Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Want to Bring My Boyfriend Back to My Home Country”

After graduating from university more than seven years ago I moved almost immediately to a foreign country eight time zones away from my parents. I have no family here and knew only a handful of people at the time of my move. Needless to say, it has been extremely difficult to be so far from my family and I have struggled to build a social life/support system, career, etc. Many of my close friends have also been expatriates who eventually moved back to their countries of origin. Nonetheless, my experience living abroad has been amazing overall, and I finally feel really comfortable and largely integrated into my adopted society. This is in big part thanks to my wonderful boyfriend of a year and a half. We have been living together for about six months, and in many ways it’s been the best time of my life.

Given how well things are going, I’ve been very surprised to catch myself more and more often thinking about moving back to my home country. Financial considerations and potential job opportunities are two factors that really get me thinking about leaving. But the biggest issue is obviously my desire to be closer to my family. My parents are getting older, my nieces and nephews barely know me, and now that I’m out of grad school and working I can never visit for much more than 7-10 days at a time. My boyfriend knows how much I miss my family and also knows that financially we’d probably be better off if we moved. He occasionally jokes about moving, but he’s never even visited my home country (we’re working on planning a trip for this summer.)

I’ve gone through periods of serious homesickness before, but this is the first time I am genuinely thinking about the possibility of leaving (not even necessarily right now, maybe in another year). That doesn’t mean I’ll definitely do it, but I know it’s something I need to discuss with my boyfriend. In general we have very good communication, but this issue is just overwhelming me. I do think he’d at least consider moving (he’s not quite as close with his family as I am, and he speaks my native language perfectly – with just the cutest little accent!), but I’m afraid my interest in leaving will make him think I’m not satisfied with him. Again, he is the most amazing boyfriend in the world, and I really don’t see myself leaving without him. It would be a huge decision for both of us (even bigger for him, since this time he’d be leaving his family and home), and I have no idea how to bring it up. And if it eventually does come down to a choice between being with him and not being a 14+ hour plane ride from my family, well, I don’t even want to think about that! Your suggestions for broaching the subject without totally freaking him out are desperately needed! — Expat in Love

Before you broach the subject with your boyfriend of moving eight times zones away, you really do need to think about what would happen if you had to choose “between being with him and not being a 14+ hour plane ride from your family.” I’m sure it’s an idea that causes considerable amount of anxiety for you, but since there’s a very real likelihood you may be forced with that decision, avoiding it will do you no good. Are you prepared to lose your boyfriend to move back to your home country and be closer to your family and perhaps have better career options for yourself? Or, on the flip side, are you prepared to permanently sacrifice what you miss most about home so you can continue being with your boyfriend?

When you have at least some idea where your heart leans most, then broach the subject with your boyfriend. There’s no special way to have this discussion. If he’s dating a foreigner in her twenties-to-early-thirties, I’m sure the thought has crossed his mind that she may eventually want to return home one day. I wouldn’t think the idea would be a total shock. But if you want to cushion the blow a little, you could start dropping hints. “I’m missing my family more than usual lately.” Or, “I’m looking forward to you visiting my home country soon. Who knows — maybe you’ll love it so much you’ll want to move there with me.”

When you’re comfortable — or comfortable enough — with seriously discussing the possibility of a move back home, just tell him what you’ve said in your letter: you’re crazy about him and you love his country, but you miss your family and aren’t sure you can imagine putting down roots so far away from them. Tell him that you haven’t made any decisions yet but you need him to know that the idea of moving back home is something that’s been on your mind lately and you want to get his feedback on it.

I don’t know your situation to have any prediction how he’ll react or whether he’s be game for a move. But I do know that he if he DOES relocate to your home country with you, you’ll have some unique challenges to face. All that trepidation you felt when you first moved to your country of residence is what he’ll face when he moves. Imagine the pressure you’ll feel knowing you are the only person he knows. And don’t forget the stress of getting him a visa, etc. You’ve been down that road yourself, so you can certainly be of great support helping him navigate it, but eventually he’s going to need other people he can depend on. None of these things means your relationship wouldn’t be able to withstand a move together, but these are simply things you need to be prepared to deal with.

