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International Relationships: Does someone always lose?


In a recent discussion with friends that have foreign partners, it came up that someone always has to lose in an international relationship.

I guess this post is a little near and dear to my heart seeing how I’m in an international relationship, and I sure do know quite a few foreign girls that are currently residing in Australia because of their Aussie guys. What is it with Aussie guys by the way, snatching up girls in other countries and luring them to the land down under?

Anyway, being in an international relationship can be a bit stressful, especially when you’re first getting started with testing the waters and trying to figure out if what you want is the same. It’s a big headache, and even now as I sit here thinking about how I’m on the path to getting an Aussie partner visa, I’m still not 100% convinced that it is the best thing for our relationship.

Now, don’t go thinking the worst here. It has nothing to do with me questioning the relationship itself; it has more to do with whether or not being in Australia is right… or fair. Of course, I’m not about to pull out now. I do, overall, enjoy Australia, and I have done a lot so far to get set up the way I am – but… it has been a challenge to say the least. When you join in an international partnership, one has to move in with the other, and in this case, it was me sticking around in Australia. I have come with nothing into a world that is solely my boyfriend’s — his friends, his family, his culture, his home – and I have had to adjust to this.

When it was Christmas Day, I stayed with his family. We ate their typical Christmas dinner, which was based around seafood (and I hate seafood) and turkey cooked in way I didn’t expect (and turkey is my favorite holiday food). When it was Mother’s Day, we went to have dinner with his mom. All of the holidays still feel foreign to me, and I never feel more out of place than when I’m sitting there around a group of his family and friends just wishing I were back somewhere in America.

The thoughts may be fleeting (stress is on fleeting), but when they come, I get really worked up. I start cursing the fact that the visa woes are on my end of the relationship. I start asking about when we’ll get to travel around my country, hang out with my old friends and explore my stomping grounds. Even though I know that the timing and money and many other factors come into play, I can’t help but think that I have been the one to sacrifice in order to make it work.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially since I know that for a fact it would be an even bigger pain in the arse to get him over to America and working (not that I even want to go back for good in the first place). Sometimes, I even throw out the idea of us just moving to another city in Australia so that both of us are on more equal ground. That seems pretty fair to me, but is it rational? Probably not.

For me, it’s frustrating to think that one person will have to always feel this way in an international relationship, but at the same time, I can’t think of it being any better if the situation were more in my favor. Does anyone reading this have experience or words of wisdom to share?

Update 4/18/2011: It’s been a long time since writing this post, and we have officially applied for the partner visa and are waiting for the results. We’ve also booked a trip to the States to visit my family. I think booking the trip helped a lot with these feelings.


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63 Responses to International Relationships: Does someone always lose?

  1. Luke Hamilton July 9, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    I really started following your blog at an almost coincidentally appropriate time!

    I know how you feel. I’ve been in your situation once before (with a guy from Brazil) and I just have to say that I admire your courage. It was the commitment that you are making now, with having to settle into his Aussie way of life (in my case, it was him coming to Ireland), that resulted in my relationship breaking down and not a single day goes that I do not regret it. On the other hand, having not gone through with it like you are currently doing now, I cannot say for certain that it wouldn’t have worked out for me and that bothers me.
    So, if you are willing to go as far as you’ve gone now, I definitely think you are doing the right thing. It’s obviously harder for you but if he is doing his best to make you feel at home, you don’t have anything to worry about. πŸ™‚

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 10:40 am #

      Cheers, Luke! sorry to hear about your past relationship. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s getting better and I’m glad that I stuck it out πŸ™‚

      • Brian December 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

        I’m in a relationship with a girl from Ecuador, after all my failures with love I believe this is it. We’re ridiculous like Disney and cliche romance movies when together and online. But I’m in America and we’re so far, Did you start off in a long distance relationship with him? It’s not a matter of how much I’m willing to spend to see her, but a little time before I can propose and get her here with me. It’s the time in between that I’m nervous it’ll end, and I cannot go back to girls around my area lol

        • Brooke December 18, 2012 at 5:51 am #

          If you both feel the same way for each other then it will work out. I met Pat in Latvia, met up for a few days in Lithuania and then for a few days in Budapest 2 months later. During that time we texted and Facebook messaged each other almost every day. After that third time seeing each other, it was another 3 months before I moved to Australia. We did long-distance, but we also weren’t certain what was going to happen when I came to Australia. I had a great opportunity to go on a work and holiday so it wasn’t as big of a pressure. Every relationship is different. I believe that keeping the contact alive while you are apart is key.

