When I started this blog post, my intention was to write about the top 3-5 biggest challenges couples in long distance relationships face, but as the weeks went on it started to write itself into what it is now. And yes it really did take me weeks to finish it. Probably about 2.5 weeks, as I was going through a challenging part of my very own LDR. So it’s more personal than I wanted it to be. But figured that if I am running into these challenges, there’s probably others out there facing the same issues.
Pete and I are about to hit our 4 year mark. For me personally, it’s a big deal. Before Pete, my longest relationship was about 9 months. And to be honest, it wasn’t much of a relationship. So to be with someone for 4 years and in a very long distance relationship is a big milestone for me.
The last 6 months or so, it’s been especially difficult. I think the distance has finally gotten to me and it doesn’t help seeing family and friends moving on to the next step in their lives. It makes me feel like I’m at a standstill. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy for everyone. I celebrate their accomplishments, their new homes, their engagements, weddings and new additions to the family.
But being happy for them, doesn’t stop me from getting extremely frustrated and feeling like I’m missing out on things. I feel ready to start living my life with Pete, but because we are from two different countries, it’s impossible to do what normal couples do and just move in together. We have so much we need to do before that happens.
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in America is $30,000 USD? Yeah, it’s insane. We actually tried to plan a small Vegas wedding and we set our budget at $5,000. Once we got to actually putting together the invite list, making reservations and getting contracts ready, our total ended up being $18,689. That didn’t include hotel accommodation, my wedding dress, hair and makeup, his tux, shoes, transportation, etc… So we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and opted to just elope and have a small backyard celebration at some point.
2. We have to apply for a spouse visa.
Applying from outside the UK it’s £1,523 ($,1973.04 USD)
Applying from within the UK it’s $£1,033 ($1,338.25 USD)
Average cost of US Visas is $1200 plus any attorney fees, if needed.
I’ve only briefly looked into the process, but it seems it’s easier to get a spouse visa for the UK than it is for the United States.
3. We have to plan and save money for a move halfway across the world.
Moving in general can be expensive and a complete pain in the ass. Now, imagine a move across the world. Do you budget to move all your belongings through an international moving company or do you get rid of everything and start new? Both options seem on the expensive side to me. I have a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath home fully furnished with things I bought with my hard earned money. If I pack it all up it’ll cost me a fortune to get it shipped. So what I’ve decided to do is little by little start selling things online or asking my friends and family if there are any items they’d like to keep. The things with more sentimental value, I will be storing at my parent’s house, just in case one day I decide I want them. Or when and if Pete & I decide to move back.
4. I have a dog that I am not leaving behind, so have to budget his travel documents into that too.
For those of you reading this that know me personally, you know my dog, Dallas, is world. Well, he shares the spot with Pete. But really, I love that little RatBat so much. He’s now 8 years old and he’s been by my side through some of the most challenging times. In fact, he was only 4 weeks old when I picked him up. I know I know, you’re not supposed to separate puppies from their moms until 8 weeks, but the lady was desperate to get rid of the puppies and when I saw him it was love at first sight. Anyway, Did you know that if you bring your pet to the UK without following procedure they will get put into quarantine? Yeah, up to 4 months I believe. So I can definitely not do that to my stinker. He would die of sadness. So I have to get him a Pet passport, get him microchipped and then get all his vaccinations after. Even though he’s up to date on his, if you put a microchip in your pet after he is vaccinated, you have to vaccinate again. So taking him to an approved vet, getting his pet passport, getting his travel airline approved kennel, and paying for him to fly is something I will need to budget into our big move.
The last 4 years have been tough on our wallets as it is. It’s not cheap being in a LDR. Each time we’ve seen each other we’ve spent on average $5,500. If you add it all up, with 3 trips a year, that’s about $16,650. Times 4 years that’s a total of $66,600. If we lived in the same country, we could have saved up that money for a down payment on our first house, a big fancy wedding, a big trip or even to start a new business. But instead, anything that we can manage to save, has been spent on seeing each other. If it wasn’t for the sacrifices we’ve made, then we wouldn’t be in a relationship.
So if I had to list the biggest challenges that we’ve come across, I would say they are the following;