You have some big decisions to make in the near future. My advice is to face them and share them with your boyfriend as soon as possible. The voice in your head calling you home is only going to get louder and if you don’t share it with your boyfriend, it’s going to be This Thing that eventually starts coming between you. So be brave and communicate with him what you’ve been thinking. This isn’t a burden you can carry by yourself for much longer.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

42 comments… add one
  • avatar

    scattol January 9, 2012, 7:56 am

    I am not sure I would plan this multi-move scenario of dropping hints and then pretending you are ok then ask him about moving away. That’s like a cat playing with the mouse before killing him. It’s just cruel.

    My hunch is that one night you will start talking about how much you miss your family, your home country and your hometown, it’s going to go on all night and by the end of it you will know if you are moving back together, staying where you are as married couple starting a family or splitting up. I mean if you have good communications how would you stop a conversation from going there in one big swoop. Not that it has too but it could. Or most likely it will start weeks worth of discussions where the both of you consider your choices.

    I have a friend who moved away to make it big which he eventually kind of did. But he loves his family. His plan was to always move back once he was stinking rich. He got horny, got married and now has kids. He’s back once a year sometimes twice to visit his family. Who knows if he will ever move back. More likely his life, a happy one by all account, will probably always be incomplete with his move back home always be prevented by one thing of the other. That could be you, or your boyfriend depending of the country I suppose with the best compromise but never completely fulfilled dreams. It wouldn’t be a failure of a life in my books even if it always felt unfinished.

    In the end, remember that you aren’t getting any younger. Not making a decision is a decision in itself and life will go by and you will have the life that happened to you. Don’t go crazy by demanding a move on a day you are really homesick but don’t wait until you are too old to start your life again somewhere else either.

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    • theattack

      theattack January 10, 2012, 1:46 am

      “Not making a decision is a decision in itself and life will go by and you will have the life that happened to you.”

      This is an amazing sentence. I need to write this down somewhere for myself!

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  • avatar

    Anna January 9, 2012, 8:53 am

    Is anyone else curious as to whether the US is her home country and which country she is currently living in?

    Personally, instead of telling him about the negative homesick feelings you’re having, I would share with your boyfriend your positive memories of home. Tell him about your family, your hometown, and the things you like to do at home. Make it sound like a place he wants to see. Then definitely plan that trip so he can see for himself. Maybe he will want to move. And if not, then you know the decision you have to make. Good luck!

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    • avatar

      Anna January 9, 2012, 9:03 am

      P.S. A picture is worth a thousand words! If you have pics of your family and hometown maybe it will help your case. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Allison January 9, 2012, 9:48 am

        A trip is definitely important. Asking someone to move to a new country sight unseen is risky. If he’s on the fence, it might make him feel better about the choice.

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    • avatar

      Jess January 9, 2012, 9:50 am

      If she can only visit 7-10 days because of how little her vacation time is, I would guess she is currently in either the US or an Asian country.

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      • avatar

        Anna January 9, 2012, 11:07 am

        True…and when I re-read the letter I saw that she referred to college as “university” which is not really the vernacular for Americans. And we all know that Americans get the least paid vacation of all civilized countries if they have any at all…she may be currently living in the US and be from somewhere 8 time zones away.

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      • avatar

        GTR January 9, 2012, 9:16 pm

        Seriously, would it have killed the LW to mention the countries involved? What, is she afraid that we’ll somehow identify her when she mentions England and Guatamala in the same sentence? Why all this coyness and pussyfooting around?

        The nationalities also may have some bearing on our advice. If he’s from a conservative, patriarchal society (like many countries in the Middle East) there might be an element of friction if he’s coming to, say, Canada. But if he’s Scandinavian and she’s from Minnesota, then happy days!

