you want to and can do now.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (10 July 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntOP you sound like a very smart lady who has her head screwed on tight! From reading your post I can see how much travelling means to you, he is a home bird but you are the opposite. It might not seem a huge issue at the moment as use have only been together a year, but I feel if you settle down with him it will cause a lot of bother down the line. Use both want different things. I mean yes you both may know you don't want kids. But it sounds like you want adventure and travel, yet he sounds comfortable being at home making his money and living his life there. That will be a problem long term. Yes you can put your travel plans on hold, but remember tomorrow is not always guaranteed so you never know what kind of health you will be come retirement age, plus if something did happen and you got to miss out on your plans then you would resent him. I know you have a lot to think about and you should take your time and think about it a lot. A year together might seem a long time but I do think it is to soon to be thinking of getting a mortgage out together. From the sounds of it you seem to be settling with him because you feel he is good for you and he treats you well and adores you, but you should never just settle in a relationship. It will work for a while but I do believe you need to have a deeper connection in order to build a whole life together. It sounds like he is more invested in the relationship than you are and you are just going with the flow. All I can advice really is to look after yourself and your dreams. Don't allow anyone to change your mind or hold you back.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

Just to say if my post ever does arrive on this site bear in mind it will be almost 24 hours old. Whoever is monitoring the site in the UK must be doing it only part time because almost every single time I write a response, by the time it gets posted up so much time has passed and the conversation has moved on that my response seems misplaced. It is really annoying.

[mod note: this is a non-paid, volunteer activity. Apologies for gaps but it is not a continually monitored site. The moderators and aunts do this on their own time and for no remuneration.]

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 July 2018):

Honeypie agony auntMy parents (who did travel a lot with us in tow (me and my brother)) planned to travel more in their retirement. Then my mom feel ill. Even travelling the 10 hour car ride to see me, my husband and (at the time) first child was hard on her. It took a day out of the plans for her to recover. She was ONLY 57. She had had to retire early due to the illness as well, which left with with a smaller income, which in turn made travelling harder and since she needed oxygen at night and the most effective machines (at the time) were as big as a suitcase... You can imagine how many thing just couldn't be done any more. At age 57. this was a woman who was pretty active before her illness. Managing and maintaining 2 houses, a 15,000 square foot fruit and veggie garden, a full time job, taking care of her mom/mil and volunteering.

So much for the "retirement-plans"...

What it taught me was.... You can't plan for the future that far ahead. You can try but unless you are very apt to roll with the changes it just doesn't work that well for everyone.

My husband (who served in the military for 26 years) wanted very much for us to "retire" to either Europe (like Spain) or Costa Rica/Panama. But since he had a heart-attack only MONTHS after his retirement started - that is off the table.

As for going to Dubai to teach... I wouldn't. You couldn't DRAG me there.YOU - As a NOT married woman you are a target. YOU - As a NOT married FOREIGN non Muslim woman you are a bigger target. There are NO official statistics of rape numbers of foreign female visitors and workers because the ONLY ones punished ARE the same women who are the victims. Dubai might LOOK modern and "progressive" but I have to say it's at your own peril.

These are just a FEW stories. Most stories don't even make it out of the country.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2013/07/21/what-a-wonderful-world-get-raped-in-dubai-and-youll-serve-16-months-in-prison/#526caa1979a0

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rape-victim-dubai-united-arab-emirates-uae-extra-marital-sex-report-detained-in-dubai-police-charity-a7422326.html

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/travellers-stories/burqas-booze-and-bull-the-dark-side-of-dubai/news-story/084d1acb89cd39e2bf72d6a59f696a45

So, I'd definitely SKIP travelling SOLO as a woman in the Middle East. IT IS NOT safe.

And like Auntie Cindy I have traveled a LOT in my 20's. Slept in train-station, once on the beach as well (was in Spain though :) But I think with the HUGE influx of migrants from all over - WOMEN are much more at risk when traveling. To think that my parents allowed 2 17 year old girls to travel all over Europe for a months with 3 15/16 year old girls in tow - It's mind boggling! But it was DOABLE back then! And safer. Crazy to think of!

But if you want to experience being a teacher in China, I'd say GO for it now. Don't wait. Either the two of you can make a go of it while you spend a year there, he can come visit - how cool would that BE to show him China? (or a part of it)? OR it might not work. But staying home with him might also not work.

