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September 5, 2020

Why Stress is actually good for Long-distance Relationships

Long-distance relationships face challenges ranging from boredom, jealousy, insecurity, and even “growing apart” due to different time zones, among others. 

Notice though, that they’re separated by choice — where one partner goes away intentionally for work, military service, volunteering, schooling, or other reasons.

Those in the fiance visa process, however, are separated due to necessity, not choice. They would love to “close the distance” as soon as possible, but the government takes a long time to process immigration paperwork, forcing them to be separated across borders in the meantime. 

This forced separation, surprisingly, comes with a positive twist. Despite facing all of the hurdles traditional couples do, K-1’ers have the added challenge of dealing with the visa process — the stress of which actually eliminates boredom in LDRs.

Here… let me give you the ten-second summary of the fiance visa process –and bear with me– you’ll truly begin to understand the stress these couples go through. 

The kind of stress Fiance Visa couples face

The Fiance K visa process is a quick way to bring a foreign romantic partner to the US for marriage. If you have a foreign boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiance and you’re ready to tie the knot, this visa is one way to go through immigration procedures. Upon entry, you two must marry within 90 days… and then you can ride off into the sunset.

The visa process is quick — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are months of preparing detailed paperwork, waiting for the government to process your case, and the grand finale — the fiance visa interview, where you’re face-to-face with a stern immigration officer who gets to “decide your fate”. 

If the officer approves your visa, you get to come to the US and marry. If you’re denied, you’re not getting a visa; and there’s also no telling how much longer you’ll be separated or even if other options are available. Needless to say, “denial” is not a good place to be because it throws off your life plans for years.

So with the months of anxiously holding your breath along with the tremendous costs of the visa process, it’s easy to picture why the visa process is crucial and stressful. 

It’s a huge life moment; but this stress is what actually strengthens a relationship, and doesn’t dissolve it. 

The good kind of stress

Remember, traditional LDR couples feel jealous, insecure, forgotten, and even bored when there’s nothing new or exciting to talk about. Eventually they begin to drift away. That’s why LDR experts suggest having a goal in life (short / long term) to provide a glue for excitement, encouragement, and focus.

What bigger goal can you have than getting married?… getting your visa approved so you can close the distance?… and reuniting as quickly as possible? To K visa couples, the visa approval provides an important target to aim for. 

Secondly, and more importantly, the camaraderie of “fighting” the same battle creates life-long trust between the couple, similar to how fellow soldiers often form a bond that they remember their entire lives. 

Take for example how K-1 couples prepare for the visa interview. As you can imagine, it’s a huge day for them and things have to go perfectly. The paperwork, the preparations, the questions / answers, and personal interview are all critical. 

So most couples prepare by rehearsing the Q/A part together, giving each other feedback, reminding each other of key dates, times and locations in their relationship, etc. Sometimes they talk about things they haven’t mentioned in a long time. 

Next, the couple has to produce tons of paperwork. The US partner is responsible for some; while the foreign partner is responsible for others. Inevitably, the couple has to work as a team to get this done properly. The entire experience of “watching each others’ backs” creates a bond and dependability that is not present in other LDR.

Not surprisingly, K-1’ers often find themselves following the same websites, reading the same news, and watching the same YouTube videos. The couple is in tune with one another. There’s no “down-time” in the relationship. Everything is important, urgent, and exciting. 

It puts things into perspective

During periods of boredom in a relationship, you may hear LDR couples argue over things we consider petty (“why hasn’t she returned my text message? … it’s been over 20 minutes!”).

But for fiance visa couples, they don’t have time or the energy to worry about those kinds of things. Their futures are on the line, so they’re not getting distracted by why their partners didn’t “like” their latest Facebook meme. 

They’re too preoccupied on how to dot their i’s and cross their t’s when preparing financial documents so the immigration officer can approve them. They’re too preoccupied with supporting one another before the interview. They don’t have the luxury of “quiet times” in a relationship.

And… perhaps that’s a good thing; It puts what truly matters to a relationship in perspective. Rather than getting caught in minutia, you’re building life-long trust and companionship. You know you can count on one another.

For fiance visa couples, the common goal of getting a visa approved keeps them excited, invigorated, and their relationships strong.

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