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  • avatar

    Taylor January 9, 2012, 9:05 am

    It’s a tough conversation – be as honest as possible with it. Another thing to consider – if you plan to have children one day with your fella, they are going to be raised in a culture different from one of yours. One of you will always be far from your family, which requires some careful time management in terms of future travel, and usually acceptance that you will see them less. Is there an intermediate point that you would be between your two families? A regular 7 hour journey is a lot less wearing than a 14 hour one (e.g. east coast to western Europe vs. west coast to western Europe).
    I had a similar situation to you LW, and in retrospect, I realized that I had connected so strongly to my someone in the different country partly because I was a stranger in a strange land. I made a decision to move back alone, and my life in the U.S. eventually took over. I’m not saying that you can’t make this work (many people can be and are together from a multitude of places, my parents included), but make sure you look at the big picture of your life and understand that one of you will always not be at their original home. That is something that will have to be owned.

    Good luck!

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  • avatar

    Allison January 9, 2012, 9:47 am

    I like Wendy’s response, but it almost makes it sound like your only two options are moving home or giving up on it forever, which is obviously not the case. You could wait a little while, if you wanted, because I imagine this situation with your boyfriend is somewhat dependent on how long you’ve been dating. You’ve been dating long enough to consider a future with each other, but not quite long enough to make it certain. But at the same time, if he isn’t willing to move with you now, then it doesn’t mean that he’d be willing later.

    There are also other things to consider. Dating someone in one country and in one life is a lot different from dating them in your other one. I dated a guy while studying abroad who was really awesome, but I don’t think it would have worked out back home. During my trip, I was super chill and calm because I had no responsibilities, which meshed well with his sort of whimsical, absent-minded personality. But at home, I’m much more Type A and think I would have gotten fed up with his impracticality. Plus, if you are from the U.S. (and probably other countries), for him to move, he’d have to get a job first to secure a visa or go through a lot of hassle, so it would be a big step.

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    • avatar

      Jess January 9, 2012, 9:52 am

      Dating someone in one country and in one life is a lot different from dating them in your other one.

      yes yes yes. this is so true. when your boyfriend is taken out of his element and thrown into culture shock and the stresses of relocating, you may find your relationship sucks balls. been there.

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    • avatar

      AmitR January 9, 2012, 11:40 am

      It does not take a job to get a visa. Finding a job in the US is certainly difficult, but there is something even more difficult–a decision to marry. There is a visa for a foreigner to visit the US and marry a US citizen.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 9, 2012, 9:03 pm

        I’ll add that there is an expiry date on a visa even if you marry a US citizen. You can’t stay forever. My SIL is married to an American and she has been waiting over a year for the paperwork to go through so she can move down there with him. Apparently he can’t move up to Canada without have lived with her for a year, so down she goes when the paperwork finally goes through.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 9, 2012, 9:51 am

    Many relationships that are going strong at 18 months are over by 24 months so I think that first you need to pass the 24 months mark before seriously considering moving together. I also think that he can’t begin to know whether he would want to move until he has at least visited your country with you and met your family. Then he can as least consider it knowing where he would be going but even then, you know for yourself, that a few weeks visit doesn’t really let you know a culture. It has taken you 8 years to feel integrated. What happens if you get married, have children and then at about 8 years he begins to feel that he really wants to go home? Or if you had children and then got divorced. Some countries have signed an international treaty that covers parental rights in these situations but many haven’t. You need to be aware of whether he could disappear on a plane with your children with you never seeing your children again. My husband’s family lives on another continent from us and we have made sacrifices to see them. We bought less house than we could afford so that we could visit them with our children and all of our vacations end up with us visiting either his family or my family because we don’t live close enough to either family to see them any other way. So you have to decide whether you’re willing to spend your income visiting his family and whether you’re willing to do that for your vacations.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl January 9, 2012, 10:31 am

      You hit the head on the nail about the length of their relationship. A year and a half is still a young relationship. I think you would be wise to wait untill you get to the two or three year mark before considering re-locating your lives together.

