Can a relationship survive the year abroad?

I've been in a relationship for 3 years now, and have decided to go on the year abroad to the USA as part of my Business degree. I am so nervous about it because I love my boyfriend but I'm worried about so many things, mainly that I will only be able to come home once in the year - at Christmas - and he can only afford to fly out and visit me once, and also that I have been told it's not a good idea to keep Skyping every day as you miss out on cultural things and having fun, but I want him to feel loved and know I'm thinking of him - has anyone who has been through this before got any advice?!

This question was asked on 9th August 2014 and has been read 41242 times.

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    So I had been with my girlfriend for a year before starting my Year Abroad. The first half in Spain, whilst a bit of a shock to the system wasn't actually so difficult, mainly due to the fact that because of the grant I got, I had enough money to visit twice before Christmas, and then only had from about the 6th of January to February after.

    However, after that I spent 4.5 months in Cuba followed by 1.5 months travelling in Central America. In that time my girlfriend came out to visit me at Easter, effectively meaning 2.5 months between when I went out and seeing her and 3.5 months between her coming out and me getting home. It was difficult BUT we managed it.

    Every relationship is difficult, every person is different so obviously I can't predict for you but it definitely can be done. In Cuba, the only way to get internet was to buy it in a shop by the half hour or in a hotel by the half hour. The only way to get WIFI was to pay $10 (£6/7) at a hotel. Which meant that we only got to speak via Skype every two weeks. On top of that, to use Skype I had to use my university's VPN which didn't always work which made things...well, you get the picture.

    The advice I have to give is probably to make the shortest gap between seeing each other the one at the end. It sucked knowing that after she came out was the bit where we had to go longest apart.

    Next, don't do long Skype sessions every day. You find out very quickly that you don't actually have that many things to say when you aren't really a part of each other's lives. Maybe a five minute Skype just to touch base and say hi, and reassure each other that you're in the other's thoughts and a longer Skype every few days when things have actually happened and you have things to discuss.

    Remember that things come up on both sides so you're going to have to be fluid with plans. Plus the time difference can make things difficult. It makes things harder but not impossible. And that in these situations, letters and postcards are really really fun and nice to receive. It can be exciting to get a long letter talking about your partner's life even if you have spoken about all these things already. And it gives you something to look forward to if you know there's one coming.

    Anyway, totally didn't mean this to be this long! Hope I helped and good luck!

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    Of course you can make it work! I'm not saying it is going to be easy at all, it will be very very hard (as I know from my own experience), but with fabulous technology such as whatsapp and Skype you will be able to keep your relationship going, for sure! I was with my boyfriend for 2 years before I went on my year abroad (to Spain) and my boyfriend went to America for his placement year. 

    At first, you do have doubts and worries... will this work? when are we going to have time to talk with the different time zones? will we fall out of love? what if he meets someone else? These are just SOME of the questions that rolled through my head once I came to the realisation that I had to spend a whole year apart from my boyfriend and I was only able to see him once at Christmas!! 

    I completely understand how you feel, you will feel anxious, but it will go unbelievably fast, I promise you. Three things that I would think about and what I realised when myself and my boyfriend were apart: 1) Trust is a massive part of your lives for the next year, if you don't trust one another your relationship won't work and I have seen from other long distance relationships, it does ruin your time away if you are constantly checking who they are with, paranoid they are with another person. 2) Communication is VITAL, Skype and Whatsapp are great forms of communication. As I was in Spain and my boyfriend was in America, the time difference was horrendous! I tried to Skype for 5 mins everyday (this might seem too much for you, it all depends on your relationship though) just to ask how he was and what had he been doing that day and vice versa. Try and find a part of the day or weekend so that you can talk, to keep your relationship alive, even if you've had a crazy day, a little text to say ' I love you' or 'I miss you' can make a hell of a difference. 3) This ties in with the last one...  Compromise... without compromise you other half could be constantly annoyed or angry that you had arranged a Skype session at 17:30 and at the last minute, your colleagues have invited you out to the Superbowl... all paid for! Your other half will have to understand that you will have things that will come up from time to time, that doesn't mean that you don't love him or you would rather be there than on Skype, you are just taking advantage of your time there. These three points were very important in my relationship, and I believe they do relate to most long distance relationships. If you both want this, it will work. 

     Your placement year is what YOU make of it, you can't constantly worry what your other partner is doing, otherwise you'll never make friends or have fun.  Even though you are not with each other, it will be one of the best years of your life and that is not an opportunity to be missed. Trust one another, communicate well and learn to compromise, three things that are easily adaptable.  

    Go out there and enjoy yourself, it will be over before you know it! 

    Good luck! 

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    My relationship of two years didn't survive our year abroad, and though it felt traumatic at the time, in the long run it turned out to be a good thing. But by the end of the year abroad I was in a different, better relationship. It's good to test relationships.

