I've recently met a person I am strongly attracted to.
They rejected the idea of a date because "at the moment [they're] not emotionally available", since they recently came out of a long term relationship. The breakup seems to have been caused by distance (as in "an ocean and half a continent").
Because of this, I have the impression that they are afraid of ending up again in a "distance" situation. And me being from Europe, and them from the US, is not helping in this regard.

I would like to communicate to them that, in the case we would be together, and they would decide to go back to the US, I would be up to relocate with them.

Is it possible to communicate this without sounding "stalkerish"? (i.e.: I'd like to avoid sounding like "if you move, I'll follow you no matter what", since if I would not be in a relationship, I'm very happy to live in the EU and I don't think I would move in the US by myself. I could see myself visiting the US, though. We currently both live in the EU, but they might move back in the US in the next year/few years)

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  • Please feel free to adjust the tags. Also, the system says that my title is probably opinion-based. I am available to fix my question if needed. – Syl Dec 5 at 8:49
  • I think it is fine this way. For what I can say, great first post you did here :) – dhein Dec 5 at 9:06
  • Have you determined if, for example, you later visited the US just for a brief visit, that the person you are attracted to would be keen on meeting up with you (just as friends or otherwise)? – Kozaky Dec 5 at 9:43
  • @Kozaky no, I have not determined that yet. – Syl Dec 5 at 9:48
up vote 5 down vote accepted

They rejected the idea of a date because "at the moment [they're] not emotionally available", since they recently came out of a long term relationship. The breakup seems to have been caused by distance (as in "an ocean and half a continent").

Because of this, I have the impression that they are afraid of ending up again in a "distance" situation.

Unless there's more to the story, I am not sure how this follows - they said the reason is that they just had a breakup and they're not emotionally ready for a new relationship. If they are not interested in beginning a relationship with you at this time, and gave you reasons, it's quite disrespectful to argue about that.

Having been through a couple rough breakups myself, I know it can take a long time to recover. I had a friend ask me out a couple weeks after a breakup, and I knew I was nowhere near ready and said so. He tried to argue at first (think "ok, so when will you be ready for a relationship")... not cool, because it felt like pressuring me into committing to things that I wasn't ready for. Fortunately, he did accept that, and we were able to move past it and stay friends.

My second LDR - we're married and live together now! - did start with me knowing how serious he wanted to be. This made it extra daunting to accept, but because I was otherwise open to dating him, we had a long talk (several, really) about what our future might look like when we first got together.

I would like to communicate to them that, in the case we would be together, and they would decide to go back to the US, I would be up to relocate with them.

Is it possible to communicate this without sounding "stalkerish"? (i.e.: I'd like to avoid sounding like "if you move, I'll follow you no matter what", since if I would not be in a relationship, I'm very happy in the EU and I'd like to avoid the US)

It's going to be hard to say this because moving for someone can be a scary idea. Moving apartments is a big deal, moving continents even more so.

In my first LDR, my boyfriend talked about moving to me, after we'd dated a while. This made me pretty uncomfortable for a few reasons:

  • He had no job, no friends, no family in my area. I feared that I would be solely responsible for his social life and happiness.
  • On that note, what if he didn’t actually like the area? What if he missed his hometown more than he expected? Would he resent me for that and it would sour our relationship?
  • It was way more commitment than I was ready for. What if the relationship didn’t work out? I felt like I wouldn’t be able to just... break up with him anymore, not after he’d gone through all that to be with me.

(Note I’m not saying these things would necessarily be true, but that is how I felt. And it’s not just me - I was active in an LDR forum for several years, and these same concerns were posted pretty regularly by people who were potentially having their partner move to them.)

So, you’re not even in a relationship with them yet, there’s no indication that they might be open to that later -- and you want to know how to let them know that you’d be open to moving countries for them if that changes? I’m really tempted to say you can’t, because this is something that people who have been dating for years still struggle with, and you’re jumping several steps ahead and second-guessing their reasons. That’ll make nearly anyone uncomfortable, let alone somebody who is still getting over their last relationship.

That said, the “creepiness” comes from focusing on the details of you two having a serious, long-term relationship when in fact, you have been turned down. So, the way to talk about being open to their country without being “stalker-ish” is to not tie it to “if we ever date”, but instead, talk about reasons you are open to visiting or living there independent of them. For instance, “I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon someday, that area of the country looks beautiful. Have you been there?” Or, “I think it’d be really interesting to live in New York City for a couple years, if only to see what it’s like, I’ve heard so much about it.”

Don’t force it, though. For one, it can come across as clingy and desperate. But for your own sake, even though right now it may seem like you’d be able to bear anything if it meant you could date this amazing person, try to keep reality in mind. That same LDR forum I mentioned earlier also got posts every so often by people who thought the same thing until they actually moved and lived there for a few months, only to realize they couldn’t stand everyday life in a city, or a small town, or a country that speaks a different language... it usually didn't end well.

So for now, just be honest and genuine in your interest with this person and their home country, and take this time as an opportunity to build up a friendship where you naturally learn more about each other’s backgrounds. If there comes a time in the future when they are otherwise open to a relationship with you, you can have the talk about moving then.

They say that their reason for not being available at the moment is that they recently came out of a long-term relationship. You seem to be focusing on the possible reason for the breakup rather than the fact they don't feel emotionally ready for another one.

You must take what they say at face value. If they say they aren't "emotionally available" then any kind of pressure, whether it is related to your current distance or otherwise, is probably going to freak them out and result in you being pushed away.