HE should NOT be the "linchpin" in your DREAMS or GOALS - such as spending a year abroad teaching.

Doesn't mean you can't consider your other options as well. Just don't BASE that choice entirely on HIM or around him. IMHO.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (10 July 2018):

CindyCares agony aunt If you have your heart set on travelling, I think you should travel now.

I don't want to be a Negative Nellie, but travelling / living abroad requires time, money, health and energy- all of which, it seems you have now, but in 20 or 30 years.. who knows, OP, who knows.

Aunty BimBim raises an excellent point, that , as unthinkable and unthought as it is in our 20s and 30s, our bodies don't stay the same and are not up to the same challenges. As for me, I am very happy that I climbed the Mayan Pyramids when I was 30, because if I should do it now- no way. And I assure you that I am no frail , doddering old crone, I am active, mentally and physically,in good health, I take regularly dance classes, etc. And yet , I am different from what I used be- age is age, and what with I put on a little weight, and I tire more easily due to a thyroid condition, and an old tendon injury acts up of I overexert myself… you got the picture, I still can travel, but I have limitations - and not taking them into account would turn travel from a pleasure to a punishment.

Another thing that often changes in time is your spirit, your adaptability- which makes travelling easier and cheaper when you are young. ( Have you wondered why there are so very few mature people in youth hostels, lol )

Why, when I was 22 I went to Tunisia and slept on the beach. I had no tent, no sleeping bag. I just laid down my beach towel on the sand, and slept like a baby ( not that I would advise anybody to do that; I guess I and my friend had specially trained guardian angels insofar we were never raped, robbed, molested , or beaten up . But maybe nowadays guardian angels aren't as good anymore ). Well, regardless of the safety concerns that , being older and wiser,now I would certainly take into account- now I would not sleep rough for a million dollars. When I travel, I do need at least the same comfort which I have at home ( A/C, a large, comfy bed, my private bath and shower etc.etc. ) or possibly more, otherwise, again, it's not a pleasure but a punishment. And this , obviously, means that I have to spend much more money than years ago. And since , from what I can see , I am in no way unusual in having seen my tastes and attitude change in time- lo and behold, OP, if you can do it now, do it now. " This is the moment, this is the time- when the momentum and the moment are in rhyme… " Will they still be in rhyme in 10,20,30 years, OP ? Who knows. Maybe - but also, maybe not ( in terms of health, freedom, money , stamina , etc. )- So, - seize the day .

On top of that , which is just a " tecnical " advice , there's , more importantly , another thing which other Aunts have commented too, and is : you are dating this bf since

just a year ( and with ups and downs , too ! ) . He is a relatively new bf, not a husband, a fiance', someone with whom you share a committment ,a project, a life vision ( if you did, you would not need to be posting on DC ). As of now, he is Mr. Right Now, more than Mr. Right. PLUS, you don't seem so enamoured after all; you used to like him 60%, now you like him a little more , because his persistence flattered your ego, but you are still not sold on him; you sound kind of lukewarm toward him, and you are basically saying that you are keeping him not because you love him, but because you feel that it's difficult for everybody , or that's difficult for you personally, to find someone who is half decent and does not treat you badly .

In other words- he is also Mr. For-lack-of-better. Mr. "Well, it could be worse ". And you would build all your own future , or omit to build it the way you want it - all around poor Mr. "I- guess this is better than nothing" ???

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (10 July 2018):

YouWish agony auntYou've been with your boyfriend for a year?

The issue here is -- you shouldn't factor HIM into your plans for travel or your future. Right now, you and your boyfriend have a title that says "Right NOW, we're happy".

He hasn't proposed to you. You haven't gotten married. As far as you're concerned, he doesn't get a say in your future. If you want to travel, then TRAVEL. The time may come when you'll have to choose an adventurous lifestyle or HIM. He's a homebody. Some people are like that. Trust me, waiting until you're older won't make a difference. There will be more excuses why he won't want to do these things.

