College is full of new experiences and adventures. It is a time to discover and immerse yourself in interests and hobbies, meet people who bring out the best in you (or the worst), and to become the person you want to be. And if you are lucky enough to be in a relationship, good for you! Sure, sometimes being in a committed relationship can add to the stress college already comes with, regardless if you and your significant other are at the same school or tackling long distance. Whatever the case may be, it is a comforting thought to know that you have someone who loves you unconditionally and wants to be by your side.
So what happens when the time comes and your significant other chooses to study abroad? After all, it is an exhilarating and eye-opening experience that college students should pursue if they have the opportunity, regardless if you are seeing someone or not! Most fear that once they are separated by thousands of miles, it is doomed to fail. It’s easy to jump to that conclusion when you take into consideration factors such as time differences, jealousy, the physical distance between you two, lack of physical intimacy, the list goes on and on. Yes, there is a chance that it won’t work out and that your relationship will suffer. But that is not a positive attitude! The only thing standing in the way isn’t the distance, but your attitude towards it. Here are 5 ways to deal with your significant other studying abroad!
1. Trust Them
The foundation for a strong and long-lasting relationship is trust. Without it, no relationship will last long, no matter the miles that separate you two. With distance comes a lack of physical contact and intimacy. You will find yourself craving their touch, their hugs, and their kisses. You will miss them and there will be moments where you wonder why you agreed to this, if this is all worth it. It might even get to a point where you find yourself fighting temptations. But remember that they are in a foreign country exploring the culture and beauty of it, meeting new people, and attending school at the same time. Trust them to be smart, safe, and loyal.
However, if you find yourself feeling slightly suspicious or uneasy about something, don’t hesitate to talk to them about it. A relationship requires not only trust, but also communication. Your concerns should be addressed so you can be reassured or confronted by the truth. If you keep these fears and doubts to yourself, your trust for them will slowly dwindle and the tension between you two will rise. Trust your partner and allow them to trust you.
2. Put Time Aside For Each Other
No one says that you two must communicate hourly on a day-to-day basis to make it work, but you should put time aside for each other. With a great time difference between you two, it can be challenging to find time to give to your partner. Find a time that works with both of your schedules. Whether it is one hour a week, or two hours every other day, or so on, discuss a time that works with both of your time zones and agendas. With tools such as Skype, Facebook, Snapchat, texting, and even apps that are made specifically for long-distance couples, it is easy to stay in touch.
Be romantic. Be fun. Be creative! Long distance doesn’t have to be a drag. It can be an exciting way to approach your relationship. Plan video-chat dinner dates and catch up on each other’s lives. Start a show together on Netflix over video-chat. Send them a good morning text before you go to bed so that they can have something to wake up to and vice versa. Send each other postcards and letters, if your budgets allow, maybe even gift baskets every now and then. It’s the small things that are the biggest. It can be anything! With a little effort on both parts, the passion between you two will only grow. Soon they will be back in your arms and you’ll both wonder how the time flew by so fast!
3. Be Understanding
There will be moments where your partner simply won’t be as responsive as they usually are. You might find yourself getting frustrated and feel as if you’ve been left behind while they are out in a new city with new people exploring all that it has to offer. Understand that this is difficult on your partner too. Maybe you don’t have the distractions they do, but don’t think that you are being neglected. They simply want to make the most out of this experience while trying their hardest to keep the relationship between you two strong.
Not only are they practically on their own in a new country, but they also have the stress of schoolwork, of homesickness, longing for their bed and their family, and also you. Be their support system and remind them that you are there for them. There will be moments where your partner will be hard to reach and your irritation might build to anger that you accidentally take out on them. If you find yourself getting to that point, take a second to step back and remind yourself that if you were abroad, they would be giving you just as much support as well.
4. Focus On Yourself
Take this time apart to focus on the things that make you, you! People tend to become so invested in their relationships that they start neglecting the things that made them happy before they met their significant other. A relationship should not be about forfeiting who you are as a person until you become dependent on your partner to be whole. A relationship should be about two independent people coming together to support the other in all of their endeavors.
So pursue these endeavors that you slowly pushed to the backburner! Use this time to invest yourself in your hobbies and to find new things you are passionate about. Go out with friends, they probably miss seeing you as much as you miss seeing your significant other. Spend time with your family. Focus on your schoolwork or profession. Go out and explore. Give in to your desires. Do things you never thought you could do but always wanted to. You might end up surprising yourself.
5. Be POSITIVE!
There are so many things can go wrong. But there are so many things that can go right. Stop letting fear control you. It is okay to be anxious. It is okay to be afraid. After all, nothing is guaranteed. But that is exactly why you should not let your fears overcome you. Bring a positive attitude to your relationship. The only thing negativity does is create tension within the relationship. And that is not something you should bring to it.
Distance is a grueling obstacle to face, without a doubt. But a relationship is only a reflection of the effort put in. It is only as strong as the obstacles and challenges it has had to face. Nothing good comes without a little patience, determination, effort and faith. At the end of the day, love does not know distance. It only longs for the heart that it loves. So send your partner off with a kiss and count down the days until they come home.