Don’t Fall in Love while Abroad.

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I want to say don’t do it.

Don’t fall in love while you’re abroad, because it’s almost inevitable that it’s going to end in heartbreak.

You must know it too. You have a life back home—school or a job—and this was meant to only be temporary. We can’t just uproot and move to another country to be with someone.

I want to say just stick to dates, meet some people, have some flings, but don’t fall in love.

Don’t fall in love abroad, because if it ends badly, you’re always going to associate that city with that person. You’ll end up looking back on your experience with cynicism. You’re going to hate that person for ruining those memories for you, and you’re going to hate yourself for having stepped right into something that you knew from the start was going to end in tears.

Don’t fall in love abroad, because when you go home, you’re just going to be counting the seconds until you can go back and see him or her. Your life back home is going to feel a little less colorful because that person isn’t there to share it with you. You’re going to feel like you’re not totally present—like there’s something missing.

And it’s going to suck when you realize a five hour time difference feels like a whole lot more when you can’t ever seem to both be free at the same time, or he doesn’t turn up for a Skype call, or she always seems to be out with friends, at the library, the gym, out to dinner—living a life that doesn’t involve you.

You’re likely going to break up and spend a whole year trying to get over them, only to realize that when you have the opportunity to go back, they’re the first thing on your mind.

Don’t fall in love abroad, because you’re going to waste time believing so strongly that it was the distance that broke you up. You’re going to believe that if only you could move there and be with that person, you’d live happily together for however many years to come. The problem was just that you or they “really couldn’t handle the distance,” and that was what tore the two of you apart.

But what you don’t realize is that you were lying to yourself. You were believing a lie that was easier to believe than the truth. Because when you go back and see them, you’re going to get hurt all over again—and you’re going to realize that falling in love abroad actually isn’t any different than falling in love in normal life.

On the other hand…

…maybe do fall in love while abroad. Fall in love abroad, because you’ll fall in love with the city too. Fall in love abroad, because you’ll get to see a world through another person’s eyes. Fall in love abroad, because it will open your heart wide, and you’ll become this person you never really knew you were capable of being—and it’s going to make your experience so much richer for it.

Fall in love abroad, because it’ll show you that in any part of the world, we are all just human; and even though we come from different cultures, we all know how to laugh, cry, hurt, and love.

Fall in love while abroad to learn and grow—to grow into yourself as a person. Don’t close yourself off to an experience just because it’s fleeting. Embrace it. Be thankful that you got to know what it’s like to love and be completely present and engrossed in a world away from home. Be grateful for what this person and this place were able to teach you. Be grateful to yourself for not running away even though you knew how hard it was going to be.

And be able to forgive yourself when it doesn’t work out exactly as you thought it would.

Every part of me wants to say don’t fall in love abroad, and yet if you were to ask me if I’d do it all again, I’d reply with a definite yes—because even though experience can be tainted from heartbreak, it also has more meaning because of it.

If you fall in love while abroad, it means that you didn’t just pass through a place and vanish like a ghost who was never really there. Instead, you made your mark, leaving a little bit of yourself in the nooks and crannies of the cobble-stoned streets.

And isn’t that what being abroad is all about? Taking something from the experience for yourself, but also leaving a little part of you there too.

~

~

Author: Naomi Boshari
Image: With permission from Shannon Laliberte
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

author: Naomi Boshari

Image: Author's own

Editor: Callie Rushton

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Naomi Boshari

Naomi Boshari is a Toronto-based writer, but a traveler at heart. She writes mostly short stories, creative nonfiction, and has begun to dip her toes into poetry. When she’s in a normal routine, she likes to go for runs, do hot yoga, and enjoy a hoppy beer with a good friend. You can connect with her on Facebook or at her website.

Naomi Boshari Nov 18, 2017 5:17pm

Thank you, Linda. It’s a wonderful way to live your life. :)

Linda Stenzel Nov 12, 2017 10:42pm

Beautiful artical Naomi. Life and love gets messy sometimes for certain. As I've walked my journey, I've learned to never say never.

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Naomi Boshari Nov 8, 2017 1:49am

Hit the nail on the head. Thanks for commenting!

Naomi Boshari Nov 8, 2017 12:27am

It definitely can work! ❤️

Lexi Feifer Nov 7, 2017 2:39pm

So wonderful. I’m currently living abroad and have had moments where I knew I shouldn’t develop feelings. But at the same time an experience is everything and really feeling something is part of that experience.

Kelly Granata Nov 7, 2017 11:22am

I fell in Love abroad. It was 2005 in Venice, Italy. 12 years later.. happily married with 2 children. It can work. ❤️

Naomi Boshari Nov 3, 2017 8:32pm

Hi Karla, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I think we all have different takeaways and outcomes from long distance love, and it's important to learn from our own experiences as well as others'. I appreciate your thoughts and the advice that you offer from your own life. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Karla Philo-Sophie Nov 3, 2017 2:15pm

I did fall in love abroad. And based on 4 years of serious heartbreak and the emotional and mental illness that stem from it and that debilitated and almost destroyed my life, I would say a big DON'T. All the benefits sound very romantic, but when you are in the thick of it, the costs greatly greatly outweigh and completely over shadow them. Resulting in them being cancelled out. My advice goes especially to empaths and sensitive people. Unless you or your potential partner are/is seriously able and willing to move, it's seriously not worth it. Maybe in the end, after all the heartbreak, you can look back and see some good things about it, but it will never take away the years wasted and the pain experienced. It simply does not balance out. They’re many other ways to appreciate other cultures and expand our horizons that do not involve gambling our hearts and minds. This is just my very realistic opinion based on personal experience. But kudos to all of those for whom this has worked or who took away more benefits than negatives from falling in love abroad.

Naomi Boshari Nov 2, 2017 10:17pm

People find ways to make it work! But it is difficult for sure, and eventually someone has to compromise! Thank you for commenting and taking the time to read :)

Naomi Boshari Nov 2, 2017 10:15pm

Thank you for reading!

Tracey Kenard Nov 2, 2017 8:15pm

I have a friend that not only fell in love abroad, she MARRIED!!! The distance is absolutely killing her! She spends quite of bit of $$ on phone calls & traveling back & forth to see him. I'm there for her 100%, but when she gets sad because she doesn't know what he's doing or the distance gets to her, I very gently remind her that she HAD to have thought of this point when she decided to marry a man that cannot leave his land. Very good post, by the way.

Alan Hudson Nov 2, 2017 8:08pm

Lovely. Thanks!