“When Stacey came over to visit last, Vincent said, thanks for coming to see me from America, mum, as if seeing his mum is now an extraordinary thing instead of a normality. When she left, we told him, mummy has to go over back to America to sort out the rest of your toys so she can bring them with her next time.”
Guy, British and Stacey, from the US, met online in 2004 and saw each other 4 times a year during a courtship that lasted for 2 years, travelling back and forth from the UK to the US. Stacey moved over to the UK in 2006 to get married and came over on a marriage visa. They started off their life in Bicester and lived there until 2009. They had a son, Vincent, in 2007 who has dual citizenship. They decided to move to Atlanta for a couple of years before Vincent started school and moved back in March of this year, without Stacey so Guy could work for the required 6 months.
“When I met Stacey, she was an accounts controller and was earning 6 figures and has a degree - the implication that she'll go on benefits and watch Jeremy Kyle is offensive as it is inaccurate. She gave up her job to move to UK and spend time together and they got married, had their son and has since been doing freelance work. When she moves to the UK, she wants to work with children with special needs."
"I had my epiphany at 1 am in a nightclub that I was never going to meet my soul mate in a place like this. Days later, I met Stacey on match.com and there was an instant connection. We were talking for 3 months before I went to Atlanta to meet her."
"I fell in love with her intelligence, especially her emotional intelligence and intuition. She sees beyond the obvious, where I see purple, she sees violet and magenta and lilac. She's my wife and best friend - when anything interesting or funny happens, she's the first person I want to tell. We just miss being around each other at home, spending time in the house as a family."
"The US is a great country if you've got the money for private health care, education etc. I want to be near my family where I grew up so that our son can have the sort of childhood I had in the UK. Stacey and I both want him to have a British education."
"When Stacey first visited me in Yorkshire, even though the weather was terrible and she said it was the coldest she's ever been, she still loved the UK and has always been an anglophile – she says, if we can't find way to watch Coronation Street, I'm not moving!"
"I kept my finger on the pulse so I knew things would change - but I couldn't understand how there was no leeway, how it didn't matter that my wife had lived with me here for 3 years, that her son was born here, that we had support here and people to vouch for us etc."
"On realising the full extent of the new rules, I moved to the UK with my son, leaving Stacey behind, so that Vincent could start school and I could work for the required amount of time before Stacey can join us."
"When Stacey came over to visit last, Vincent said, “thanks for coming to see me from America, mum”, as if seeing his mum is now an extraordinary thing instead of normality. When she left, we told him that mummy has to go over back to America to sort out the rest of your toys when she comes back for good."
"It’s especially hard for Stacey – Skype is great but it can only go so far. The emotional anxiety has a cumulative drip, drip effect. It’s the little things she misses out on, bringing home artwork from school, learning to write. And the time difference is difficult so we can’t always catch each other at the right time."
"This is enforced separation from my life partner. While I’ve been in the UK, I’ve effectively been a single parent. If I’m not there to take him to a party, no one else is there so he misses out."
"We haven’t had legal costs yet but the costs of trips back and forth have taken their toll on us financially and paying for things to be in storage while we wait."