Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“We’ve Lost that Lovey-Dovey Feeling”

I met my fiancé when he visited the states from Europe with a mutual friend. We fell in love fast and started a LDR with visits to see each other three times a year. He proposed before I graduated college and we’ve been engaged for 10 months. If everything goes according to plan, he is moving to the states for his job next year.

Recently, he’s expressed that if his company can’t find him a position in the U.S., he’d rather stay in Europe where he’d be assured a job. I’ve expressed that it’s almost impossible for me to live/work in his country due to language skills, work visas, government collateral money, etc. We were lovey-dovey in the beginning and now all we do is fight. We Skype all the time and try to communicate but always end the conversation upset. In addition, I crave a sex life (ours is fantastic, but we’re hardly together) and fell back into old habits by being unfaithful a number of times. He says he’s forgiven me — God knows I don’t deserve it — but I know I’ve hurt him badly.

With all our LDR problems, I keep thinking he deserves someone better and I miss a relationship that doesn’t carry all this baggage! That being said, he’s by all definitions perfect. We both are deeply in love, are best friends, and both still say we’re happier together than we ever were apart (although lately we’ve been feeling separated from all the fighting).

I was so happy with him and so glad I found this wonderful man to settle down with, but it seems like, the more we plan and discuss, the further we are from ever being together. I have all these doubts and obstacles in my head, but I can’t deny how in love I am and that I still see a future with him regardless of all our problems.

What do you suggest that I do?? I feel so lost. — Overwhelmed in a LDR

It sounds like the beginning of your relationship was very much a fairy-tale. You met this European man and immediately fell head-over-heels, flying across the ocean to visit each other as often as you could, and spending hours and hours on Skype (well, OK, that part isn’t so fairy-tale-ish, but you get my point). But you know why we never heard what happened with Cinderella and Prince Charming after he fit the glass slipper onto her foot? Because everything after that is pretty mundane. I mean, hopefully, not EVERYTHING was pretty mundane, but most of it probably was.

Like you and your boyfriend, they probably had a few months of “lovey-dovey” bliss, but then real life caught up with them. They had bills and period cramps and the flu. They probably fought over the temperature in their bedroom and what to watch on TV and where they should spend the holidays. Mundane.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re with the absolute love of your life/ “soul-mate” or not, life isn’t going to stay as exciting as it is in the first few months of a new relationship. It’s just not. That doesn’t mean that a deeper love doesn’t grow, because it does. In fact, it’s actually in those mundane, often difficult moments of a relationship when your bond is truly strengthened. You wanna know why? Because those are the moments when you’re being tested. Those are the moments you get to prove to your significant other that you’re in this — you’re really in this — and that what you share is more than fairy-tale, puppy dog lust, but the real fuckin’ deal. The “stick-to-your-side-no-matter-what” kinda love. The “I’ll-do-anything-to-be-with-you” kind of love, like figure out how to get a work visa in another country, and take language lessons, and something about “government collateral money,” cause that’s how much love there is.

And that’s not what it sounds like you have with your fiancé. Not only does it sound like you haven’t really discussed the important things a couple needs to discuss before tying the knot, it sounds like you lack the commitment needed to not only survive a LDR, but, more importantly, survive a marriage. And trust me, I have experienced a long distance relationship and I have experienced marriage, and marriage, at least one that involves children, is harder. It takes more commitment. You can’t just cheat when you aren’t getting enough attention and then expect things to be smooth after that.

What troubles me the most about your letter is how you say in one breath that you and your fiancé do nothing but fight constantly and how every single conversation you have ends in anger, and then in the next breath you say you’re happier together than you ever were on your own. It doesn’t sound like you’re happy now, so I can only imagine how you must have felt before. It’s always a red flag when someone thinks the best or only way to happiness is through being in a relationship, even if the relationship is as lonely as yours sounds.

You’re young; you had a fun, whirlwind romance with a man from a different country. Why not leave it at that and go your separate ways before you start resenting one another for creating more challenges than you’re prepared or ready to deal with? Why not end things while you still have love for each other and keep the memory of your time together happy before it’s tarnished by endless fights and disagreements over where to live and all the sacrifices you’ll eventually have to make for each other? That’s my advice for you: just MOA now while you still have positive feelings for each other.

But if you can’t bear the thought of saying good-bye just yet and you’re serious about trying to make this thing work, you need to have some serious discussions with each other about your expectations, your needs, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to make a marriage work. It’s not all fun and games. And that love-dovey feeling you had in the beginning? It’s not going to be there every moment. But it’s in the moments when it’s not there that you find what your relationship is really made of.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

72 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary November 8, 2012, 9:06 am

    WWS! But I’m confused on why the LW expects her fiance to go through all of the pain in the butt stuff like work visas, establishing citizenship, and adjusting to a new language/culture if you won’t do it for him?

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    • JK

      JK November 8, 2012, 9:12 am

      Excellent point, KC. Plus, isn´t the US (if that´s where she is) one of the hardest countries to get into?

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary November 8, 2012, 9:21 am

        Yes, and as far as I know it’s easier to marry someone with EU citizenship and get married/get their citizenship than to marry someone with US citizenship and get a green card/become a US citizen.

