St. Valentine's is just around the corner and whether you are in a stable relationship, dating or single, we think this post can come handy in this pinky, hearth-shaped moment of the year. Especially if you have just fallen in love while living abroad.
We've all been there - well, not everyone, but I have.
You might not think that it will happen to you, but believe me, I told myself the same thing and life proved me I was wrong. I still remember when I fell for someone during my internship in London 10 years ago. I spoke little English back then, but I did understand the language of Love. That's universal, my friends.
Here’s what you might want to know about falling in love abroad and the lessons I want to share with you, before you let the love bug take over:
Things you should know about falling in love while abroad
1. You'll learn things about the world that you didn't know before.
Most likely, if you fall in love while studying or working abroad, you will fall for someone from another country. The closeness to that person will soon expand your vocabulary, mind and heart. You will learn things about another culture directly from that person, as a reflection, it will make you feel more connected to the rest of the world, too.
2. Recognise if it's true love.
Moving away from home for the first time is a full on experience. After the first hectic, lonely and scary weeks, everything seems to suddently get better and you'll start having the best time of your life. You will feel (almost) like a local, you will make new friends, you will find your favourite spots and you'll see your happy self reflected in the mirror morning after morning. It is easy to fall into the "loving the world syndrome" when this happen. It is even easier to mistake a flirt or a fling with true love. Ask yourself these questions to understand how you feel. How much of the attraction you feel for this person comes from the foreigner factor? Meaning: Would you be in love with this guy if you met them back home? What would your friends think about them? Would you want them to meet your parents and family?
3. Long distance will most likely happen.
When I moved to Milan for work after 18 months together, I was heart broken. I didn't know what a long distance relationship meant and there was no Facebook or WhatsApp back then. Only old-style phones and Skype but the internet was still quite expensive. But don't be sad. Some long-distance relationships do last. We went through 2 and half years apart (meeting only for holidays and weekends) and then one more year when I moved back to London before we parted our separate ways for other reasons. So, it's not impossible. It depends on how you cope with not having your other half phisically close to you every day. It's a matter of personalities and needs, I guess.
4. Time differences are a real pain
While during my first long distance relationship I was only 1 hour ahead, in my latest relationship I was in Australia and my partner was back in Europe, which means 12 hours difference. I was basically living in the future. It was a total mess. There were only a few hours during the day when we could actually speak or see each other. Of course you can leave texts and voice messages, but it's not the same thing.
5. No external pressures
One of the best things about starting a relationship away from home is that you won't get the usual external influences. Your friends' judgements and opinions won't get in the way. Your parents curiosity will also be out of the equation and most importantly, you will truly be yourself. 100%.
6. It can be all be gone in a matter of months.
I don't want to be a "F-word" spoiler. But. But, my friends, sometimes love just isn't there. Sometimes it doesn't resist the time passing, it gets broken by the distance, it weakens because of the lack of physical connections (yes, I mean kisses and sex). Sometimes it disappears because he/she will change. Some other times you will change, or more likely the both of you will change and the differences might be too wide to actually allow a relationship.
Fall in love, my lovelies, fall in love!
Studying abroad or working abroad is one of the most incredible experiences you will do in your life. Love happens. Love hurts. But you shouldn't avoid it. I’m not going to lie, it's been hard. The complications of having a long distance relationship are painful, there are tons of misunderstandings, the lack of physical contact can put an unreasonable amount of strain on a young relationship. There are financial costs involved that cannot be ignored. But you can work it all out. Trust me. You should just try to be realistic with your expectations as well as future plans. But I guess that's a universal rule when talking about love, whether you are abraod or at home. So, my ultimate advice is:
live life to the fullest, embrace love, fall in love, let love shake your world, but don't forget to love yourself more than anything else.
Have you fallen in love abroad? Share your experience in the comments!
You might also fall in love with: