I don’t know what to do after I graduate college! (Love, jobs & visas)

Dear life, I don't know what the fuck to do with you

I don’t normally talk about my real life on my blog. I don’t mind talking about it, but whenever I write blog posts about my life I get overwhelmed with feelings like, “No one wants to read about your real life, Ashley!” So I delete them.

But today I’m throwing those thoughts out the window so I can have a real life rant. I really need to get this off my chest because I’ve been stressing over it for weeks!

This rant is about three things: love, jobs, and visas.

My boyfriend and I are totally star-crossed lovers

I swear the fates are against us. Every time we take a step forward, they throw us another curveball.

You may have heard of my boyfriend before on this blog, but if not: he is the infamous Coding God and the love of my life! I call him Coding God on my blog because he is a freaking coding god. And somehow that became his Nose Graze persona.

We met online in 2006. We started dating in 2009.
He’s British. I’m American.

Immediately our biggest challenge was: we’re in two separate freaking countries. Over 5,000 miles apart. For two years we worked through a long distance, international relationship. When I woke up 11am, it was already 7pm for him. That was our life for two years.

Fates: 1 Ashley + Coding God: 0

I switched universities and traveled across the world to be with him

London - Big Ben

In 2011 I transferred to a university in the UK so I could be with him. That’s where I’ve been for the last 2 years (starting my third now). We’re still in a long distance relationship, but at least we’re a train ride away instead of a $1200 plane ride!

Fates: 1 Ashley + Coding God: 1

My plan was always something like this:

  • Finish my first 2 years at the UK uni
  • Work for a year as part of my year in industry
  • Go back to uni and complete my third/final year
  • Transfer into a “post study work visa” and work in the UK for two years
  • Then re-evaluate from there

Well sometime in between when I started my first year of uni and now, the UK border agency eliminated the post study work visa completely. There goes one part of my epic plan. Now the only way I can stay in the country after I graduate is to get a normal work visa (super hard to get) or get married.

Fates: 2 Ashley + Coding God: 1

Over this past summer, people were constantly asking me, “So what are you going to do after you graduate? Stay in the UK or come back to America?” My answer was always:

“I don’t know, I’m not really thinking about it yet because I still have 2 years to decide.”

And at the time, that was true. I was going to be starting a one-year-long job in September, then after that I’d finish my third and final year of university. Two more years on my student visa, two years to figure out my life.

Fast forward to the end of September. I quit that job very soon after starting. I quickly realized that it was NOT the job for me. In fact, it made me so fiercely realize that I want my own company. I want to make a living as a freelancer or the owner of my own business. I don’t want to go sit in an office and be told what websites to make and how to make them. I want to call the shots and pick the projects and determine for myself how to code them.

But quitting that job sped everything up. A few weeks ago I thought I had two years to decide my future. Now I’m down to ONE.

Fates: 3 Ashley + Coding God: 1

Will stupid visa laws keep us apart?

Right now, I see that my boyfriend and I have 4 options.

1. In the 3-4 months between my graduation and my visa expiration, I find a job in the UK

If I wait until after the 4 month mark passes, getting a job becomes exponentially harder due to work visa rules. They then have to run market tests before hiring me. The tests have to prove that no one in the UK is qualified for the job and thus they ABSOLUTELY NEED me for it. But if I can get a job during that 3-4 month window, it’s easier to get a job because the employer doesn’t have to run that market test. But here’s where my next dilemma comes into play!

I want to work for myself.

I know I could get a normal job and just stick it out… but I don’t want to be miserable. I don’t want to get a job that I hate, work 9-5, and be grumpy and mopey most of the time. I don’t think anyone wants that!

But there’s no way I can work for myself on a UK work visa. I have to be employed by a company.

I have been look through job listing sites every once in a while just to see what’s out there, but I can’t find anything that interests me. I don’t JUST want to be a web developer.. I want to make websites that I actually really like and really care about. That’s why I quit my other job, because I didn’t give two shits about the websites I was supposed to be making. (There are also many other reasons, that’s just one of them.)

2. I go back to the US… and my boyfriend comes with me.. but is this possible?

The biggest problem with this is that my boyfriend already has a steady job. I can’t uproot him from that. The company he works for does have a few offices in the United States, but they wouldn’t just let him transfer there. The job positions are very clearly divided according to location. The back-end developers (my boyfriend) work in the UK. The front-end developers work in San Francisco. Another reason why they wouldn’t want to let him transfer is because if they did, they’d have to pay him more (apparently). And obviously they’ll want to avoid that if they can. *grumbles*

3. I go back to the US and he stays in the UK.. until we figure things out

This is an absolute last resort that I’d want to avoid at all costs. For obvious reasons.

4. We get married

To be honest, I’m totally and 100% down with this option. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 4 years and living together off and on for at least like 6 months (it’s hard to count since it’s off and on, a few weeks/months at a time).

Getting Married Cartoon

I think if I was 30 with those same numbers (dating 4 years, living together for 6 months), no one would bat an eyelash at the idea of getting married. But since I’m only almost 23, my parents would freak. Everyone would think we’re just getting married so I can get a visa.. and while I guess that would be true, it’s not entirely true. I really feel like my boyfriend and I are getting married one day. Period. And right now it looks like our options are either:

  1. Get married while we’re “maybe a bit too young”, but we’ll be able to stay together.
  2. Go back to being in an international, long distance relationship for a few years, struggle through it, and just bide our time until it’s more “acceptable” for us to get married.

I don’t know what you think, but I think #2 sounds like shit.

If that’s what it comes down to—either get married, or be separate for a few years and THEN get married—I’m going with #1. I honestly think it’s pointless to struggle through years of having half of a relationship (which is what an international long distance one is) just to wait until it’s more acceptable to get married.

This is what I’ve been struggling with for the last few weeks!

How will my boyfriend and I be together?

Will I find a ‘normal’ 9-5 job I actually like?

Or am I going to have to sit in a job that I don’t like just so I can get a work visa and stay in the country?

Will my parents (*hi parents*) freak the hell out if we just get married when I graduate?

Why is life so hard??