          Good luck πŸ™‚

  2. Keith July 9, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    I’ve never been in this situation, but what you’re feeling sounds like resentment. You’ve definitely got it harder than your boyfriend. Communication between you two about this feeling seems like the best remedy.

    • Brooke July 9, 2010 at 7:57 am #

      I don’t like the word “resentment” so much – seems harsh, but probably the correct usage. I wanted to write this post talking about how other people I know here feel the same, but decided to just stick with me. Like I said, the thoughts are fleeting now. I’ve pretty much gotten past this as I’ve actually set up a pretty good foundation and am quite happy with my life here… believe me, we talk all the time – however, this isn’t something that you can just “remedy” with a talk, right, because it still means that one person’s life is the greater component in the relationship. This would seem to be the case for any international relationship I’m assuming.

  3. halfnine July 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    It’s certainly a hard issue and there is no right answer for everyone. My (now) wife and I have different nationalities and it’s goes far beyond where to live, it also includes who’s career is more important, where to raise the kid (or even where to have it), etc. The simple reality is its never going to be fair. Life rarely is.

    But, I think it’s also important to keep things in perspective. My wife and I went through visa hell just trying to spend time with each other at all in the first year which involved months of time apart. Anything is way better than that. And as far as where to live, currently we live in an entirely different country from where either of us is from. We didn’t do it to even things out, but because we were following our best long term opportunities. It’s certainly no fix all to the where to live dilemma, because living in a country that is foreign to both of you comes with its own set of headaches (you don’t have any rights, or familiarity with the system, any credit rating, etc).

    At some point, though, you no longer become a traveler, or a temporary resident, your life reverts back to what is was before you started traveling you’re just living it on foreign soil. And that’s often when these issues begin to arise. And all I can say is that at that point couples have to be real honest about what there options are and what really is in the best long term interest. Going back to the USA for me, isn’t in ours. It’s just something I’ve had to accept.

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 10:44 am #

      Great comment here – i do need to keep in mind that other people haven’t been as lucky as I have to get to spend so much time together while in this relationship limbo.

  4. Matt July 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Oh, International Relationships. Where to start?!

    I managed to get a job in an Edinburgh pub at the start of my UK visa because the barmaid fancied me. I didn’t want to enter an International Relationship, so I did my best to play hard to get. Two years later, we’re in New Zealand as we cant work in each others country any longer!

    You’re right, someone has to sacrifice something if an international relationship will continue. One person has to be separated from their friends and family. One person has to go through the visa headaches. Neutral ground is the obvious halfway point – yet why make both people in the relationship suffer?

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      I love that you tried to play hard to get πŸ˜‰ haha

      I wouldn’t say that neutral ground is making both people suffer per se. What if neutral ground were to put it all into perspective for both parties… and what if neutral ground happened to be a sweet place that both people want to stay in?

      I guess the point is that I just want the other to understand fully – what I can put into words – how hard it can be, and how out of place I can feel. Just not sure how to go about it.

  5. Bethany July 11, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    Ahh yes. I have not been in a international relationship but I can tell you that (besides the visa issue) it is the same exact issue as being in a committed military relationship. When I was engaged to Chris I had to follow him everywhere he went because if I didn’t we would never have seen each other. Of course at first it seemed fun & exciting, always moving to a new town. But it was always the same – his friends, his coworkers, etc. I always had to find a new job or make one up. He was immediately into work, meeting new people, etc. It took me a long time to admit it but it sucked. I started to feel bitter which then made me mad at myself. Whenever we hung with people, it was similar to how you feel with Pat’s family at the holidays. They always talked about work and they had all formed strong bonds on the boat – I felt totally left out. And there was no one that I felt I could relate to, or could relate to me. Then when the boat went out for months I was left at shore by myself. I listened to a lot of Tori and cried a lot until I could get into a new routine for myself. Then it would be shattered when they returned to port and the whole thing started over again.

    It is hard, really hard to do what you’re doing. I think we all kid ourselves in the beginning and it is so exciting that we don’t realize the day to day sacrifices that it takes to really make it work. Feeling bitter & resentful is totally normal and it isn’t a reflection of how you feel about Pat, it’s just how you feel about the situation.

    I think moving to a new city is a good idea but if it’s not feasible then I think the best advice I can give is that you just need to have your own routine. You have to have your own friends, etc. Maybe see if you can join a band or something like that. Just try to do things that are distinctly you and what you love and try to get into a routine with it.

    oh, if only love was easy!