If you like to travel and he doesn't, then he's an anchor on your dreams. Travel without him. He doesn't get to have a say in your lifestyle. If you both were married and 100% legally and financially all-in, that's a different story. But you're not. And don't mix finances without a marriage, or you will be screwed royally.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (10 July 2018):

Aunty BimBim agony auntI am only now starting to travel, my knees hurt and my bladder isn't as reliable as it once was …. I also have a bit of a problem with my heart which cant pump enough oxygen into the blood stream when I walk uphill for more than a couple of hundred metres.

Go see the things you want to see, if climbing the Mayan pyramids in Central America or the Yogyakarta Temple in Indonesia is your thing don't put it off …. even Japan has millions of steps so don't put that off either.

If your boyfriend doesn't want to go then travel without him, and if by some slip of nature your lives are blessed by an unplanned child then there is no better education in the world than seeing and being with as many different cultures as possible.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

I do understand the necessity of planning ahead, especially when it comes to the end of your studies - there is quite a lot of psychological pressure to make your studies mean something / add up to something in the 'outside world' and studying, just in itself, doesn't always provide any future solution.

There may also be a desire to feel liberated from your studies and this could be adding to the desire to travel for a longer period than a holiday or extended holiday.

But I'd suggest bear in mind that sometimes the end of studies can push one to extremes - it's understandable that studying makes you push harder to feel like you are achieving something, but there really, honestly is a LOT to be said for not just giving into that impulse towards extremes and just keeping things steady whilst also factoring in a good quality of life. Bear in mind also that a lot of the time you CANNOT resolve a whole life change or life plan in one fell swoop - that's quite an extreme demand to place on yourself too, and studying can have that effect.

I'd be more inclined to say reward yourself - as it seems you are doing - with a really good holiday, maybe even one that involves travelling to different bases during the holiday, but in terms of the rest of your plans, slow things down slightly and pace things out with your current partner. I'd aim for a balance over the next year or two years of factoring in more holidays whilst also figuring out if you could be happy with him in the longer term, and giving yourself a bit of breathing space in case you do decide to re-train, to increase your income in future. If you already know you could teach abroad and earn more, then that's already your 'fall back' plan.

Also, I think you are falling into a bit of an 'either / or" attitude that is very black and white. It doesn't have to be travel now or in retirement. Increasingly, people take a year out of work in their later 30s or 40s or 50s - there's no reason why you couldn't do something like that later on, with or without your partner. If not that, then factor in above average amounts of holidays each year.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (10 July 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI think it's been incorrectly assumed that people can get a mortgage on their own in the UK - most can't. A large number of people in their late 20s/early 30s are stuck living with their parents to save up for a mortgage, so it's impossible for the majority to get a mortgage on their own.

That said, don't pool your money with him. You're still pretty new and you aren't totally sure about him.

"Travel first or settle down now, travel in retirement?" Nothing in life is guaranteed. You may not live to see retirement. You may not be able to afford to travel in retirement. You may not be physically capable of travelling in retirement. You are thinking about adopting someday, so biological clock isn't an issue and you don't have anything else tying you down.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

WiseOwlE I can't afford to get a mortgage for anything in my town on my wage. I'm a woman working in early years, I'm not valued in my home country.

My only hope is retrain, or use my skills in other countries where I can earn triple my salary. Or I can marry and get a joint mortgage.

There's no guarantee that will happen with my boyfriend, so I can't pin my plans on that. He doesn't seem in a rush to move in, but he has said in 6 months we can. So that will save money on rent so that we can save up.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (10 July 2018):

When I said you can do all of the above, I was including the purchase of property; but do it on your own. Do not mix your savings and investments with a man who isn't your husband.

Especially if you're not feeling him 100%. Your feelings for him at the end of your studies could be different. I think purchasing the property for yourself allows you to have the property as an investment. You can lease the house while you travel.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you WiseOwlE. Luckily neither of us want children, so that's not an issue. Life feels much lighter and less stressful when you decide to be child free.

I want a mortgage because it is cheaper than monthly rent payments on average where I live, plus, it is an investment in my own pocket, rather than the landlords. As for credit ratings etc, as far as I know, if you share Morgan payments 50/50, when you sell you get 50/50 back each.

As for travel, we are going on holiday in a few months, so I will see how that goes and if he wants to do more.

I have a lot if stuff to sort out before I can move away, anyway, so I guess I will see how our relationship unfolds while I am dealing with my stuff.

