Alone not Abroad

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

How do I cope with my significant other being so far away?

We knew that studying abroad would have its fair share of trials, but this seems like too large of a burden for my heart to carry. We have always been trusting of one another—strong on our own and even stronger together—but now it seems that we are both relying on someone who isn’t even available for a simple “Skype date.” Our times never match up and one of us is always having to stay up too late (me) to make time for the other.

I want to do well in all my classes, but not having my SO here makes it that much more difficult to focus on my studies. I’ve even considered telling them that we need to take a break, but don’t want to ruin their study abroad experience.

I feel so broken and hurt and jealous, I don’t know how to make us both feel better. Whenever we do talk, it always leads to one of us arguing about the other ignoring us, or a jealous accusation of spending too much time with our “friends.” I can’t help but fear that maybe we didn’t get the chance to form a solid foundation before they left, but I know we have something special. But nothing is more painful than spending time with friends, getting inebriated at a Reed event, and sending out an “I miss you” text, only to receive a “same.”

I don’t think I can do it anymore Miss Lonely Hearts, but I also can’t stand the thought of losing them or them being with someone else. Please what should I do?


Alone not Abroad


Dear Alone not Abroad,

Being a continent and an ocean away from a significant other will never, ever be easy, no matter how solid the relationship. With that in mind, I don’t think you should blame these feelings or this situation on not having a solid foundation built before your SO jetted across the world. Long distance relationships require a lot of effort, so both you and your partner have to decide if you’re willing to invest the time and energy to make it work.

On the bright side, it sounds like you’re already on the right path with weekly Skype dates. You obviously have to stay in touch, but also have to allow each other to live your lives. Texting constantly will take away from your studies at Reed and will distract your SO from their wonderful, international experience. Skype, then, is the perfect solution. It sucks being hours apart in time difference, but taking turns in who stays up late might help the situation—that way it’s not just you resenting your partner for taking away your precious sleep.

As far as your studies, take time to reflect on why the absence of your SO is taking away your focus. Are you constantly thinking about last semester, wishing they were still at Reed? Or are you thinking about what they’re doing without you? It’s totally understandable for you to feel lonely, or even a little bit abandoned, but in order to make your relationship work, you can’t fixate on their every movement. While spending 24/7 at Reed might’ve made for the perfect relationship last year, learning to spend time apart and still appreciate and love each other will make you even stronger. After all, nothing grows when it’s being smothered. It sounds like you two already have a strong system of trust, and you just have to pretend that it’s all the same, even a world away. If you know that your relationship is something special that can survive this drought, don’t leaf them.

That being said, if you don’t see an end to the misery and can’t figure out how to make it work, it’s not irresponsible to take a break as long as you’re both on the same page. Many long distance relationships have started out as “breaks” or open relationships and have ended in heartbreak because one person wasn’t fully on board. And you shouldn’t put your feelings completely aside for your partner. Even though they might not be settled in their new city, taking a break might actually be the best thing for their semester as well.

While you might be going through a rocky patch in your relationship, if you’re able to make it through your SO’s semester abroad, I think your relationship will ultimately blossom. Think of your SO as a Canyon cat: it might disappear into the brush for a semester, but it will ultimately come back to you.

Much love,

Miss Lonely Hearts