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks for the tips, Beth! It is getting better as I am getting more friends of my own, and just being happy in general helps, too πŸ˜‰

  6. Dina July 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    I was there too, Brooke. I felt it. I’m glad you write this, so now I know that it’s quite normal to feel that way. Now that both of us are in the road, together, things are equal.

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      Appears to be a common feeling. Glad things are shaping up for you!

  7. Ant July 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    My girlfriend and I are both English. We ‘expired’ in Aus and we’re running out of time in NZ and, like you, we don’t want to go home.

    We have the option to work in mainland Europe, but there is always going to be a certain amount of red tape surrounding our movements.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s not the nationalities of those existing in the relationship, but the nation in which the relationship exists that matters.

    I feel your pain, and admire your efforts.

  8. Andi July 13, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    I think international relationships are the greatest thing in the world! I’ve been in 2 very serious ones and while of course they are challenging, they brought soooo much happiness and amazing adventures into my life. I was with an Aussie for 2 years. Went to Oz 3X in 1 year from NYC. If you are feeling resentment then maybe you’re not ready to settle down in Oz just yet. I’m marrying one of my foreign bf’s next May and I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!

    • Brooke July 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

      The relationship itself is wonderful! Before actually living in Australia, I always loved the idea of living here. It’s only now that I’ve been “settled” that I realize how one-sided it is. Maybe it would be different if I could afford flying to America and back more. I haven’t been there in 2 years, so I’m sure that adds to it all.

      Congrats by the way on your engagement! I saw that on FB – you are an adorable couple!

  9. Elizabeth July 15, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    If the Man and I had met in his country – or mine – I know we would’ve gone through the same thing. But because we met and we’ve always lived in a 3rd country together, this has liberated us in many ways from expectations of family, friends, and one another’s cultures.

  10. Stephanie July 15, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    This is such a great and honest post. International relationships can be so intense and romantic, but they also require a lot more commitment and sacrifice than a regular relationship might. This was a problem for me when I happened to fall in love with and English boy. Once my British work visa expired we either had to make a serious commitment or give up the ghost.Neither of us was willing to uproot our lives and we weren’t really ready for that commitment so we ended up on separate continents- alone. I’m fine about it now, but I think if we’d had a less pressure-filled environment for our relationship to play out things might have gone differently.

    Because of that I always really admire other international couples who are able to keep it together!

  11. Lippy July 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    If it’s there Its there… Everything else is mere details! ( but can be a pain in the arse!)

  12. Annie August 3, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Hi Brooke! This is an old post and I’m sure you are feeling better after all the support but I had to comment because I can relate! My boyfriend and I met in Oz, he is Italian and I’m American. Right now we are in Italy but I definitely know what you mean; with the family, friends, traditions and language things can feel really lonely suddenly! I even suggested moving to a neutral country as well!

    In the end, my the “resentment” (although I don’t like the word either) comes from me feeling like we would get stuck here and not do anymore traveling and second from him not seeming to understand why I was feeling lonely and static. Now things have gotten better as I have found more friends of my own and projects, we have even started trip planning!!

    I hope that things are better for you and I think that you guys should think about an extended trip in the U.S. maybe to celebrate some American traditions!!

    • Brooke August 4, 2010 at 10:38 am #

      Thank you, Annie for your wonderful message. It’s tough to feel this way at times, and you hit it exactly by saying that it sucks that the other one doesn’t really understand how it feels. It is tough, but getting much better now that I’ve found a grounding of my own.

      We are hopefully going to do a US trip next year – possibly to coincide with my high school reunion! πŸ™‚

    • Carey January 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      Annie/Brooke/Anyone in an international relationship…..

      I see that it has been almost three years since your post, and I expect little in way of a reply, but I feel lost in my international relationship and people in the “real world” just don’t seem to understand my plight.

      I respond to you as an American also in a relationship with an Italian. We met in a third country and moved to Italy last summer. I found myself in the states again, alone, in November and dying to be back there but visa restrictions and jobs are keeping me from it. We have had to resort to skype and too many heavy conversations about the future to count. It is true what Brooke says, someone always loses in an international relationship and I feel that the pressure I am putting on him, or the “resentment” (also, I think a bit harsh) I feel are too much to bear. We are both travelers and are having a hard time settling after years of being away. Finding a career again and a path just don’t seem possible no matter how hard I try, not in Italy anyway. I have put 1000% of my heart, soul and money into this, and I resent him as I don’t feel as he’s putting up the same…. but from what I’m reading, I am right to feel this way, as he is in his home and doesn’t have to… so therefore, I am the loser in this and should just tolerate it for the sake of the relationship.