What’s going on in your life that’s really difficult or stressing you out? Rant! Let off some steam!
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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Yeah I can see your problem there. πŸ™‚ But honestly, about the marrying thing… I don’t see what’s wrong with marrying at 23/24. If it’s with somebody you really love, that doesn’t matter in my eyes. Yeah, maybe your parents would freak, but it’s your life. I’m almost 5 years with my boyfriend now and we’ve been living together 4,5. So I was 19 when I moved out to live with him and we’re talking about marrying now too. And I’m the same age as you! I’m only 23.

    As for what’s going on in my life, not much. I’m looking for a job, but they’re hard to find. Especially something I really like doing and I really have to figure out what that is exactly.

    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted: Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    1. How cool that you’re in kind of a similar situation (dating for 5 years, thinking of marriage). I’m so happy for you!!

      Good luck finding the job. It sucks trying to not only find a job, but find one that you actually WANT.

  2. Don’t delete posts about your life! I feel the same way (that everyone will think they’re boring), but when I read about other bloggers/book-bloggers lives, it turns them into real human beings. Not just blogs with good tastes in books. πŸ˜‰

    I hope you figure it out (which is the lamest thing to say ever, I know). One of my sisters is an Australian and she married an American, and they have SO many similar problems. It got very complicated and sticky for a while. :/ Deciding on future plans is a suckish thing. It does my head in too.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Cait! The responses to this post have been so overwhelming (in a good way). I think I’m just floored at how supportive and encouraging the blogger community is! It definitely makes me want to write more posts like this. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh, Ashley. I wish I could say that it gets easier, but it doesn’t. What I can say is that you have some awesome problems. I know they don’t seem awesome right now, but let’s look at it this way: 1.) You’re in love. My greatest love right now is writing and cookies (it’s a tie); 2.) You’ve had the opportunity to study abroad (the poor folk version of this is taking classes at a community college out of district); 3.) Your boyfriend is a coding god (this really would come in handy in my life); 4.) You obviously have parents that love you or they wouldn’t support your trip halfway around the world. πŸ™‚

    In all seriousness, I would say to follow your heart. As a writer of new adult who is a few wrinkles past being “new” anything, I kind of envy that you have the world at your fingertips! Make mistakes, make big, epic mistakes that make you smile in twenty years. Get married if that’s what you two both want (not because you feel you have to). Work a crappy job so you can truly understand the value of working for yourself and/or having a good job. These are all life lessons and you’re already so far ahead of where I was at your age. <3 You'll figure it out. We all do. πŸ™‚

    1. You’re right JC! In some ways I’m SO lucky. I have an amazing boyfriend who’s my “other half” in every way. I know that I’m lucky to have found someone who’s so perfect for me.

  4. The visa god sucks doesn’t it? I was lucky enough that when I finished my postgrad I could qualify for the post work study, BUT I didn’t have the funds to stay. My grand plan was to come back for a few months, work, and then apply. Alas the recession hit and I’ve been stuck. So yeah, I feel ya! At the same time, I know why the government changed visa rules, etc. It sucks. It does.

    I know the whole marriage plan is difficult to decide. If you’ve spoken about it and you both want to head that route, do it! Life is short and it will all come together. I know parents will freak out, but it will pass (hey my parents married at 16/17 and are going on 35 years together).

    It will work itself out! :hugs:

    Jess @ Literary, etc recently posted: Cover Reveal: Lisa Desrochers’ A Little Too Hot
    1. What a bummer that you didn’t have the funds to stay. πŸ™ Sometimes it seems like the government is trying to keep as many people out as possible. It sucks how inflexible the system is.

      It’s amazing that your parents got married so young and they’re still going strong! I LOVE that!

  5. Have you looked at library jobs at a UK uni? I know several Americans who were able to secure a job with a master’s NOT in library sciences during their year abroad. I wish I had known about that possibility when I was abroad. Not exactly publishing, but still it is working with books.

    1. I actually haven’t looked at library jobs at all. I’m not sure if those pay enough though? For some reason I have the impression that they don’t pay a lot, and I’d need to earn at least Β£20,000 a year in order to get a UK work visa.

  6. Ashley, Asti, I feel for you both. I have been through a long-distance relationship, although not country-apart like you did. But I didn’t see my other half for 8 weeks or more at a time, because I just coulnd’t afford the time and money to spend on the train ride home every weekend. I met many girls asking me how we manage that, those who went home every weekend to spent time with their loved ones, even if it cost them heaps of money and time. We managed simply because we were okay with not sharing every single thing, no jealousy issues, and lots and lots of trust. But you already know about that, so no warming up stories from my end.
    As far as I’m concerned, marriage should never ever have anything to do with time/age. If you want to marry while you’re “too young”, people will still get over it. And if it doesn’t work out? Well, it’s not written anywhere that it didn’t work because you were too young, but maybe because you suddenly had way too much time together and discovered things you didn’t like. *knocks on wood* No jinxing on my part. Really, you can never tell 100% what’s going to happen, and if we rationalize everything and stop trusting our instincts, I honestly believe it’s only increasing the number of divorces in the long run, because people would marry for the wrong reasons more often.
    And then there’s option three for both of you. I mean that, honestly. Right now, you think about this as the big, bad, ugly monster — but you’ve done it before, so you sure as hell can do it again. And it should be easier, because you have more, very valuable memories togehter. So if either of you suddenly can’t hold on any more, desperation got the better of you and it was never about love in the first place. Sounds cruel, I know, but that’s what it comes down to in the end. And seriously, if it’d be easier to be apart for a while again, so maybe one of you can find a job with a US company and then be transferred to the UK? Or you look for a job where it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, only counts that you can get money into your accounts, then there should be a way for you to move back, too. But you shouldn’t nail an option down. If you’re apart and really want to find back together, both of you will look for every work option possible, or at least that’s how it should be.
    I have to say, I had it quite easy. I know the distance would only be temporary, because we were already a couple before I had to move away. I am so not the jealous type, except for the time he got to spent with our friends while I was away — I just felt like I missed out on so much, but couldn’t change anything about it. Now, I have a job where I can work from whereever I want, so it’s only him tying us down to a place. Marriage… well, we’ve been together the longest (over 6 years) from our clique, and will probably be the last to get married and have kids. It’s not that we don’t want to, but more like we’re content enough without it.
    Whatever you decide… be sure it’s not what other people would want for you, but what you want. And if it’s not what you want (like option 3), just make sure you work it to the ground fast. Most of it is a matter of strong will, and if you have that, you’ll find a way. Always. And if that means you both move to Nigeria so you can be togehter! πŸ˜‰

    1. I really agree with what you said about how marriage shouldn’t have to do with time/age. Sure, some couples do get married impulsively when they’re 17 or 18. But people still get married impulsively when they’re 35 or 40. People make mistakes or things don’t work out no matter how old you are.

