Happy Valentine’s Day! With the busy schedules and geographical distance, student relationships can be tricky. Fitting in time to see your partner can be a challenge when you’re juggling studying, societies and socialising. However, there is hope and it’s possible to make it work! Here’s the story of my overseas relationship and how two cultures can make it work, despite the distance.
There is a difference between two types of long distance relationships, which makes the ‘long distance relationship range’ quite wide. One can date someone living in a place 1 hour away by car and one can date someone living 9 hours away by plane or more. My boyfriend and I fall somewhere in between.
Here’s how a couple of two cultures can get together and make it work, despite having to deal with the unfortunate long-distance barriers (like a huge gap between two countries called ‘the sea’) and all the consequences it bears. When your passport becomes the only “pass” for you to see your boyfriend and when the airplane is the only means of transport you can use to be together, it can certainly be challenging!
Days like Valentine’s Day can be hard, especially when everyone seems to be dating and looks so happy… And here you are, dating your Spanish boyfriend living in Dublin whom you met in Belgium and seeing each other once a month for the past 7 months (no, I didn’t just make that up – it’s true!)
If you think dating someone in a different country is a mission (as if I was dating someone from my home country – Czech Republic when studying in the UK), imagine dating someone from a different country living in another different country.
We meet again, airport.
I’ve never felt hatred and love quite as much as when I’m at the airport. Both that priceless hug when you see each other after a month and that heartbreaking goodbye moment take place there. It’s inevitable and it’s both joy and sadness every time.
It wouldn’t have worked without Ryanair’s connection between Birmingham and Dublin, which is quite cheap (well, around £45 for a round trip).
How to make it work
There are many articles on ‘how to survive long distance relationship’. Of course it isn’t an ideal situation, but any relationship shouldn’t be about ‘surviving’.
Sometimes it can get hard to focus on the good things while the distance is there making things complicated and putting you off. Thinking about it as an advantage rather than obstacle is almost impossible, yet it is vital to keep the relationship going.
Try to focus on the positives of the situation – your time together will be quality time and you’ll appreciate every moment. If you travel to new cities or countries to visit them, treat it as an exciting adventure. It’s a chance to explore a new place with your partner and make some memories!
“You will end up breaking up anyway”
The hidden problem often tends to be the society or people surrounding you. Advice to stop dating someone overseas can come even from the closest to you. You should stop listening to other people’s advice and focus on what you truly feel. Understand other people’s opinions and take it on board, but don’t let it affect your relationship or sway your decision. Instead, decide what’s right for you and your relationship and try to prove them wrong:
No we don’t speak the same language, but hey, have you ever heard of English? No we don’t live in the same country, but hey, have you heard of long distance relationship and airplanes? No we won’t end up breaking up anyway, because we are committed to make this long distance thing work to prove you all non-believers wrong! Regardless on whether you live up the road from each other or you’re miles apart, as long as your relationship makes you happy and has a positive impact on your life, that’s all that matters.
This type of relationship isn’t for everybody, however, the more effort you put into working this all out, the more it strengthens the bond. You will probably have to spend a lot of time FaceTiming or WhatsApping, but every time you’ll hear that new message alert, you will smile like a teenager talking about a not-so-secret crush.
It is worth every long hour spent at the airport waiting, every penny paid for plane tickets, every lonely night browsing old photos, every goodbye and every minute because when you are finally together, nothing of the above matters and you only prove yourself that what you’re doing still somehow feels right.
If you’re worried that applying for university will end your relationship, it will influence it and can strengthen it. Be realistic about the challenges, but focus on solutions and enjoy the journey. Whether you’re already in a relationship when you apply to uni or you start a new relationship during your student days, you can make it work!
Loved this blog post? Read: “Making your relationship work at university”