      I broke up with him two days ago, mainly for him not putting in enough effort. And now, my whole being wants to get on a plane and tell him I was wrong. I feel regret, shame, horror, fear, all of the bad things that could ever come about all rolled up into one. Now I am reading this post and we were only going through all of the same things all of these poor people have gone through, but stuck out. How were you able to stay in Italy as an American? The laws there are a bit ridiculous, but the pressure of being an illegal were too much for me. I have been to every embassy and consulate I can think of on both sides and come up with nothing. Should I just have let it go and not cared? Or did my “follow the rules” American mentality get the best of me? We have been together in other countries for more than two years, how is it that when he goes home, it’s the one place we don’t feel safe?

      I have found all of these writings enlightening… I only hope some are still seeing these posts. Ciao.

      • Katie January 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        I’m in an international relationship and it is difficult. I’m sure she will reply to this – her blog does get updated as I’ve been reading this tonight and see things as late as this past month.
        I wish you the best in resuming your relationship – and I DO feel you should resume it, as I think you do, as well, in reading your pain and regret. All relationships require time, commitment, sacrifice – whether in the same town or across a body of water. Can you imagine your life without him? If not, then keep on keeping on. to me, in the end, career, all the other stuff, it’s just Stuff.
        I haven’t had to deal with the visa stuff yet – our relationship is fairly new on the romantic level (we’ve been friends for years, though, so it’s been a gradual budding). We meet for the first time this year and scared/excited is an understatement.
        I hope you find peace in whatever you decide – the romantic in me is really hoping it all turns out to be ok. Sad to think it’d all fall apart after so much time has been invested.

  13. EKS August 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Great post, thanks! I’m actually about to leave the US for Australia for who knows how long as well, and am a bit nervous about it. My boyfriend of two years was denied an American visa again (he’s from Mexico) just last month, so it makes sense if we want to try to be together … but it sure is nerve-wracking. (He has some family in Australia, which is why we’re going to head there together. But I have a fairly decent career in the US, which is making me feel pretty irresponsible.)

    Anyway, good to read your post and the comments here. Sure is an interesting topic. Makes me wonder a bit if it’s a somewhat uniquely American dilemna, having to do with our particularly difficult/strict immigration laws. But I suppose for work visas, the same is true for many countries.

  14. Ashley August 26, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    I leave in a month for Sydney to be with my boyfriend of a year. I’m really excited, but nervous I may feel some of these same sentiments. I can’t quite complain because he has been amazing this past year and flown back and forth between NYC & Sydney four times for a month – two stay at a time. Yep, I’m pretty lucky! So, we will both have sacrificed.

    Ultimately though, I know my move is way more permanent than his visits and it is nerve wracking having to establish my seperate identity from him, while at the same time making a life with him. I’ve moved a lot and lived in other countries, but this time will definitely be different.

    I hope I feel fantastic in a year and settled once I get the hang of everything, and I hope someday you do too. Best of luck!

  15. did it January 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    When I was 24, I met and married a foreigner and embarked on an adventure. Exciting, new and a committed relationship makes you then you can overcome all – and many do.

    What I know having remarried and as many years have passed, having a common set of values helps a lot.

    What I have noticed is that biology makes us attracted to people out of our genetic pool – it is healthy for the kids – a plus.

    And… as we age, 30 – 40 – 50, men, especially men, become less adventurous and more domestic and revert to the lifestyle of their family and culture. If you are comfortable with that – great. If not – think about it.

    Biggest need – to have a compatible manner of understanding and dealing trauma – and believe me – life has little surprises to test you as you age. The better the two of you are able to face overwhelming obstacle, ideally turning towards each other, taking turns propping each other up, encouraging each other, reaching out in tandem to help others, the better you’ll survive.

    I see you questioning having your wings clipped. You already know the answer. Transform the dream and stay or fly free and hope he can follow. Unless you ask for what you need, you’ll never find it.

    Trust me – there is a perfect fit out there, one where the give and take is balanced.

  16. Rachael February 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Wow, I’ve just stumbled upon your site and we have an eerie amount in common!

