Shari in Brooklyn writes:
I have been in love with an Italian man 12 years my senior for three years. The feeling is mutual and very strong for both of us. We were not familiar with either of our countries immigration laws and both agreed we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Neither of us desire marriage as we have both had a very negative experience with marriage.
We have now been apart a very long time due to a bout with cancer my boyfriend has had. I have difficulty going to Italy due to my limited finances. My boyfriend is coming here for 3-4 weeks in October. I really need to know if we have a future together or if we are destined to live so far apart and love each other from afar… seeing each other only once a year. He has committed to coming to me once a year (he says this is all he can afford). I know if he gets sick again with cancer this will not happen. I appreciate any help or assistance that you can give to me.
Long distance relationships do have a unique set of challenges and limitations. Sometimes, you just have to do the best that you can.
Your boyfriend will be coming to visit you in October, as promised. While neither of you is in a position to travel as often as either of you would like, he is very sincere about his commitment to visit you at least once per year, for as long as he can. The length of his visitations will vary from year to year, but each of you will cherish every moment. As his health and finances stabilize, he is very likely to bring you over to see him from time to time. Unfortunately, you also have obligations and restrictions that limit the amount of time you can spend in his country.
It looks as if each of you is very sincere in your desire to be together. However, neither one of you is doing much to figure out a way to make this idea a reality. Both of you show some reluctance to making an international residential move. Because of this, it keeps you in a situation of longing, and maintaining a long-distance relationship. If you really want to spend your life with this man as a 24/7 partner, you need to take the initiative and do something about it – because he really can’t see himself being the one to relocate.
Your relationship is strong and stable, so you do have time to seriously consider relocating. If this is something you think you want to do, you should start formulating your plans sooner rather than later. From what I can see, there is a way for you to live with him – even marry him – before the immigration process would be completed. I imagine you can learn quite a bit about the immigration laws and procedures through the Internet, but the reality is that you will need legal assistance.
Any way I look at this, you can have what you want – just not the way that you want it. Worrying yourself sick makes you sick, but it doesn’t change the situation. If you want to be closer to him, you are going to have to be the one who puts forth the effort and makes the sacrifices to make it happen. I know that would be a huge and scary decision and transition, which is probably why I see you continuing to keep things just the way they are.
Enjoy this man when he is near, and send him love when he is not. Because neither of you is doing anything to change the circumstances, it looks as if you will continue to love each other from afar.