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Should You Stay in Your Relationship When You Study Abroad?

Relationships can be tricky things, especially when you are in college. You are young, just getting out into the world and getting your first taste of freedom. For some, being in a relationship can mean feeling like you are tied down while for others a significant other can feel more like an anchor to home.

College relationships are tricky enough when you are both in the same town or at the same school. What about when you study abroad? Distance can often make a relationship notoriously more difficult. So what should you do? Should you stay in your relationship when you study abroad? Or should you break up before you leave?

Read on to learn some of the factors you should consider when contemplating this decision.


The first thing you need to consider is how much you trust each other. First, contemplate how much you actually trust your partner. Do you trust them enough to stay in a relationship with them when you are going to be out of the country for a prolonged period of time? Do you think that they might stray if you are not there in person to keep them in line? Do you trust their decision-making skills not only in matters of fidelity but in their own life decisions?

Many people are surprised when they realize that they do not trust the decisions that their partners make on their own in regards to their daily life, school, and even their career — and this can be a warning sign that this relationship might not be so healthy or the right one for you even if you were not going to study abroad.

Then you should consider and even discuss with your partner whether they trust you when you are studying abroad. If your partner is constantly suspicious of you and your movements, it can really put a damper on your relationship.

Will your partner be paranoid if you do not text and call them every day? Do they feel that they need to know everything you do with blow by blow descriptions of your actions? Do they feel that you need to ask them for permission before going out and engaging in social activities?

You should know what they expect before you go so that you will know if you feel comfortable engaging in everything that your partner wants you to engage in in order for them to feel secure about your relationship. You want them to feel secure in your relationship but not at the cost of your study abroad experience. You do not want to let a relationship or any resentment stemming from it mar your time abroad.

Finally, you should consider whether you trust yourself well enough when you go abroad to stay in a relationship with someone staying behind. Do you think that temptation might be too much and that you might stray? Do you think that being away from your partner will be too much of a temptation for you? If breaking your partner’s heart due to infidelity or deception does not appeal to you, then perhaps breaking off from your relationship before you go abroad will be healthier for everyone all around.


Another factor to consider when deciding if you should stay in a relationship while studying abroad is your commitment to each other. How long have you two been seeing each other? How serious is your relationship? How committed to each other are you?

Some people stay in relationships because they are comfortable or because they like knowing that they have someone, anyone at all, simply because it is better than being alone. So how much do you care about this person that you are leaving behind? Do you really care whether or not you are in a relationship with them? Are you interested in experiencing the local culture as authentically as possible, getting to know not only the food and history but the people of this place as well?

Do you think your relationship has the potential to be something more, something worth waiting and fighting for? If you do, if the relationship is important to you, then you will find a way to make it work. If you do not, then maybe pulling the plug on the relationship earlier rather than later would be best.


The last thing that you should consider is how much time you will have to upkeep a relationship when you are studying abroad. Your time is generally jam packed. You still have school and homework to keep up with and you are often learning a new language and culture (depending on which country you are studying abroad in). You are having the opportunity to do and experience new things and travel to new places.

Will you have time for the maintenance your relationship might need in order to survive your study abroad experience? Like I said before, it is very important to understand what exactly you and your partner need from each other in order for the relationship to last the distance. And if you do not think you will have time for it … your relationship might not survive, making it better and easier to just end it before you leave.





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