    I’m from the States as well, and have been here in Oz for a little over 10 months now (spent the first 6 in Sydney then did an epic road trip over to Perth where we now live and work). I’m also in an international relationship, except at the moment we’re both on equal ground. He is from Sweden, so we kind of “met in the middle” here in Australia. However, we’re coming up on the end of our visas and it is hard as hell to figure out what to do next. After visiting him for a few months last year, I had to come to the conclusion that I could NOT live in Sweden, for many, many reasons (besides the difficulties of work and language, I really hate winter!), plus I was not willing to be the one that “loses,” so to speak.

    He is willing to go to the States, but as you mentioned it’s ridiculously hard to get a visa without getting married (which we are not ready to do). So at this point we’ve realized we’re going to have to separate until we can figure it out, and it may mean having to find another middle ground for a while. (I’m a big traveler so that’s cool for me, but he’s not as much so.)

    It’s tough, it sucks, and no matter how much I believe we belong together, I can’t help but wonder if this could be a breaking point. We’ve been together for more 2 1/2 years, but only spent 6 or 7 of those apart. If we both go home to our own countries and get jobs, etc. it’s going to be harder to give that up and figure out a way to be together.

    I guess I don’t hold any great advice, but I know how you feel. I’d like to believe that if you love each other enough you’ll do what it takes to be together in the best way possible for you both, but it only works if you aren’t sacrificing your own personal happiness and the life you want. And I get what you mean…Australia is awesome, but sometimes you just miss home! And as much as I love Sydney, after six months there we were ready to try out something else.

    Anyways… Good luck!

    • Brooke February 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

      Hi Rachel!

      What a predicament, eh? I must say it has been a few months since I initially wrote that and I am definitely doing better. I’ve done a lot in the past months to really make Sydney feel like home. At the same time, we’ve booked tickets to visit my home in the States, and we’re also working on making other travel plans so that I don’t feel so stuck. It’s still difficult at times to think about this being the way it is, but I love my boyfriend πŸ™‚

      I’m sure you and yours will make it work. Have you thought about hanging out somewhere else together, like SEA or somewhere teaching English? It will give you more time to live and be together until you an maybe even get married and move to the states???

  17. HJ April 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    I happened to come across this article and had to leave a comment! I’m in an international relationship too. I agree that someone always has to sacrifice something and it sucks. me and my bf still haven’t decided where to live in the future(we both don’t want to be the one who has to leave the hometown), but we’ll have to decide eventually and it would be tough. You’re way braver than me though. I really don’t think I would be able to be separated from my family, friends, and everything in my life here. Especially, me and my bf are from very different cultures(like Asia and North America). We’re an inter-national and inter-racial couple, and we speak different languages too. AlI these differences make me feel not that comfortable around his families and friends. But hey, it’s still better than not being with him, right? It would be difficult, but I know it’s worth all the troubles.. πŸ™‚ Cheers to all international couples!!

    • Brooke April 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

      Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚ It is a very tough situation to be in, but it is getting better and easier over time for me here. However, I am super excited about heading to the States in June for a visit!

      Good luck with your situation — wishing for the best!

  18. Marty April 17, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Dear Brooke

    How wonderful that I stumbled upon your blog! It’s nice to be able to read another person’s thoughts on a similar situation I may soon encounter. I have a boyfriend who is in Sydney as well and I’m hopefully planning on moving there this August. We met when we were both traveling in Europe and throughout the past year he has stayed several times with me and I even went out last summer to visit him and his family in Oz. I finish graduate school this June and have the opportunity to make a fresh start anywhere–whereas his business is with his dad in Sydney. I don’t know what lies in store for us, but it is somewhat comforting to see someone going through what I anticipate, because I am definitely concerned about it all being on his “turf” -his country, family, friends, etc. But I suppose I know that I need to have my own niche to be successful- I just hope I can make that happen. Thank you so much for posting!

  19. Brionne Beck May 25, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Hi Brooke,

    I stumbled upon your site and so glad I did! I met my boyfriend while studying in Denmark and we are going through the international nightmare! haha. Both of our countries are very strict about immigration and it’s very difficult to try and figure out what our next move will be. I stayed in Denmark for a while with him and right now he’s in the US with me, but it’s only temporary as neither of us have visas and have no clue as to how to get the one we need. It seems like there is so much pressure to make a huge commitment about marriage, where to live, what job to have. None of it is fair. We are young people out exploring the world and we should have all the time and support to be free to do so. So for now, we are attempting to work around it and just see where the wind blows…maybe it will blow to a magical country where there are many opportunities and no visas required! Anyway, it’s just nice to know that there are others out there in the same situations because not many people understand. Most of my friends and family can’t understand why we would put ourselves through this but we have such an amazing relationship that is full and exciting every day- not every one can say that! So hang in there! and Thanks for this blog!