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        Brigitte November 8, 2012, 12:46 pm

        It really depends on the country- some countries have super strict rules, other are more “m’eh” about it. Very few give you citizenship for just marrying a local. Residence permits for immigrants are another thing, and usually what you get when you move in together/ get married in Europe.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 5:20 pm

        America is one of the easiest! Some countries in Europe require documentation and fees; others require a $10,000 collateral loan (Denmark, for instance) be presented in addition to language tests, documentation with fees, and multiple visas.

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    • avatar

      TheGirl November 8, 2012, 10:19 am

      The least she could do is try to learn his language! Personally, I’d be all about getting a visa and moving to Europe if I had the option.

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      • avatar

        CSP November 8, 2012, 1:11 pm

        I thought this too. If I was serious with a foreigner, I would start learning the language in the car on my commute. I do that when I am simply going on vacation.

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      Lindsay November 8, 2012, 10:38 am

      Plus, she made no mention of a future beyond the immediate. Maybe they could live in one country for a few years and then move later on (once one of them had more work experience under their belt and was more qualified for a job in the other country). People who are truly committed will usually exhaust all available options before deciding it’s too much.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 5:25 pm

        You are very right about commitment, Lindsay. We did discuss this option, but decided upon one country (the UK!) which we decided would be best for both of our career paths and where we both would be the happiest long-term. Thank you so much for your suggestion!

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  • JK

    JK November 8, 2012, 9:10 am

    Wendy this was absolutely beautiful!!!

    LW PLEASE listen to Wendy. You and your fiance barely know each other, no matter the visits and skyping. It´s impossible to get to know a person deeply (deeply enough to commit to marriage at least) while on vacation or over the computer. In my opinion you would need at least a year of seeing each other at least a few times a week, and not only at your best to truly know if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 5:33 pm

      I admit, there were some very key issues that we had not been able to agree upon. But I must disagree with your statement that we didn’t know each other. Like any other couple, we felt differently about issues. Unfortunately, those issues weren’t “what temperature to leave our bedroom at” but instead, which person should leave their family to move to another country. I am happy to inform you that after years of discussion, we’ve finally decided on the UK! His company and department is very well represented throughout the United Kingdom, and there is a plethora of opportunities for my career. We went through a rough patch, but we came out the other side holding hands and each other’s hearts, as well! 🙂

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 8, 2012, 9:25 am

    WWS. This sounds like a whirlwind, fantasy romance that’s fracturing now that both of you are trying to make it into something more. There’s supposed to be a solid base in a relationship, so when that “lovey-dovey” feeling fades, you’re still firmly on deck instead of drowning in the water. It unfortunately doesn’t sound as if you & this man have that stability, LW.

    I’m thinking the part of you that is “so glad [you] found this wonderful man to settle down with” is larger than the he-is-wonderful-and-I-am-so-happy part. There are other men in the world, & you don’t have to commit to one across the world–whom you fight with all the time–just because at one point, you each saw a future together. You say you miss a relationship without all the baggage, so I’d recommend that you MOA & keep searching.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Thanks, Fabelle, for your comment! We absolutely did (and do still!) have a fairytale romance. We had more love for each other than I ever hoped was possible. As we’ve continued down our relationship path, we’ve discovered what we were doing wrong and what we were doing right and we’ve grown, together. I just spent three months with him at his home in Europe and he just left after being here for about three weeks and each time, we only grow closer. We got through our rough patch (just like I’m sure you have or will, Fabelle) and the fact that we’re even more committed, gives me all the hope in the world. Even though the universe may put us in a position where nothing is in our favor and nobody is on our side, our love will always prevail.

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  • katie

    katie November 8, 2012, 9:30 am

    I will echo what JK said: wendy, this really was absolutely beautiful. and it is very true that the mundane moments are when your relationship are truly made, and i have been noticing that, and it is making me feel much more confident about marriage in the future. (wendy has basically completely helped my fears about marriage, everyone. i highly recommend her advice. haha)

    LW, wendy is totally right. if what you had was real and strong and good enough, you wouldnt cheat, and you wouldnt be all hurt about potentially having to move to his country. when people are in this spot, they do *everything* possible to make it work. and your willing to do…. maybe 30%, i’d say, of what it takes to make it work. and honestly, thats ok. it really is ok. long distance relationships, and especially cross country long distance relationships, are not for everyone. they are really, really hard, and if you are not willing to put in that work to make it work, just recognize that and move on. there is nothing wrong with saying, this relationship, and good as it is and as much as i love you, is not working for me because i need a much more active sex life and i am not willing to move abroad. you are allowed to say that.

    so, LW, i would say you just need to make a choice. you either marry this man and devote your life to him 100%, which means no more cheating and figuring out a way to end the long distance (whether you move to him or vis versa), or you part now and go find a guy who will match up with the life that you want now. you obviously, as your life is evidence of now, cannot have it both ways. you have to pick the life you want, so really pick the life you want, you know?

