Poll: Relationship: Getting back with an ex who is far away.

I have broken up with my ex girlfriend about 1 and a half year ago. The reason for the break up was because of we were too far from each other, we were too young, lack of communication, and there was barely any hope for us to have future together, let alone see each other again at the time back then. I was the one who ended it, out of rationality at the time which I deeply regret -- hence the whole point of this.

In fact, ever since the break up I don't think I ever got over it... kind of funny isn't it? getting depressed because of what you did by your own. I was foolish I guess... that was the biggest mistake I have ever made so far. But I try to find redemption...

So Story goes:

She came to where I lived for a year in 2010, but then left afterwards because she is an exchange student (Not exactly is an exchange, but the best way to explain it) from Japan. Out of the multiple relationships I had in the past she was the best and I still could not found anyone I cared more than her. In fact I would sooner chose her if I had a second chance and so forth.

But now situation seem to be quite favorable that I may be able to actually make up for all that. I am graduating soon, I am studying Japanese and for me the only way to master a language is to actually go to the country that speaks that language (English is my second so I had experienced this before).

Although as for her affection, I will have to just say girls are hard to understand.

We still keep in contact, and a few months ago I did ask if she is willing to give me a second chance -- she rejected and was concerned about how are we going to have a relationship if we do not see each other at all. But yet she still look for me, she was even angry just because I failed to come online when she want me to ONCE, yet she take DAYS to respond to me and I would never get on Skype these days unless if SHE asked me to come online. She even seem to respond positively regarding the idea of me visiting her to Japan, and she seem to be quite proud at showing me off (photos) to her peers - I did even detect a bit of jealousy at one point, she asked if any of her friends added me on Facebook. I don't mean to brag, but it just seem to reaffirm she may still have a hint of feeling towards me, but what I think is she is playing hard to get so I take responsibility over the break up. She is a bit of a person who is initially cold before gradually showing her warm side over time.

So yes, I do plan to go to Japan at some stage in the next few years, and hopefully be able to mend things back together. I do plan on committing myself to her IF I do get a second chance, although it would be too soon to call engagement at the moment considering I JUST turned 21 a few hours ago even, and she is 3 years younger than me. At least I will be graduating at the end of this year, so maybe in 4-5 years time we might be able to get married, although maybe its better not to think too far! But in a gist that's what I had in mind.

Ultimately in the end I will want to visit japan anyway, It has been my wish and dream since I was little to go to Japan, and has been my desire to learn Japanese as a competitive edge for my future career as well... Its the last language I will probably learn and I want to do it before its too late. In fact, I regretted starting so late, I did not have the facility and the opportunity until recently... So its more of hitting two birds with one stone. Besides, Japan is the Holy grail of gaming for some. I know they have been in decline recently but they have invested a lot of value for me.

As much as I try to think the relationship as a "bonus", I can't help but think about it as it is an issue for me.

Problem with moving on is, I have not found anyone I cared more than her at all as I previously mentioned. I did care about someone for a while, but then I guess I backed off eventually -- made worse how it also involves having me to travel and live away from where I am now for the long run, and even more impossible than this. I do know some girls (including another ex even) who are interested in me, but I am not interested in them as much as I am interested with this ex gf.

What do you guys think? Would you think she may still have feelings towards me and would it be okay to pursue this/Keep invested in her ? Or just move on and find someone else? This is as you can guess is quite a big deal/decision I have to make. So any input and your blunt honesty is much appreciated.

Thank you everyone.

Edit: Additional personal information :

I am 21 Years old, Chinese Descendant Asian and not born in China I have been somewhat westernized and don't know my Mandarin. I currently am in my final year of university study. I am doing Bachelor Of Business, double majoring in Marketing and Advertising. I do quite well and would probably categorize myself as a B+ or A- student roughly. I live in New Zealand.

..and ouch 5 No's out of 5. hmm...

I voted no for one reason and one reason only: you stated that you will be going to Japan in the next few years, but also brought up engagement like it was a done deal. I can't say that you'll necessarily not be able to then, but right now, don't pursue the relationship as anything more than a friendship. Try to mend that, and if she's available when you get to Japan and you're both interested in a relationship, go for it. But right now? No.

Okay, I'm going to give advice from the perspective of someone who spent almost a decade in Japan, though I am definitely not an expert:

First of all, you need to separate your decision to study Japanese and go to Japan from your decision to try and get back together with this woman. You really need to keep them separate in your head.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but basically, you might very well be getting signs and signals from her, but that doesn't mean when you completely upend your life and move across the planet, anything will happen. You need to go to Japan because it's what you want to do. If she absolutely hated you and refused to see you again, would you still go to Japan?