      Although, as for being apart again, I actually think it’s harder when we have valuable memories together. When we were first in our international LDR, it sucked, but I was used to it. At that time we had very few memories together, but that meant I was mostly just used to being in a long distance relationship with him. But once we spent more time together and formed more memories, being apart got even harder because I knew more of what I was missing!

      Thanks for your comment Caro! And it was cool to learn about your own experiences. πŸ™‚

      1. You got what I meant with the age part, but I think I didn’t make myself clear about the being apart again part.
        Of course it would be hard. Lots harder. But this time, you would know exactly what is waiting for you on the other side, and how good it will be. It’s not just the hope it will work, but the reassurance. It gives more strength than many other things, as far as I know. But yes, it’d still be harder. No one every said anything about realtionships being easy. ^^ But the more you have to work for somthing, the more you know how to appreciate it, too. Simple truth of life. πŸ˜‰ And always two sides to a coin, as we all know. ^^

        Caro @ The Book Rogue recently posted: Swoon Thursday #27 - Blood Red Road
  7. Jeeze, girl, I know most of this already, but just seeing it all this written down stresses me out. lol. You know what I think already. Even though marriage is so not for me, I think it’s perfect for you guys. You have been together for so long and you can’t live your life based on what people, even your parents, think. Just get hitched, bitch!!! LMAO. And say hi to Coding God for me. You better hold on to him or I will snatch him up!!

    Anyway, I know you will work it out. Just think that soon this will all be worked out, it may be hard now, but it will be okay eventually.

    Right now I got offered to build a website for co-authors but I don’t feel like I am ready. I told them we can try it out but was honest that my schooling is very minimal right now. I have had to turn down 4 jobs last year for web designing because I didn’t have the knowledge/experience. I just want to know my shit already so I can start making money and taking these people up on their offers.

    I also got offered a job at the school I am going to in the tutoring department. I am a little nervous because I feel like I have too much on my plate, but I don’t think I can pass up the offer since my other job is slow right now.

    Those are my annoying life things for today.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Review: Lick by Kylie Scott
    1. I’m chaining Coding God to my wrist when around you! πŸ˜‰ Haha.

      I think it’s great that you’re already getting so many requests to make websites for people! But I totally know what you mean about it being an annoying situation.. it does suck to have those offers rolling in when you can’t accept them yet. But at least it’s a good sign that you’ll probably have a ton of clients when you are ready, and that’s awesome!

  8. I feel bad because my comment isn’t going to be deep and meaningful like everyone else’s but I really wish you the best of luck! I can’t tell you what to do but I know you should do whatever makes you happy. Who cares if people think you’re ‘too young’, it’s your life! Just good luck. You really deserve the best. I’m hoping to see another one of these posts soon!

    Laura @ Music Plus Books recently posted: Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  9. If you guys already know you want to spend your life together, I would say marriage is absolutely the perfect solution. It’s not like you would be marrying ONLY for a visa, but that’s just the awesome extra thing. The visa just speed things up. I don’t think there is a certain age where it’s okay or not okay to get married. Like you said, it doesn’t matter if you would have been in the same situation if you were older, but what’s the difference.. If you are older, you can still make mistakes. My parents have been together since they were 16 and they married young too. They are still happily married πŸ™‚ You are old enough to make this decision for yourself!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Review 216. Aimee Carter – Pawn.
    1. You’re totally right—you can still make mistakes when you’re older. Some people just see it so black and white like:

      * Marriage at 22 = failure
      * Marriage at 35 = success

      But there’s so much more to it than age!

  10. I will say this: Do not make yourself miserable. I have known of people who literally killed themselves going to a job they *hate* every day, and it’s simply not healthy.

    I also have this to say: Fuck what other people think. If you found someone you wanna be with for the rest of your life, then go for it. Your parents, your friends, whoever else may find it distasteful or against the grain or whatever, they’re not the ones entering into this marriage with your boyfriend. *You* are. It’s between the two of you. I have a little story for you…

    In late 2011 in Germany, I met and fell in love with my husband, Zachary. I was scheduled to be stationed back stateside the next year. Zachary had gotten to Germany a few months after me, so he wouldn’t be leaving for a while, and even then we didn’t know if we would end up in the same place because there was pretty much a slim chance of it… unless we got married. From the moment we met, I knew I’d marry him *someday*, but I didn’t want to do it too soon–just like you’re thinkin. I was 19, at the time, after all. But, because he and I decided we wanted to stay together, we made up our minds and married each other after only a few months of dating.

    Luckily, our parents weren’t *too* pissed about it–how could they be? We were both serving in the armed forces half the world over–but even those who were got over it because you know what? When you love someone, and you’re smart about it, it’s easy to keep yourself in the marriage. My husband and I are workin on our 4th year happy together now, and I look forward to the very many more.

    The way I look at it, even if we were a bit too young, 19 and 20, my husband and I just earned more “years married” to our anniversary instead of just “years together.” Who cares that you aren’t 30? You’re a big girl, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, and it’s not like you’re doing it as an obligation or against better sense. It’s all part of the plan, right? Screw what anyone has to say about that. Own it. Be with the one you love.

    Take it from me. I’ve spent a good portion of my relationship with my husband being in a different city, often in another country altogether, and it’s toooootally worth it to marry and keep him at your side. ;] It’ll work out! You went 4 years already!