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 5:58 pm

      You gave a beautiful response there, Katie. Thank you so much for it! I wholeheartedly agree that the magic of a relationship is when you sacrifice for each other, and pay the bills together, and take the kids to school. That is the real love, that is what matters in the end. I’m sure Wendy provides some highly insightful advice and I’m so glad she’s helped you. Marriage can be scary, and if you don’t have 100% commitment, its almost impossible to make it work.
      Let me make myself more clear. We had planned to move to Denmark (his country) originally. In fact, it was my idea! Unfortunately, the financial requirements to move there were too difficult for us at this young age, and so we went back and forth between countries, trying to discover which would be the best place for us. We finally found the UK! And we’re both currently job searching there. 🙂 It was very difficult to get to the point where I am, where I’m 100% committed to our relationship, and have imagined my life far away from many of my family members and friends. But what a weight it was, lifted off my shoulders, to discover a place we both could follow our career paths, have plenty of opportunities to visit both our homes, and not put our financial future in jeopardy. We both made sacrifices, and we have no doubt that it will pay off, tenfold.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl November 8, 2012, 9:51 am

    Angry phone calls and 3 vacations per year does not a healthy relationship make.

    Look, LDR are hard. Very hard. They require a huge amount of communication and scarifice and compromise. None of these things appear to be happening in your relationship. Please listen to Wendy and find someone who fullfills all of your needs.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay November 8, 2012, 9:57 am

    When I studied abroad, I met an Irish guy and we dated for the remainder of the semester. At the end, he said that long-distance relationships are too hard (which I agreed with), and it was over. Like Wendy suggested, it’s been nice to be able to look back on the time we were together and how much fun it was, and sometimes email each other at random, without a cloud hanging over us because we ended up being mean and terrible to each other.

    Aside from all that, it sounds like you got engaged straight from your LDR, which I think is risky in any circumstance, fairy tale or not. It seems like it would be hard to commit your whole life to someone who you’re not even sure what it’s like to live near. Anyone can be a good fiance (or fiancee) when it only involves a few visits and some phone calls. Plus, it sounds like there’s no good way for you both to be together as a couple and happy as individuals, finding work, etc. Sounds like it’s time to move on.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 6:17 pm

      Thanks for your comment Lindsay! It must have been very exciting for you to study abroad; Europe is such an exceptional place! It sounds like you had some experience with LDRs before you met him, in order to know how difficult it was. I envy you in a way! I wish I would have known was was entailed with international lifestyles before we went on this crazy trip! But here we are, three years together and stronger than we were. We’ve devoted more time to visits (he has come here for three months at a time, and I just left from Denmark recently after three months as well) and we’ve gotten down to the roots of our problems and nipped them in the bud before they could turn into something as big as jeopardizing our relationship.

      Our move to the UK is in the planning phase and we’ve ceased fighting and instead turn to understanding and sacrifice. We feel both the security, commitment and love that comes with growing as a couple and making the big decisions, as well as the fairy-tale elation that we had in the beginning. It is testament not only to our relationship, but to real, honest-to-god love. We’re so happy, and we can’t wait to start this important chapter in our lives!

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  • FireStar

    FireStar November 8, 2012, 10:20 am

    If you aren’t willing to make the sacrifices in a relationship you are comfortable asking of your partner – then that is not the relationship for you. That is not to say that everything has to be ‘even’ or that some-one’s reasons for staying or going or whatever won’t trump at some point but it cannot be all about you all the time and still be successful. My husband lives in Canada now because of me even though we met here – if he had his druthers he would be in Texas in a heartbeat. I appreciate the sacrifice on his part and, in turn, I’m open to moving there one day if our reasons for going trump our reasons for staying even though I love Toronto and think truly that no where else in the world can hold a candle to it (I mean the winter isn’t great but you can’t beat the diversity and the friendliness of the people). And moving to Texas would mean a whole new career for me and walking away from my business – but it is still on the table because at the end of the day I go where he goes and he goes where I go – everything else is just logistics. That is what commitment is. Wendy is right, marriage takes all kinds of commitment – not just sexual fidelity. And while you may have love, it doesn’t sound like you have the commitment you need to be successful. So visit one more time and have a sweet good-bye before you go on with your lives.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 6:26 pm

      Thanks for your comment FireStar! Isn’t Canada beautiful! My family spent some time in Toronto when I was young and I can remember wanting to move there right then!

      I empathize with your husbands sacrifice and its obvious that he cares a great deal about you. We’ve decided to make a sacrifice as well and both of us will be moving into a foreign country that we are unfamiliar with, away from our families. It will, I’m sure, prove difficult at times, but I’m so in love with Europe and their lifestyle, and we both have too many opportunities there to pass up this chance (and unlike Denmark, his country, we don’t have to pay the government $10,000 to move there!).

      You are correct that love and sacrifice is key, and all decisions are based upon that, not convenience. It has taken us time to discover what a “grown-up” relationship entails, but we’ve discovered how much more beautiful our love can become with this growth and we have no interest in ever looking back. We’re on the road to the rest of our lives together, and there is nothing in the world that would make me happier. 🙂

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  • Diablo

    Diablo November 8, 2012, 10:25 am

    If you “fell in to old habits by being unfaithful a number of times,” THEN YOU AREN’T REALLY IN LOVE WITH THIS MAN. Period.

