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    November 02, 2008

    Another year, another separation

    Posted by: Chris

    Rioaptovisto Hello there, dear blog readers. I know it has been a good long time since I was keeping up with regular blogging duties, and a number of you have even expressed concern about how I'm doing. Well, the honest answer is that I've been better. Regular readers know that the year 2008 has been a very difficult year for me personally, and the last couple of weeks have unfortunately brought a new challenge.

    You may remember that around this time last year, my partner and I moved to Buenos Aires for three months because I had used up the 180 days I am allowed to be in Brazil each year under my tourist visa. This time around, after a lot of thinking and discussing and soul-searching, we've decided we are going to have to be separated for the last two months of the calendar.

    So this week I'll be headed back to the U.S., and meu bebezinho will be headed back to his hometown to be with his familiy. After almost four years together and more than two years of living in limbo down here, the prospect of being separated for two long months has been particularly discouraging, even disheartening, for us.

    But endure it we must, and after a whirlwind week or so of winding up our apartment rental and moving things into storage, it's time once again for us to say "goodbye" -- if only temporarily.

    I will arrive back home just in time to cast my vote in the presidential election, something I hope each and every one of you will be doing as well, if you haven't already.



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    1. Tim C on Nov 3, 2008 8:45:55 AM:

      I can relate to your situation to a great extent and I know with certainty that things work out if because you want them to. My husband and I were geographically separated for 4 years. Now I know that Atlanta to Washington, DC isn't the same in terms of distance, responsibilities and finances kept us from getting together as often as you would think we could, but for 4 years we made it on seeing each other for a weekend every three to five weeks. And there is also email and phones (even international calls are really cheap now), and if you're tech savvy, webcams. If you know it's only temporary, you can put up with a lot. And for you, it's only two months. 60 days will go by quicker than you think. Me and mine could have never made it if we had not both been in agreement that the goal is to get together in the same place -- I don't think long distance works if there is not the driving force to be geographically together at the end.

      Every night during the week, one of us would call the other before going to bed. Some nights we would talk for a long time, some nights it was just long enough to say "I love you" and "goodnight". We gave ourselves a break on the weekend nights. If you are out until 2am, no sense taking the chance of waking up the other if he got home earlier.

      I believe in the end it's about knowing that he's your husband and that's where you're going to stop and stay, and that it's only a temporary separation. Come on, you can do 60 days standing on your head.

    1. dj on Nov 3, 2008 10:27:54 AM:

      My heart is breaking for you. We were married 3 years ago in Toronto and are hardly ever apart. Maybe a couple of days for work, but two months would be a penance we could not bear lightly. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both.

    1. M on Nov 3, 2008 4:44:30 PM:

      I know how rough that can be. My partner of 7 years and I have been unable to stay together for longer than three months at a go (and usually more like 2-3 weeks) because of US law (she's a UK citizen). I'm seriously considering whether I'll be staying in the US for med school or if I should just pack it up and move to Europe... :( Hang in there! Two months isn't so bad compared to the five or six months we spend apart between visits, right?

    1. Chris on Nov 3, 2008 7:48:54 PM:

      Hang in there guys! There are a lot of us who have been (or still are in) that situation and we share your pain. The good news is, you can come out the other side even strongs and as they say, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

      Tawn and I were apart for over a year before I was finally able to join him here in Bangkok. It is woth the time apart in order to finally be able to be together.

      Best wishes!

    1. Lucas on Nov 3, 2008 8:05:58 PM:

      Wow, it looks like we have quite a few of us doing the long-distance thing. ;-) Chris, et. al, I can certainly relate. My partner of 8 years were never together longer than 10 days at a time -- the separation is mostly due to financial reasons, more than anything... well, there were other minor personality issues as well. ;-)

      Long story short, we bought a house in planning to move in together, but my job situation fell through, preventing me from moving to the area. So, we take turns every two weeks or so driving 5 hrs each way to see each other for the weekend -- and it's like that for the last 6 years. We couldn't afford to go on long vacations, so the longest we've ever been together is about 10 days (from one weekend to the next).

      Like Tim C, my partner and I talk to each other almost every day -- if not only to say "good night" or "I love you".

      So, I know how y'all feel. All I can say is hang in there...

    1. Lucas on Nov 3, 2008 8:15:32 PM:

      Oh, yeah, btw, without a doubt, our distance has made us stronger as partners, because it allowed us to get to know one another at a slower pace. At the same time, it allowed us to realize that the reason we're together is because of our relationship to one another, not because of our locality.

    1. Lori on Nov 5, 2008 9:21:01 AM:

      This lack of acceptance in our country is really sad to me. My partner and I just had a child here in the US and are in process of adopting our 2 year old, yet my partners work visa expired in Feb and her company won't renew due to the economy. It is awful to have to think of breaking up our family. She may have to leave with the new baby while I stay on for up to an additional year or two because of the complexity of this adoption. This is no way to raise a family. Fortunately she is Canadian and once this is over with the adoption, we will be leaving this country. Funny how happy I was last night when Obama was elected, now it makes no day to day difference in my personal struggle for my family. By the time anything changes, I will be gone from the US. This next 2 years will be awful though having 2 young children 12 weeks and 17 mos. and all of us separated. I hope we can find some positives in all of this. Best wishes to you and your partner. Daily living can sometimes get really hard. Maybe our kids will find a different world than the one we are currently trapped in.

    1. Jim in Niteroi on Nov 19, 2008 4:25:26 PM:

      Chris - just today my application for permanent residency was approved in Brazil. My partner and I used the "Stable Union" immigration category. http://www.gringoes.com/articles.asp?ID_Noticia=1688

      Would this be a possibility for you and your partner?

      Also - did you know that there is a relatively low cap on the fine imposed on folks who overstay their visas? I'm not suggesting you do anything ileagal - but in this case the consequence is capped at less than $R900.

      Further - there is talk these days in Brasilia to offer immigrant amnesty to folks in Brasil ilegally. As an upstanding American your case would likely get a favorable review (not that that is all a good thing...)

      Anyway - just a few thoughts.

      Good luck.


    1. wilson on Jan 2, 2009 12:07:50 PM:


      why don't you get domestic partnership in Brazil as your friend from club whirled did? He's been living happilly ever with his partner without all the hasle!

    1. InExile on Jan 3, 2009 8:39:47 AM:

      Sorry to hear about you guys being separated by the "right to stay" time limit. I hope you make it through, you guys will be in my thoughts! It really is heart wrenching to be separated, I really feel for you. I don't like where I live but at least we are together and I am grateful for that.

      St. Martin, France

    1. Chris on Jan 11, 2009 7:52:37 PM:

      Jim in Niteroi and Wilson: Yes, of course I'm aware of the availability of a visa in Brazil for same-sex relationships. I'm also aware of its cost and how it's by no means a sure thing for my relationship.

      The fact that our situation could be worse -- with both of our native countries rejecting recognition of our relationship -- does not undermine the basic injustice that my own country deprives us of the choice of living there. That should be our choice.

    1. Ricardo on Apr 19, 2009 9:35:45 AM:

      Chris...an acquaintance of mine was mentioning he signed up for a degree at PUC and was taking the minimum course load possible (only Portuguese classes, I think). He got a student Visa which allowed him to stay here longer (close to full-time, I think). Don't know the details but might be something to explore.

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