Many times throughout our long-distance relationship, people asked, "Why don't you just get married?" Like it was that easy. Throw a ring on my finger, run away to Vegas to elope, and then it's happily ever after. Right? I wish. I grew to envy every other couple who had that option on the table. Just filing for the petition to bring a fiance over is a very long, tedious process full of redundant forms, endless paperwork, and a lot of waiting. Oh, and it will cost you a pretty penny, too.
That's not to say we hadn't considered it. But our original plan sounded like a lot less of a pain in the ass and the wallet at the time. If you need a refresher, the original plan was to have Cayden come over on a visitor's visa long enough to find a sweet-ass job that would sponsor him. That way, he could stay here on a work visa and we'd finally get the chance to be a real couple. We'd get to live in the same time zone. The same state. The same city. We'd get to go on dates. We'd get to fight and make up and make love. It sounded downright insane to even think about marriage before having our first real fight (unless you count the fight we had about whether or not aliens exist, which I won, because they do). And then one day, when he was good and ready, he could get down on one knee and ask for forever. The plan was fail-proof in my head. Outside of my head, well, that was another story.
What I hadn't considered was the fact that millions of Americans were unemployed, so the chances of Cayden finding a company willing to pay thousands to sponsor a foreigner were slim. And what were the chances that that company would be in Dallas? And that it would be a company he'd want to work for? I hated to think about Cayden accepting a sub-par job just because it was his only option. But that's not even the worst case scenario. What if Cayden didn't find a job within those six months? With a visitor's visa, he'd be allowed to stay here for three months, and then he'd have to leave the country for a day, before he could come back for another three months. At the end of the six months, he'd have to go back to the UK with no job and probably no money considering he would have been out of work for half a year.
That scared the shit out of me. Cayden started talking to recruiters last year and they all said the same thing: "If you didn't need sponsorship, we'd definitely be able to place you." He'd applied for a handful of jobs in the US and he either wouldn't hear back, or they'd reply to tell him they don't offer sponsorships. With each rejection, our plan started to fall apart. Long-distance relationships only work if there's an end in sight, so if our plan failed, it was possible that we would fall apart with it.
Cayden proposed the idea of moving forward with Plan B through a lengthy email last August.
Over the past few months, I've been planning, planning and re-planning the next year. Whenever I think I have things worked out, another thing seems to put a blocker on it and it's really frustrating. I wondered if we'd be able to make it through it all. I love you more than anything though, you're my life and I'll keep fighting for us until you decide to give up on us...which I hope will be never.
He went on to point out the holes in our original plan (as I mentioned above), and then he explained how the fiance visa would work and why it was looking like our best bet. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, it looks a little something like this (in my words):
1. Fill out a shit ton of paperwork. Make sure to include every address to everywhere you've lived and worked the past five years. Send in passport photos of both people, along with any proof of ongoing relationship including pictures, boarding passes, and stool samples. (OK, just kidding on the stool samples. But I did send in a link to my blog. If that's not proof of ongoing relationship, I don't know what is.)
2. Twiddle your thumbs and hyperventilate into a paper bag for 5-8 months.
3. Once it's approved, try not to wet your pants. The USCIS will then forward it to the US Embassy in London via snail mail. Yes, on the back of a baby snail.
4. Do more paperwork. This part may feel like a deja vu, as you'll remember answering more than half of the question on the first go around. Send in your bank records, military records, police records, and the rights to your first born child. Ha.
5. Cayden to schedule a medical exam. Turn and cough.
6. Cayden to schedule and attend an interview. Don't look sketchy.
7. If they decide he's as charming as I think he is, they'll hand over this Visa, and he's free to move to the US...
8. ...as long as he's married within 90 days of moving here. Justice of the Peace is an acceptable option. The county courthouse can make for quite a nice venue with its oak benches and swivel chairs.
I want everything with you baby and I'm fed up of things getting in the way for us all of the time. I think this solution is practical and it guarantees we can have a real life together from next year, without shit getting in the way for us. It's not ideal but it's practical.
Let me know what you think. I wanted to go through it all with you when I'm there next month, but if you decide you'd like to do this, then we can make a start on preparing the paperwork at your end so we can send off the application when I'm there. I love you so much, I want everything with you
Talk to you tomorrow
Love you loads baby
To be honest, when I read it, I cried. And they weren't happy tears. They were holy-shit-what-the-hell-is-happening tears. Yes, I wanted to be with him and there was no doubt in my mind that I would marry him one day, but it wasn't the way I wanted it. I didn't want to live thousands of miles away from my fiance. I didn't want to have to throw together a wedding in three months after waiting half a year for a thumbs up from the government. I didn't want Cayden to have to buy a ring when he was spending thousands of dollars on flights and paperwork fees. And most of all, I didn't want to know he was going to propose before he proposed.
[OK, so I know I haven't answered any of your questions yet, but I promise I'm getting there!]