      Perhaps you could ask your employer for some accomodations so you can have a longer vacation. Maybe you can work remotely for a week or two so you can spend a larger chunk of time at home.

      Good luck with your decision!

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 10:44 am

      I’m curious why you see those 6 months in a relationship (the time between 1.5 years and 2 years) as critical?

      As a person with a few long term (2 yrs +) relationships under her belt and as someone at the 1.5 year mark in her CURRENT relationship, this has me curious.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 9, 2012, 11:22 am

        Everyone I’ve ever talked to has a different opinion about how long you need to be in a relationship before taking every big step.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 12:07 pm

        AMEN silver_dragon_girl!!!! You said it.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 9, 2012, 11:24 am

        Personally- the 3 year mark was my “ah-ha moment” for lack of a better term. Between my BF and I we have 4 previous relationships which all failed just before or at the three year milestone, which is why we put so much emphasis on it. I think it varies per person what that timing is, but to me a year and a half just seems too soon to up-root your own life for someone else. (The LW’s BF that is) I’m not trying discrediting the seriousness of their relationship, just saying I personally think it’s wise to wait a little longer.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 12:10 pm

        There is an absolute importance in taking time to really know someone and figure out how you co-exist after the shiny bubble of new love wears off. But I think that age, experience, and stage of life may have even more to do with it. That is partly why a year together at age 28 feels radically different than being together one year at age 18. Ideally, you learn a lot about yourself and what you want in a partner along the way.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 9, 2012, 12:18 pm

        You’re totally right about the ages. Ten years makes a world of difference. And the person makes a huge difference too.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 9, 2012, 12:36 pm

        I saw 2 years because when you first start seeing someone your body pumps out bonding hormones and at some point between 18 months and 24 months, in the average person, those hormones drop to a lower level. At that point you tend to see them as they really are and get a better feel for whether you are a match. Before those hormones drop you see an idealized, romanticized version of your partner. I do agree with Gator Girl, I think three years is even better. Let the hormones drop and then give it time to see whether it will last or fall apart.

        You can learn more about the hormones related to attachment by reading The Female Brain and the Male Brain by Louann Brizendine. If you just want to look at them your local library may have them and if you want to buy them Amazon has them and you can get them through the link here at Dear Wendy.

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      • avatar

        Jess January 9, 2012, 4:27 pm

        1.5 has always been the crucial point for me. I’ve had relationships that lasted 1.5 years, and none that made it to two years.

        Right now i’m at 1 year 10 months and my boyfriend and i seriously almost broke up over the holidays. but we’re still together, so maybe we’ll make it!

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      • avatar

        Jess January 9, 2012, 4:28 pm

        meant to say 3 relationships that made it to 1.5

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  • Budj

    Budj January 9, 2012, 10:23 am

    You need to decide if moving home is what you want…when you figure that out the rest will figure itself out.

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  • avatar

    MiMi January 9, 2012, 10:32 am

    When I read your letter all I hear is, “I am crazy about my boyfriend and I want to go home to stay, but I’m not at all sure that he will step up and make the necessary sacrifices to be with me on my terms.” He’s coming to visit your country and family in the summer, this is an important first step and may make things much clearer (depending on how it goes) and make the possible choices more obvious to both of you.
    Please stop driving yourself crazy until then and enjoy these next six months with your marvelous boyfriend in the country you’ve worked so hard to be comfortable in. After you get back from the visit is the time to open up a mutual and ongoing adult conversation about the future.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife January 9, 2012, 10:54 am

    The heart wants what the heart wants, and you need to decide that, just like Wendy said. If he sees no possibility in moving to another country, will you leave him? Is it a deal breaker? Could the two of you commit to living a portion of your life abroad and eventually returning to the US? Is the relationship headed for marriage?

