Yes, please vote!
I planned a move to another state (not another continent, but still 1500 miles), partly because of a guy, but I was still planning to move on my own and stay single. My happy place has been as a singleton. Been planning for a few years, my elderly ill parent passed away, my daughter went off to college, ... well, the time finally came and i ended up meeting someone i love, moving to the same new state but a different town, and am still in a daze of happiness over a year later. I never ever workd have expected this. I would have been happy if my original plans had worked out, but I'm also glad they didnt. Good luck.
LW is a middle aged gay man close to retirement (so, make that older side of middle age). Who is not monogamous. Who is thinking he can only hook up if an LTR is in the cards? Who is haunted if his Barcelona LDR / 2 week fling is not being monogamous? Huh?
Dude, have a nice cup of tea sweetened with some of that delicious Smokey Mountain sourwood honey, then dump those rural Tennessee values out w/ the tea leaves and go have some fun!!
And tell Mr. 3-hours-away you are likely going to move out of the country next year, let him decide if this is a deal breaker but live that live!
And get Spanish residency if you can afford it, I'm told you need to buy an apt. worth 500,000 Euros and then you can buy into Spanish retiree healthcare for less per month than Medicare Part B and Part D.
And take Spanish lessons. And realize there's a honeymoon phase / NRE to living in another country / culture long term, and then a down phase, and then it gets good again if you acculturate or stays bad if you don't. They call it a "U" curve vs. an "L" curve, read up on it on the expat websites, it isn't for everyone. And if you like rural areas, Spain has lovely countryside too and with NO GUNS and WITH HEALTHCARE!
Whatever you do in Spain, don't move in with the boyfriend straight away. Spend some time in a relationship where you don't live together before you decide whether to cohabitate. The two of you might have a strong connection, but you've never had a chance to have a "normal" relationship, and that's something you might want to spend some time in before moving in together.
@3 Sourwood Honey. Oh I love that stuff. My parents used to sell it in their shop but they are both gone now. As for advice to LW, Go forth and adventure. Expect good things, but don't be attached to how those good things will work out. I got the hell out of Tennessee 42 years ago and never looked back. (no chance we are cousins???)
@4 and maybe some Catalán while he's at it.
LW is middle-aged, about to retire, and thinks that he can just up sticks and move to Spain?
Unless he's got EU citizenship or is wealthy enough and willing to invest enough to get a 'golden visa', he'll get three months there on a tourist visa like everybody else.
The US isn't the only country with immigration control.
@8 "... thinks that he can just up sticks and move to Spain?"
Not saying that people shouldn't do their research, but it doesn't exactly help matters that shows like House Hunters International make it look exactly like that. Hell, before the 2016 election, so many people were saying, "I'll move to Canada," that some newspaper actually wrote an explainer saying, "Here's why you can't just up and move to Canada."
To the extent that I hold the opinion of Barcelona as a good place for a gay male retiree, it's based on a single incident from last summer.
I had a few hours to kill before meeting up with friends one afternoon and decided to relieve my stiff back by taking the waters somewhere. I found the nearest bathhouse, which catered to men of a certain age.
The young bucks who worked there were so sweet and kind to everyone, whether they were regulars, tourists, or whoever. It was one of the most welcoming places I've experienced anywhere. Just thinking about it still makes me smile.
Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to be celibate for the sake of one's LDR.
Three words of advice: 90 Day Fiance. If you don't have access to the network it's on, get it. Watch all the episodes. Watch all the spinoffs. Observe, closely and carefully, the massive dumpster fire that it is. Note how well those relationships turn out. Note how absolutely absurd the vast majority of the Americans on the show are about the relationships. And how, time and again, they go down in flames.
Or find a better, more gay-friendly place in the US and gtfo of Tennesee.
You won't know if the relationship will work out unless you go to Barcelona. At least the 3-month visa gives you a deadline for making a decision.
Presuming he's done his homework on the immigration side of things, I say go for it. Even if things don't work out with the guy (and he should move with the expectation of living on his own for a year, minimum, and having a short-distance relationship), Barcelona is a wonderful place! I wish him the best of luck. In the meantime, yes, if he wants to tell Mr Sort-of-Local he's moving abroad in a few months so open to a non-committed fling only, I don't think there's any reason to assume Mr Barcelona isn't doing the same thing -- and why not? If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with. (Oh and yes, he'll need to continue to file US tax returns for the rest of his life, so he should continue voting too.) Good luck, CMBWN!
KCFrance @13, a three-month visa is conveniently the length of the 90-day money-back-guarantee period on relationships -- good call. They should give it longer than that to move in together, but if it all goes tits up with both the guy and living abroad, CMBWN can go home without too much risked. CMBWN, if you own your home, don't sell it just yet.
I don't always agree with Dan, but overall he offers some of the best advice a person is ever likely to find (and on the whole, better than mine, I'm sure).
I went to Barcelona last year and fell in love with it -- what a beautiful city and interesting historical heritage. Here's wishing this guy the best of luck -- come what may.
@8-9 I can't speak for Spain, but I did precisely this -- I picked up and moved to Germany a year and a half ago without issue. I've known plenty of others who have moved elsewhere in Europe. Of course he should be smart and investigate all of this before he goes, but it's not as difficult as you make it sound.
