Long distance relationships are absolutely awful. There’s no other way to say it. At least not nicely. I live in the United States. My wife resides in Thailand. We are about as far apart as two people can possibly be. Do we make it work? Of course, we have no other choice. Relationships like ours consist of spending time video calling and reassuring each other that soon it will be okay. Soon, nobody will be able to keep us apart.
Our plan is for Ping Ping to come to the United States. As an U.S. citizen, I have petitioned for her visa. Best case scenario, her visa is ready in just a couple of more months. However, anything can go wrong. The reason being that the decision is completely out of our hands. Two people who love each other and dream of living together like a normal couple. A person we will never see or know determines our fate. The average waiting time for our type of visa is now 5-9 months. As of this writing, 3 months have passed. There was a time not long ago, under President Obama’s administration, that fiance and marriage visas were approved at a rate of 99%. Sounds promising, right? What’s scary is that under President Trump that number has nosedived to 60-something percent.
The supposed reason for the drastic drop is due to the number of fraud cases. I can only hope that is the truth, and that serious relationships need not worry. We are also a bit fortunate, though. I put my I-129F packet together by myself in June. Starting September 11, 2018, all petitioners must now hire an immigration attorney too. There are also new rules for RFE’s, or Requests for Evidence. Soon USCIS officers can flatly deny a visa instead of sending out a RFE. That means if even one little piece of info is missing, a visa could possibly be denied. The new rules do seem to imply it is up to the individual officer on a case. Our relationship is real. I did my due diligence in making sure my packet was completely filled out prior to mailing. However, one cannot help but worry still.
The anticipation kills. What if our visa is denied? What if we get an RFE that adds months on to the process? Do I reapply? Do I move to Thailand? The truth is I would have already moved to Thailand if it was that easy. I am not rich, and have no Bachelor’s degree. For me to visit my wife the first time took months of saving money. Most jobs in Thailand for Americans also require a Bachelor’s degree. Yet, I must always have a plan for worst case scenario. Right now that plan is to take PADI certification courses for scuba diving. While working for a dive shop in Thailand is more of a seasonal job, it doesn’t require a degree. Only the proper training as well as government work permits.
Maybe I wouldn’t be good at breathing underwater though. At times it already feels like I have the weight of the ocean on my shoulders. Sinking into the dark abyss of the unknown. My mind tries solving outcomes of every possible situation in regards to our visa decision. Not being able to plan is the worst. There is no asking USCIS for an update either. One day we will just be notified out of the blue of the decision. It could be tomorrow, or it could be six months from now. Possibly longer. Do I visit Thailand again, or do I wait for our visa decision? Relationships like ours go through this torment daily.
Oh, and did I mention the no sex part? Sorry, I’m a guy. No touching, no affection, and no comfort. We just wish for the day we can be a normal couple. The day we can eat a meal together and know we will fall asleep in the same bed without waking up and saying goodbye at an airport. A day where we see each other in person, not on a phone screen that is sometimes crystal clear or sometimes low quality. A life where we can hop in a car, drive down the street to the store, and walk in together to buy our groceries. And a life where we are also in the same time zone as opposed to me just waking up to see my love who is just about to fall asleep.
Yes, long distance relationships are absolutely awful. However, as gloomy as this post has been, allow me to point out the good before I leave you. To go through what relationships like ours does, you must completely love each other. I take solace in that fact. Knowing our love is strong enough to overcome the distance. We will also never take being together for granted. Every single moment together will be appreciated…eating meals, shopping for household items, drives in a car, and all the other normal everyday stuff. We suffer now, but in the long run we will flourish. Oh will we flourish.