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YEAR ABROAD TALES: Does Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Francesca Wren

Friday, 4 March 2022

In the next edition of our 'Year Abroad Tales' feature, Francesca gives advice from her experience being in a long distance relationship on her year and answers the question, does distance make the heart grow fonder?

In the months leading up to my move to France for my year abroad, I was asked by almost everybody I know: ‘What are you going to do about Charlie?’ One person even asked me multiple times whether I was planning to split up with my boyfriend before I left and that she could never be in a long-distance relationship again, after having split with her ex when they both left for uni. My boyfriend was asked the same questions and more. Our friends asked us if we had discussed it, if we had considered what it was going to be like living so far apart, and most prominently, if we were worried about the other cheating.

Charlie and I were solid in our resolve and answered all that we trusted each other and that we were positive we would make it through. And jusqu’ici, tout va bien (so far so good). We communicate clearly and regularly and make enough time for each other without crossing the channel every weekend.

But the same cannot be said for others.

Long distance relationships can be tough – your faith in your partner and your relationship is put to the test – and deciding what you want out of a year away is no easy task. Most of us feel pressured to make a choice before we have even left British shores, to cut the anchor and sail away or to start writing wedding invitations. I have encountered people on both sides of the spectrum while on my year abroad and, as frustrating as this advice is, it really does depend on the individual.

My counsel to anybody questioning their relationship and the year abroad is to avoid too much introspection. In my experience, pros and cons lists serve only to confuse everything further. If you feel burdened by your partner and ache to be single, a conversation needs to be had, because growing bitter towards each other is not fair on anyone. If missing your other half is unbearable all of the time, surround yourself with new friends and new experiences. Longing for home and the person you are with is natural, but when you become consumed by that sadness, you start to miss out on all of the amazing things a year abroad can offer you.

Ultimately, there are no easy answers to whether you and your partner can or will be able to exercise a long-distance relationship. Like many other things in love, the best advice is to be patient and listen to your gut instinct. The year abroad doesn’t have to be a 9-month shag-fest (unless you want it to be) and being in a relationship doesn’t have to feel like being ‘tied-down’. Take each day as it comes and put your enjoyment and your happiness over rigid expectations of what a year abroad, or indeed a relationship, ‘should’ be.

Jusqu’ici, tout va bien.


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About the Author

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Images provided by Francesca Wren

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