If you really like this person, your best chance of a future relationship is to do everything on their terms, and perhaps just be a friend for now. That may involve guarding your own emotions and holding back. A good friend that they can easily talk to might be exactly what they need at this moment in time. Plus, you don't really want to be their "rebound" relationship.

I understand from the comments on your post that you are, at present, both in the same country, so really the matter of relocation is not that pressing. It may be that as time passes they get over their breakup and you are able to progress your own relationship while you are in the same country. If the situation does not change and their return to the USA is nearing, perhaps an offer to visit their country for a vacation without any pressure of a relationship may go down better than an offer to relocate. It could be the first step to furthering the relationship, or it could lead to nothing, but at least you will have given it a go.

  • I'm a little confused where you inferred your last paragraph, I didn't pick up any indication of what the offered date was – BKlassen Dec 5 at 16:44
  • @BKlassen I assumed that as the OP is "from Europe" and the other person is from the US, they were not presently in the same country. I see that a question has been asked about that and the OP has clarified that the other person is currently residing in the EU nearby. – Astralbee Dec 5 at 17:56

Here's the key

if I would not be in a relationship, I'm very happy in the EU and I'd like to avoid the US

Thing is, your SOLE reason for wanting to move there would be this person you barely know. And without them, you would NEVER want to.

So you don't want to sound stalkerish, but this kinda is. The answer is to re-frame it in your mind. If you can't even get a date out of them, then what makes you think they would suddenly jump at it if you said you would be willing to move to the U.S.?

Others have pointed out that the person actually said they don't want a serious relations hip because they just got out of one. You aren't taking them at their word.

You would have to have other reasons to want to move to the U.S. not just them. And I'm saying this not just in a way to present it to her, but also as a way to present it to yourself. Because if it doesn't work out....

Background

When I first met my fiancee we were in a similar position. She was in talks to take over a dance studio over 1000 miles away from the city we live in, which would have required her to move. She has had previous relationships end because of long distance issues, so she was a little bit hesitant. We had a conversation about this about a month into our relationship.

How I handled the situation

Here is the basic flow of our conversation

Her: I might have to move 1000 miles away in 6-8 months.

Me: Well, if things get serious between us, I would be willing to move in order to stay with you.

Notice that I kept everything hypothetical and conditional upon the state of our relationship at the time of any potential relocation. Moving a long distance for someone you just met would be viewed by many people as being a bit creepy. On the other hand, moving a long distance for someone with whom you are in a serious relationship will generally be seen as a romantic gesture. By speaking hypothetically, I was able to convey that I would be willing to do the romantic gesture, but not the creepy one.

How it turned out

Ultimately, my fiancee didn't end up moving, so the possibility of long distance/me moving with her never became a reality. What did happen is that she told me after the fact that my willingness to move for her under the right circumstances was one of the first things that made her start falling in love with me.

You can't.

The issue is that moving halfway across the world is a big deal, and in terms of a romantic relationship is something that would really only be reasonable in the case of a serious one. You are not currently in such a relationship with this person, and this person has explicitly indicated that they do not want to be in a romantic relationship with you at all (right now, at least).

To outright say that you would move to the U.S. means that even before the first date (should you two ever have one) this person has to deal with you assuming that your relationship is much stronger and more developed than it is. It's not that this sounds like a stalker per se, but that it places the pressure of a serious relationship on the other person immediately and without any real connection to what the circumstances actually are (or will be).

You might mean to express something more nuanced, like if conditions were right you would move to the U.S. to continue the relationship. But this is circular and uninformative, because it really only means that if you were willing to move you'd be willing to move. The lack of meaning in such a statement will probably lead interpretations back towards the one described in the paragraph above this one.

The only way I can think of that you might be able to express your willingness without tying it to this other implication would be to state it in general terms, if and only if there is a natural opening in conversation to do so.

If I were in a serious relationship with someone who had to move to another country, I would definitely also move so that we could stay together.

or something more general, like

I like it here in the EU, but I'd be willing to move away if a decent reason came up.

Even this might be too much, depending on how aware this person is about the depth and immediacy of your attraction. It's the immediate openness to assuming such a strong relationship that is the awkward part, and there is no way to express that without expressing that awkwardness as well.

Please note: this answer relies on the assumption that you wanna tell them now about your willingness of relocating should you ever become their partner and not later on in your relationship.

Maybe mention other reasons for relocating

I'm not advising you to lie to them. I'm saying that relocating is a big deal. Regardless of the potential feelings this person may have for you, hearing that you'd be ready to move abroad because of them may just add more pressure on their shoulders.
You say in your post they told you they're not ready to engage in another relationship right now. If you bluntly tell them you're willing to move abroad mainly because of them, you risk of scaring them.

Unfortunately, you said you would like to avoid the US should you not be in a relationship with them. But you may be curious about the country. You may have potentially interesting jobs offers there. Rely on that. Not only it would give you another reason for relocation - which may be useful should things between them and you not turn as well as you wanted to - but it will also put the pressure off the person's shoulders away: you're not sacrificing a part of your life for them.

Now how you could mention it to them could look like the following:

Hey, I saw an amazing job offer located in San Francisco today. Would you recommend me living there? Is the city pleasant?

As explained before, this indicates your willingness of going abroad without implying you're doing it for anybody else but yourself. Plus it's a great way to take the temperature: depending on the way they answer those questions, you'll see if they're happy or reluctant of the idea of you getting geographically closer to them.

Now of course, you could lie on your reasons for relocating. I'd not advise you to do that. I personally think that honesty is a fundamental value in a relationship, but more practically: you're gonna need a job offer in order to get a visa.

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