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How are you supposed to feel when your relationship is a ticking-time bomb; when you know he is going to leave soon? While I tried hard not to, I ended up falling for a foreigner whose time in America was limited.
It all started in the fall of 2016 when we had matched on a dating app and decided to meet for a drink. We hit it off instantly. He was tall, had a cute accent and had the same passion for movies and art that I did. He told me that he was going to school for his master's degree in the United States and would be here for a little under a year.
He said that he could already tell that he really liked me, but was afraid of getting too attached because he knew he had to go home in 10 months. The moment he said that, I should have known better than to continue things, but of course, the heart wants what the heart wants and I was too attracted to him to not see him again. Not to mention, I had studied abroad in his home country and tremendously enjoyed being able to practice his native language with him. To me, it was a dream come true.
We started to go on date after date after date. Whether it was a cool cocktail bar, movie night, or a day exploring the city, the time we spent together was fantastic and made me like him even more. We began to get closer in many ways, but there was always something a little off about the relationship because of the fact that he was going home eventually.
A little farther down the line, he would do things that I found to be inconsiderate, like being super late for a date or not responding to a text for days. I would call him out on it, but it would continue to happen. In that time, my thought was that he acted like this because of the temporality of the relationship. Either way, he always profusely apologized, so I felt bad for getting upset. I guess I figured that everyone has his or her faults.
After all, even though I was unimpressed by some of his behavior, he was kind, funny and would always spoil me when we went out. We continued to see each other until he returned to home in June of 2017. Our farewell was quite sad, but I had just planned a trip to visit Europe with one of my friends, so I was excited to see him again. The summer passed slower than molasses, and finally, I hopped on a plane in August to go see him.
I stayed with him for part of the trip and it was the most romantic weekend ever. He drove me around his city, took me to incredible restaurants and we got to spend some amazing quality time together. It was literally the best trip ever. In my mind, there was still hope for the relationship because if I could see him then, why couldn’t we work something out where we rotated visiting each other?
After all, I was only a super expensive 6-hour flight away. However, when he drove me back to the airport on that early August morning and kissed me goodbye, I gave up the hope of a future together. It was clear he would never leave his home and that I wouldn’t leave America. For a true partnership to work, we would have had to make sacrifices that we weren’t willing to make at this age.
After an amazing vacation abroad with my gal pal and the fairytale weekend with my former beau, the flight home (which had no in-flight entertainment, mind you) was grueling. I was crying so hard I thought I might get kicked off, so I tried to keep it together with a few glasses of white wine and quietly attempted to read my book.
I landed in America feeling depressed and depleted. I keep asking myself, why was I so infatuated? Knowing he was leaving, why did I let myself get so attached? Maybe it’s because in my mind, if we were going to be in the same place for the foreseeable future, I could see myself with him. Or maybe it was the fantasy of having a lover across the world — the love that never could be, but almost was.
Now, we talk occasionally on Facebook, but the tone is very much that of a friendship. He just started seeing someone new and even though I know logically that I don’t live there and that he should move on with his life, I’m still a bit jealous. I have a feeling it will take some time to get over, but all I can say is, falling in love or even in like with someone who will end up leaving your country is really quite challenging. It caused me a lot of emotional turmoil that probably could have been avoided.
At the same time, the famed Alfred Lord Tennyson quote is true: “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” To have experienced the spark of passion and closeness with him in the time he was here was special. In many ways, it taught me to live in the moment and savor the time you have with the people you care about. The bond we formed, given the circumstances, gives me hope of finding the same love in the future — hopefully with someone who isn't planning on moving anytime soon.