    1. Thank you Sierra! I really REALLY don’t want a job that I hate. I want to avoid being miserable if I can. When I started that job in September, I was already miserable after a week and I knew I couldn’t keep that up for a year, so I quit. I’m really glad I did, even if I am stressing about losing a year of “figure out my life” time.

      And thank you for sharing your story about your relationship with Zachary! I love hearing about successful stories like yours, and I’m so happy that things have worked out for you two. πŸ™‚

  11. If I were you, I’d do the “get married” option. Why? Well, because you both score! You’ll get to do your own work, and he’ll get to stay at his job (Assuming he makes the visa salary requirement thing Asti mentioned). I don’t think 23 is young for marriage. You’ve been with him a while. You absolutely love him, yaknow. I moved to the US with my American-Belizean boyfriend, but luckily I am American as well. If I wasn’t, I’d marry him at 21. But that’s just me! I really would not want you to be miserable, and working for a company (and worse being across seas – again) would cause that. Grr. Life can be such a bitch. Maybe you can even work for a company (I know it sucks for you), and then so freelancing on the side? Ah. So confusing! Thanks for sharing. I’d love to know the outcome, and I hope it’s leaves you two very happy! Who knows? Anything (good) can happen.

    Christine @ Oh, Chrys! recently posted: A Bookish Christmas: Participants
    1. You’re lucky that you’re American as well! It’s funny, I tried hunting through my family tree to see if I could somehow magically claim European citizenship. My mom was born in Germany, so was there an opportunity there?? Nope, because she didn’t live there long enough. My dad’s family was from Wales, so was there an opportunity there?? Nope, because it was like my dad’s grandparents or something (and their children didn’t claim citizenship).

      I was so desperate to find SOMETHING that would work! No luck! Lol.

  12. I’ve never been through this kind of situation before, seeing that I’m still young and just starting out my second year in college but I do have some thoughts!

    First of all, you and Coding God are such a strong couple! It’s really lovely seeing couples who’ve been together for so long. Being able to with stand time and distance? That’s really admirable. I don’t doubt that marriage would befit you guys. If you guys think it’s the right time, just ignore those things about being maybe a bit too young and getting married just because of visa. Would your parents freak? They probably would but not necessarily in a negative way- maybe they’d be thrilled to see their daughter engaged to the guy she loves! They seem very supportive.

    As for the job, freelance is great but I’m sure there are some company jobs out there you can like! Just don’t give up on it. Think of it as a challenge!

    My problems seem small compared to yours and Asti’s but I’m stressing out over transferring to a new college. See, I came from a big university before and everyone seems to just keep judging me because I was settling for a lesser college. I just wished people would mind their own business, you know? I’m also stressing out over cute boys and the fact that I’m 18, well-read and yet not able to stay cool when I talk them. (Probably why I’ve had zero boyfriends since birth.) Hahaha, I’m pitiful, I know!

    Anyway, I think it’s awesome that you’re comfortable venting out here on your blog and allowing us to glimpse in to your personal life! We’re all wishing you luck on your endeavors! *hugs*

    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted: Story Soundtrack: How To Love by Katie Cotugno
    1. My parents definitely have been very supportive! I’m lucky that they let met jet off to England for university!

      I know that marriage is kind of a sensitive subject for them though, especially my dad. My whole life he’s repeated to me: “You’re not getting married until you’re 35!” So yeah, he would freak. I’m sure they’d be happy for me eventually, but they would totally freak!

      Bummer about your college situation! People should seriously just butt out! I can’t believe they’re judging you for your decisions. Why is it their business?? Grr. Some people!

      And I’m sure eventually you’ll be able to settle down around cute boys. I went through a phase where I’d get a little flustered whenever talking to a guy (even if I didn’t like him or have a crush on him). I think it’s just something I grew out of, and maybe you will too. πŸ™‚

  13. I love this post. Absolutely love it. The fact that you are comfortable enough to share your “life sucks” moments gives me the warm and fuzzies. But on to business! You love him. He loves you. You’ll get married eventually. Why wait?! Your parents are your parents. They will always be there, they will always love you and they will get over their freak out. If it makes you happy they will eventually get on board, and I say that as a parent. Life already sucks enough, you may as well stick it to it by doing something that makes you genuinely happy.

    Good luck hun, and do what makes you happy!

    1. Thank you Octavia! I have to admit I was a little nervous about this post going live, but the responses have been AMAZING! I feel like I have a huge group of friends supporting me and it gives ME the warm and fuzzies!

  14. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out what college course to take. Your post about 9-5 jobs had me thinking of multimedia arts as a possible course, because hey, I can do freelance with that one. But I can’t deny that stability has me thinking whether or not I should take it. Mostly because I’m not really good at art.

    It’s nice that you’ve met someone who you think you can already marry, but it’s hard to actually go and get married. I wish I could help you in making your decision, but I hope God gives you a way to be with him.

    P.S. Did you draw that wedding graphic?

    Shannelle C. recently posted: How I Deal with Affiliate Links
    1. For your college course, I think you should pick a subject that you really enjoy. Don’t think about whether or not you can freelance with it, but pick something you really love. If you don’t like art, then don’t do multimedia arts. If you do really like art but you’re just not good at it, then you should still give it a try!

      But I think the most important thing is just doing something you love. That’s what’s going to get you through college. And college will just feel like a waste if you do something you don’t like that you don’t want to pursue as a career afterwards.

      And no, I didn’t draw that wedding graphic. Isn’t it SO CUTE though?? I got it from Shutterstock.

  15. I vote for mawwiage! marriage >.> As a fellow 23 year-old in a similar but shorter distances situation (we’ve always lived 1-2 hours apart), it sounds perfectly reasonable. You can even do what my friends did and just do the official stuff and save the big party aspect for later when friends and family can come and you have money to organize it. Have you discussed with your parents? That seems like a good step in deciding if they will freak out πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks for your comment Anya!

      I have talked about it with my parents a little… I know my dad has always told me, “You’re not getting married until you’re 35!” He’s literally been saying that my whole life. And my mom does think that 22/23 is “a bit too young” to get married. I do think she could come around though. πŸ˜‰ (my dad would be trickier to convince!)