    While I can respect other commenters’ points about needing to know someone longer to be ready for marriage, the time needed to be truly in love varies from person to person. But I can’t see how this does. Let’s say that he did in fact completely forgive you, harbouring no future resentment. Well, maybe, maybe not. But either way, you were so in love that you cheated multiple times. Sorry, that simply isn’t love.

    Take that point and add everyone’s advice on top of it. Move on before you hurt him and yourself more than is unavoidable at this point.

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    • avatar

      CSP November 8, 2012, 1:09 pm

      Actually, I disagree with this. They aren’t seeing each other for long stretches. You can be in love with someone and succumb to temptation when you are isolated and alone day in and day out. She might not be ready for all this commitment but that doesn’t mean it isn’t love.

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      • othy

        othy November 9, 2012, 11:56 am

        Having been in a LDR in the past, there is a big difference between succumbing and having crushes. Yes, I did have a number of crushes when I hadn’t seen him for a while, but I never acted on them. Of course, we had very good communication, and tried to talk regularly to help us avoid feeling lonely.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 6:36 pm

        You are correct, CSP! It was definitely love, but we discovered that we desperately needed work on our commitment. We’ve done that, and we spend much more time together, talking about the important things. 🙂

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 6:34 pm

      You are correct that I had hurt him a great deal. But our love and commitment was so strong that he was able to forgive me and I am, of course, still rebuilding the trust that I so easily broke. I’m sure it will take time, just like anything else, but we speak of our commitment to the relationship quite often, whether its something as simple as telling each other at least once a day how much we respect and love the other, or sitting down to discuss how we will visit our respected families when we move to the UK (many countries in Europe offers weeks of paid vacation for entry-level positions). We are still young, but we’re only growing and learning and getting stronger, together.

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  • avatar

    MiMi November 8, 2012, 10:30 am

    The easy fall into unfaithfulness by you, LW, is a huge red flag – for him. This is not what a mature person who is truly in love with and committed to another person does. Period. To yearn for the early, fantasy stage of falling in love and to bemoan the baggage that you personally created, thus damaging the relationship, is fruitless – you are waaay past that…

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    • JK

      JK November 8, 2012, 10:40 am

      Seriously. If LW needs a more active sex life, then she´s not cut out for an ldr. And that´s not a bad thing, but it IS important to recognize that.

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    • avatar

      oldie November 8, 2012, 10:40 am

      This is so true. There is nothing about a tale of cheating multiple times on this guy and fighting constantly that suggests LW is ready for marriage. That she describes cheating on her SO as “falling back into an old pattern” suggests that she has a lot of work to do on herself, before she is ready for a committed relationship of any sort, let alone marriage. From the way she behaves, she should just seek out FWB for now. There is nothing about the way LW describes herself which would cause an outside observer to think she is capable of a committed LDR. MOA and spare this ‘perfect man’ any more of your soap opera.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 6:48 pm

        You are right, we weren’t ready for marriage quite yet. We knew we wanted to be together, we just didn’t know how to break out of our old lives and move on TOGETHER. I did some extensive soul-searching and made many changes to my current way of living. Just like a person recovering from alcoholism and violence and crime, we’re all capable of change. If we weren’t, there would be no justice system like we have, no government programs to help, no support groups or churches to remind people that there is hope and change is not only encouraged, but possible. As it turns out, I was capable of change and I’m so happy to tell you that I have. Not only has the occurrence and urge to cheat completely disappeared for me, but we’re on our way to being together when we decided to move to the UK! Our LDR was hard, but boy has it payed off for us. We’re looking for castles in England to marry and we’re both looking forward to our careers, travel plans and, in the near future, raising some beautiful children. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray November 8, 2012, 10:42 am

    I love a good Wendy response like no other, and this one was pretty darn good. But I can’t get my head around this comment: ” life isn’t going to stay as exciting as it is in the first few months of a new relationship” <—– LIES, ALL LIES, LIES LIES LIES LIES LIES LIES. LIFE WILL STAY AS EXCITING AS IT IS IN THE FIRST FEW MONTHS F-O-R-E-V-E-R. (When I speak in all caps, it means I'm definitely right about that.)

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl November 8, 2012, 11:01 am

      My 5 year relationship is still as exciting as day one and I get butterflies in my tummy regularly. So AP, I think it is possible 🙂

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh November 8, 2012, 11:06 am

      Don’t worry it gets better 🙂 At least I think so. Because, man keeping up emotionally and physically with the beginning of a relationship is hard!

