Dear Miss U,
I met my boyfriend via an international dating site that I joined out of boredom and curiosity. I am in the US and he is in England. We instantly hit it off and have been talking/texting/Facetiming ever since. We talked on the phone for 6 hours once, and almost every night we talk until I fall asleep to his voice on the phone.
I am visiting him in London in a few weeks and he plans to come here for a month for Christmas.
I am recently divorced and I am so scared by how I feel for him. I have never had a connection to someone like this before, and he tells me the same. I can’t go a few hours without texting him and he can’t either. We finish each other’s sentences and text the same thing at the same time; it’s really weird, yet cute. I wonder if this could be true love. I know I haven’t ever felt like any of my exes were the love of my life.
I worry about how this relationship will work as I have never had a long distance relationship before. I know that I can’t move there, and he said he would come here, but I don’t know how long that process would take and it seems like a huge headache, but I am willing to try. How can we make it? What are some of the obstacles that may come up? I guess, in your experience that you say you found your true love, how did you know?
Thank you kindly,
How did I know it was true love? Well, the fact is, Melissa, I didn’t know for several years. I suspected. I denied. I hoped. I obsessed. But even when we did know, it took us more than a year to admit it. You’re right, international long distance is a headache. Something neither of us was interested in. So we tried very hard not to be together. We broke contact until we were safely dating other people, but those relationships didn’t last. He searched high and low to find someone he could love as much as he loved me, yet we were inexorably drawn together.
Finally, I had the money to go meet him in person. I needed that closure. I felt that if we could just be together physically for a little while, I would know for sure. It took us a week to have our first fight, and from there make a plan to close the distance and be together forever.
We knew because no one else could compare. Because his bad habits aligned with mine. Because I didn’t hate living with him like I do everyone else, and at the end of a hard day, when I wanted to be alone, he was the exception – even if I was angry with him. A thousand tiny reasons confirmed it. I knew it was true love because the hard times made us stronger rather than driving us apart and because I love who I am when I am with him.
You can make it by having a plan and breaking that plan down into small manageable chunks. Instead of “get visa” which seems insurmountable you’ll have a list of smaller tasks like “gather evidence,” “fill in forms,” “get medical,” “photocopy documents,” etc.
Another key to “making it” is not having a choice. If you can’t break up, can’t just move on and forget each other, then you have to make it work no matter the cost or the red tape involved.
I’m sure the obstacles differ a little for everyone, but the ones we faced (and are still facing) include: The financial burden of visas and visits; having careers compatible with the lifestyle we chose together, for example his work requires him to live in the city and we both chose careers that aren’t dependant on seniority for pay rates so that we’re able to move between countries without taking a significant pay cut; guilt trips from friends and family who are emotionally invested in where we settle together; the struggle of helping our children maintain relationships with family far away. Maintaining the relationship with a significant time difference took a lot of sacrifice and patience when we were in the thick of it.
The biggest obstacle, in my mind, is accepting that you will always be a long distance couple, even after you close the distance. Unless by some miracle you fall in love with someone who has no local family or friends (which arguably is a red flag itself!) and who has no connection to their land/country spiritually or emotionally, then you will never be free from it. Mr. E and I know where our holidays are going to be spent for the rest of our lives – it’s always the same place. We go to see the loved ones we left behind.
Count your blessings instead of your obstacles if you need a little perspective; I always give thanks that we’re from countries that have a good relationships, we’re cisgender and in a heterosexual relationship, we’re healthy and able to work hard to get the money we need, and most of our family and friends do what they can to support our international relationship. It could always be worse.
Communicate honestly and respectfully, keep it fun and commit to not feeling sorry for yourselves – there’s no reason you can’t make this relationship awesome; make sure your attitude reflects that!
Dear Miss U,
I met this amazing guy through Tinder the last night he was staying in my country. He’s seriously the best guy I’ve ever met: kind, sweet, cares about me and my health, and I really believe he loves me. There was no physical contact that night, but it’s been 3 months and we haven’t spent 24 hours without talking. The 11 hour time difference is a problem, as well as the 11 thousand km between us. We started as friends and eventually fell in love, so we decided to stop talking, but we couldn’t do it, it’s been 2 months since then, and 2 weeks ago he told me he wanted to try a relationship with me, because he loved me too much to not try.
It was an amazing week, we video chat every day and we were happy, but he’s so scared about the future that he decided to break up with me. We’re both studying and the only way of being together is moving to his country as soon as I finish (in 3 years). I agree with him when we talked about that and really wanted to make it work, but he now says he’s being selfish and he’s only thinking about himself because that’s too much to ask.
We had a terrible week after but we keep talking, we are part of each other’s lives and I really feel like I can’t live without him. I really don’t know what to do. Maybe we should spend some time as friends to try to figure out our feelings, give him some time, and then decide if we want to try again?
Hope you can help me 🙂
Lima in love
I’m a big believer that people in relationships should have the freedom to make decisions for themselves so it irks the Hades out of me when I hear people breaking up “for the sake of their partner.” It wasn’t romantic in Twilight, and it’s not romantic here. It’s your decision if moving is too much to ask – not his. So my first stop would be a conversation about boundaries and autonomy. You both need to trust that the other will come to you if there’s a problem or they are not coping, not start making decisions for each other.
Secondly, dating is not a game and love is not something that can be turned off and on again like a three-year-old left alone with a lamp. If you’re going to pursue a relationship do so with the understanding that sometimes it is going to be difficult. Sometimes it will be scary or daunting, or prohibitively expensive, but these things need to rally you together rather than push you apart if you’re going to make it. Near or far, breaking up should be a last resort and a final decision, so if you do get back together this is another thing I recommend talking about. You deserve the security of knowing your relationship is unshakable.
You can’t force him to enter back into a relationship with you, so you’re stuck either seeing where this goes or cutting ties. Whatever you decide, be upfront about what you need. There’s no harm in being friends for a while, continuing to get to know each other without the pressure of meeting each other’s needs.