      1. Have they met the boy yet? I know I felt weird about that whole idea until my parents spent a couple of holidays with my boy and apparently they gave him their blessing already (which I found out after the fact) >.> I have strange parents too ;-). Really though, if you’re mature enough to move to another country and make a life there, I’d say you’re mature enough to make this decision, haha

        1. Yep they have met him! They met him a few years ago but only properly spent some time with him just recently (before that it was a brief meeting). I think it went well, which is good!

  16. That’s a serious dilemma there! I really don’t know what I’d do in your place. Sure, getting married at 23 seems young these days but you’ve been dating for a good, long while already and have made a serious commitment just by moving to the UK.

    Can you freelance over there? Maybe get an extended travel visa? I really can’t speak to these options because I’m unfamiliar with the choices. I have a friend who moved to London a couple of years back to be with her boyfriend and recently took the “Life in the UK” test and was granted indefinite leave to remain — is that a possibility? Good luck!

    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted: Speed Date with Nick: HARD AS IT GETS by Laura Kaye
    1. I have read that I can get an extended travel visa and stay in the UK and freelance as long as I’m getting paid in my own country’s currency. But then that leaves me with so many questions:

      If I’m getting paid in my own country’s currency, am I still allowed to convert that currency into pounds so I can use that money to support myself? Or is that not allowed?

      I feel like I’d have to sit down and chat to a border agency person about it!

  17. I totally feel for you. It sounds like such a difficult decision, and with so many people involved as well(your parents, etc.) I really hope you’re able to avoid getting a job you don’t want–I had to take one just to, ya know, pay the bills–and I really hope no one else has to do that. Luckily, I know I only have to stick with it for about six more months, but those can seem very long when you don’t like your situation.

    I’ve seen people get married at all different ages, and honestly, I think once you’re in your 20s, the idea of waiting to get married when you’ve been together so long works for SOME people, but not for others. You’ve been together for quite a while already, you know? And maybe it’s just because I’m from the south US where people tend to get married pretty young, but I don’t think 23 is *THAT* young to get married. Tons of my friends got married between the ages of 22 and 24–that seems to be prime marriage season around here, actually. I really hope it works out for you soon.

    Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. recently posted: Book Review: This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky
    1. Luckily you don’t have to have that job too much longer! I only had my job in September for 1 week, but that 1 miserable week felt like a lifetime LOL. I feel like months/years of that would destroy me. πŸ™

      I don’t really think 23 is too young either. And by the time this would be put into action, I’d be almost 24. I’ve had like 2 cousins get married at that age. I think it’s perfectly acceptable. I just wish my parents felt that way so I wouldn’t get so stressed out about disappointing them or freaking them out!

  18. I don’t understand the stigma of getting married at 23..why is it such a big deal these days. When my parents got married they were 18 and 21 and it was seen as no big deal even though that was the 70’s. They were married for 32 years when my mom died, and I am sure they would still be together if she had not died. You guys have been together for four years through a international long distant relationship and still together..I don’t think a few years is going to really matter.

    Good luck with what ever you decide! I hope everything goes great for you.

    Stormi recently posted: Racing Savannah (Pre-order campaign)
    1. I know, I totally agree! I feel like there are so many more important things than age. I really feel like my boyfriend and I have proven that we’re compatible and we can stand through a lot of things (time—4 years together; distance—being 5,000 miles apart for 2 years; plus we’ve never even argued O_O).

      Thanks for stopping by, Stormi! πŸ™‚

  19. Yikes – I feel for you! I have been in a similar situation so just thought I’d throw it out there. I’m from Jamaica and live in the US – came and went to school did the work visa thing, left the job because I hated it = BIG mistake. Ok married, back on track, now in job I really like, but with hours I don’t (night). I think of it as sacrificing for a year to get the experience in this particularly area and then super-awesome job next year. Find out what you can live with doing = apply to tons of jobs. You may want to work for yourself etc. but finding a job where you don’t hate to go there and doing it for a year if necessary might not be too terrible. Like the good thing about working at night is that the environment is a little more laidback – important since I’m in charge! If it’s marriage that you both want – then do it. I know plenty of people who have gone this route – some worked out, some didn’t – but in life there are no guarantees. Just experiences and what you learn from them. Good luck figuring things out πŸ™‚

    Tanya Patrice recently posted: Autumn (Fall) Workout Gear {The 2013 Edition}
    1. I hope you manage to get that super awesome job next year!

      Oddly enough, I think a night shift job would totally work for me LOL. I’m soooo not a morning person. Waking up before 10 or 11am like physically pains me. It makes me moody and grumpy all day.

      I’m sorry it’s not your favourite though, but hopefully you’ll be able to move onto better things soon!

      Thanks so much for your comment Tanya. πŸ™‚

  20. That is a hard choice. I remember going through that in college. It’s stressful because once you make these decisions you have to live with them for the rest of your life. Be true to yourself and you will be great.

    The thing I wish someone had told me was to ignore the freak out of parental units when making these decisions. You have to make the decisions that are right for your life. My parents freaked out when I didn’t go to their alma mater. They freaked out when I majored in music ( how will she get a job!!!). They freaked out when I got married at 20. But all those decisions were right for me and they eventually got over it. I’m happy I made the choices I did. So put the patents freaking out aside for now:). Best of luck to you.

    1. Thanks for your advice Jessica! It helps. πŸ™‚ I think you’re right that they will get over it eventually. My parents did freak out a little when I wanted to transfer to a UK university, but that worked out and they got over it eventually.

  21. Now see, I am a tad older and it was the norm to be married at your age..LOL I was 21 when I married, and my hubby had just graduated from college. At 23 I was delivering my first babe. If you and your boyfriend have discussed and planned to wed I see no reason why you shouldn’t move the date up πŸ™‚ Good luck Ashley, you seem very level headed, a plotter and planner..if I was your Mum..I would be proud.

    kimbacaffeinate recently posted: Kissing Under The Mistletoe by Bella Andre
  22. Well, I say: Screw what everyone else thinks. If you want to get married and truly feel it’s the right thing to do and for the right reasons, do it! Almost 23 is not that young. People get married young all the time. Everyone is different. Do what is right for you!