    These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself and discuss with him. The best relationships are those with open communication. I am sure he has thought about this more than you think… and there is obviously a lot that goes into making any life decision as big as this.

    Don’t be afraid to talk to your boyfriend– I am sure he understands that it must be hard for you living so far from your family, and I think the discussion will be much more fruitful than you expect, especially if you approach it with an open heart.

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 11:04 am

    Wow, is this a letter I wrote in 2006?

    I lived this scenario almost exactly. The two most important bits here are COMMUNICATION and PATIENCE.

    On HOMESICKNESS: LW, you and I both know that homesickness definitely comes in waves. And LW, you are wise to wait it out and see if it’s a passing feeling or a growing need. As you are getting older AND have found a committed partner, I’d say its absolutely not surprising that your mind would be drawn to family and the idea of putting down roots.

    On PATIENCE: A move overseas, whether alone or with your partner, is NOT going to happen overnight. There are 2 careers to consider, 2 families to consider, and a BOAT LOAD of immigration considerations. On the last point, you will need to face the unavoidable reality that moving back to the US with your boyfriend will be incredibly difficult and likely to be totally impossible unless you decide to marry. See how this little starts to get bigger and bigger? You MAY want to make that a mental maker for yourselves. Assuming he is even open to moving with you, you may want to be ready to marry before you do so. Not only does this overcome major barriers for you (like his ability to STAY in the US and accept employment) but it may well be the level of strength you need as a couple to make this next major step in your relationship.

    Speaking of patience and the long road to preparing for such a move, what about FINANCES? Can you both survive on one income for awhile? Or can you live with family in the meantime until you both have jobs that would enable you to get your own place? Will your new employer pay for relocation costs? Assist with immigration filing expenses (filing for a green card will cost over a grand and that doesn’t include the financial documents you must show to establish his financial viability)?

    On CULTURAL BALANCE: Know that such a move would create a cultural flip-flop for you as a couple. I am assuming that he is native to the country in which you now live. That means, he is the insider. You are the outsider. I don’t doubt that you go to him for various questions and interpretations of local customs, phrases, and bureaucracies. Even with 8 years under your belt, he is still the local. You, the foreigner. Are you ready to take on the responsibility of his integration to the US? Is he ready? Tackling a language barrier (even if he’s fluent there will be tons of jokes, sayings, and cultural references he won’t get), making new friends, finding a job, –you know the list because you’ve done it 8 years ago.

    My long-winded point here is that you need to be having a LOT of conversations over a period of months about the practical and emotional implications of such a move. This cannot be an ultimatum. Just give him some insight into your developing feelings and wade into this, bit by bit, talking over all these points and more.

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 11:20 am

      I forgot to add another obvious point which is, BY ALL MEANS, have him out to visit! It’s critical that he has a taste of the culture, your family, the climate, etc, etc, etc. In fact if you can schedule multiple visits over the next year, even better.

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    • avatar

      oldie January 9, 2012, 12:13 pm

      Yes, there is a lot to consider. LW seems to have done zero research about how the move back to her home country would impact her bf. It is very possible that he could not work and could only enter on a tourist or student visa. He certainly couldn’t come to the US and work. Moving to the UK from outside the European Union, which 8 time zones would be, likely also means no job. If she’s moving to the US, then marriage solves the problem. She needs to decide if she’s ready for that. In any event, I don’t see how she can have the intended talk with her bf, before she does a lot more thinking about what sort of life her bf could have in her home country. If bf is a licensed professional, that doesn’t necessarily transfer.
      I wonder if LW is not just undergoing a spurt of homesickness or a recent pressure from parents to move home. She has voluntarily been away from her home country for 7 years, despite saying she’d be better off financially if she returned home. There must be a reason that over-rides the finances and homesickness and has made her decide to remain far abroad. The current bf was only part of that reason for at most a year and a half. There is a non-financial reason that she has chosen to live abroad for 7 years. She also needs to figure out what that reason is and whether it still applies, before talking to bf.

