“In the summer of 2016, we were both in Austria to help out with a Christian summer program for teens. When he first arrived, I was intrigued but I tried to ignore him. I’ve had some boy troubles before and really wasn’t looking for anything. Plus, he was super outgoing and not embarrassed about anything. The total opposite of me. But how are you supposed to ignore someone when you’re forced to work together? He thought I was way too German, as in super uptight and way too serious, so he made it his mission to change me and always make me laugh. The more we worked together, the more we talked. The more we talked, the more I started to like him. Talking to him felt so easy and natural. We would literally sit and talk for hours on end and still have so much more to say. It felt like I had finally found my best guy friend I had never had before. We both never talked about our feelings for each other, though. I mean we just met, only had a few months together, and lived in two different countries.
I really wasn’t a fan of long-distance relationships. I still wasn’t sure if I was even ready to be in yet another relationship. We just remained friends who always hung out. Yet, everyone around us could see we liked each other. In the end, our supervisor told us to talk to each other. We said ‘I love you’ on a little balcony at night. I knew how much he loved America and from the start, he told me we could only be together if I was willing to move to America for him. He had no intentions to move to Europe and didn’t want to start a relationship if our end goal wasn’t marriage, especially because he never wanted to be in a long-distance relationship. Later on, he told me he would have never talked to me about his feelings, just because he couldn’t see how a long-distance relationship would work. Plus, he thought I was way out of his league. Yet here we were, trying to make it work anyway, not knowing what the future would hold, how it would all work out, or anything other than the fact we really liked each other. Hopefully, it would be enough to get us through it all.
We ended up being together in person for 3 months before he returned to America. Airport goodbyes are seriously the worst. Saying goodbye was the worst. Once you say goodbye, all you have are phone calls and text messages. No more hugs. No more kisses. No more walks in the park. No more dates. Nothing. We tried to stay positive and really thought we’d only have to do this for a few months before I could move to America to be with him forever, not knowing it would take a whole year before it would actually happen. Long distance was hard. We talked to each other every day. Sometimes too much. Adjusting to being long distance and not being around each other anymore was rough. I almost broke up with him every other day. We were fighting a lot. I was so unsure about the whole relationship and started to doubt everything. I was taking steps back to distance myself from him while he was trying to move forward in the relationship.
Whenever it came to the point where he wanted to work through our issues, I just shut down. I’ve had boy trouble before and built up all these walls around my heart I wasn’t ready to take down just yet. Being open and vulnerable with someone is really hard, and having to open up about certain things from the past and your feelings over the phone is way harder. I really think it would have been easier to open up about it in person. At least he could have held my hand or given me a hug afterward. You don’t get any of that when you are in a long-distance relationship. At times, it was easier for me to say, ‘That’s it. I’m breaking up with you,’ than letting him in, opening up to him, and working through our issues. He never gave up on me, though, and one night, I finally broke down those walls and let him in. I know he was really hurt by the way I had treated him, so saying ‘I’m sorry’ that night was quite humbling.
I knew this was it. It all became so real. I let him in. He knew everything now. I wouldn’t do that again with any other boy. It felt good to finally have all the cards on the table. Maybe now we could move forward and just enjoy talking to each other on the phone instead of fighting all the time. At the same time, a new burden started to form. If this was it, then I would for sure move to America and marry him. It was still a bit weird to think about. We started to actually talk about all the details and how this would work out. Would I come and visit him, then go back to Germany and start the immigration process? Would he just propose over the phone and send me a ring so we could apply for the K1 Fiancé Visa? Should I just get a normal visa to visit him, then get married there and never return? All of the options seemed to be quite expensive and long processes. All of them had a bunch of different forms you had to fill out, and then you always needed some other stuff to prove your relationship was legit.
I spent hours upon hours online reading every single blog post I could find about the process. I visited every forum to see how other people had done it and how long the process took for them. I tried to find all the right forms and see what else we needed. There was so much. We narrowed it down to two possible routes: The Fiancé Visa or just moving there, getting married, and applying for the Adjustment of Status. Before we even decided which way to go, my now-husband was able to visit me in Germany. It was rather spontaneous, but after not seeing him for 6 months, it was the best news in a while. We were able to spend 3 whole months together. I was able to show him where I grew up and he got to know my family and some of my friends. It was such a sweet time but also really hard. He barely spoke any German and had a hard time communicating with my family. I also don’t think he liked Germany very much.
I took him to my church and was really excited for him to meet my friends there. Unfortunately, the ones whose opinion I valued the most didn’t really seem like they wanted to get to know him. I guess for whatever reason, they didn’t like him. One of them even took me aside one day to talk to me about it. I got to hear things like, ‘He’s lazy. Are you sure you want to do this?’ ‘A lot of us are really concerned about you.’ ‘Maybe it would be good for you to take a break.’ The one that hurt the most was, ‘If you marry him, you will be unhappy. Because he will be unfaithful.’ I honestly didn’t even know what to say. I was just sitting there, really confused and upset. Even a little angry. I called them my friends, really valued their input, and it felt like they had betrayed me. I honestly still don’t know why all of this happened. All they saw us do at church was hold hands. We didn’t even kiss or anything. Yet, somehow, they thought he was way too touchy. I am honestly still a bit bitter about it. It still hurts, but it actually helped me be even more sure about my decision.
