Sex and The Cynic

It’s Time to Fly Solo When Crossing the Pond

Two stories. Both inspirational. Both educational. Both TRUE.

Story #1:

My friend Ariel went abroad to Italy junior year of college. While there, a handsome Italian laid down his A-game and two years later I was invited to their wedding…in Rome.

Story #2:

My sister was dating this guy for nine months, and when she went abroad to Paris junior year of college, she broke up with him. Four years later, and they’ve been married for three months, and I was the maid of honor in the wedding.

The key element that links these two stories together is that fact that in both cases, these girls were SINGLE when they went abroad, and great things happened to them. Being a junior myself, and in the midst of out-bound students who plan to go abroad, I’ve been surrounded by this pressing issue.

Couples everywhere are asking themselves what to do about their relationship when the time comes to, pardon the clich?©, “go find themselves” in Europe or elsewhere. Based on these two tales, and my own ventures abroad, I’ve come to the conclusion that staying together when going abroad is a disastrous idea.

Though the idea of going abroad has become romanticized as some great venture into the soul where you find the true meaning of your existence, it is undeniable that it will change your outlook on life slightly. This is not to say that you will return to your old life a completely new person, but it is true that experience shapes who you are. And the experience of leaving everything you know and embarking on an expedition into the great unknown by yourself is sure to make a scratch on your psyche.

Given this, you are able to be selfish when you go. It’s all about YOU. Trying to take in the whole experience while ALSO maintaining the infamous LDR (we all know how I feel about those) is absurd. In order to truly absorb all there is to absorb in a new country, it need not be interrupted by the 100-meter dash to the nearest payphone to share it with your significant other, and of course tell them that you still love them.

Part of throwing yourself into the culture of a new place means joining the social scene as well, especially if you are in your early-twenties and in college.

This entails going out at night, meeting new people, making new friends. Whether or not this leads to the eruption of a relationship, as in story #1, jealousy will become a huge issue between the two of you.

It is inevitable, and you will find yourself presented with a self-inflicted ultimatum: Cease all social endeavors, thus compromising your experience abroad; or continue evolving your social life, and hope the jealousy does not morph into a break-up.

This leads to yet another obstacle when going abroad attached: the mid-term break-up. A bad break-up anywhere is messy, emotional, and hard.

If you end things peacefully before leaving, with an open ending, there will be little to no drama to taint your trip. But, if you do chance the weather, and things don’t work out, you will be dealing with the disintegration of your relationship in a foreign country.

As afore mentioned, a peaceful break-up presents an open ending.

Evident in story #2, breaking up before going abroad does not necessarily mean that it’s forever.

It can be only a pause before spending the rest of your life together. If you are truly compatible, and belong together, neither of you will let five measly months apart destroy your fate.

I recognize that it is scary to up and leave all that is familiar, especially the love of your life. But, in agreeing to go abroad, you must take it for all that it is worth.

You cannot half-ass what could be the greatest time of your life.