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      • avatar

        haggith January 9, 2012, 1:20 pm

        exactly! it’s not a matter of taking him with you just like that: if he comes with a tourist visa he won’t be able to start his new life here because he won’t be able to work; if he comes as a student, he’ll be able to work part-time and he’ll need extra help and tons of paperwork to deal with. if you want him in the us permanently the only way is through marriage, are you ready for that step? needless to say the tons of paperwork, money and frustration that would mean, like getting married in that country vs in your country; both of which will require different things from you. and time, lots of time

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    • landygirl

      Landygirl January 9, 2012, 3:01 pm

      Intriguing, now I want to know where you moved to and where you’re from and what happened.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 10, 2012, 9:08 am

        Glad to think I might be interesting, haha!

        I am American, grew up in the US. Moved to Belgium in 2002 and lived there 5 years. My boyfriend was Belgian and we were together 2 years in total. After our first year together, I felt homesick and we seriously discussed a move to the US. He worked for an international company and put in a bid for a move to NYC. For us, that would have taken care of the immigration issues without the need to marry. However, we were in no hurry and the NY bid was a matter of waiting until something opened. In the meantime, I got a new and exciting job in Brussels which made me want to stick around at least a few more years.

        In our case, we never really reached the decision making point. Because at the 1.5 year mark, I was having some weird health issues and was very suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma). The ensuing chaos of that tore our relationship to bits. Although, I can say with confidence that it merely revealed the flaws in our relationship that we hadn’t yet fully confronted. The whole experience taught me a ton about what I wanted from life (and in a life partner). After 9 months of treatment, I decided to move back to the US and my boyfriend considered coming with me. But we were too broken by then and I was too well aware that we weren’t meant to be.

        6 years later…. He’s married to a Belgian girl-nextdoor and they have a 3 year old daughter. I’m living here with a nice American man who was absolutely worth the wait 🙂

        And there you have my life story in a few paragraphs!

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  • avatar

    haggith January 9, 2012, 1:14 pm

    i wonder what country is she talking about; if it’s a so-called “third world country” (i hate that phrase) it won’t be a matter of having him come with you because he might need a visa other than the tourist one to stay. if that’s the case, the only way to become a resident in your country is by marriage since work visas (at least in the us and i bet in other western countries) are incredibly difficult to get. about your plans of going back to your country, you need to figure out that first and then tell him what he thinks about it; i bet he has already considered it. yes, there are lots of difficulties but the sooner you figure out what you really want and communicate it to your boyfriend, the better you’ll know how to proceed.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 9, 2012, 1:28 pm

    The biggest problem with your scenario is that you would now be expecting him to make the very same sacrifices that you no longer want to make… Is HE going to want to be 8 time zones away from his family? I am curious as to where you are in the world. The U.S. economy is not exactly one where you can be guaranteed to be better of financially either. Not any more. Oh, sure, you’ll make more money maybe… Actually, that’s a pretty big maybe… But trust me. The cost of living here is NOT what it was 8 years ago…

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 9, 2012, 1:53 pm

      A big part of this would have to do with income tax too I’d think.

      In Europe, you’ll pay at least 50% of your income in tax (in exchange you get free education, low-cost healthcare, etc but that’s cold comfort if you were educated in the US and still paying back student loans). In countries like United Arab Emirates, income tax is ZERO percent. And then in the US, it’s somewhere in between (approx 30% on average I believe?).

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      • avatar

        scattol January 9, 2012, 6:01 pm

        US tax rates aren’t that low compared to these evil socialist countries like in the EU or Canada. If you add you healthcare plan to your taxes and consider this your tax rate you suddenly are back where you are in these other countries. Suddenly the US tax rate doesn’t look like a bargain at all. Really all this “free stuff” you get does get paid.

        I suppose if you are young enough like most Dear Wendy reader, you could skip health care insurance and reasonably get away with it during your 20’s but I expect it catches up with you.