Our relationship is generally good. It is nice to have a boyfriend who is as good to me as he is and he was really into me at the start, it's dimming a bit now. But I think he would be the type to stay with me for the long haul, maybe even the scary M word. He's not against marriage, just kids. I know he likes the idea of having a wife.

But, there are things that I don't like about him. I was never 100% into him. I feel bad to admit that. I was maybe 60% interested but his persistence made him grow on me. Plus I know how hard it is to find someone who genuinely likes me, and also treats me well, and is not a psycho.

BUT there are things about him that are not perfect but then I know that I am not perfect either, so I feel like I can't be too fussy. Overall he's a good match for me.

But I also enjoy singledom and just being in a brand new place. I'm sure that I could meet other people and make a new life. I've done it before. But on the other hand, I have a lot in this life that is worth sticking around for. I can't have it both ways, I suppose.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (10 July 2018):

If people can commit to a mortgage debt together; why can't they buy a home and have kids come after marriage? Don't kids deserve married-parents, committed legally; to give them an incontestable-birthright to their inheritance? If he leaves and has a whole new set of kids; he could disown yours, and recognize those he has with another woman.

Men do not commit to relationships like they used to. A female who decides to have kids and not marry the guy; guarantees him the option to leave her a single-mom.

If you give-up your dreams to settle-down; it would make more sense to do it for marriage and a family. Otherwise, do your travels now; while you're young and vigorous enough to enjoy it, and still change your mind and settle-down.

Intertwining your credit with a man you're not married to also can screw your hard-earned credit-score; if he decides he doesn't love you anymore, and hates you instead. If he cheats on you, you'll have to let him go; and what legal rights do you have regarding mixed assets? If he invests more into the purchase of the home and can prove it; not being his spouse, he can force sale of the property and keep most, if not all, of the equity. A spouse is entitled to half, no matter what.

Complete your studies, and give him time to think about travel. If you don't follow your dreams, and you opt to do whatever he wants you to do; you will resent him if he decides he wants to breakup! One kid, a pile of debt, one mortgage, and no marriage later.

I've traveled now, will again, and I intend to travel when I retire. You can do all of the above.

If you plan to live abroad; then you're not ready for a commitment. You should get your travels and adventure out of your system; and hope he loves you enough to follow. Why does it always have to be the women who give-up their dreams to follow men? Time you turn the tables, don't you think?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Ah, you see, you both assumed that I want to have children. I do not, and neither does he. We are on the same page, in that respect. Although, I have thought about adopting down the line, to give a loving home to a child who is already born and needs that. But only if I can afford to support a child. Right now I cannot, and that is not a priority.

I've dedicated my career so far to caring for small children, so I feel I've done my bit for child raising. I don't have that dream to be "a mother". I'm happy to just be me and spend my time learning and growing.

I believe that there are more than enough humans here already so I don't feel it's necessary to have children. More important to work on being the best me that I can be and to support and help the humans and animals that are already alive. We don't need to make more of us, sadly we have overpopulated this planet. More of us need to chose to adopt or remain child free.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

To answer your questions, I've been dating my boyfriend just over a year. He is ready to setthe with me. He definitely doesn't want kids, but for him it's because he dislikes them. He wouldn't want to adopt. He is in no rush to get a mortgage, like I am, but that is because he ha's a nuce, big pension pot. So he us a bit more laid back financially.

Part of my reason to travel us because there are teaching jobs that pay BIG money that I could get right now, rather than in 10 years, if I retrained as a banker or accountant. I am thinking about money now, so that I will be able to travel and afford to enjoy my life, down the line. Otherwise it'll take years to get on the housing ladder, and I'll be in poverty as a pensioner. I have to think of my future as a woman. I'm thinking of it, without solely putting my eggs in the marriage basket. I want to be financially secure with or without my man.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2018):

There are many factors here... how long have you been dating your boyfriend? Is he ready and committed to settling down with you? Also, what is more important to you, your travels or this man?

You're in your 30's, so if you decide to take a few years to travel and explore, you would be in your late 30's before you can settle down, get married and have kids. Are you OK with being a 40 year old mum?

I would write a list of pros and cons and then take a good look at what matters most to you.

Good luck!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2018):

Settle down with your boyfriend. Your at an age that you may want children, a family.If the relationship you have is good stay put and travel when much older/retirement.

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