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Studying Abroad for a Year or More: Making Long Distance Relationships Work
I'm no expert, and I'm not going to lie or fill you with endless hope; however, I will tell you that it is possible.
Long distance relationships have been going on for centuries, some work out and some don't...
In my life, I have had 2 long distance relationships, and both of them lasted the time and the distance.
Relationship # 1: My first long distance relationship experience took place when I was in my late teens. As I had never had a boyfriend before this stage in my life, I willing decided to take the long distance challenge. In the beginning it did go very smoothly with all of the phone calls and letter writing as the Internet and email was still very much a novelty. After a few months of being a teenage enjoying her life in Europe, I soon got very tired of the whole long distance relationship thing. In the end however, I did stick it out for the year I was away and it even continued for a few months after my return.
Relationship #2: My second attempt at a long distance relationship was very different. I was heading to university, now in my early twenties, my boyfriend and I had been together for just over a year and not a month an a half in my first instance, and I was going to be coming home during semester breaks.
At first it was very hard adjusting to being apart, the long distance calls were expensive and chatting over MSN and ICQ, did fill the void but it just wasn't the same. During the 3 years that I spent studying abroad, there were times when we got closer and there was even an occasion when we broke up. In the end how did we make it work?
1. Lots of long distance calls. Back then there was no magicjack, we had to use video chat on MSN, just regular phone calls. We chatted daily on MSN and sent emails.
2. Celebrated special occasions despite the distance. Although we were miles apart, we still found ways of celebrating Valentines Day and Birthdays. We sent e-cards and sometimes little gifts via mail.
3. Be open and communicate. There were instances when one of us was depressed from loneliness and those were the most difficult times are we were unable to hold each other and add the extra reassurance that the other person needs just from seeing you in person. To fix this, we would talk for longer periods via telephone and try to do as many things as possible with our friends to help occupy the time. The more time you spend moping and alone, the harder it will be.
4. Stay committed. Because we had known that we already wanted to spend the rest of our lives together we stayed committed to our relationship and made it last through the time we spent apart. Once you have reached that stage, stay focused on the objective and jump over any hurdles thrown in your way. This is definitely one of the hardest task, but if you know you don't want to have a future with the person, set them free and don't waste anyone's time.
We did it!!
In the end, the 3 years was up after all of the time spent counting down. It has now been 6 years since I returned from studying abroad and our relationship is still going strong and we have a beautiful daughter to prove it. One thing I will say about the long distance relationship experience though, it made us love and appreciate each other more...the saying is right...Absence does make the heart grow fonder.