Next, Japanese people often have the habit of agreeing to plans that are in some nebulous time in the future, even if they have no intention of following through on it (not just a Japanese thing, I used to do that well before I even thought of going to Japan). Basically, don't assume she even wants to meet you until she agrees to a time and place to meet.

Next, inter-cultural relationships in Japan are... complicated. Foreigners have a number of explicit and implicit barriers to life in Japan, and while dating a Japanese person can be great fun if that relationship lasts to getting married a lot of uncomfortable things can come up. It is still unfortunately not uncommon at all for Japanese women to base their entire lives around motherhood, which might mean that the husband is expected to be the sole provider while the wife stays home for as much as 10 years. It also means that often the sex and affection disappears after the first child is born. Obviously not every Japanese woman behaves that way and I know plenty of foreign men totally happy with their marriage to Japanese women (and the reverse situation as well, with happy non-Japanese women married to Japanese men). But you just need to be aware. Even the wife doesn't intend to follow the "traditional" route, they may be denied promotions at work because their boss expects them one day to just get pregnant and drop out of the work force.

I bring this up not to say that you shouldn't date a Japanese person because you might end up marrying them, but because I've known a few foreign men (and heard a lot more online) who get caught-up in a whirlwind romance and the next thing they know they feel trapped in a country they hate with a wife they don't think they know any more and a kid they love too much to abandon but are otherwise miserable. This is why you need to keep your interest in Japan separate from your interest in her.

And finally, I'm not sure what sector of the economy you are planning to work in, but outside of translation I'm not sure I can think of any career where just knowing Japanese in and of itself gives anyone a competitive edge. Chinese, yeah. Maybe even Korean. I wouldn't say Japanese. Japanese businesses are often backward and ineffective unlike businesses in other countries. Foreigners can and do face discrimination, but even more foreigners feel stymied in the workplace by something that feels like discrimination but is actually just an inability of employers to figure out where a foreigner fits into the grand scheme of things. Now a mastery of Japanese can help with that. A lot of foreigners report a much more positive experience when they achieve highly-accurate fluency. You're not going to reach that level in your home country, and if you do end up with this woman and she chooses to speak to you in English you may never reach that level.

Basically, a huge chunk of foreigners who end up in Japan end up teaching English unless they're in the military. Now personally, I love teaching English and want to make it my career. But unless you are highly qualified, it's a miserable, dead-end job market. The problem is that way back when anime got big in the west, loads of self-styled otaku came to Japan just to experience the country. The demand for English hasn't really grown, but the pool of (under-qualified but fluent) English teachers is pretty well saturated. When I first went to Japan 250,000 yen a month was a salary that English teachers laughed at as being the bare minimum acceptable salary. Now I routinely see jobs for less than 200,000 yen a month advertised, and even those one has to compete to get. And don't think that just because the yen is strong against the dollar (or your home country's currency) that that means you're getting a lot of money. The buying power of the yen in other countries has risen, but what you can buy for it in Japan hasn't really.

What I hear through the gaijin grapevine for foreigners who want a career outside of teaching is this: Have a minimum of 1kyuu on the JLPT test. More importantly, have a skill outside of Japanese that is highly desirable in Japan. A qualified stock trader can still make a lot of money in Japan, even if they speak zero Japanese. A foreigner fluent in Japanese but with no other desirable skills is no more desirable to Japanese employers than a random high school drop out. So research your field, find out how it's different from Japan (because everything has to be a little bit different in Japan), make connections, and make a plan based off of expert advice you get from your connections.

Oh, and one last point- the number one cause for western foreigners getting culture shock and being miserable in Japan is unmet expectations. This seems particularly common among people I know who extensively studied Japanese prior to going there. I've heard many foreigners lament how they have devoted so much of their lives to learning how to function in Japan, only to discover that they don't really like functioning there. Everyone they know back home is hitting the nice parts of their careers, while they are stuck trying to figure out how to play catch up and feeling like they wasted a decade of their lives (not my situation btw.)


So tl;dr version:
Separate your feelings from the country from your feelings for the girl.
Have your eyes wide open.
Don't have expectations.
Either have a plan for a great career or be ready to accept being a low-paid English monkey for the rest of your life.
Wear a helmet.
Be prepared to pull the ejector seat lever. Have a parachute ready.


Ah yep, Right now of course it would be laughable to ask to get back, I mean we're still continents apart and won't make sense. I actually meant in the future of course, and that is only if she really still felt the same when we meet again of course. I was pretty sleepless and forgot to leave in details.