        You correctly point out though that moving could see you on the wrong side of the deal and that’s something LW would need to consider. For instance US education bills with EU taxation would suck big time. In the end though the taxation story is more of a wash than you make it out.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 10, 2012, 1:51 pm

        The bottom line is that there is a long list of calculations to factor in. Personally I have worked in education my whole life and have never paid for health insurance (lucky I know) so that is not a factor for me. On the other hand, I borrowed loans to get my American education which Europeans would not have to do. It varies per person, per country, per career/lifetsyle choice but again, lots of math to be done!

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  • avatar

    jaybro January 9, 2012, 4:05 pm

    I say bring it up seriously after you two return from your trip home. Regardless of what decision is made, it will be a long, time-consuming decision, so I don’t think you should be in any rush. To bide the time, you can, as Wendy said, drop some hints.

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  • katie

    katie January 9, 2012, 9:06 pm

    my advice would be to take things in steps. this huge elephant of a conversation your wanting (and needing, eventually) to have with him doesnt have to be one huge 4 hour thing. take things slowly, and dont make any decisions until you are both very ready for them. i would say also that you need to figure out with his plan for his life is… marriage, kids, traveling, whatever… find that out too.

    i think you guys just really need a “how i picture my life in 5/10 years” talk. and then take those abstract things you come up with and try to make a life out of it. you never know- after you tell him that you want to eventually move back to your country, he might get excited about it! he might want to. but you will never know until you start talking!

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  • avatar

    This LW January 10, 2012, 2:29 am

    I assume most everyone has moved on to “My Fiancé’s Groomsman Has No Teeth” (and I do not blame you!), but there were lots of questions about the countries involved here so I thought I’d clarify. I am American and live in Israel with my Israeli boyfriend. He is currently finishing his MA and will most likely be applying to PhD programs in the next year or two. I admit that I have lots of research to do regarding all of the visa issues, but if he were in a US PhD program I think it would take care of the problem for at least a few years (while he has a student visa). Needless to say, we don’t want to rush into marriage just so he can stay in the US, as that scenario probably works less well in real life than it does in romantic comedies!

    As for the financial and tax issues, I have more research to do there as well. The Israeli economy is actually technically in better shape than the American economy (from the point of view of unemployment, etc.). However, living costs here are outrageously high (I make less than half what I’d make in the US, and most products are close to double the price, if not more), and so saving money is practically impossible. Given my current salary and the amount I’m able to save monthly, it would take me 20 years to save for the DOWN PAYMENT on an apartment! In my parents’ midwestern hometown, on the other hand, I could fully pay off an apartment in less than 10 years (I know this because it’s their latest tactic in trying to get me to come home!)

    In any case, there is a huge amount to consider, not the least of which is whether my boyfriend is willing and able to make the sacrifices I’ve made for the last 8 years. It’s not an easy situation, and I thank you all (and Wendy, of course!) sincerely for your thoughts and suggestions.

    And at the end of the day I guess I can just be glad we haven’t yet arrived to the problem of a groomsman with no teeth! 😉

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 10, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Good luck with your decision my dear!! Sounds like you know what you are up against and with a little communication, you two will make a good decision I am sure.

      I just wanted to comment on the student visa (shh, my real job requires me to be an expert on student visa regs) to say that it CAN be a good deal if he can get a good deal with scholarships/fellowships but just know that the student visa in the US is HIGHLY restrictive (must be full-time, cannot work off-campus in most cases, cannot take a leave of absence while in the US, etc, etc). Also, of course, he won’t be eligible for in-state tuition or grants or loans (unless an American like you cosigns and has good credit). If you were married, he’d be eligible for all those extras once he established state residency and his green card (a few months to a year).

      Don’t let that stop you either, just *sigh* more research for you to do! Hopefully some university will recognize his brilliance and snap him up with a full ride –depends on the field.

      Good luck!

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