Q: Hi Meredith,
I met my fiancée a few years ago through a mutual friend. She is English. She was traveling through the States and we hit it off. We had a bunch of trips back and forth, decided we wanted to give it a go, and I moved to England. Our deal was, I would be there a few years and then we would spend a few years in the States and decide from there where we want to raise a family, etc.
In order for her to come to the States and be able to work, we need to be married. We are planning on doing that, then moving to the states. However, in order to apply for the visa we need to be married. Basically, it’s a timing issue. If we wait to apply until we get married then we won't be able to move back to the States for 8-10 months (processing times). We talked about (and I thought we agreed on) getting married (the paper work) earlier, applying for the visa, then having the wedding and being able to move to the States together in 2012. However, she's been making all these comments -- "I'm talking the romance out of our wedding" and we are now having a "fake" wedding and things of this nature. She's says she's doing it for me, that she'll have to live with it. But with all these comments it's making me feel really bad and I feel that she will resent me for this.
I'm not sure what to do. It's causing a lot of stress in our relationship, but our options are - get married early (just us and a witness) then file the paper work, have our "fake" wedding with friends and family, then move to the States. OR we just have the wedding and I move to the states and she can't come over till the paper work comes through. So, 8-10 months after the wedding. (I am required to move back, I don't have an option). I feel this puts more strain on us than just signing the paper work. I don't see signing the papers early a big deal. But she does. I guess I'm just not sure what to do!
– What to Do, Boston and London
A: You need to ask her what she wants to do, WTD. Yes, you already had this discussion, but she wasn't being honest with you (or herself) about her needs back then. She changed her mind. The old plan isn't sitting right with her. Undo it.
My guess is that she hasn't even admitted to herself that she has specific ideas about how weddings should be treated. If you start over, maybe she'll be able to process those ideas with you. Maybe she needs to wait and do a long-distance relationship until she can get married "right." Sounds crazy, but she's probably been dreaming about this day for a long time. Maybe she'd rather visit you a few times over eight months so that she can have the perfect "we-signed-the-papers-on-the-right-day" wedding experience.
My guess is that when you have this conversation again, she'll come around to the original plan. But hopefully it will feel better this time. I think she just agreed too quickly without considering her longtime dreams about the first day of her marriage.
Start over and keep an empathetic tone. Make sure she knows that the decision is a shared one. You can't do any of this without her.
Readers? Should she feel weird about signing paperwork and then having a wedding? Is she being immature? Anyone have citizenship/love stories? How can they deal with their logistics without losing the romance? Is she stressed about getting married, in general? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.