How everything started...
It was 2011. I had just finished high school. My family planned for a vacation. Where would we spend our summer holidays? Canada or Sri Lanka?
After discussing, our family decided to fly to Sri Lanka. It would be the first time that I visited my native country.
Who would have thought that I would meet a special person who would change my life completely?
In July, we finally arrived in Sri Lanka. We spent our first few days in Colombo and then we headed to Jaffna. There, I met him for the first time. During our visit, he spent most of the time with my family and me.
My parents liked him immediately - his behaviour and his character. Our parents even talked about a marriage between us. You can say that he was a desirable son-in-law.
When my parents mentioned this to me, I looked at them speechless. “This isn’t serious, is it? I will NEVER marry someone from Sri Lanka! I have a different idea of my future husband.”
After our conversation, I was done with the topic – or so I thought. Two weeks later, we flew back to Germany.
The new year came. On the 1st of January, my mother asked me to send a message, wishing him "Happy New Year 2012!” .
And so I did, not expecting him to answer. But he did and he texted back, "Thank you! Do you have an email address or a Facebook account?"
I gave him my Facebook account. At the time, I didn’t think that it was something serious. But then it started.
We wrote messages upon messages to each other. He stayed awake late into the night. I got up early in the morning to send him a message before I went to school - there was a time difference of 4.5 hours between Germany and Sri Lanka.
For months, it went on like this until we realized it had become love. He inspired me. I was fascinated by his character and his care for me.
What we never could have imagined had happened. We fell in love and started a long distance relationship. Before that, I always laughed at my best friend who was in a long distance relationship and used to tell him, “I will NEVER have a long distance relationship like you have.”
But then it also happened to me.
During the next 16 months, I was totally dependent on my cell phone. It was the only way to communicate with him. In a short time, I also recognized some jealousy towards me. He always asked me to send photos so that he would know where I was and who I spent my time with. He would get jealous because I was sitting next to a boy in university or do group work with a boy.
The problem was that he did not know the German culture. Here, it is not unusual for boys and girls to chat or work together or even be friends. In Sri Lanka, it is different. He only had male friends. That was why it was difficult for him to see me living a different lifestyle.
In August 2013, my mother and I traveled to Sri Lanka again. I spent a lot of time with him. I was so happy just to be with him. The topic of getting married came up again. I asked myself, “Could I move to Sri Lanka if we got married?”
It would be inconceivable for me, I thought, as I was born in Germany and had spent my whole life there. Sri Lanka and Germany were two different worlds. So I asked him to come to Germany. He agreed.
Our parents decided we should get married as soon as possible so that it would be easier for him to come to Germany. All his friends helped us prepare the civil wedding. On the day before my mother and I headed back to Germany, we finally got married. My husband stayed in Sri Lanka to apply for a visa.
Back in Germany, the jealousy became worse. He asked me not to wear trousers that were too tight in his eyes or short tops or shirts with any cutouts. He wanted me to stay home after 6 pm.
I tried to consider his opinion but it became very stressful for me. I knew that it could not go on like this. So I decided to fly back to Sri Lanka one more time and bring him to Germany. I bought a flight ticket on my way to university without telling my parents.
The requirement for him to get a visa was to pass the German language level A1. When I arrived in Sri Lanka, I taught German lessons every day to him and his classmates for three months. Then the day of his final test came. It was the date of my departure. He passed the test successfully. Two months later, he got a visa and was able come to Germany.
We were so happy.
It was easy for me to imagine our life together in Germany. But in reality, it was different. I had to help him like a child in the beginning. He did not speak the language well yet, so I had to accompany him everywhere. For him everything was new. Above all, he struggled to deal with the culture shock and got homesick. I did my best to make him feel at home but it was difficult.
My husband attended school and worked in a laundromat as well as a fast food restaurant during the weekends. The stress for him grew. I could not stand watching my husband working every day without taking a day off. The tension between us grew and my depression got stronger. I struggled with my studies and was overwhelmed by the whole situation. I just wanted us to be happy again. Something had to change.
One day I decided to go to the employment office to ask for better professional opportunities for my husband and me. We were both unsatisfied with our situation. My husband applied to work in a warehouse for a well-known company and was accepted. There he learned to love his work again.
This encouraged me and I also decided to drop my studies to get a new education and training. Today, my husband and I are both working in the same occupation. We are very happy. The stress is gone, my depression is gone and we are surprised by how everything has changed since then.
What did I learn from this story? One thing is that after every difficult situation, some good will come out of it. Although it was challenging for me to support my husband on his transition to Germany, he always stood by my side while I was fighting depression. The bad times have greatly strengthened our relationship and we are happy that we met these challenges successfully together.
The other thing is that before all of this happened, my original plan was to finish my Bachelor’s degree, travel the world and then get married. But it did not happen like this – not at all. Today, I can say that I am so happy for that and now I will fulfill my dreams with my soulmate together.
I found the love of my life – my better half. Through my husband, I learned what is really important in life. My husband is one of my greatest blessings.
You can’t know what life has to offer you and what surprise is waiting for you. So never say never.
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