Relationships are great, but they also take work. When you throw distance in the mix, it only causes trouble.
At the end of sophomore year I decided to study abroad, and I knew I was about to spend the next three months living the life. With a nickname like Il bel paese, Italy was going to be not only beautiful but also an adventure, a romance, a dream.
If you know me, you probably have seen me walking around the pathways of Bryant with my boyfriend, Brandon. We started dating at the end of our freshmen year and are still together today. So, when I broke the news that I would be across the pond for a few months, we both knew that it was going to be the biggest challenge of our relationship.
Talking with Bryant friends and those that have had experience with a ‘long-distance-relationship’, I was enlightened to the surplus of prospective difficulties a few miles could create. There were the typical horror stories of long distance cheating. Then the issue of finding time to talk when there is a time difference. Yet what concerned me the most was that I didn’t want to miss out on anything during my experience.
Studying abroad is a time to face your fears and get outside of your comfort zone. I thought about both myself and my boyfriend and came to the conclusion that my time spent abroad, and my boyfriend’s time riding solo here at Bryant, would both be better spent if we were single—then we could both do our own thing and worry about our relationship when we were back together.
Of course, my boyfriend wasn’t quite keen of the idea. In fact, when I tried to ask for an intervallo, or a break, he refused. I guess the idea of me gallivanting around the Tuscan streets single wasn’t an option.
As you can imagine, distance-dating is challenging. On top of that, many study abroad locations do not own the best internet service and long-distance calls or text messages are not cheap. The last thing you want to do is spend an entire semester abroad in front of a computer screen hoping your significant other will pop up on Skype.
Hopefully I don’t come off too heartless, but I believe going abroad is an important and meaningful adventure. You are embarking on a new culture and exploring a foreign language, unfamiliar traditions, and an unaccustomed lifestyle. Yet, more importantly this is an exciting journey with no physical destination—discovering yourself.
Relationships are great. But don’t forget that you will be making amazing friends abroad too. If your relationship can handle the distance, then do it. But it’s not for everyone. My relationship survived, but it wasn’t always easy.
There are temptations and it is important to first evaluate yourself. What do you want out of this experience? Do you trust yourself? If you’re the type that will stay in at night to call your girlfriend versus hanging out with friends in the center, you should consider being commitment free while not here. Being away from friends and family is far more than enough stress. You don’t want to have to deal with the typical ‘forgetting to say goodnight’ fight or uproar about some photo that was uploaded to Facebook.
Thus, when studying abroad, make the best decision for your relationship. Know yourself and know your significant other. Time apart can be mended but broken trust cannot. And as the saying goes: If you love someone set them free, if they come back it was meant to be.