LDR without end
November 20, 2005 2:22 PM   Subscribe

LDRfilter: I'm in a long distance relationship and past questions about them have been really helpful to me. What seemed to be a recurring feature was that people said it was essential to have an end date, or some day that you knew the distance would be over. I don't. Does anyone have experience of this, or can anyone offer advice specific to this situation? Also, any ideas about how an Australian student could somehow live in the same country as an American actor would be great.

We've been together two years now and I'm more in love with her than ever. I'm not asking if I should break up with her because that's just not an option.

The distance is hard, but doable. We're getting through it. She has limited access to computers so it's hard to keep in touch regulaly, but we're doing ok. The problem is that when it does get hard, we don't have any date or any plan that will bring us together for longer than a few weeks. I still have two more years of university left, and as an actor it would be a pretty terrible career move for her to come here (even if she could get a visa).

So: any advice on how to deal with the issue of the distance being open ended would be great, as would any anecdotes, friends of friends in similar situations etc. Secondly, any advice on how two people can live in the same country would be great. Student exchanges through the university aren't an option, for a few reasons. Too expensive, doesn't fit in with my course and, most importantly, I would still be across the country from her. So I need new ideas. Help me!
posted by twirlypen to Human Relations (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you really love each other and really want to be with each other in a big long-term kind of way, then surely there is an end date in sight, even if it's far away - once you finish university you could move to America and live with her.

Obviously you might not want to do that, but if it seems like a doable/good idea then there you have your end date.
posted by Lotto at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2005

How to deal with the issue? Fix it: Get an end date.
posted by bonaldi at 2:41 PM on November 20, 2005

Also, any ideas about how an Australian student could somehow live in the same country as an American actor would be great.

Even after you complete your degree, unless you have some super-specialized skills, you will not be able to live in America (legally) unless you two are married.

The only near-term solution I can think of is to find a company that has internships/fixed-term jobs for internationals (Disney resorts and similar attractions are the only thing that comes to mind). Living together (or at least in the same city) for a while might help you two to see if the relationship is ready to be taken to the next stage. Then think about getting married and finish your education in the US. I don't mean to imply that this is an easy option, but unfortunately, even if you weren't in school, your options are limited.
posted by necessitas at 2:44 PM on November 20, 2005

There is no easy long-term solution except getting hitched.

A shorter-term way to deal with this, when the time comes, is a fiancee visa (which is the most sensible way for her to move to the US anyway).

You file paperwork claiming that you love her ever so much and who you are and so on -- all very confusing and fussy, but not really difficult. Then BCIS (who used to be INS) says okay. Then the State Department talks to your beloved in Australia, and she moves to the US.

At that point, you have three months to get married or ship her back. This can be a three-month trial-shacking-up thing if you want; they won't know. After getting married, you do more stuff with BCIS to get her a green card.

I don't know you from Adam's housecat. But I wouldn't recommend just getting hitched now; getting married young is an easy way to get divorced slightly-less-young, he says from experience. But you can hold out the fiancee visa process as a Next Step. In the meantime, presumably you get a ~3 month summer break. Spend it with her. Presumably she gets school vacations too. If one or the other of you need to make a bit of money, look into BUNAC (for you) or IEP (for her) work exchange programs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2005

I used to be in a very similar situation, and we solved it by basically setting out an "end-date, but more in the style of a five year plan of what we're going to try to do to get back together, geographically. What I would suggest is talking with your gf and figure out what you're both able and/or willing to do. Is getting married after you graduate an option? Her trying to move to Australia, you moving to the US? Figure out what you're ultimate goal is and how rigid the rules are, and then try and plan the best way there. For me and my bf, it was that we would want to be together somewhere in the US or Canada, after we've both graduated from business school. We decided that we would be both free to decide where we went to school, but after graduation, we would decide together where we would live. So not really an end date, but at least an idea of where things were going. It's helped a lot in just not having to worry about things and "are we ever going to be in the same town". So if you guys can figure out the ultimate goal, then you can plan your way toward it, and get rid of that open-ended uncertainty feeling.
posted by orangskye at 3:22 PM on November 20, 2005

I had the US person and Australian person backwards. Oops.