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    • JK

      JK November 8, 2012, 11:13 am

      Apparently the excitement of the first few months of a relationship has to do with the uncertainty of it “Does he really like me?” “Is this going to last?” etc. So, of course as the relationship lasts, and evolves, there should be a greater degree of certainty to it (without taking it for granted), so most of the fluttery nervous feeling naturally subsides.
      But seriously, I wouldn´t change what I have now for a hot new fling, it is so much better. 🙂

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary November 8, 2012, 11:31 am

      I agree that being in love/falling in love is the best feeling EVER. Like when you can’t eat because you aren’t hungry even though you had sex 6 times that day, and you can’t sleep because you are too busy thinking about the beautiful person laying next to you. Or if they aren’t next to you where are they? What did they eat for breakfast? Etc…BUT, being in a secure, long-term relationship is amazing. There are moments when you feel so bonded to that person that you know there is no one else you could be with. You don’t have uncertainties about their feelings for you and you can be horrible just because you are in a bad mood, and they know exactly how to handle it. I don’t get butterflies from my boyfriend anymore, but I know I love him deeper all the time because of who he is and stuff he does for me and for us.

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      • JK

        JK November 8, 2012, 11:36 am

        Yes! I mean I get butterflies sometimes, but I LOVE having inside jokes, that we can communicate just by looking at each other (most of the time hahaha), and the other things only a LTR can bring. 🙂

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        lemongrass November 8, 2012, 11:49 am

        Yeah I get butterflies pretty infrequently but I wouldn’t trade them for the feeling I get when my husband holds me- all the tension in my body just melts away, or that I can anticipate all of his moves in cribbage, or that I don’t have to shave my legs often and he still is hot for me.

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        GatorGirl November 8, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Horray for unshanven legs!! Haha.

        But seriously, that tension releaving hug is the best.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray November 8, 2012, 11:50 am

        Awwwwwwwwww – I love love!

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        Emiley April 7, 2013, 7:02 pm

        Thank you all for your comments on my problem!

        Yes yes yes, Kerrycontrary! Falling in love is nothing less than a drug. You are constantly thinking about them, and you can sit and stare at their face for hours, just smiling and basking in your love. Fortunately, for the relationships that are so blessed, much of this continues even after years of being together! He and I have worked through our issues and we have found those butterflies I had missed for those few months. We still stare, through Skype, at each other, with a goofy grin. I still run my hand over his face when he sleeps next to me and shed a tear when I think about how blessed we are to have found one another and stuck together. You don’t worry about judgement or doing the wrong thing, because you’re one unit, in on this together. His fail is my fail, and his success is my success, and vice versa. New love is glorious, but if you’re lucky, you’ll keep most of those butterflies and trade a few in for peace of mind and, of course, the greatest happiness of all: true love.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* November 8, 2012, 10:56 am

    Younger couples can sometimes make marriage work, but the fact that you call your fiance “perfect” gives me serious pause about whether a marriage would be right for you. Also, the fact that you cheated, multiple times, says a lot.

    Please stop making this about what you think he deserves (God I hate when people do that to their partners) and focus on what you want. That’s the best way to be fair to both of you.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 7:07 pm

      That’s absolutely correct, and the second we decided to make honesty and communication the biggest part of our relationship, our expectations and our problems disappeared and we were left with our love and hope for the future. Thank you so much for your truthfulness!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom November 8, 2012, 11:01 am

    When you handle relationship problems by cheating you are not ready for marriage.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ November 8, 2012, 11:05 am

    Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, for your reading pleasure:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove.
    O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
      If this be error and upon me proved,
      I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

    LW, this is the spell you are under. Your love has endured, and continues to endure, alterations and time and doom and all that. It is, to your mind, an ever-fixed mark.

    And hey, that’s swell.

    But what Shakespeare and countless others leave out is that Love alone, in all its glory and grandeur, is not enough. Love is not the same as compatibility. Love is not the same as common interests and goals. Love – the way Shakespeare describes it – is uncompromising. But guess what? Real relationships require compromise. You’ve both already failed to reach a compromise on a number of things – when your LDR will end, where you will live, commitment to monogamy (forgiveness is not compromise) – but remain steadfastly in love. Like I said, that’s great. But it’s just not going to be enough for the long haul.

    You say your man is, by all other means, perfect. That very well may be true, but he is not perfect FOR YOU. At least, not at this time. There is no such thing as “perfect, except for [x]” – the very definition of ‘perfect’ prevents exceptions. Your man is a great guy, but you can’t force this to work through sheer will of love. Know that he is a great guy, and will continue to be a great guy, for someone else, someone who doesn’t face so many obstacles as you have. And because you love him, that thought is going to sting a bit. Your love will resist altering; it will remain a fixed mark, and bearing that burden while simultaneously letting the object of your affection go, will be like tearing yourself in half.

    I like to think that Love *is* an ever-fixed mark – within ourselves. We carry the ability, and propensity, to love, and that love will always be in search of a mark, a target to fix itself upon. Right now, it’s fixed on your fiance; in time, it will fix on someone else, and you will feel it just as passionately. It never died, it never went away, it never altered when it alteration found – but that does not stop LIFE from altering.

    So carry that love with you, let the pain recede, and in time life will alter enough that a new, perhaps worthier object of affection will come your way.

    (TL;DR version: MOA.)

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow November 8, 2012, 11:43 am

      Comment of the week?

