Impulsive whirlwind expat marriage to a French man
On a surf trip birthday holiday last year, I met a French expat living in Asia. I was also living in Asia as an expat (Canadian) in a different country. Whirlwind holiday romance turned to super intense committed relationship in less than 5 months, over distance in the beginning after 1 month together. He spoke of marriage upon our first parting, and at first I didn't realise he was serious - like, who does that?? my first thoughts were "awww, how sweet and romantic. Oh, he's, serious?!? Ok, he's definitely crazy. whoa, wait, ummm...." That's just not how it's done in my world! BUT the crazy hot factor was off the charts, and his grounded vision for our future got me seriously considering it. As an adult with ample experience I knew it was a risk, but I guess I'm a little crazy too. Besides, isn't calculated risk is part of living? Neither of us has been in a serious longterm relationship in 6-7 years so it wasn't a completely naive or purely impulsive. If I'd had it my way we would have continued to date and get to know each other but he insisted I return to him and marry him, or never speak to him again. I deliberated for about 2 months.
Looking back, I felt a little coerced. He suffered each day I could not give him a decision. It was dreadfully hard for both... huge chasms of cultural/linguistic/operational differences to bridge. Luckily we speak each others native languages, but only basic proficiency. Lots of talking, not much real communication. Loads of misunderstanding and banging our heads against the wall. Never had this level of difficulty communicating and being understood in any of my intimate relationships. It was like transmission signals garbled due to wavelength interfacing distortions!! You know how you sometimes meet someone where the communication just flows? Well, not us. What's more, we couldn't share on the level of humour and wit, which is for me has always been a way to lighten the heaviness. Laughter and play are so important, and I never felt my humour reciprocated. We became so damn serious.
Anyways this was a necessary stage, as we were sussing out if we could realistically build a life together so we had to figure out the nitty gritty. He is 10 years older, into the stage of marriage potential, whereas I was just coming into that stage in my life. I feel like he kind of forced it faster than I was comfortable with, but I respect that he had a certain timeline that he needed.
I finally made a logical decision, as I was willing to commit to him and recognised that I wanted to move into the wifey stage of my life (and that my self-doubt and self-esteem issues would never allow me to truly feel "ready"). I took the leap to trust him and go for it! I'm sure that part of me was in a way making a decision based out of fear of losing him, as I couldn't imagine making the choice to never see him again. I agreed to return to his country and go through a ceremony to unite with him spiritually.
What I was not willing to do was to quit my life in my country. Thus began the problems when he moved to my place, a country that he never would have chosen. He felt coerced to quit his life, sacrificing what was in fact a better living situation for us, although far from ideal. My situation turned out so wrong for us in many ways. We struggled to make it work for 6 months. For so many reasons it didn't.
We took a break for a month. He left to get his surf on, we communicated during that time but it was still so tense. I didn't expect anything from him at that point. I let him go and sent him prayers to find his path again. And then... being the romantic prince that he is, he came back for my birthday! It was part surprise and partly planned with the intention to spend time together with fresh energy, no expectations for the future but just enjoy each other. We promised that we would not talk about the past nor the future, and just to love each other.
I wish I could say that those 10 days were blissful. It started so, then quickly degenerated to the same old disastrous misunderstandings... finally we resolved to making the best of it, and parted with bittersweet hopes. He returned to France, and I shortly thereafter tied up loose ends and returned to Canada.
Now, back in our home countries for the summer, separated by an ocean, communicating over internet, with no concrete plans for how and when we will reunite; it has gotten to the point that our misunderstandings and resentments have estranged us. We are currently not communicating at all. I think we are both just exhausted by the stress and struggle. We're trying to move forward but can't let go of the past.
If you're still reading this I commend you. Thank you for your words of advice, blessings or just for listening. I just needed to get this off my chest mostly. If you've ever lived long term in foreign country far from anyone familiar, I guess you'll understand. I need someone to talk to.