Relationships / Turkey

Confessions of a frightened fiancée

I’ll tell you a secret: I’m afraid of getting married

The zero to hero prompt the other day was to write about what was really on your mind when you decided to start your blog. Funny to think that there are others out there just like me, still shying away from the thing that’s really on their minds.

Because that’s definitely what I’m doing. Shying away. Actually, I’m positively fleeing from it. I hinted at it in my first ever post, all those months ago, before a heck of a lot of shit happened. But I didn’t get so far as actually articulating what it is that even to this day chases me from bed in the depths of the night to pace my Beirut balcony with only exhaust fumes and seagulls to keep me company.

So today I’m laying it out on the table. My deepest darkest secret for everyone to see:

I’m shit scared about getting married.

It’s surprisingly difficult to talk to stalwart confidantes about pre-marital doubts. The minute you get engaged, everyone assumes it’s a done deal and that’s that (well, everyone except my father that is, but that’s a whole other story). The only question they ask once the ring’s on your finger is whether or not you’ve set the date (and for the record, NO, NOT YET).

I really don’t want to give the wrong impression here. I love E with all my heart. Most days I’m sure we’re doing the right thing.

But I do still have doubts. Things like, how can you ever really know someone is The One? Or, how can you ever really know someone full stop? Or, can two people with big differences in background and upbringing build a life together?

Perhaps these kinds of thoughts are normal. And I’m sure that the simple fact that, immediately after getting engaged, E and I are being forced to endure our longest separation in years is obviously fertiliser of the purest kind for the crop of doubts I’m raising here in my head. But it’s more than that. I hate to admit it but my dad did have some good points in his Don’t Marry the Turk speech.

The fact is, whatever you feel for your love, the risks are higher marrying a foreigner.  From the purely logistical point of view, things are just more hard work. After 10 minutes on the UK Border Agency’s website trying to figure out what kind of visa E would need for us to get married reduced me to tears, it’s hard not to feel deafetist.

Not being able to enter each other’s countries, maybe not being able to work (not to mention pursue the career of your dreams) and the resultant financial strain are all things we’re pretty likely to face at some point. And that’s not to mention the fact that, if everything does go tits up (and let’s not forget, all the sources tell us that intercultural relationships have a higher than average chance of this outcome), the risks become greater if you’ve relocated your life to another country. And god forbid things go tits up after you’ve started a family. I can hardly bring myself to contemplate this scenario, except when it shakes me awake at bleakest 4am and looms larger than a ringwraith over my head.

Of course none of this will be news to anyone in a serious intercultural relationship. But what to DO about it? Getting this stuff down in black and white has already helped take the sting from the tail of my anxiety-induced insomnia. But I’m desperate for any words of wisdom the can be offered.

If you’re in an intercultural relationship, how do you tackle these issues? Where do you get your strength from? And how have you overcome your doubts?

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11 thoughts on “Confessions of a frightened fiancée

  1. Everytime I read about all the paperwork and visa work that has to get done when marrying a foreignor, I feel overwhelmed too (we are planning to get engaged next year when my bf is done grad school here). Tons of people do it all the time though, so it can’t be that bad. Maybe you need to live with him for a while (like a year), before you decide to get married. Just to make sure you are making the right decision and everything since you are having doubts. I’ve been living with my bf for over 1 and 1/2 years now (I’ve known him for 2 and 1/2). He wanted to get engaged before we lived together, but I didn’t want to take that step until I was sure…and living together has definitely helped me determine whether I am sure or not.

    Good luck with everything!

    • You’re right. The paperwork etc must be manageable otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people doing it. It’s the question of whether the whole thing is right that’s key – and I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that 🙂 we’ll have been living together for almost a year before we get married, so I’ve got time to make sure.

      Thank you, and good luck to you too!

  2. Marrying The Turk was the most difficult decision of my life. I was a happy, completely independent woman, owned my own home, was set in my career – then I met The Turk! My father was prepared to hate him, my friends told me he was a gold digger, even the lawyer I hired to get his visa told me to give up but I persevered. He finally got his visa, we finally got married and we lived happily in Australia for 10 years before we returned to Turkey as a family. Life has never been better.

    Stick to your conviction and watch everything good come your way.

  3. I’m not in an intercultural relationship (although a city girl with a country boy sometimes feels like it) so I can’t give you first hand words of wisdom. But, it’s definitely normal to have doubts, intercultural relationship or no. 4am doubts are the worst, but try to hold on to the “love E with all my heart” part.

    I don’t think you can ever really know someone is The One, because, to answer your next question, you cannot ever really know someone full stop – you both will change and develop as people over time (and that’s not a bad thing). However, two people with big differences in background and upbringing can totally build a life together, as the lovely comments above show.

    You might also like reading “Almost French” by Sarah Turnbull, who had a similar experience – meeting a guy while on holiday and moving country as a result.

    Good luck and hang in there.

    • Thank you so much for your really thoughtful comment. I’m constantly amazed by the solidarity and support in the blogging community.

      I’m sure you’re absolutely right and it’ll all be fine, but it’s nice to hear someone who’s been there before say that too (and I definitely think city-country counts as intercultural!).

    • Hi, this is Jamily5 from “Pakistani safari,” I also have a blog at :www,goridesirishta,” but I have not written there in a while. But, if you want to wave thought it on one of your sleepless nights, you will find that We do understand your feelings. I had to write down the reasons that I wanted to get married and make our commonalties traditions. In this way, we are holding onto some of our traditions together which made me feel more united to him. Good luck!!!!

      • Hi Jamily5, I’ll check out your other blog now – thanks for the link!

        It is so comforting to know that you’re not alone in matters like these – and that the things you grapple with are normal and not some indication that your relationship is in dire trouble!

        I like the idea of writing down the reasons I want us to get married – as well as being a fun, self-affirming thing to do, it’ll be a nice list to refer back to on darker days 😉

        Hope things are going well with your own adventure!

  4. I once heard someone (who was married to a foreigner) say that all marriages are intercultural marriages. Not to minimise the challenges you name, but apparently it helped her to put it on the same scale (albeit at the more extreme end). Beyond that, I have nothing to pass on 🙂 .

    In any case, I do wish you luck and happiness.

    • I love that idea! I suppose they are in a way – and often approaching things with the idea that this is an intercultural relationship and therefore things are obviously more complicated often makes you lazy. I can’t remember he number of times I caught myself explaining away some little thing E did that upset me as ‘because of his culture’ in the early days of our relationship! Nowadays, I’ve learned that you can’t use culture to explain things away. Yes it helps understanding, but no, it’s not an excuse.

      Thank you so much for your good wishes – that in themselves is more than enough to pass on!

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