I’m 35, I’m from Germany, and admittedly some national clichés are very true: Germans don’t date well, have a sinister tendency and generally don’t deal with the opposite sex in a very playful way. I was the same, plus having had unhealthy codependent tendencies in my first marriage, that ended 4 years ago and left me devastated for quite a while. After that, there was another big heartbreak (I was “the other woman”, and of course he did not pick me in the end).

It was at that point that I decided I wanted to change myself and my luck in love, and especially reading “Why Did He Disappeared” brought deep healing for me in that regard.

So I started dating guys back at home and developed a fair amount of self-confidence in the process. I became naturally flirty, reconnected with my feminine side, and relentlessly weeded out those men who did not act consistently or showed major red flags — which, without being too picky, were all of them in the end, unfortunately.

Yet, I learned to bounce back quickly, and have build up a sturdy life for myself, i.e.: single girlfriends, reading group, a job that wasn’t horrible, family, etc.

Something was missing though. After 3 years of singledom, I decided to pack up my things and leave home to travel North America. I’ve always had a thing for the region, the language, the culture, the nature and I know it might sound funny, but I also feel like being here brings out the better aspects of my personality: optimism, friendliness, agency.

I started online dating while being stationed in a Canadian city for a while — I wanted to “practice” dating, so to speak, and was also interested in the cultural differences. And of course, despite not being after something too serious, I met the sweetest man…

2 months in, we both have developed deep feelings for one another. So the emotional basis is there: He makes me laugh, he treats me like gold (as you’d put it), he follows up, he talks about a possible future. We’re both painfully aware though that the circumstances are difficult, to say the least: My visa will expire, and I’d have to go back to Germany for one year at least to earn money for a big and final move to Canada.

My friends say I’m crazy to even consider it, and that — as a feminist — I should never rely on a man to provide all the social safety and support I’d have in my home town. To be honest, this aspect IS worrisome for me, but on the other hand, I am also quite sure that I won’t be happy dating back home again. I’m not a pessimist, but I tried and it was a bleak experience.

What is your advice here, Evan? Should I “follow my heart” and give up my life at home completely, or enjoy this relationship while it lasts and say goodbye to him when I have to leave the country? Or, as a third option, go back for the year and make the long-distance thing the litmus test for a possible future commitment?

I’m grateful for any insight! And let me say again: The man is amazing … but I’m scared sh*tless of this major life decision.

Thanks and warm wishes to you!

W

You should be scared sh*less of this major life decision. Nothing impacts your future happiness greater than whom you choose to marry.

Allow me play both sides of the fence for you and give you all the tools you need to make a choice. You’ll note that I have biases, too, but they’re not based on my personal preferences, they’re based on the statistical likelihood of a positive outcome — i.e. you getting happily married.

First of all, I’ve seen a number of long-distance relationships thrive and can always provide an anecdote that directly contradicts my own advice. But the same way we can point out that there are 70 degree days in January doesn’t negate the idea that most days in January are cold. And the fact is, most long-distance relationships are fraught with danger.

Moreover, one person has to take a big risk and uproot his/her life in order for the relationship to be successful.

Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the people involved but because they’re sort of like simulated relationships until you’re in person full time.

Moreover, one person has to take a big risk and uproot his/her life in order for the relationship to be successful.

So, W, what percent of local relationships actually turn into marriage? I probably had a dozen girlfriends that I really liked for a month fizzle out before marriage. I don’t think that’s too unusual. So what are the odds that your “boyfriend” of two months is going to be a perfect fit for the next 50 years? No greater than the odds of any other boyfriend before. You’ve just had less of an opportunity to explore your incompatibilities because you’re too busy enjoying the ride.

And while I can cite my sister’s LDR as a shining example of how a woman can move 3000 miles to marry a man and live happily ever after, I can also cite a friend of mine who had a two month relationship on a business trip in Europe that led to 8 months of Skyping for 3 hours a day, which led to an engagement over the computer, which led to her moving to Los Angeles and moving in with her fiancé, which led to them breaking up about a month later because they really didn’t know what it was like to be together until they actually were.

This is the scenario I fear for you.

To circle back to your actual questions:

You don’t turn in your feminist card when you fall in love. Feminism is equal opportunity and making your own adult choices. That includes taking the risk to move to Canada in hopes that this guy is exactly what you need for the rest of your life.

Your belief that you won’t be happy dating at home again is more of a story than a reality. I’ve never met a woman who was happy dating in her city — New York, London, Sydney, Paris — all of my clients are convinced it’s better elsewhere. Newsflash: wherever you go, there you are. I thought after 300 dates, I had to move back to the East Coast. I married a woman from San Diego and we’ll live in Los Angeles until our house burns down. Point is that you may be right about your German stereotypes, but that doesn’t describe ALL men, just a subset of them. I can assure you that thousands of women will fall in love with men in Germany in the next month. You’re not that different than everyone else.

You’ve outlined three choices:

  1. Follow your heart and move to Canada.
  2. Say goodbye and return home to Germany.
  3. Stay committed long-distance for a year and figure out how to get back.

There’s one other choice you haven’t considered — or maybe you have — but you haven’t outlined it here.

Go with #1 — follow your heart — and realize that if your relationship doesn’t work, you can still build a life and fall in love with another man in Canada.

I’m not recommending this, by the way. If anything, I’m telling you that the most likely scenario is that he’s NOT your future husband. But if you’re going to spend your whole life with regrets that you didn’t explore it, maybe you owe it to yourself to take that chance for love, as risky as it may be.

As Marsha Sinetar talks about in “Do the Love and the Money Will Follow” and I mention in  Love U, you can’t guarantee an outcome but you can feel good about your decision. Adopt a policy of “No Lose Decision Making” and trust that whatever you decide, it was well-reasoned and the right thing for you to do at this point in time. Good luck.





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