I’ve never been super close to my family. I knew it would be hard, but I really thought I’d be okay without them. Originally it was my church and my friends I thought I’d have a hard time leaving—well, not anymore. That made it way easier to say I am moving away. Honestly, it was so tempting to just get married in Germany while he was there and start the paperwork already. In the end, we decided to just start the paperwork for my visitor visa. It seemed a bit risky, but that way, we could be together while going through the whole process. Soon, the 3 months were up and he had to return to America. We went to the airport dreading the goodbye the whole way there. This time, it was even harder. I cried so much. And then I had to take a train back home all by myself. The whole time, I was wishing he’d be there right next to me.
Knowing I would actually get ready to move to America soon, but not knowing when exactly, didn’t really help. It could be a few months or even closer to a year. There was a lot of stuff we had to do before I could move out there, from getting a job to saving money, getting an apartment, applying for a visa, getting rid of all my stuff, and more. But we did it. I got my visitor visa that was good for 6 months, he got a better job and found an apartment, and I was able to quit my job and was ready to see him again. Luckily, it only ended up being 5 more months before I bought my plane ticket. Buying the ticket is such a great part of a long-distance relationship. All this time you are just waiting trying to figure out when you can see each other again and then you finally have a day. It’s really sweet. Now, I only had to say goodbye to my family and a few friends. I think I was just so excited to see him again and start this new adventure it actually wasn’t that hard at all. Now, looking back, it has been way harder to be without them than I originally thought it would be. I really miss them and hate I can’t just see them whenever I want.
The day was finally there. I left early in the morning to get to the airport. I had never been on a long flight before and only ever flew by myself once. That was only a 1-hour flight with no layover. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was super excited but a bit scared as well. This would forever change my life. I had never been to America before and he was the only person I knew there. It truly was a big adventure. My trip was pretty easy, with no complications at all. It was so worth it. It’s really hard to describe all the feelings when you get off the plane, get your stuff, and then walk up and finally see your boyfriend again. It’s unreal. I couldn’t believe we were finally together again. I could hug him, hold his hand, and kiss him whenever I wanted. I didn’t need my phone to be able to talk to him anymore. All those Skype days were finally over. We did it. We proved all the haters wrong and would continue to do so.
The first few weeks were a bit overwhelming. Everything was new. I didn’t know anyone there. He was still working, so I was just stuck at home every day, waiting for him to get done with work. I think that was one of the hardest parts about moving there. I was away from my family and friends. Away from what I knew my whole life. All the stores were different. I got so overwhelmed just trying to decide what shampoo to buy. They had way too many options. Everything was bigger. I didn’t have a car or friends. I was totally dependent on him, which worked out in the end, but it might not have been the smartest move. A month after I arrived, we got engaged and tried to figure out the details of the wedding. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, and we also knew the whole immigration process would cost a lot of money, so we decided to just elope. I know it was the right choice at that time, but looking back, I am a bit sad I never had a ‘normal’ wedding and got to experience all the fun details of wedding planning. All of our money went towards applying for the green card right after we got married.
We had to fill out a bunch of different forms and send in a lot of documents and other stuff. It honestly felt like we were sending in a whole book. It was a bit exhausting and annoying. Once we sent in all the paperwork we had to wait. That was even more annoying. We never really got any updates, everyone always just said, ‘No news is good news.’ The whole process took over a year, but getting the letter with my green card was so sweet. No more worrying about the process or if I was allowed to stay. Life got a whole lot easier. There have been a lot of hard times. Long-distance relationships can really suck at times and it’s so easy to just give up. Of course, it would have been easier to marry someone in the same country, but you can’t always choose who you fall in love with. If you are sure about it and nourish the relationship, no mountains are too high to climb. It takes a lot of work, but it can be really sweet. The same goes for the whole immigration process. It’s hard. It’s long. It’s annoying. But it is so worth it if you’re sure you want to spend the rest of your life with that person.
It definitely wasn’t easy, but looking back, I have no regrets. It all worked out and I am happy here. I do miss my family and wish I could see them more often. I hate how far away it is and how expensive the flights are. I am still in love with my husband and our newborn daughter, and I love my life in America. Since I was so young when I moved, I actually got to experience a lot of firsts in America together with the one I love. That alone is such a sweet thing. Don’t say ‘no’ to a relationship just because it might be hard. Because I almost did, but I would have missed out on so many wonderful things.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessie McCammon of Lompoc, California. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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