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      • katie

        katie November 8, 2012, 11:58 am

        seconded.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ November 8, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Aww, thanks! Not to one-up Wendy’s awesome response either, of course. 😉

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      jlyfsh November 8, 2012, 12:20 pm

      very well said!

      also i rescued a bird that ran in to our window at work today and took him to a local rehabber. made me think of you! 🙂

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      • KKZ

        KKZ November 8, 2012, 12:59 pm

        😀
        The starlings around my apartment complex have been very vocal lately, and it makes me laugh. Not only does their call sound like a human whistling, but the actual sound is reminiscent of that high, descending twhoooooooooooooo of Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff. Another variation sounds like someone whistling suggestively at you, a sort of oooo-OOO-ooo. So I’m getting catcalled…by birds! Birdcalled! Catbirdcalled?

        A starling landed on my windowsill at work the other day (possibly flew into it, I had my back turned) and I enjoyed very much the opportunity to look at it up close through the window while it strutted from one side of the sill to the other.

        Bird Nerd Out!

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark November 8, 2012, 12:27 pm

      I agree with much of this, only I don’t see where HE has failed to compromise. It seems to me that he is merely backpedaling now after she has shown herself to be unfaithful. (Which after multiple lapses seems to me to be a most legitimate concern…)

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      • KKZ

        KKZ November 8, 2012, 12:53 pm

        I didn’t necessarily mean that each person has failed to compromise individually in some way, but rather that they as a unit have failed to compromise or come to agreements on certain things. Compromising is a joint effort, not just an exchange of sacrifices.

        I tend to agree, he may be backpedaling or at least hitting the brakes somewhat. Forgiving her for multiple instances of cheating, while also being engaged to marry her, does not paint a picture of mutual commitment to me. In fact I would not be entirely surprised if maybe he too has been unfaithful and thus quicker to forgive. (Not to cause the LW to panic, of course – if there’s no evidence of it, don’t bark up that tree! – Just that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising, hypothetically.)

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    • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

      Irishchick November 8, 2012, 12:42 pm

      I nominate this for comment of the week! Awesome mini-essay KKZ

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      • KKZ

        KKZ November 8, 2012, 1:36 pm

        Thanks! Even though I graduated 4 years ago, sometimes that ole’ English Major spirit still rears its head and goes all poetical and shit. 😉

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      CSP November 8, 2012, 1:19 pm

      I was in a very shakespere relationship years ago and agree with this totally. LW, I was in a situation that was the exact opposite of you. I was with a guy and things were lovely and “perfect”. I would look into his eyes and the intensity of the emotion would bring tears to my eyes. What amplified it was there was a threat of me relocating. So we hung on and said it was forever. Then I didn’t relocate, and we had to start negotiating the world past just the two of us. And with all the fire and drama and love, the real life logistics of the world didn’t match up. So I let it go and married a man a few years later that was not only a man I loved but a man that I could build a life with as well. You need both of these things and I don’t think you have them.

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        Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:05 pm

        CSP, thanks for commenting on my problem!

        Even though our obstacles seemed opposite, I suspect we went through much of the same heartache and love. I experienced the same type of emotional high as you, and once we realized our position, tension grew. The semantics of our conversations suddenly skyrocketed to priority numero uno. Did we have enough love to get us past this phase? It seems that you realized, you did not. And how lucky you are that a man came your way whom you learned to love even more! Our distance has made us stronger and I hope we only continue to grow even closer together.

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      Emiley April 7, 2013, 7:44 pm

      Love the inclusion of Shakespeare! So many of our great and noted writers blessed us with holy grails. Of course we want to find true love, and happiness and harmony with our fellow person. As is everything in life, easier said than done. Animals are the only thing in existence that fight entropy! We’d rather build a life together than let our own break down over time. And like many other couples, we were caught in a catch-22: it’d be easier to stop, but we’d be giving up our soul-mate (“min eneste ene”, as they say in his country), and if we continued to try, we’d be committing ourselves to months, maybe years of agony by being apart. We did face this deterrent, and through sacrifice, found a favorable outcome.

      By calling one perfect, KKZ, those of us with significant others don’t mean “by all measures of the definition”! Of course, we refer to the term as an endearing example of our compatibility “for each other”. If we say, “You always do that”, we certainly don’t mean they always do. But hyperboles are ways to express emotion, not fact.

      The obstacles that we faced were both his and mine; they were divided equally. We shared in the sacrifice and we in currently in that second stage of elation, where the firsts evolve from kisses and dates to house purchases and children.

      I certainly did find my object of affection; he was by my side the entire time.

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    jlyfsh November 8, 2012, 11:07 am

    Beautiful response, Wendy! I hope the LW takes it heart and really listens.

