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Prove Your Love

I got totally stressed out yesterday. The kind of stress where your head spins and your stomach's in knots and you just want to throw everything in the air and say, ďfuck it.Ē

Have you ever been in a situation where you know you have to get something done and you're convinced you're lack the materials/resources to do it? And something very very bad will happen if it doesn't work out. Itís all so pleasant.

I was trying to pull papers together for the Home Office. Due to a reworking of their rules, I can't renew the HSMP visa I'm currently on. That leaves me having to change my status to a dependent of of L's work permit.

I don't like the word "dependent." Makes me feel like a failure, that I can't do it on my own. And, truth be told, in this instance, I can't and I guess I just have to get over that. I'm lucky to be in the situation I'm in. Why is it so hard to switch from feeling inadequate to grateful?

For me to get a new visa, we have to prove that we've been partnered for at least the last 2 years. Seems simple enough, since we've been together 15 years come June.

Seems is the key word.

We're not married. We don't share finances and we pay our own bills, so there are no joint bank accounts. We don't share ownership of the properties in NY or Provincetown, so there are no dual-named mortgages.

Sworn statements from friends and family aren't acceptable.

The Home Office wants "original documents, not copies" of utility bills, bank statements, insurance policies, etc. showing that we've been at the same address. That's great, but most of our statements are now electronically delivered. Sometimes reducing your carbon footprint doesnít pay off, eh? The solicitors tell me the Home Office doesn't like laser printouts. Something about people being clever with Photoshop.

Maybe we're out of the norm, but we don't save old gas/electric/phone bills. Do you? (I do however have Playbills from shows I saw years ago, and business cards from people I donít remember.)

I don't think it would be any easier had we gotten a civil partnership. Nor would the old "just marry one of the British women you know" chestnut work out. They'd still want evidence of cohabitation and interdependency for a minimum of the last 2 years.

The thing that bugs me is that for the last 14 years of living with Larry, itís not been about the money or the real estate or the gas bill. Itís been about sharing a life and having a laugh and seeing each other through our own ups and downs. About being there when his mom and grandma died. Itís about continually rediscovering that that we hail from the same proverbial trailer park. Itís been about learning to dive together, about walking across the Sydney Bridge, and standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Itís about spending boring Saturdays alone in the flat, perfectly content to do nothing in each otherís company. Itís about going our own ways and finding each other at the end of the day. Itís about having a proper relationship.

But thatís not important for immigration. Thatís not what constitutes a partnership. Nope. Whatís important is a joint bank account and a shared tenancy agreement and whether or not we have enough money.

I think that, after several hours of going through files (and a few daymares about having to move back to America before I'm ready), and more than a few deep cleansing breaths, I have everything I need for a successful application. We won't know for certain until I get to New York in a couple weeks and submit it all to the Embassy. So that's two weeks of agida that I'm going to try not to have (but will be swirling around in my gut despite my "don't worry about what you can't control" meditations).

I know, I know ... history proves I've survived this process twice before. Once for my work permit and again for the HSMP. My nerves were twisted for both of those as well, and all worked out fine. There's no reason to think that this won't be just as successful.

But that's me, Bob the Virgo. I think (some say obsess) too much. And I worry. Often for naught.