A border between us

If he’s in Canada and she’s in the U.S., can this relationship work?

That might not be the only hurdle, says our elder. Here’s what to consider.

Dear EWC:

Hi, my boyfriend is from Canada and we have been together for almost three years. We have been living in the States for two years in our own apartment. Recently his sister announced she is getting married in Canada and he is going back for the wedding.

As you know the borders are closed but he insists that he can get back into the US because of his dad’s business. My sister is willing to let me move into her basement and live there in case he gets denied at the border. My sister later said that he and I should both move in to save money. I love that idea but my boyfriend hates it. He hates that she has a kid and two big dogs and it wouldn’t be his own space. I told him that it’s our basement. It would be our own space, bathroom, kitchen, etc.

I get that we want to move into a different apartment but I don’t get why he doesn’t want to save money for the time being. Another thing that’s been bothering me is our future together. He’s from Canada and I’m from the US. It’s going to be a long road ahead of us for either of us to get citizenship in either country. I’m stressed about the future.

Is this relationship even worth it? I don’t want to end up alone. I’m 21 and I’ve always dreamed of settling young but now I feel like that dream isn’t true. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to end up alone.

Ms. Mary replies:

I’m sorry that you are confused about the current situation with your boyfriend, as well as your future with him. I’ll do my best to help you sort things out.

I can understand why at his age, your boyfriend isn’t interested in living at your sister’s house (even if it would save money). As individuals get older, they appreciate the independence they have living in their own place. Also, relationships are a challenge, even between partners. Adding another person to the mix can change the dynamics. The transition would be much easier for you since you are comfortable living with your sister. Adding a kid and dogs to the equation can complicate matters quite a bit. I see that all the time with my daughter and her boyfriend arguing about his daughter and her dogs.

I think the more significant issue here is your concern about being alone. You ask if the relationship is even worth it. If you have doubts about that, it probably isn’t (or is at least worth exploring). I would think that if you were madly in love with your boyfriend, he would be the priority. You wouldn’t be concerned about the time and hassle required for citizenship.
You are wise to question what you want in the future. It seems that you are being driven by fear (what you don’t what) rather than what you do want. You are afraid of being alone and not settling down right away.

Meg, how would you feel if you knew it was a GIVEN (assured) that you’d find another boyfriend – One who you loved and wanted more than anything to marry and settle down with? Don’t assume that you’d end up alone if you don’t stay with your boyfriend. The chances of that are very slim (unless you continue to believe that is the case).

When I was your age, I was worried that I’d never get married, so I do understand your concern. I didn’t get married until I was
25, but it was well worth the wait. There are so many guys out there. Don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy the process of finding the right guy. I discovered that a basis of comparison was necessary for me to figure out whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Had I hurried into a relationship for security reasons, I would never have met my incredible husband.

It sounds as though you’ve been with your boyfriend since you were 20 or younger. Could it be that you’ve learned a lot and that the relationship has served you well, but now you are ready for more? There is no need to settle for less than what you want.
You could likely find another boyfriend in less time than it would take for you or your boyfriend to be granted citizenship. However, most important is becoming self-reliant and gaining confidence in yourself. The happier you are, the better relationship you will have, whether it is with your current boyfriend or a new one.

I wish I could wave a magic wind over you so that suddenly you trust that everything is going to be okay (with or without your boyfriend). You get to create the life you desire. My advice is to do that with eagerness and enthusiasm, not out of fear. If you aren’t sure that your boyfriend is the right one, then have faith that you will find the perfect match when you are ready. You deserve to have all your dreams come true. However, trust that the universe knows better than you the required timetable.


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