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    I was in the same situation as you, I could only see my boyfriend when I went home at christmas and even then I found it difficult balancing it with seeing family and friends, and he could only come out and see me once. 

    What I learnt (the hard way) from being on a year abroad is that all you can really do is communicate. I know it sounds obvious, but the little things helped me, like getting a French sim card so that I didn't miss out on messages or snapchats by being out and about, especially if you're out for a long time, so that you can even just have ordinary little conversations like you would do at home.

    What made it difficult for me was not telling him about what I was doing,if I was busy doing something would never really tell him anything about it, just that I was 'spending time with my friends', or if I'd had a hard day I'd brush it off and say it was fine. It's important to involve him in what you do and to make sure that he's still a part of your life there, so that he doesn't feel disconnected from his end too. It might be difficult because you're busy having fun, but it'll just become another part of your conversations.

    When he does come and visit you it's going to be awesome, he'll meet all your friends and you can show him around everywhere you've been and told him about and he'll get a great sense of your life there, and when he leaves you can tell him about going places and he'll know what you mean, so it makes it fun.

  • Lauren Stevens · 8 years ago

    I had already been in a long distance relationship between the UK and Finland for a year before I did my year abroad, so it wasn't much different for me, other than the flight between us being slightly longer and expensive. I think distance can really help you value your relationship and you appreciate your time together much more. It's also really fun to share your new experiences with your other half if they come to visit. I knew I needed some extra cash to support our relationship during my year abroad, so I decided to the English Language Assistantship to earn money and stay in Europe to get an ERASMUS grant. If you are flexible with spending money together this definitely helps, so you can help each other out when you need it.

    Skype and other things like texting are great, but I think its best to limit it so you do go out and experience the culture. Encourage him to get his own hobbies so he doesn't feel like he's just waiting for you to return. In the long term, its much healthier to maintain your own life alongside your relationship because if you do happen to break up it won't be the end of the world. I also think establishing trust before you go is very important because jealousy is not a good thing. Becoming jealous, overly protective or controlling is unlikely to help the relationship survive.

    My relationship survived, but that's because I was ready for the challenge. If you're very dependent on your other half and used to spending every waking minute with them, its bound to be harder. If your relationship can survive the year abroad, then you're probably ready for many other challenges that may come your way in the future!

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    The truth is, it will really depend on your relationship. I started dating my boyfriend two months before I left for my year abroad and we decided to give it a shot. I am now in my 4 month of my year abroad at the University of California and we are still together and still want to be and I didn't go home at Christmas. He is coming to visit in Easter. 

    The main difficulty is the time difference so you will need to plan when you will speak to each other in advance as you can't just pick up the phone. We arrange the week before when we will talk the next week but obviously you also need to be prepared to compromise if you want to do something or if they end up being busy too. 

    Communication is key. I have gotten to know my boyfriend so well in the last four months because of having to talk to each other which will make you stronger if you can make it. 

    You will get sad. It is way harder than you think, but it makes you appreciate them so much more and the little time you get together becomes very special.

  • Jacyntha Serre · 8 years ago

    Hi there! I don't have much to add to what that has been said before, just wanted to reassure you, if you are scared of that, that you can make a long distance relationship work. I'm doing my third year abroad in London and my boyfriend of three years is in France. We have seen each other a couple times only so far since August 2014. I can't say that it's easy. But as long as you love and trust your boyfriend, everything is going to be ok. We skype every two days approximately but we do not necessarily talk... My point is it's nice too to enjoy the silence - by that I mean that while skyping, he continues what he's doing (like watching TV) while I, for instance, am doing my homework. The thing is just to feel the presence, as much as there would be silent moments if you lived together. Anyways that works for us, and we don't see it as a weakening in the relationship. It's just about having a daily life even though we are several thousand kilometers away. Please enjoy your year abroad and I wish you all the luck :)

  • Anonymous Answer · 8 years ago

    My boyfriend and I broke up three months into my year abroad. We had the best intentions to stay together because we thought we had a good future but it didn't work out. Most of my friends who went abroad in relationships broke up pretty soon after going out there.. Within a month. As much as I wanted the relationship to work, long distance relationships are so much different to when you are actually together and need more work and different treatment. We probably should have Skyped more, I hardly ever wanted to because I thought I would have more fun going out and exploring my new surroundings with my new friends. The friendships you make abroad can be pretty intense and you can make good friends easily so it's easy to want to spend time with them but, don't neglect your relationship I guess,... And try not to fall for your cute American flatmate instead....! Good luck and if it's meant to work out, it will do. It won't be easy but if it's worth it, you'll do it. But at the same time, enjoy your year abroad - it's an amazing chance of a lifetime! 

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