The Controversatory

To Leave or to Love

My working holiday visa was approved in late January.

We started dating in early February.

If I didn't know him already, I would have said 'No, I'm planning on leaving the country for three months at the end of May. Sorry, ain't gonna work.'

But I knew him already, and I had wanted this relationship for a short while. And, very unexpectedly, here it was.

So I didn't tell him about my visa. I would see where this was going first. After all, I hadn't bought my plane ticket yet. Not going was only a loss of experience, not a loss of finances or too much time.

In the back of my mind, I was constantly wondering if I should go or not. If I stayed, and we broke up, how would I feel? If we didn't break up, wouldn't it be worth it? I still have some time before I decide, I can watch where this is going.

Never brought it up. Never discussed it. Just silent, sneaky, childish evaluation.

Confetti-filled drama happened, and we decided to not date.

So I bought my plane ticket that same day, because that's what you should do when you're heartbroken.

And I thought, see? There. Now you don't have to worry about going. Life has freed you. You don't get to date him, but you get to go backpacking.

And then, with more confetti-filled drama, we got back together a few weeks later.


Most people around me expressed concern over what would happen to our relationship when I left. I had concerns too.

"So, what's he going to do when you're gone?"

Curl up in the corner and hiss at the sun until I return.
It's summer: there's plenty of sunshine to hiss at.

"Is he going to visit you when you're gone?"

27 hour plane ride. $1300 plane ticket. It's only three months. No.

"He must be a pretty good guy if he's letting you do this..."

He isn't 'letting' me do anything. He willingly jumped into this boat on his own accord.

But, if we hadn't temporarily broken up, it would have been a bit different. I'm not happy with how I handled that situation.

If you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you shouldn't give it up for a relationship. You also shouldn't hide it from someone. You should do it, but be open with them about what's going on.

You're just going to cause problems later if you drag your feet, whether that's dragging your feet at jumping at the opportunity, or dragging your feet by not including your partner in your decision.

And long distance relationships are hard, and you might break up.

And it's your life, and you might not break up.

We're still together. I'm writing this as I'm waiting for the plane back home.

If anything, I almost feel like the long-distance part of the relationship made us closer.

We'd video chat about once a week, and occasionally chat over Facebook. But with the time difference, it's impossible to do a daily 'Good Morning' message, or a good night message. I'd wake up while he was leaving work at the end of his shift. It was a 17-hour time difference; we weren't even living in the same day.

I was also dependent on wi-fi for communication, which meant in order to talk to anyone, I'd have to hang out at the hostel rather than going out and exploring. That wasn't a daily option when you're backpacking through a country and in a new city every few days. Traveling also made schedules completely unpredictable on a weekly basis. We'd schedule a chat about once a week. But it was also fun on the few days we chatted off of our schedule.

It would have been harder if I didn't know the exact date I was returning home. In fact, I ended up making him a countdown calendar for my last month away.

It also would be harder if I'd be gone for longer. But people do it. One of the girls I met had been gone 8 months, and wasn't leaving anytime soon. But their seemed to be going strong too.

But, it also could have all fallen apart. And I think you need to be prepared for that.

You ultimately need to decide if your adventure is worth the strain on your relationship.

You need to think of how you'll feel if you give up your opportunity, and the relationship still didn't work out. How would you feel then?

You also may want to look at why traveling is such an insurmountable hardship. It may mean you should look for an adjustment you can make to your travel plans, or look at issues in your relationship itself. Perhaps you can go for a shorter time, or perhaps your partner doesn't trust you enough when you're not by their side. You might find a bigger problem than just your trip.

And then TALK TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT ANY ISSUES ASAP. Even if your relationship is new or uncertain. Especially if it's not.