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The Guy Line: Going Abroad – Should You Stay Together?

To whom it may concern:
I would just like to stipulate that I am a new RLEG, and I can only assume that I am slightly more of an a$$hole than the last.  Not only that, but it has recently been brought to my attention that I have a startling ability to come off as cocky and even pretentious in almost every situation.  That being said, I firmly believe that I have a plethora of insightful advice to offer and that my perspective on whatever questions you may ask should certainly be taken into consideration in whatever course of action you choose to take. 

I cannot promise you will always like the advice I dispense or the stance I take, but I will promise to always be honest, and answer questions based upon whatever experience and opinions I may have on the subject.  I also would like to clarify that all people are different.  What may be the right thing to do for one girl, may not for another.  The blanket statements I’ll be making in attempts to answer your questions obviously do not apply to every guy in the world or even at Emory.  There is an exception to every rule, and an anomaly to every gender tendency. 

Making generalizations comes with the territory of responding to your inquiries, so please don’t be offended if you find yourself disagreeing with whatever overarching judgments I may be passing. I am speaking from my perspective, my experiences, and my general outlook on life, relationships, and whatever else you may ask me about.  So feel free to disagree and/or internally tell me to go f*ck myself, but I promise that there are others who share the same opinions I do.  Now that we’re past all the introductions, ask away.  
Dear RLEG,

I’m beginning to freak out. I’ve been in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend for close to two years
now and I’m going abroad in the fall. This may not seem like a big deal since we’re already in a LDR but here’s my problem: I don’t want to hold him back while I’m gone for an entire semester, likewise I don’t want to be restrained in Europe if an opportunity presents itself. I have brought the idea of going back into an open relationship just for the semester, he wasn’t fond of the idea. He made it seem like I had almost no say in what’s going to happen with our relationship. I really love him and don’t want to lose him, what do I do? 

-Stuck and torn

Dear Stuck and Thorn,
I’m actually glad that this is my inaugural question because long distance relationships is a topic about which I have a lot to say.  This is not to say I’ve ever been involved in one since I would never consider doing that, but I do admire those who are able to make it work.  I have long been the field-playing friend, mocking the stupidity of any poor shmoch dumb enough to submit themselves to the limiting and sexless world of the long distance relationship (LDR).  I have found that in a lot of cases, people can force themselves to stay in an LDR, eventually feeling trapped in it, and inevitably being miserable and suffocated. 
From the looks of it, you don’t have this problem seeing as how you’ve already been involved in an LDR for what I can only assume were two happy years.  So hats off to you.  It’s clear that you and your boyfriend must care about each other a lot if you were able to make it two years in an LDR, which is longer, I would estimate than 90% of people who give it a shot.
That being said, you are not immune to falling victim to the situation I mentioned before.  The worst thing you can do is get yourself in a situation where you feel trapped in a relationship rather than choosing to be in one.  It is clear from your question that you have reservations about going abroad while still fully committed to your boyfriend.  I won’t tell you to absolutely choose one course of action or another, but I will say that forcing yourself to stay in a situation that your not entirely comfortable with can often put more stress on the relationship and damage it beyond repair. 

You have to consider that if you were to decide to stay with your boyfriend while abroad, something could happen that could push the relationship to a point where it cannot be salvaged.  This isn’t even to say your boyfriend cheats on you or you cheat on him, but the general stress that would be put on the relationship by the distance could change the way you view each other. 
On the other side of this scenario, if you were to decide to take a break, and go into the semester clear-headed
and free, you may after all is said and done realize you are right for each other after all, and be happy to be reunited.  As paradoxical as it may sound this may be a case where you need to take some time apart to save the relationship in the long run.  The last thing you want to do is force yourselves to stay together, only to f*ck everything up.  Some of the most mature and healthy relationships I know of got to be that way because they realized when they needed to give each other their freedom, and only came to realize how much they cared about each other through their time apart.  If I had to guess, I would say that seems to be the case here as well. 
The last thing I have to say is that you should never feel like you don’t have a say in your own relationship.  This isn’t to say I think you should start a fight over it, but if you do decide to take a break, or go into an open relationship, make sure you explain where you’re coming from so that he understands.  You don’t want to go into a semester apart being bitter, but rather mutually recognizing that this is what is best for you at the time. 
I hope everything works out for the best.  Now to reiterate my masculinity for the record, I think LDRs in general are dumb, as college should be a time of freedom and experimentation, but if you are gonna go for it, just know that it is not for the faint of heart.

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