    Sam recently posted: DNF: Freak of Nature
  23. I don’t think you’re too young to get married. If you and your boyfriend are in love then you should be married. I got married to my husband when I was 21. His mom was not happy to say the least. She thought I was way too young and that it would never work. Now I’m almost 23 so I guess we haven’t been married that long but we had been together for four years when we got married. Had lived together for about a year and a half, done the whole long distance thing for a year and a half (Chicago to Washington state). So I felt like we were pretty freaking solid, ya know? I think the biggest question is if you two are ready. It doesn’t matter what your parents or anyone else thinks. If you guys are in love and you feel like you’re ready to get married, then do it! The whole visa thing is just a bonus. Live your life the way you want to. Not the way others want you to. πŸ˜€ Good luck! Hopefully we’ll be seeing wedding pics soon…

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
  24. Damn. That sounds like a really tough situation. But I’m glad you wrote about it, because I know first hand how cathartic it can be to just write all those thoughts out and get some people’s feedback.

    I’m going to have to side with you 100% on the getting married part. If you truly see it happening anyway, why not now? Seriously. Doing long distance again for some years just to make it acceptable in other people’s eyes is ridiculous. If you know it’s right for you, you shouldn’t let that hold you back. (Although, parents, mehhh.) It’s clear that this relationship is working and important to your quality of life – so I would say to choose for that. But I can imagine it feels a bit off, if only because… it’s not really spontaneous, and there is a clear “need” for it to happen. But if you know for yourself this is what you want, that shouldn’t be too big a barrier.

    As for 9-5 jobs… heh, it can suck. Sorry you had such a bad experience though. I’m not entirely (read: not at all) familiar with the web development industry, so I have little to say for that. But you are massively talented, and I think you’d really make it as a freelancer. Seriously.

    I’m not being much help in this comment. ^^; But I read this post, and I sympathize. And I’m happy you decided to share such a big issue in your life πŸ™‚ I hope it all turns out for the best soon!

    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted: Time to Re-evaluate
  25. I’m glad you shared this post, Ashley, because I know I’m not the only person who can relate (I hope this encourages you not to delete those personal posts in the future — we’re here for you!). I dated a guy in Canada years ago, and just trying to figure out the logistics of our relationship was frustrating and discouraging. Why are Visa laws so restricting? πŸ™

    It sucks that you can’t just live in the UK and work for yourself, but I had been working it out in my mind as I read through your post and was ready to suggest the marriage option when I scrolled down and saw that it was your #4. I have to agree with your final assessment. It seems like at this point (or soon, anyway) you two will either have to get married in order to have some security about your future, or you’re going to have to decide that you’re willing to accept SOME part of your lives being crappy (the distance, the 9-5 job, whatever).

    My husband and I got married pretty quickly. He was planning to join the Navy, so we quickly got engaged, and then married a few months later (at that point we’d been together for about 2 years). He was 22 at the time, so this was a big deal — especially for his parents (he’s the oldest of 4 kids, and I’m 7 years older than him!). But it worked out really well for us; even though he decided to nix the Navy idea, neither of us regrets the rushed marriage because we knew we wanted to be together anyway.

    I’ll stop talking now, but I just wanted to try to give you a little encouragement. Do what you two feel is best for you both, and don’t worry about social conventions. Life satisfaction is so important. I wish you and Coding God all the best. <3

    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted: October Mini Reviews (2013)
  26. I’m torn on this Ash. I got engaged at 22, married at 24 and it was a freaking disaster…divorced at 27. Since I was the bread winner, I had to PAY HIM to get rid of him. Sure, it’s just material things (house, money, watercraft) and those things can be replaced, but it still hurt deep down that I’d worked so hard to achieve those things, and in a blink, they were all gone. To avoid court, I gave him everything he wanted. Of course, he still felt like he didn’t get enough. But any way, you see my hang up. At that age, I was so convinced he was the “one”. Admittedly, I went in to it thinking some things would changeβ€”but they never did. Your coding god sounds like a perfect fit for you though, whereas for me, my friends warned me about my ex. Marriage isn’t something you can undo very easily. So just be sureβ€”100% sureβ€”about it. Any doubt whatsoever, I’d say wait. No doubt at all, then go for it. I think you situation adds more desirability to getting married and I don’t blame you there. Long distance totally sucks and I feel your pain with that.

    And as for owning your own business, I say YES. You are amazingly talented, wonderful to work with, and beyond brilliant. You will be a success in anything you do. Don’t take a job you’ll hate…I think resentment can come when you’re miserable. And that could put an even bigger strain on your wonderful relationship.


    Ashley R recently posted: Blood Promise Update & Cover Reveal
  27. Okay, first of all HUGS!

    Second of all I know why parents say this stuff about you not getting married in your twenties. It’s because you change SO much in between 20 & 30. You are not going to be the same person after ten years. Yet I must also follow up with, you’re an adult, don’t worry about what your parents want or hoe they’ll react. This is YOUR life and if you know Coding God is the one you want to marry, then do it. If your parents love you then they’ll get over it eventually.

    I was engaged in 2007. I backed out a month before the wedding. I loved him, but I realized that I was not ready to be married. However if you know and believe that you are ready for marriage, then do it.

    I have an on again off again thing with a guy. Yes I know the on again off again thing isn’t healthy but TBH he’s the only one I can see a future with. I am the one that keeps breaking it off. And I know why. Marriage scares the heck out of me. I am a child & adult of divorce and while I know that I can break the family cycle of divorce if I work on it, I also know that the odds are stacked against me.

    Think about what’s best for YOU and Coding God. Not everyone else.