I don't mean to take it for granted either, but then the way I see it this is the only desired outcome IF we both end up together again. Otherwise it will be a very good way to destroy friendship. Its not worth chasing if its only for casual relationship.

Snip, thank you for the valuable input

I have a really long reply, and I thought I'll spoiler it so the TLDR is visible a lot easier.

TLDR Version:

1. I will try to consider the relationship as a "Bonus" only.
2. I am not western actually, I'm Asian -- Genetically Chinese. But I guess I still count as Gaijin? Is different from mainland Chinese, with a hint of western influence.
3. Language teacher is a stepping stone for me to learn the language, and get in touch with her.
4. I am going to be graduating with Bachelor of Business with Double degree in Marketing and Advertising soon. May study Finance in the future. I aim to work for a MNC, or technology related company and stick in the marketing side, or be an entrepreneur -- whichever is feasible.
5. If I come back to my country of origin I can assure you the pay is worse than what you describe in Japan. 45,000 yen per month (IF LUCKY), although I don't plan on choosing language as my career path. More of a stepping stone as previously mentioned.
6. I can eject to my country of origin or the commonwealth countries if things get rough (before marriage).
7. Marriage will be overly complicated, best to hope she will consider living outside of Japan and give support to her family from overseas. I have not seen from the eyes of a married man, but I can probably live with less sex. I do not plan to have kids yet at the moment, only when I'm really ready and CONVINCED.

What do you think?

2. Western culture shock -- I'm actually asian -- I hear about how Japanese people are very nationalistic and may even outcast foreigners at time. I know a friend of mine who did testify to that, although this may sound idealistic, I believe that in the future this will change eventually -- I might be wrong though, no one know for sure and this is only an opinion.

The thing I like to point out is that despite how both (white) westerners and Japanese people themselves love to pretend all Japanese people are the same, actually there's quite a lot of diversity. I rarely encountered nationalism in my time in Japan[1]. More often my issue was just an assumption that I was fundamentally different and could never understand the "real" Japan.

I am also asian actually, therefore it might loosen up the tension a bit. Genetically I am of Chinese descendant, but born outside of China

While there is some discrimination against Chinese people, I do think that most of it that I've seen has been against PRC as a country, and western-Chinese don't seem to get the stick from what I've seen (though if you're ever in Ikebukuro China Town and you see a Japanese man on a platform shouting into a megaphone about "cleaning up the garbage", you might want to find a different place to be. From what I've seen he and his crowd won't be violent but they will be as obnoxious as they can without breaking the law). Non-Japanese Asians get a slightly different experience from what I've heard. On one hand, they can often blend in and act as "stealth foreigners". That means you won't get stared at on the train (probably) and you won't have waitresses automatically giving you an English menu as though there was no hope that you could order in Japanese. However, unless you are incredibly outgoing you might not get the same kudos non-Asian westerners get in Japan. Also, some Japanese people seem to think that anyone who is Asian-looking should be able to speak Japanese, so it's good that you're studying it. I remember one time I translated for a Canadian-born Chinese woman who couldn't speak three words of Japanese at a shop, who was incidentally there with her mother and NJ-Asian friend. The clerk could not wrap his head around the fact that I was the only person in the group he could communicate with, and kept talking to me while looking at them with an expression that was practically begging them to reveal that they were just joking and had actually been fluent all along.

3. Stepping stone to learn Japanese-- Teaching Language is more of a stepping stone for me, as I previously mentioned its primarily for learning their language.

That's a very workable plan. Just remember that in your school environment you may be expected to use English only so you might make very little progress unless you push yourself.

I prefer to tread on the Marketing side of business instead of Advertising, but then recently a friend of mine picked me to help start up their business because of my analytic skill so it might be finance instead of marketing in the end -- I still need to discover this. Academically I can attest I am relatively competent, but I lack the work experience (that will be taken care of in a few months though).

Well, at the very least these are skills that are actually useful in Japan. Just keep in mind that you may have to network your ass off to get a good job. One point in your favor is that some Japanese companies (example, Uniqlo) are trying to develop an internationally-savvy work force.

If you say working in Japan makes me an English Donkey, I would rather be one than if I work and live in "Origin" -- You get paid about as bad as sweat shop workers and so much for overseas education. The rate most overseas graduate would be paid in "Origin" is equivalent to : $US 547.00 per month (or 45,000 JPY), IF YOU ARE LUCKY (and this will also be likely to cause the company to forfeit any beneficial support) Otherwise most local graduate will just earn an equivalent to 22,000 yen per month (or 273 US Dollars) and its unlikely you will get far there considering commute takes at least 4 hours a day in a car, Considering the political situation there I would probably get mugged and killed if I don't use private transportation.

