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?