Can the City Girl and Suburb Boy Make It Work?

Q.  I’m in my late 20’s and starting to get serious with someone. We have extremely similar values and views on life, and similar goals, and he makes me really happy. But he wants to raise a family in the suburbs, and I’ve always wanted to raise kids in the city (where we live now). Any advice from those who have been there, done that? Either in terms of disagreeing with a partner over where to settle down, or about raising kids in the city vs. the country.


A. Many women can relate to this one. Most say it’s not a dealbreaker. You can find compromises and you may indeed evolve your position. It’s great you are talking about your expectations so you don’t end up being disappointed later! Here is what the ladies who have been there and don’t that have to say!

“I had the exact issue come up when we were deciding to have a kid.  My husband grew up in the city his whole life and yearned for a yard, a driveway and “no rules”!  I grew up in a midwestern suburb and dreamed of living in a city loft!  For years both of us lived in city apartments and with that comes very small spaces, very little storage, very close neighbors, and often lots of stairs – all fine when you are an adult.

We ended up compromising and while “technically” we live in one of the 5 boroughs that make up NYC, we live in what I like to call “the Ohio of Brooklyn!” Once we had a child, I truly did appreciate that there is room to walk on the sidewalk (let alone push a baby stroller!)  I like that there are other people in similar situations that left the city to have a kid.  I like that we have parks that are not entirely overrun with bums, drunks and millions of people.  I hate the commute!

We still live close, so we go in for dinner, to meet friends and to see my husband’ family who still lives there. So it is not impossible.  One thing I will say is that when you have a child, you absolutely go out less.  I do miss the action, but I am not sure I would be taking part of it anyway and then it would just be difficult to get a seat at a restaurant so my kid could eat at a reasonable time!  I guess I am saying that it has been a bit of a sacrifice, but I think it would have been difficult had we stayed in the city.”


“Try to strike up a compromise. Raise the kids for the first few years in the city. When they are babies and they spend most time in their strollers its a lot easier getting from place to place. You can just walk out your door rather than have to drag everything in and out of cars. And you can all enjoy the fabulous playgrounds, parks, children’s museums, and free stuff cities have to offer well into their preschool years.

Then, move to the suburbs when it’s time for kindergarten and you’d like to enjoy having your child ride bikes with friends and be in a safe, family focused environment. You can stay close to the city and make sure you bring the kids back frequently to enjoy the city and the kid focused institutions it has to offer.

There is no right or wrong way to raise a child when it comes to city or suburb. Just different. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.   But, make the commitment that you’ll expose them to the city as much as possible and you’ll find the balance might work just fine.” – 40-something mom and wife had lived in both the city and the burbs, San Diego, CA


“I can’t speak to it personally but my sister married a man that wanted to live in the suburbs while she was adamant about living and raising their kids in the city.  Today, after 12 years of marriage, they continue to live in the city, which I believe my brother-in-law has come to appreciate, and they spend the weekends in the country with the grandparents.

Separately, a close friend to whom I introduced her current husband, is also facing the same dilemma; She and her husband have been married for a few years and are the proud parents to one son (infant).  She wants to continue to live in the city and he wants to move out to Westchester once their son is ready for school.  They have not resolved it yet but I trust that they, much like “The City Girl and Suburb Boy,” will reach a happy medium that will work for them both – and be unique to their own set of circumstances.  If you love and respect each other, you will find and reach a compromise that suits you both.”  – 40-something, New York, NY

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