    • Brooke June 17, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      Hi Brionne,

      It is a very difficult situation, but I think you guys have the right idea πŸ™‚ Maybe you should consider a working holiday in Australia??? It would give you both another year together. Good luck! πŸ˜€

  20. Steve June 17, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Actually I googled something like ‘international relationships work?’ or something like that because i’m having a tuffy right now. we’re a gay couple, he’s korean, i’m american, so visa issues aren’t even a consideration, especially after reading this:

    right now we’re trying to decide if it’s right to stay in the relationship if we know i’m not going to stay here (in korea) forever. we’ve managed to make it through some pretty messy cultural differences, but now there’s this.
    Anyway, not really you’re exact situation, but stressful all the same. I wish you and your bf the best of luck and have fun back in the states!


    • Brooke June 17, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for stopping by. It seems like a lot of people are in a sticky international relationship, and you’re right, it’s stressful! Have you guys thought about spending time in a third-party country for a while? I think that if you both want it, then you’ll make it work somehow, but still it doesn’t change the stress factor.

      Wishing you luck in your journey πŸ™‚

  21. Sam August 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Hey Brooke!

    Good luck with your visit to the states to see your family now πŸ™‚ . I know that it has been a bit since you posted. I had to post too since I some how found this on Google after being frustrated with immigration laws for international couples. I met my boyfriend in Scotland, he is French and I am American, and immigration is just hard for both of us anywhere, ha ha. I was glad to see that are a lot more people going through the same kind of struggles.

    Hope all goes well and stay strong!

  22. Tracy November 5, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Hey Brooke, I am from the states and trying to make a life together with my Aussie partner. We are not married,, How did you go about the visa process and being able to get enough visa time to eventually make a permanent stay in OZ?

    • Brooke November 8, 2011 at 1:22 am #

      Hi Tracy πŸ™‚ You can get a working holiday visa in Australia which is good for a year. You would have to move in together and open a joint bank account from the very first day to make your joint relationship valid for a year if you don’t want to deal with leaving the country during that process.

      Or, you can do what I did and get the 4 month working sponsorship through BUNAC, go to New Zealand for a week and apply for the 12 month working holiday, come back to Oz and apply for the partner visa at the end.

      Email me if you want more specifics πŸ™‚

  23. Clare November 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I’m so grateful to come across this conversation. I was feeling quite alone. I’ve been in an international relationship, I’m English and he’s an Aussie. We’ve been living together in Aus for 7 years and were planning to return to the UK but my fiancΓ©e has just broken up with me because he doesn’t want to go. He’s given me am ultimatum that we can stay together if I stay in Aus. Feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place – I have to choose my family and home or my fiancΓ©e!

  24. Rose January 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Thank you for writing this blog, Brooke. I’m glad things are getting easier for you and hope you both had a wonderful time in America? I am English and my boyfriend is Australian. We want to spend the rest of our lives together but neither wants to make the commitment to leave our own country forever. I lived with him for a year and had a great time and started to feel at home, but I missed my family and friends back here and came home this Christmas. He wants to come out to see me soon. He cannot move yet as his Mum is sick. I could see myself living there for another few years but ultimately want to settle in England. He feels the same about settling in Australia. Of course the ideal situation would be to somehow live 6 months in one country and 6 months in another…maybe a bit far fetched but has anyone got any thoughts on this?!

    • Brooke January 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      We would love to do something like this, but the logistics are incredibly hard. Even after getting PR this year, I will still have to spend X-years in Australia out of 5 (I’m not sure yet on that number) in order to maintain the PR! It’s just so difficult. I guess we just have to set up our place here in Oz and then have the option to move around later.

  25. Tanya February 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    It is quite comforting to know that someone feels the way I do! I am American and met my British boyfriend whilst studying in the UK. I had plans to go to Latin America or start a career in US politics, but after our course, it was just easier to stay in the UK and be with him.

    It has been three and a half years since graduation and I’m ready to move on and start fresh somewhere else. I’ve become bitter at limited job prospects, not pursuing my desire career, not making good friends, being away from my family, and even silly things like missing good pizza and Dunkin Donuts. I feel as though I gave up my life to be with him.