  28. I never realized how hard it was to live over there.
    My advise is who cares what everyone else thinks! If you guys want to get married and you know he’s ‘the one’ then do it! If it happens to solve all your problems then that’s even better. I’m kind of opposite from you. My boyfriend and I got together when we were both 14 and never broke up. When I got pregnant 6 years later, everyone kept asking me if we were getting married now and our answer was no. When I got pregnant again 3 years after that, they asked again and the answer was still no. We’ve been together 13 years, have our own house and have lived together 9 years. Am I gonna marry him? Eventually, when our kids start asking about why we’re not married. I personally love that we’re still together because we want to and not because we have to because we’re married. Would you be able to freelance if you get married or do you still need a job?
    Good luck!

    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted: Blog Tour: Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe!
  29. I don’t really see the problem with marrying at that age personally. I mean, I’ve always wanted to be married really young. Granted, there is such a thing as too young, and my first husband and I can attest to, but most of that was not giving the relationship enough time before jumping in. We were more in love with the fairytale than we were each other.

    You and Coding God on the other hand, have it better off. You have four years of hard relationship under your belt. You’ve been in a hardcore long distance love affair all that time. That is like 8 years in normal relationship time! Plus, you will be more or less out of university. Looking back, after uni is the best time to even think about getting married, and I wish I had waited that long. You have been through more years as an adult.

    Let your parents freak. When they see how happy you are, they will get over it. If they give you hassle, ask them, are they more concerned at you being married young, or you living across the globe. They will understand, you just might have to hold their hands through it while you explain it. Your happiness is what is important. Your parents will always love you. They may not love all of your choices, but only you can decide what is right for you. Parents don’t always know what is best for us. They just have to toss us out there and hope. Show them that they raised you to think for yourself and assure them that this is what you really want, what is right for you. Their love and blessing will follow with time.

    Good luck!

  30. I would say keep doing personal posts, because people read them. They 1) give me a window into the blogger’s life, which makes them more “real” than just someone posting reviews; 2) are often easier to comment on/get talking with the person, because hey, it ain’t always easy to comment on a review.

    You are in a pretty tough situation. You could always try to look for work in a different industry, maybe business or something. That would only help you in freelancing, I’d think. Not all jobs working for someone else suck (although it seems like the majority of them do, heh).

  31. Here’s my two cents: if you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for 4 years, then it is more than acceptable to get married. It’s rare to see a non-long-distance relationship last that long, much less a long-distance one. So in my opinion, if you truly want to get married, then do it. If family brings it up just say, “Hey, I actually want to marry this guy. The visa will just be a necessary bonus.” I’ve never been in this situation, though, so what do I know? Haha.

    Amanda @ Hell-Bent to Read recently posted: Life of a Blogger [1] | Favorite Bands
  32. I got married at 23. Kind of similar visa issues as you. We are both from the UK but my husband, then boyfriend was transferred to the US. In order for me to move with him and be able to work, we had to get married. That was 7 years ago! Did we rush in to it? Yes. Would we have got married eventually? Yes.

    It is the second question you need to ask yourself…will you get married eventually anyway? If the answer is yes, then why not do it sooner rather than later if it means you get to stay in the same country as each other.

    If you have to think about the answer, it’s probably not something you should do. But on reading your post, it seems that it is on the cards at some point in the future anyway.

    Do what makes you happy, your family should want you to be happy, and although they might be shocked at first, they will come around. Mine did!

    Good luck!

    Helen @ My Novel Opinion recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Books I would recommend to …
  33. I don’t have any options, but I hope everything works out for you two. As far as being to young, when it’s right, age doesn’t matter. I got married when I was 18, and am just about to celebrate my 18th anniversary.

  34. I’m just going to say what everyone else is already saying: if marriage is the best option and you really, truly believe you will get married somewhere down the line, then go for it. I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your family (for instance, I still haven’t told my family I got married over a year ago), but they would get over it. Things might be a little rocky at first, and it sounds like they – your mom especially – just want to make sure you’re READY, but that’s something they can’t know for you.

    I hope it works out for you!

    Justine @ paperback heart recently posted: ARC Review: Crash Into You
  35. Gah this sounds like unecessary stress! I would say to definitely consider the marriage option, especially if you think it will happen within the next five years anyway. It sounds like a stupid question, but have you contacted immigration to find out what options are available to you? You might be able to apply for settlement and there are options to work, though it all depends on how many ‘points’ you have. The website is actually quite helpful. Or you might be able to book an appointment? I hope you get it sorted out, and although a sad topic it was really nice to have a personal post!

    Debbie @ Snuggling on the Sofa recently posted: Book Review: Metawars
    1. Unfortunately applying for settlement isn’t an option. πŸ™ In order to do that, you have to have already been living in the UK for 5 years, and time being a student in the UK (which is 3 years for me) doesn’t count. So basically the only way to do it is to already be on a work visa for 5 years, then you can apply for it.

      I haven’t sat down with immigration, but my boyfriend and I have gone over their whole website several times. They have a lot of info on there about the different options, which is useful, but also disheartening… just because there are so few options!

  36. Honestly, I do not think you are too young to get married. Not at all. I guess it’s a cultural thing where I live, but most of my friends got married at 19 or 20. I’m 26 now, and I’m beginning to fall into the “old maid” category. I’m not kidding. And honestly, why wait if you’re not going to see each other much during the wait anyway? I think what’s most important is that you know each other, know that you love each other, and want to be together. And if you’ve lived together, what’s the difference? Eh. I dunno. I’m such a hopeless romantic, that I want you to get married!!!! πŸ˜€

    As far as the job thing goes, I know how you feel. Working in graphic design, it has always been for myself. I never wanted the corporate scene, having to design things I may or may not want to, and being forced to be creative on demand even though the project does not inspire me. I ended up getting a job I hated, and quit like you. I totally understand how you feel, and it is no fun.

    I’ve also done the long distance relationship, and it bites. I’m so proud of you two for hanging in there. The fact that you have been able to do that is even more indicative of the fact that marriage would work! If you weathered that, you can weather anything. It takes a certain kind of maturity and a lot of devotion to do long distance. I think it prepares you for a lot more than people realize. Maybe talk to your parents? Honestly, I think getting married for a Visa so you can be together is a lot better than getting married for a baby if you don’t love each other, but that’s just my opinion. And I’m not saying in all cases. But you want the Visa to be with him. It’s not like people I know who got married even though there was no love there, just because they felt like they HAD to for the baby. Complicated comparison, but I hope it makes sense.