It's not difficult for an American to move to Europe for a few years, especially if he's not seeking employment. It would be hard for him to live out his elderly years there, but since he's middle aged, there's no reason to think that far in advance. He should not do anything really reckless (like make sure he still has his retirement plan back in the US if/when he needs it) but the LW does not strike me as a reckless person.
Other countries have immigration laws, yes, but it is extremely easy to travel with a US passport, a luxury that I don't think most Americans take advantage of as much as they should. With a US passport, you can go to Europe for about three months, take a trip to London or Morocco for a couple days, then come back for another three months, etc. I don't know how many years you could get away with doing this. And if things work out long term, there's always the possibility he could get a different status by buying property or getting married or taking a job, etc. In any case, no reason to worry about that now since it's not like he'd be leaving his job or throwing away his pension to go there.
So yea, while there are immigration laws, it's not the same as someone from El Salvador or somewhere difficult like that who literally can't get any sort of visa in the majority of cases.
Mrs. Vega moved from her country to be with me after we'd known each other for about 4 weeks more or less. It's been 25 years now.
@18 "With a US passport, you can go to Europe for about three months, take a trip to London or Morocco for a couple days, then come back for another three months, etc."
Nope, under the Schengen 90 day rule for tourist visas, you'd have to leave the Schengen area for 90 days, not "a couple days".
The maximum penalty for overstaying a Schengen tourist visa in Spain is a €1200 fine, and a three-year ban from the Schengen area. I have heard that a second offence gets you a lifetime ban.
@17 "it's not as difficult as you make it sound"
I'm an immigrant living in Barcelona and can absolutely guarantee that a Non-Lucrative Residence Visa is hard to get unless you're as rich as Croesus. Even then, your assets and savings aren't enough: you need an ongoing, reliable source of income (eg, pension), a medical certificate showing good health, comprehensive medical insurance with zero co-pays, no mortgages or debts in the US, and a certificate showing a complete absence of police records, all of which has to be notarised, translated and apostilled. Then you're still subject to the whim of the consulate to which you apply.
Note that each EU country has its own immigration rules on non-tourist visas. Only the tourist visa rules are Schengen-wide. German immigration law differs totally from Spanish immigration law.
I agree with all the commenters who point out that the 90-day tourist visa is perfect for a trial period.
@18 "it's not the same as someone from El Salvador or somewhere difficult like that who literally can't get any sort of visa in the majority of cases"
Ironically, Salvadorian citizens get a fast-track to Spanish citizenship (5 years legal residence compared to 10 years for US citizens). They can also enter Spain on the same tourist visa as US citizens.
CMBWN may also be fortunate enough to have European grandparents, or even Irish ancestors further back, which could entitle him to citizenship of that country. Any EU country will do, since if he can get, say, Irish citizenship he can live in any country in the EU. (Unless and until the country granting citizenship then votes to leave...)
@12 - The vast majority of the 90 Day Fiance situations involve Americans who have found someone in a "developing" country, originally they all came here but now they're going there too. I don't know that these shows are particularly relevant to this situation as he's looking to move to Europe. That said, the show is a primer on level of desperation that's out there, on both sides.
Regarding immigration laws... more people need to realize that we're probably the most open country in the world, as least of the developed countries. I had a friend who violated a Visa in to the UK and had "Banned from the British Commonwealth" for ten years stamped on her passport. Sort of made an issue when she wanted to go to the Caribbean for a honeymoon. H.
It's two days off the Diada, Catalonia's national day. I wouldn't advise anyone to keep on calling Barcelona 'Spain' unless they want to offend 50% of the population. When it comes to voting in the next independence Referendum, if one is granted, then I would think very carefully--and maybe learn a bit more about the city where one is planning to live.
I think the lw should go for his big move and keep his fingers crossed that his serious relationship works out. It may not. His mind may have parlayed up a holiday romance. But if it doesn't ... he's in Barcelona ... he's by the beach, close to the mountains, in wine country, with the most imaginative cuisine on earth on his doorstep. He doesn't talk about career, family or other commitments that might keep him in Tennessee. My reading is that he can negotiate any such commitments so that they won't. It seems right to me that he shouldn't foreclose on finding something durable closer to home before he goes, but the spirit in which he dates other guys, for now, should be one of fun, with his mind firmly set on his emigration plans.
BiDanFan @22: Eligibility for a passport varies amongst EU countries. You can get a UK passport if you have a British parent. An Irish passport requires an Irish-born parent or grandparent.
Fubar @25, as a resident of the UK, it's a given that I and most of my friends have recently looked in detail at what it would take to qualify for European citizenship. :-/
@20 - Americans don't need Schengen visas, but @18 is wrong as well; the LW can't just roam in and out of the country at will. Another consideration is that he'll have a hard time finding a landlord who'll rent him an apartment if he's not legally allowed to be in the country (a holiday rental would be the only option, and they're eye-wateringly expensive). My advice is to check the requirements here and play by the rules: https://www.expatica.com/es/moving/visas/visas-and-immigration-102354/
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