    We’ve decided to move to New York for awhile, but it has caused some problems with his parents as, for obvious reasons don’t want him to go. He isn’t crazy about the idea, but it willing to go for a few years and then move back to the UK.

    I don’t know how any of this will work but that’s my story so far!

    • Elizabeth January 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

      Hi Tanya,

      I know it has been a few years since your post but I wanted to see if you would still see it. I am in the same exact situation now…I am American and my boyfriend is English, we met while I was getting my masters here, and now my visa is about to expire. I cannot extend it/ find an alternative so I have to go home. He wont compromise by leaving his hometown, possibly looking at living in a 3rd country, etc….and isnt a believer in long distance relationships. Its literally breaking my heart. Many people said to go home, see how i feel, if I cannot be without him to make arrangements to come back…and at the same time i will see how he reacts to me leaving. I also mentioned moving in together because I am quite homesick and feel alone in London….but he wont move in with me unless its in his hometown, in Surrey. For me right now, that seems like I would be out of transportation and having a chance at a social life. Maybe I am being unreasonable but I do not want to feel like the only one compomising on my whole existance while he doesnt. Any advice will be appreciated πŸ™‚

  26. Nicolenicky May 15, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    Great post, keep on keeping on πŸ™‚ I am American and have been with my French bf for almost 5 years, living together for 4. We are happier than ever and willing to accept any change together that we may face! Of course I am lucky he moved here for school and for me, but he graduates soon and I just graduated and then maybe we will move to France for a couple years! I love his culture and he loves mine, and we can’t wait to start our lives together. If its worth it, it will find a way to work out I promise! Cheers to you all in international relationships, no one understands what we go through and it takes patience and a lot of trust and hope <3

    • Nicole May 15, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      My name is Nicole OR Nicky not Nicolenicky sorry πŸ™‚

  27. Jamie October 4, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    I think the only way to “make it work” is for both of you to leave your familes behind. I am currently discussing the idea of me and my Chinese partner both moving to Australia so we will BOTH be seperated from our familes.

    Thats way we it would be “fair” for both and not for yes one of us. We’d both me “losers” haha I’m not sure if it’s the right decison but I am convinced it would be better than just one of us losing.

    • Brooke October 4, 2012 at 1:54 am #

      I’ve definitely had this idea. Oh yes.

  28. Terry November 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m exactly in this same situation. I live in the US and she lives in Quebec,Canada. We got married last August and I thought we decided that she was going to move to the US and after # years we would move back to Canada. Its been almost a year since we applied for her to live in the US with me and it is getting really close to her moving and she is having second thoughts now. We both have extremely strong family ties and it is straining our relationship. I live 6 hours from my family and I’m a 6 hour drive to her so I’ve been commuting this past year one weekend a month to see her. We just had a “fight” and I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m extremely depressed and I don’t know what to do. My French is really bad and I have no idea what I am going to do for a job up there since everything is in French. So I thought it will give me some time to be able to learn it and be in better shape when I do move. I have a really good job and I’m having a really hard time with the idea me leaving leaving everything since I probably will not be able to even support her and a future family since I have no idea what I would do for a job since my French is so bad (she speaks English btw). I came across your site and it really helped me with all these feelings swirling around me. Boy, I’m a mess right now…. but thank you for sharing your story for the world to read. How are things now?

    Thanks again-Terry

    • Brooke November 24, 2012 at 12:00 am #

      Hi Terry,

      Sorry to hear about your stressful fight.

      I really hope you both work it out. Coming from the person that had to give up her side, I know it’s hard, but I would think that wanting to be with my husband/wife would trump that. Have you guys figured anything out?

      • Terry December 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

        Hey Brooke- Unfortunately she made her decision without me and left me without any discussions. We are in the process of getting a divorce. I realized that I was doing all the comprising in the relationship and she was giving me nothing. Its been really hard these days but I joined a gym and keeping active to keep my spirits up! I know there will be someone out there for me. I’ll keep searching for her because our fairytale relationship (almost all of it really was!) just came to a crash landing…

        • Brooke December 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

          Hi Terry,

          So sorry to hear of this news! It must be hard, but on the bright side, you will get to be open and available to the person that will meet you in the middle in the future. Keep the positive thoughts going. It will get better!

