Heart Matters: How Long Distance Relationships Prove Beneficial When You Study Abroad
By Tess Pajaron
The general consensus these days seems to be that long distance relationships just don’t work. There are all the usual concerns about leading separate lives, not having anything to talk about anymore, connecting with different people and losing focus on the reason for the distance; your studies or work.
While these are certainly very real concerns, long distance relationships can work, and not only can they work, they can actually be beneficial to your study abroad experience and help you to learn something valuable about yourself.
If you are passing up the opportunity to study abroad just because you are concerned about what it might do to your relationship, you may need to gain some perspective.
First of all, as hard as it may be, ask yourself whether your relationship is worth giving up the opportunity of a lifetime for. If your answer to this question is “no” then you should not be giving up your freedom for it.
On the other hand, if you answered “yes” you can be fairly sure that your relationship is strong enough to survive a long distance period.
Sure, there will be the lonely moments at the end of a busy day; there will be pangs of jealousy when you see your partner enjoying life without you and there will be the emotional times when you wonder why you left home at all.
However, all of these things, as difficult as they may be, will ultimately make you stronger and deepen the relationship you have with your partner. Here are some of the main benefits that a long distance relationship can have while you study abroad:
You learn to be more independent.
A long distance relationship can teach you a lot about yourself. Many people who are in love experience such strong feelings that they think they cannot live without their other half.
Living on your own for a while helps you to realize that you can live on your own, and you can be happy doing it. Of course you love that person and prefer to be with them, but you don’t need them in order to live a fulfilling life.
This realization can actually improve your relationship, because believe it or not, co-dependence and neediness are not healthy for you or your partner and can eventually cause feelings of resentment or jealousy.
When you are on your own, you are forced to do things yourself rather than rely on another person for certain things. This helps you to discover who you are and causes you to think about your own personal values and goals in life.
You have more time to focus on your studies.
Yes, there will be the Skype calls, the lengthy emails and the moments spent thinking about how much you miss your beau. But despite this, not having your significant other around means you have more time to immerse yourself in your studies and embrace the new experience.
The time you would have spent loafing on the sofa together can be put towards your degree. You can go to the library, talk to your professors and discuss new concepts with fellow students, all without ever having to feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your partner.
Your emotional bond will be strengthened.
Many people these days place a lot of importance on the physical aspect of a relationship, and while it is certainly an important part of it, the emotional aspect should not be neglected.
Being far away from your partner gives you a chance to connect on a different level. You have to use your words to communicate rather than your actions, and this can serve to bring you closer together and help you to understand one another much better.
Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, and distance is one of the best ways to develop better communication skills.
You’ll have to learn to share your feelings as well as take the time to listen to your partner’s feelings and thoughts, and you’ll probably learn a few things about each other that you didn’t even know.
You may also have to deal with different time zones, which makes your contact less frequent, but can help you to appreciate each other more.
To sum this all up, long distance relationships are possible; it just depends on your perspective and whether or not you are willing to give up your preconceived ideas about how a relationship should be in order to make it work.
Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind Open Colleges. She has traveled to many different countries and has her fair share of studying abroad and aims to share her learnings through her experiences.You can follow her on Twitter @tessedel.
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ratemyprofessors reblogged this from apistudyabroad and added:
Interesting thoughts. Maybe going...semester isn’t so bad!
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