If you love him, set him free?


When someone is hurting and making sacrifices for you, because he loves you, how much is too much?

My boyfriend only lives in Korea because I live here. He hates his job, but can’t change because he’s locked into it by his work visa. It pays barely enough to live on here, but enough to support his two daughters at home in the Philippines. He works 12 hour days six days a week in a factory 90 minutes from where I live. I see him once or twice a week.

We are very much in love, but this lifestyle is killing him. He’s always tired and he tries hard to be happy, but he doesn’t like his life right now. He’s only here because he’s dating me, and because having a regular income here ensures that he can support his daughters at home.

In the Philippines, he has his own business, a taxi company. It has been falling apart in his absence. His plan was to work in Korea only one year, then go home and use the money he’d saved to improve the company. Well, crisis after crisis hit and he’s not saving any money. His company is falling apart without him, and he’s still here because he met me here.

Now he’s reached a crossroads. An employee stole a bunch of money and disappeared. He basically has two choices - go back to the Philippines and work hard to put his business back together, or stay here with me and sell the business’s assets to pay off the business loans.

I know I should tell him to go home and save his business, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I have a year left in my Master’s degree here in Korea. I couldn’t afford to finish the degree if I moved to the Philippines with him - salaries are too low there. He could go and leave me here for one year, but I know it would drive me crazy to be separated for a year.

He’s made so many sacrifices for me - being away from his daughters longer, working hard at a job he hates, being away from his country and his family. There are two sacrifices I could make for him - I could give up the master’s degree or I could let him go back home where he needs to be.

It’s hard to get a teaching job without a master’s degree, so I’m afraid to give that up. And it’s hard enough living in a different town and seeing each other just once a week - how could I handle being in different countries? But on the other hand, how can I live with myself if I let him dissolve the company he built himself just so I wouldn’t be inconvenienced?

What should I do?


I say let the man go back to his children, and rebuild his company.
Cant you fly over and visit him during breaks? couldnt he do the same?


How about putting it in God’s hands?

The idea of marriage is for the spouses to assist each other in getting to heaven. Will marriage to this man do that? If it will, then marry and trust God (He is more dependable than a Master’s Degree).



When you truly love someone, you think about what is best for that person, not about your own “wants” or “needs”. You have to think about what is best for him first.


** I say encourage him to get his life back in order. A man needs to feel confident and secure in order to make a good husband. So you will be doing both of you a favor by giving him “permission” to take care of his life and his business (not to mention his 2 daughters…personally I would think twice about getting involved with a man who would move so far from his girls when they need him to be a dad, but that’s just me)…

A year is not really that long. I know that American soldiers are routinely away from home for longer than that. At least you know your boyfriend won’t be in any danger.

I think if you can bring yourself to make this sacrifice for him he will be very grateful.



Thanks for the really quick replies. I guess I know what I should do, I just feel really depressed about doing it.

About visiting during breaks from school: I don’t have any breaks from this degree - after this week, I’ve got class every week until December next year, when I graduate. And he can’t visit me because of the tight visa regulations here - once he leaves, he can’t re-enter without spending a lot of money and time getting a new visa.

As well as doing this degree, I’m also teaching full-time. I finish my teaching contract in June - I guess I could leave Korea then and struggle to finish my degree online from the Philippines for the last four classes. Six months apart is more manageable than one year.

I know I should let him go back. He was such a positive and happy guy a few months ago. After all these setbacks, he’s been getting more and more depressed. And last time I went to his house, I saw the tear-stained photograph of his daughters next to his bed. I can’t ask him to give any more.


Let’s remember before becoming uncharitable to the fellow in questions: he’s Phillipino, and therefore subscribes to different cultural norms than we do. For instance, the fact that he’s off making money is more responsible parenting than being WITH his kids. After all most Fillipinos subscribe to the addage “it takes a village to raise a child” so his children are most likely being very well cared for by their female relatives and their extended family of community. It is his job to provide first, be a “dad” (as we know it) second. If those two jobs don’t coincide he has to go with number one. The fact that he stayed on in Korea with Just Wondering is amazing if he’s not making any money to support his family. The OP is very clear about how little money is to be had in the Phillipines. I have been there and I have seen it, it’s tough. It’s why the poorest of the poor will sell their daughters at only 12 or younger into prostitution. So let’s think before we post: this is different than just providing a comfortable life, this comes down to food to eat.

Which leads me to the OP: are you SERIOUS? His business is falling apart and you want him to stay? He is trying to be responsible not only to his children but to you as your future spouse? Well if it’s any consolation you wont DIE without him. As a US Navy wife I went without my husband for at least 21 months out of 36. 8 months here, 5 months there, three weeks there, 2 months here, 5 months there. I am still alive. And I did it twice with infants, once while pregnant. I am still alive. Sure it was hard, but we enjoyed the reunions. You’ll get over it.

However if he loses everything because you were not big enough to let him take care of business…he may not get over that…

just sayin’


Yeah, that’s sad but true. He’s said that it’s better to be away from them now than to be with them now but worry that they’ll sell their bodies to put food on the table later.

Although he is making enough money here to support them - he just isn’t making enough to support himself. He gets a free lunch at work, but on the weekends he eats at my house or he probably wouldn’t eat at all. He sends all his money home except about $150, which pays for his phone, food, and travel.

So he is supporting his family, which is another reason he’s stayed. If his business is in real trouble, his family will be relying on handouts from his extended family until he gets it going again.