  29. Sarah March 15, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Oh my god! Are you me? Or.. am I you? Or… Maybe we are just in the exact same situation. I think that’s it. πŸ˜‰
    I can nod and say yes to all the things you write there. I do exactly the same and ask, when we can go to my country and you know what?
    I was the one that volunteered to go to Australia and look now, all I want to do is go home. And I want him to come with me!
    Nothing goes right for me over here and I definitely feel like I’m the one that has to sacrifice A LOT of things. Almost too hard to handle. (Also, I REALLY want a puppy, it just gives me something to do.)

    I can see that this post is quite old now, so how are you settling in?
    Still living here?
    Will I ever get used to Australia? (Cos at this point, I really almost hate it.) I love making friends, but God it’s hard always having ‘New’ friends, never any of your old friends to meet up and gossip with.

    • Kari April 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      Sarah how did you go about moving there?

  30. Annie May 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    I have just a few questions. First, is everyone on here with someone from Australia? Seems to be a common theme πŸ˜‰ Secondly, I am an American in a relationship with a South American man. Are the visa issues always difficult? What am I looking at here? He lives in Colombia and I don’t need a visa to visit him. But I also don’t know what would be involved for him to get a visa to come here nor do I know how difficult it would be for me to get dual citizenship. I’m supposed to be seeing him in person for the first time in three weeks. (very nervous). I’ve never been to Colombia.

  31. Paige July 2, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    I also have met someone from Australia and we have clicked. Though the time difference is a pain and I’m normally the one that gets less sleep than him I enjoy his company and am very eager to meet him when he comes to the states. It’s been since early march that we have started talking and formed a relationship. We talked about each other’s government and Money. I’ve sent him a care package with American candies and knickknacks which him and his son enjoyed. And we are still containing our relationship. It’s honestly hard at times. But it is a blessing also πŸ™‚

  32. Dan August 6, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    A good read and interesting glimpse into your life Brooke!

    I’m in an international relationship myself and was asked by a reader of my site to write about it, and I took a bit of a different angle to anything else I could find on the subject. I can understand your sentiments in a way, but I see you’ve since moved to Oz and banished the doubts! Good on you for going through with it, you’ve proved that commitment and dedication to make it work trumps doubt and the naysayers.

    Site favorited. πŸ™‚


  33. Mel January 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi guys, oh man am I glad I found this page! Moved to Brazil a few months ago (similar situation to yours Brooke). Struggling with Portuguese and feeling completely left out and all boo-hoo. Can’t seem to bounce back like I usually do from stressful situations. Oh la la, I did ask for adventure right?! πŸ˜€

    My boyfriend and I have open chats about how difficult this is for me at times but, as understanding and supportive as he is, I don’t think he can fully relate. Aaaaand, for him it’s a bit of a strain too, of course. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this difficult.

    It’s not all sob stories though, I have a great job and live in an amazing city. For me, he is still worth going through this culture shock period. But I’m not gonna lie, I’m taking a bit of strain.

    Brooke, I can relate to your reasoning of moving to another town. Feels like we would be more “equal” in terms of both having new jobs, new friends, shared friends etc… This is his hometown with childhood friends and lots of elements that I don’t quite fit into…..YET. A possible move is on the cards but let’s wait and see what the future brings, right?

    Well, that’s my 2 cents worth at least πŸ™‚

  34. Sarah February 28, 2015 at 1:03 am #

    It’s come crunch time for me! My American californian man left behind not only his country but his three young daughters aged 12,10 & 8 years for a life with me and my same aged three children in Sydney. He arrived 6 months ago. But he told me last week that he needs to go back for his daughters. They were due to come here in their summer break and we were going to get married then and have two months as the ” brady bunch” with all our family as one and we would complete the permanent residency that way. I understand and I want him to be happy. It hurts a lot. But I suggested maybe I could go there in 18months so I can get things in order. But I would be leaving me children behind. The wedding has been postponed and he isn’t interested in the Australian visa anymore but I would still like that as backup. I have decided to go. My eldest daughter from a previous relationship will be coming with me too. Am I crazy? He tried it, do I owe it to him to go to him now? I could never have done it first… But I can’t accept losing him. My two youngest who are 11 and 9 yes old want to live with their dad and I told them I want them to come with me but their dad won’t let them. I’m so confused. But he is like my soulmate :/

  35. Emma July 4, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    It’s been four years since you’ve posted this, but I can relate. My boyfriend lives in Poland, six hours ahead. I can’t visit, and he only comes once a year. I’m just really concerned in our staying together over the 355 days apart


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