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    lemongrass November 8, 2012, 11:40 am

    There is not just this one person for you. He is not the only person out there that you will feel happy with, have great sex with, see a future with, etc. There are many chances for love in a lifetime. You do not have to stop and marry the first man you fall in love with- and you shouldn’t if you aren’t ready to make the sacrifices that the relationship calls for.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark November 8, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Hmmm. I wish HE had written in. I know I probably wouldn’t wanna give up my entire life to move to a far off land where I had no guarantee of employment — just so I can marry my partner who has already cheated on me a couple of times… Especially if we were now frequently fighting all the time…

    It seems to me that he is trying to back away from this relationship. Let him. Slow things down a bit. This all sounds like too much too soon…

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      Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:09 pm

      Love the name, bittergaymark! Thanks for your comment on my problem. Your right that we had a lot of problems, and thankfully he was not trying to back away from the relationship. He just wanted me to step up. I have, and so has he. We haven’t slowed down in the way you’re referring because we’re in the middle of a move to the UK and planning our wedding, but we certainly don’t make assumptions about one another anymore and we listen carefully to each other and to ourselves. We’ve made this work, in the face of adversity. I’m ecstatic to in form you that we’re finally happy together.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:10 pm

        Inform*

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    Brigitte November 8, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I’m a Canadian who met her European husband in grad-school. We had a whirl-wind romance too, there was long distance when school ended, and then I moved to Europe to be with him. Hoops to be jumped through for immigration whether him to the US or you to Europe are probably similar: they’ll recognize your relationship, and you get to move based on that. That will include a work permit, it includes a visa (slow down on citizenship- that’s not a requirement of living in another country, you can be a life-long immigrant), and I have no idea what you mean about government collateral money so I can’t comment.

    When I moved here, we’d been together for 2.5 years, 18 months of that long-distance, and it wasn’t an easy transition. I had to learn a new language, sure, but that’s actually pretty cool when you think about it (and do you mean you wouldn’t be learning his language if he moved to the US? Selfish much? You have no intention of ever communicating with your in-laws and future nieces and nephews? Little kids don’t learn English right away.) I had to get a job, make a brand new group of friends and let me tell ya, making friends as adult is not easy. But there will be expats like you all over the country and I’m blown away by the amazing people I’ve met through the expat community.

    The most difficult are the things I didn’t realize I was giving up when I moved here: I don’t have a close relationship with my sister’s children (who weren’t even a gleam in their mother’s eye when I moved away); I’ve given up being a part of big events for old friends like marriage, divorce, death, illness; I’ve given up having my mom make me a birthday cake for my birthday; given up Christmases and holidays. I didn’t realize how much I valued these things before I’d already given up on ever having them. Still, now, I think the trade was worth it. But I never had a doubt, we never had these fights, I knew he’d give all this up to come back to Canada with me if it really didn’t work out.

    Truly, if you’re not willing to give these up for your future husband, you can’t expect him to do the same. Some have already commented on this, but from his point of view: Should I move overseas to be with my fiancée who’s already cheated on me many times, who had no interest in learning the language of my family, with no guarantee of a job, to an economy worse than the one I’m from, to see if we can stop fighting if we’re in the same apartment? Dear Wendy, is it worth it?

    I say it’s not.

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    • JK

      JK November 8, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Great comment, Brigitte

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    • KKZ

      KKZ November 8, 2012, 1:04 pm

      “Should I move overseas to be with my fiancée who’s already cheated on me many times, who had no interest in learning the language of my family, with no guarantee of a job, to an economy worse than the one I’m from, to see if we can stop fighting if we’re in the same apartment? Dear Wendy, is it worth it?

      I say it’s not.”

      THIS! Love it.

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    • avatar

      Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:29 pm

      Wow, Brigitte! It sounds like you went through exactly what we’re going through right now! I have a few questions for you: Where is your husband from in Europe? And did you find difficulty with the government because you hadn’t lived together for very long? (In the UK, they ask you to live together for 2 years before your emigration if one of your is from the States but they are mainly concerned with the existence of a “durable” relationship.)
      I must have misstated something about his language because I am ecstatic about learning his languages! I will learn both Danish and Polish, where his mom and dad are from, respectively. With the current law, it would be almost impossible for us to move to Denmark, or Poland for that matter, without learning the language first. I had absolutely planned to and had started to learn it already.

      Can you recommend some American expat resources? I’m excited to meet everyone, and I know there is a large community of US natives in the UK.

      I have though extensively about being so far away from home. Luckily, Europe, including civilians and companies, seem to favor vacation time more than we do overseas; they tend to offer weeks of paid vacation. As I have family and friends all around the country, we discovered it’d be even easier to visit them than it would be if we had a few days paid in the States. This way, I could come home and celebrate holidays and special events for as long as a weeks at a time! I’m sure you appreciate that fact too and you’re back home quite often!

      This absolutely was worth every once of effort we put into it and, as I’m sure you know now from your own troubles.

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      • avatar

        Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:30 pm

        *Ounce

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    SallyS November 8, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I’ve been in this exact situation, except it wasn’t Europe, it was the Middle East.

    I’m guessing she expected him to move to the States not because she is selfish, but because he said he would and that was the plan. I’ve lived in three countries and I speak a lot of languages, but for some reason, Arabic was insanely hard for me and, given the chance even to live in a much safer Middle Eastern country with my fiance, I wouldn’t do it without a definite end-time attached. Like, a year.

    My best suggestion to them, if the fights are really all about the logistics and there’s no greater issue underneath, is that they look for a third country that the fiance’s company is affiliated with and try to go there on a work visa. Not only do they both commit equally to the move and being outside their comfort zones for the sake of the other, but this third country, if at all possible, should be more easily accessible, language-friendly, and equally capable of sponsorship via a work visa for one or both of them.

    Good luck to you guys!