If she's out of school and you're still in it, you should look into spending your breaks with her, using a work-exchange to make you work-eligible while you're in the US.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:35 PM on November 20, 2005

thanks for the help so far. i spent my summer break with her last year, and little bits in between, but this summer i have no money and she's working the whole way through.

orangeskye: i'd love a plan like that, but it's hard to get a realistic one. as an actor, she'd either be always on tour and on the move, or she'd be based in New York, most likely. When I graduate I'll have a science degree in geology and an arts degree in english, neither of which give me the best way to live with her.

we both agree that it would be foolish for one of us to move to the other person's country for no reason other than being together. the ideal long term solution has us together and both doing things are are more than just a way to be together. ie, things that we would be doing even if it didn't bring us together.
posted by twirlypen at 3:42 PM on November 20, 2005

But you can pay for your ticket (after the fact) and food by working under a work-exchange program. And it's good if she's working or otherwise living a normal life while you're there -- you might as well see how you interact when you're both working instead of at least one of you being purely on vacation every time you see each other.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:18 PM on November 20, 2005

ie, things that we would be doing even if it didn't bring us together.

Graduate from school and start looking for jobs in the US. That's really the only way to fix this. Someone's goign to have to move and you're the one who, unfortunately, has the best opportunity to do so. Acting is tough work to get at the best of times.

Or, accept the idea that it's possible to be totally in love and have it logistically not work out. There's no hurry if you're more in love than ever. It's when you start getting really frustrated that you need to do something.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 4:22 PM on November 20, 2005

If she lives in New York City there is no limited access to a computer. There are many internet cafes.
posted by madstop1 at 4:30 PM on November 20, 2005

I'm doing this right now. My girlfriend is American and studying in Australia at present, but we'll have to move to the US eventually. We were also seperated by some DIMIA business for a while.

E-mail me at mikeybidnesathotmail.com if you want some advice/support from someone who has been dealing with this for a while too.
posted by mikeybidness at 4:57 PM on November 20, 2005

I've done this, and have been happily married to my Australian import for three years now. And boy, was it ever hard to be apart during our courtship.

Do you get to talk on the phone a lot? We used this calling card, and were able to talk for hours on the cheap. That helped.

Also, ROU's advice about a fiancee visa is good. Do not get married first. We did, and it actually made things harder for us.

Finally, everyone is right about setting an end date. And be aware that whatever date you set, it's probably going to be sooner, because you won't be able to stand being apart. So plan for it. Also, the Spousal Unit (biomed researcher) says: study in America if you can, the education is as good if not better. I know that doesn't sound like it's doable financially--there I don't know what to say. We met later in life and had savings to spend going back and forth.

Good luck to you.
posted by frykitty at 5:20 PM on November 20, 2005

we both agree that it would be foolish for one of us to move to the other person's country for no reason other than being together.
Maybe you have answered your own question right there - it seems to me that, if being together means enough to both of you, you will find a way to do it. If neither one of you is prepared to compromise lifestyle/job/study/whatever in order for you to be together, maybe it doesn't mean as much to you as you thought.
posted by dg at 6:03 PM on November 20, 2005

If you can't transition your education to the USA (which seems like what you are saying), then seeking work here after you graduate is the only real option, and the clear date you are looking for may be that you just decide, one way or another, you are going to move to the same city as her after you graduate.

Then you can start now determining what the options are to do that. Two years seems like a manageable wait, and I disagree with some suggesting that not wanting to move without any other plan other than to be together somehow casts doubt on your relationship. When people neglect their own lives and personal development in favor of a relationship the relationship ultimately suffers. Of course compromise, taking turns etc. is part of a committed relationship. But yes, you need a plan for yourself. If your girlfriend is an actor, it would make sense for her to be in New York or California, and if you're going to seek work in the US, well, those are big job markets. Why not just start acting as if that's what you're going to do, period.

BTW, my wife is a recruiter for a multinational and has dealt directly with immigration of employees (mostly from the UK) for many years. If you have questions about the process of coming to the US to work, feel free to send me an email (in my profile). I'd be happy to pick her brain. She probably knows some good general resources as well.
posted by nanojath at 6:43 PM on November 20, 2005

I am not an immigration expert, but I seriously doubt that an essentially unskilled, non-tech-oid, fresh college graduate will stand much of a chance at getting a work visa.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:47 PM on November 20, 2005

Argh. I meant to write an essentially unskilled, non-tech-oid, fresh college graduate with no meaningful work experience.

None of which stands in the way of them being together. But they're probably going to be together through family immigration, not work immigration.

That stuff also doesn't apply to work exchange programs for young people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 PM on November 20, 2005

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