This may be true, but keep in mind that the increased salaries in Japan are to some extent (or to a total extent depending on circumstances) cancelled out by residence taxes and the extremely high cost of living. Especially if you live near Tokyo, which is probably where you will need to be for the best chance at applying your business skills.

Marriage itself -- I believe this will be complicated for both of us, considering Japan does not allow dual citizenship. I may risk losing my citizenship, or hers. Unless if she decide she want to go out of Japan.

On this point, you have two advantages: First of all, there is no need to adopt Japanese citizenship in order to marry a Japanese national. Once you are married you can get a spouse visa, which IIRC is quite useful as unlike us single folks you won't have to head down to immigration every few years for a renewal, nor will you be quite as restricted in what kind of work you can do as those of use on work visas (IIRC work visas must be revised every time you change employers, but spouse visas don't). Japan also has the option of permenant residence visas for people who have been there a certain number of years and who have a certain set of skills.

Second, I understand that technically speaking British people can never give up their citizenship and I am given to understand that this is true of commonwealth countries in general. I may be wrong on that point though. But basically, for Americans to naturalize they have to give up US citizenship and it seems unlikely they can get it back. British people simply tell Japanese authorities they renounce their citizenship but they can easily get it back by going to a British consulate. Not sure how NZ works in that regard but it may help you out.

[1] Apart from that time a random drunk old guy tried to talk to me at a train station. I thought he was trying to practice English on me so I told him I was German and pretended I couldn't speak English to get him to shut up, but instead he just started talking about the good old days when we "worked together".

Snip, thank you so much for your follow up!

From what I see in New Zealand (we have a lot of racial mix here), I understand wholely why the PRC get a bad reputation. I had a few bad experiences with them even, and despite born genetically chinese I do not want to align myself to be the same as them (no offence, just a preference to those who took offence), at least I'll align with the more internationally open minded and educated ones.

Stealth foreignering may work, I have often been thought as either a Korean or a Japanese, some people even come up to me asking if I am Japanese. So with the right setting I should be able to blend quite alright I hope. Time will tell -- problem is I will need to get used with their customs, I don't want to end up doing stupid things that may offend them.

For career I will do my best to push myself, at worst case scenario I have the ejection plans.

Spouse visa seems to be incredibly useful. IF this is the case then I guess it won't be a problem if we do get married in the far future.

Thank you so much for your input. I managed to get my head around the separating feelings bit... at least even if it doesnt go well, I would not have regrets for not even giving this a shot, and I will end up wanting to go to japan for visiting as a trip anyway at the end someday. Besides, I guess I still have the time to go for experience before I really commit to the workforce. Most people I know around me are far older than me anyway and they still have not graduated.

No. Maybe be friends with her still but I would not pursue a romantic relationship because of issues that happened in the past will hang over like a clould of pestilence over a bag of garbage in the sun. The garbage needs to be taken out but you need to get withn the death zone first and it slowly spreads and spreads...

Thats why when that happens you just move to someone else and the garbage bag is put into the background and doesn't become a issue with friendship. If you are tactful.

For now, I wouldn't pursue the romance. Keep in touch with her, but don't push the relationship. Then when things calm down for you, then maybe you could see about actually seeing each other.

Haunted Serenity:

well I guess the only issue we had was distance, which I would try to close by actually going there at one stage and probably living there. Not anytime soon, but probably by early next year. I guess for now I should prepare myself in case it did not work in the end.

I'd move on but then it seems like that in a way I had a bit of a "Karma is a bitch" effect on my luck, and even if I do like someone, they are again -- far away.

don't push the relationship. Then when things calm down for you, then maybe you could see about actually seeing each other.

I'm actually fighting against my emotions if any, but I won't push it. Besides, how can I ask to come back to her if we are miles away (and was the primary reason for the separation). As for seeing each other, the way I see it for her is that she want me to actually do it, not just talk. But, it was just an observation as opposed to hard fact. She did seem to take this into high consideration though.

For now yes, I would not push it at all. I'll remain friends, although I am anxious and insecure as hell -- natural I guess as no one really likes it if what they wish for did not happen and stuff...

Thanks for the support though everyone!

This is interesting. We seem to have parallel experiences, sir. I dated a girl from Hungary we too, broke up PURELY because of distance.

After two years of trying to make it work, I finally realized that distance relationships NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER work (with exception to miraculous strokes from God).

There is nothing. NOTHING. you can do. You must push through it forever until something takes your mind of off it. THERE IS NO HOPE.

You need to hear this.

It's easier to give up and find someone else than beat yourself up over someone you'll likely never see again.


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