Going the Distance

Going on Erasmus? Planning your J1? Your next big adventure can be an incredibly exciting prospect but when you’re leaving your other half behind things can get a little more complicated.

Long distance relationships – some try them, some avoid them, some revel in them. Take it from the one who was left behind, they’re not easy. I’d been seeing my boyfriend for eight months when he headed off for a summer working in Vancouver with a few of his best friends. The plan had been to break up when the plane left the runway at Dublin airport, but things don’t always work out the way you’ve planned now do they?.

Three months later I was standing in arrivals welcoming him home with the rest of the family, the girlfriend label still intact, but the story didn’t end there. Less than a fortnight later I was on a plane to Sweden, helping him move his life to Stockholm for an Erasmus year. Talk about bad timing.

Thanks to cheap Ryanair flights and generous parents I made no less than four trips to Stockholm that year. Nothing says I love you quite like an early morning jaunt to an airport 60 miles outside the city in the heavy Swedish winter snow. There were ups, there were downs and there were plenty of tears and laughter, but almost a year after he left for Canada, he finally arrived home. Almost two years later, we’ve never looked back.

Our story isn’t the norm, in fact it seems to be far from it. The general consensus seems to be that your Erasmus year can only consist of eating the face off as many members of the opposite sex who aren’t from your own country as is physically possible. STIs are an optional extra. If your idea of a good night out is eating face then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship, never mind a long distance one.

Now there’s no harm in window-shopping. Just because you’re not planning to ride the bike it doesn’t mean you can’t look at the wheels but if you’re after the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, then it’s probably not such a good idea. If you or your other half are the jealous type, don’t even bother trying to make long distance happen, all it will take is one arm around someone in a photo on Facebook to drive a massive wedge between you.

Don’t ever try to stop them going. If it’s what they want to do, it’s what they want to do. And never hold it against them. Nothing says dump me like “well I stayed with you even though you went off to America”. If you want to survive a long distance relationship, communication is key. Drop Delilah a line and ask her what life is like in New York City.

And don’t fret if your other half is abroad this Valentine’s Day. Sure you can always set up a Skype date or watch a movie on Netflix together to keep the love alive.

DCU College View – February 8th 2012

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