Yeah, I needed that kick in the pants. I have realized that I’m being really selfish. I guess it comes from living alone for so many years - I’m used to doing what I want all the time.

I’m worried about him when he goes down there, too. His business probably won’t make any money for several months, and he’s going to be scraping by, if that. At least when he’s here I know he’s eating and I know his daughters are too. He won’t let me help him financially, not until we’re married. And he doesn’t want to get married when he’s this poor.

It’s because he’s struggling like this that he wants me to finish this degree. If I can teach, then even when his business is going through low points, we can rely on my salary. But in the meantime, I’m spending $10,000 on this degree, and he’s struggling to support his family.


You’ve got to kick him into proposing. Subtly. Then accept, presuming you love him, and he can go back to the Philippines secure in the knoweldge that you will follow once arrangements for the marriage (which might include completing your studies) are made.


this man’s first commitment is to his children, and his first priority is to do what it takes to honor that commitment, not only supporting them, but being there for them to be a real father insofar as possible. he is not free to embark on another romantic relationship (I assume he is divorced and free to remarry due to annulment) until he has discharged this commitment or arranged his life to take care of these duties. you knew this when you became involved with him, or at least you know it now, so you should make your plans based on this knowledge, and encourage him to do his duty, even if it means you will separate for a while, or even break up permanently. I have the feeling we have discussed this relationship on another thread, because I am hearing an echo in here.


IMHOP if you really love him then you need to let him go so he can take care of his obligations. True love reflects Gods love for us…it’s unselfish. :thumbsup:


Hi JW;

I agree with Sierrah. It will be hard–but true love weathers these types of ups and downs…keep your eyes focused on Jesus, and let Him put your mind and heart at ease. He will take your burdens, and make them lighter. I will pray for you all.


The question is whether you need eachother. It’s often said you don’t marry the person you want to be with but the person you can’t be without.

I broke things off with my ex-fiancee because she wasn’t ready to get married and I didn’t want to do a long term long distance thing (I am in the UK, she in the USA). I now wish I had kept contact because there’s not a day goes by I don’t think about her. It would have been better to wait two or three years knowing she was there for me across the distance than to lose her completely, which is what I did.

You have access to the internet. Believe me, a relationship can last across distance and borders if you have that.

Ultimately though, if you want to marry, one of you will have to move. You need to talk to your boyfriend about where you each see this relationship moving. Doing the long distance thing will be a big sacrifice for both of you, and it’s not worth it if it’s only going to end in a breakup. After your Masters is over, and after his business problems are sorted, you will need to ask yourself whether you would be willing to put up with lower wages, a different language, culture, etc. by moving to the Philippines, and he needs to ask himself the same about Korea. That can put a big strain on a relationship. The differences between the UK and USA aren’t that great, and the immigration process isn’t too difficult for engaged couples, but that’s basically what broke up my engagement because neither of us were ready for the stress it would put us under.


Why don’t you contact her again if you are wishing you didn’t break things off completely? 2 or 3 years is very little in the scope of a lifetime commitment.


I’m not sure of what you mean exactly, but I think the long distance thing is better than moving unless you do marry. If you are not ready to marry (assuming he has an annulment, which I am pretty sure you said he was free to marry on another thread) and live together wherever he needs to be to fulfill his obligation as father and responsible breadmaker, then you should not make any major decisions based on your being together. I would encourage him to do what he needs to do for his family and responsibilities he has, regardless of your relationship. You can continue a long distance relationship until A.You decide you are the ones for each other/ready to marry and then take things from there or B. You decide to go separate ways. I have known of several couples in which one changed their plans/goals to move closer to the other only to end in a break-up and then making it difficult to get back to where they were before. On the other hand, I have been in a long distance relationship where the only time we ever lived in the same zip code was after we got married :slight_smile: so I know it can be done. I finished school, married dh, and we decided to live where dh lived already and works.


Just wondering, courage and faith. Some things are difficult but great things come out if you tackle difficulties bravely. :slight_smile: You don’t need to break up, he probably needs to go back to his country, yes, it’s going to be difficult with long distance. However, you said it couldn’t go on like that any more, so perhaps that’s the best choice. And don’t make any hasty decisions, DL82 gave you excellent advice.

I second that.

And that too, unfortunately.


Sadly, I don’t have the opportunity to contact her again. She has made up her mind not to have any contact, to move on. To be honest, I didn’t so much break things off as force her into breaking things off by acting like a bit of a jackass about her decision to call off the engagement. I hope that we might some day move on to something new together, but right now it would just be too painful for both of us, and I know I’m not ready to give her what she needs, and must respect her decision to break off contact.


That sounds really painful, and I am sorry for your loss. It’s a good sign though that you are reflecting on it the way that you are.


Respect for that.


Thanks, everyone, for your replies.
Well, he has decided not to leave Korea yet. Not so much because of me, although I’m sure I’m part of it, but because if he had trouble supporting his daughters in the Philippines with a successful business, then how on earth could he support them with a failing business? He is breaking up the business and selling the parts.

About the long-term stuff like where we’re going to live, we have been discussing it. He and I both have relatives who married people from other countries and who dealt with the problems of immigration and visas. He hates Korea, so we aren’t living here. He wouldn’t mind living in Canada, where I’m from, but is concerned about the cold, plus my family is from a small town, so he and his daughters would be the only Asians in town if we moved there.

We’re also talking about moving to Australia, because from there tickets to see his family would be cheaper.

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