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      Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:35 pm

      Sally, that is exactly what we did!! We have plans to move to the UK, where his company has many locations and where we both feel adequately comfortable.

      You are right that people don’t seem to understand that we had to pick ONE country to move to (somebody had to sacrifice) and I did not pressure him to make that decision; he is a big boy and he did it on his own.

      Thank you so much for you understanding! You seem to be the only one here that favors commitment over giving up!!

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  • theattack

    theattack November 8, 2012, 1:37 pm

    LDRs and marriages both require major commitments, and it doesn’t seem like you have that. It sounds like you want him to make all the sacrifices to make this work, but it just doesn’t work like that, and it sounds like he’s tired of forgiving you and working on it himself.

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    Kat November 9, 2012, 12:46 am

    LW, I’m pretty much your fiance.

    I was in love with a foreigner for over 4 years, and we did the meet ups, the skype, whatever, the plan had been for me to move. When push came to shove, I just didn’t meet the qualifications for jobs abroad, and thanks to my boyfriend’s continuing schooling, he couldn’t move to me. I was making the effort, I was trying to be realistic and compromise with him. And he cheated on me, and eventually broke up with me because he just couldn’t handle the distance/didn’t want to move/the temptation of those around him.

    So, as the party who is faithful, trying and failing to move, and waiting for you, here’s the cold hard truth: if you were happy, if you were as in love as you say you are, there wouldn’t be this level of confusion. The fact that your fiance keeps forgiving you indicates that he is really invested in this relationship but the fact that you keep cheating and second guessing indicates that you aren’t. If you’re waiting for magic to fix this situation it’s not going to happen. You can either hunker down and actually dedicate yourself to this relationship – or you can end it now. And frankly, as someone who can kind of relate to your fiance, he’ll probably keep taking this emotional beating until you end it. I really think it’d be in your best interest to really figure out what you really want. Don’t drag him along any longer if you’re this confused.

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      Emiley April 7, 2013, 8:43 pm

      Thank you for your comment Kat! You obviously understand what I’m going through to some degree, but from the other side didn’t empathize with your partner. Its obvious that him ending the relationship was in your best interest if neither one of you was committed enough to make it work.

      Luckily, we were able to work through our rough patches and are stronger than ever! We talk much more about our important issues, whether it be the plans to move, how the job hunt is going, or how important we are to one another. I appreciate your concern, and I’m so glad to inform you there is no emotional beating that happens once you’re both committed and honest with one another. Maybe if you both would have tried that, it would have worked. Maybe not. I’m sure you realize you’re much better off with someone who will never give up on you, and luckily we found that person within one another.

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    Anon. November 14, 2012, 11:57 am

    LW, I was pretty much you. In a LDR, with the love of my life, if things didn’t work out then there wasn’t a man for me. Time would stop when we were together. I would sob at airports when we separated. I spent countless hours skyping, calling, making beautiful albums of our time together. Then, about 18 months into the LDR part I cheated. I didn’t tell him, I managed to take the situation and put it in a box and put it deep deep down where I tried to ignore it. Then I cheated again. That one I couldn’t put in a box and lock up. I went to a therapist, who told me you are who you are. And who I was was a person who cheated on her boyfriend, then fiance, with two different people. There was so much confusion, and noise in my head. And brutal, overwhelming anger at myself for my actions. It took me a long time to reconcile the fact that love wasn’t enough, and time after that to realize that my life’s story didn’t have to be one where I fucked up my one and only love, and I ended up alone. I am not alone, and I’m a better person and a better partner for having gone through the whole mess. You know the answer to your questions LW, you just need to figure out how to be strong enough to go through with them.

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      Emiley April 7, 2013, 9:02 pm

      You know what it is like, Anon. It is very hard at first, but you get stronger. Instead of crying at airports, you are excited for the next time you can fly out and see him. Instead of time stopping when you’re together, its so wonderful that it seems like it will never end.

      Cheating certainly hurts both parties if it was done not out of anger or spite but an interest in someone else. Its very hard to get over it, but the anger and confusion can be evaluated and worked through if you care enough to do so. Its obvious that you did. I’m not sure whether you ended up with this person or found love somewhere else, but it reminds me of a book I read called Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. I usually never read self help books but I found this partly credible. She theorizes that many women end up alone or settle late in life because they turn down men or relationships that don’t meet their perfect, up-on-a-pedestal expectations. She suggests that the “perfect” qualities of a human being vary in different stages of our lives. For example, when we’re young we went good-looking men and women with great bodies, high IQ’s and passion. When we’re older, those things don’t mean as much as things like being a good father or mother, being a hard worker or being kind. She states that we may be able to find a number of the qualities we want in a partner, but not all. He or she, after all, is incapable of being perfect, just like you. If we prioritize the long-term qualities we want in a partner, we’ll be happier in the long run.

      We can’t experience both realities and so its hard to prove, but I can imagine what a difference a well-suited partner is rather than someone whose most favorable quality is that which looks good under a bathing suit. Luckily, I found that partner early. I never forget the wonderful man that he is and even though a well-to-do American might be easier now, my long-term happiness depends on my dedication and respect of my partner.

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