    Anyway, good luck ironing out all the details of your life! It’s really hard sometimes, but think of all the advice you’ll have for the young peeps in the future!

    Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl recently posted: Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to My Non-Bookish Little Sister
  37. I think the age thing is just cultural. I’m Hispanic and for us it’s quite common to get married young. I married my high school sweetheart at 21 and we have been happily married for 21 years. When it’s right you just know.

    My husband is in the military and you’re right, long distance relationships suck, even if they’re temporary. Good luck!

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Discussion: Has Reviewing Made You a Better Writer?
  38. *HUGS* I’m sorry you’re having so much stress on you right now and I hope you can find good solutions for them. I just wanted to add that I got married at 24 so there’s nothing wrong with that if you feel you are ready, it certainly isn’t too early. Good luck hon!

    Julie S. recently posted: Allegiant Review
  39. Aaw Ashley! *HUGS* You’ve got a great life despite all these ugly growing up choices. Haha, I think it would be the coolest thing to be able to live in England. Honestly, my opinion is just GET MARRIED. Haha. I’ve known people to get married when they are your age and it’s different for everyone when they are ready! And you guys seem so great and like it work for you guys now. πŸ˜€ But then again, when you think of everything else…okay nope. Nothing compares obviously. Haha hopefully you figure something out so you and coding god can live happily ever after!

    <333 Inky

    Inky recently posted: Nators Discuss: Book Boyfriends
  40. Ashley, man, I just want to give you a hug. I knew there were some struggles but I didn’t really understand the scope. Why are there so many hard decisions to make? Why is life so AMAZING sometimes, but so HARD others? Ugh.

    I am so happy for you though, that you’ve found THAT person. I really hope things work out – whether it’s getting a 9-5 you can work until things open up and you can do your own thing, or getting married. A long distance relationship is tough. I’m in one now, which I think we’ve talked about just a bit. Her family and friends adore me; my friends adore her. My family? Eh. Mom is trying. Dad and brother and rest of family don’t accept me/us…so our options are narrowing down. We obviously don’t want to do the long distance thing forever, but me picking up and moving there just isn’t feasible now. So it SUCKS to have to life for those short times when you can see the other person, but if you HAVE to go back to that for awhile, I know you and Coding God will get through it somehow. *big big squeezy hug*

  41. WAIT. You’re 22?! O_O For some reason I thought you were my age or older!!! I totally did the bulgy eyed face at that baha. I don’t know how I didn’t know that!
    So, I’ve already put in my opinion, but I’ll give it again: I say go for it and get married. If you’re sure he’s the one, there’s no reason to wait (my boyfriend and I have been together 8 months and we’ve already talked about marriage…we knew this was it in the first 4-5 months). When you know, you know! Maybe your parents won’t approve at first, but I think if they see that you’re happy then they’ll come around.
    I’m sorry that it’s so hard, though. It really sucks when you love someone and life seems to be stacking the odds against you (I speak from experience). Thankfully you’re at an age now where you can make decisions for yourself. I hope you get everything sorted out Ashley! Just remember that true love conquers all πŸ˜‰ And to those who don’t believe in fairy tales: They just haven’t found theirs yet.

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Nators Discuss: Book Boyfriends
    1. “And to those who don’t believe in fairy tales: They just haven’t found theirs yet.”

      I TOTALLY TOTALLY agree with this!!

      Thanks Jessi! πŸ˜€ You’re totally right though—when you know you know. My boyfriend and I have definitely known for a while now!

      1. I think most people who haven’t found their soul mate yet don’t understand. Many people would think we’re crazy for saying we love each other in the first month, or wanting to get married within 4 months. But again – when you know, you know! I can’t explain it to people who haven’t experienced it, and I don’t expect them to understand. (I know I didn’t, before I found it!)

        Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Welcome to the Family: Kelly at Effortlessly Reading
  42. Honestly, if marriage is something that you both want you shouldn’t let something as ridiculos as age stop you! I’m 23, been with my partner and we’ve lived together pretty much since the start of university. The only reason we aren’t is because of financial situations and that we are both finishing up our studies. Only you know what you’re ready for, age doesn’t come into it.

    Finishing up at uni is difficult enough so I really hope you find a way to sort everything :).

    Leah recently posted: REVIEW: Pawn by Aimee Carter
  43. I could totally understand your predicament. I can’t say I feel your pain. Right now I’m in an LDR, mind-you we only live 4-5 hours away from each other, it’s a lengthy/costly trip, so we agreed to do a lot of our relationship over Skype or G+ Hangouts until the long weekends that come with working in the school system.
    Has your boyfriend ever thought about proposing, is this something you two have discussed? No word of a lie, getting married at 23 is not that young. I have friends who had children a few years after we graduated high school!
    Even if marriage is out of the question, I totally understand your feelings working a 9-to-5 job that you hate. I’ve done if for a looong time, but you continue doing it with a fake smile and can-do attitude and try to learn a few things along the way until the job of your dreams comes along.
    I hope you figure things out. LDR’s are the worst and even if you guys are forced apart on a temporary basis, it’ll only strengthen it if you really are truly meant to be together.
    All the best,

    1. Hi Krys!

      LDRs suck, don’t they? πŸ™ 4-5 hours is pretty brutal!

      My boyfriend and I have talked about this a lot. We’re both just worried about how our parents will react. I think he feels a bit weird about proposing when he knows that my parents aren’t ready for me to get married.

      We’ll see what happens!

      Good luck with your relationship! I hope you can be geographically closer to your SO soon!

      1. They do suck, and I hope things work out between the two of you as well. I’m not too sure whether engagement can vouch for marriage in your situation, but I’m sure you guys will get things figured out πŸ™‚
        Have you met his parents? If they seem to like you, they might not mind however, that’s just me talking, knowing nobody in the affected parties, it’s difficult to state an opinion.
        Another year or two and I’ll be back with my guy. Some things take time and sacrifice is sometimes essential for a better future. At least that’s how it is between him and I.

        Krys recently posted: Post-view: Catching Fire

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