Real Talk

The implications of falling in love with someone in another country

I moved to Australia in 2015. I was single, and I planned to keep it that way. Long story short, my plan failed...

As romantic as falling in love abroad sounded, I wanted to avoid it for 3 reasons.

  1. I’ve always been in long-term relationships, and these were the first couple of years I had been single. I learned so much about myself, and I wasn’t ready to let that go.
  2. Having just moved to a new continent, I wanted to focus all of my spare time and energy into travel and exploration.
  3. I wanted to avoid the heartbreak of potentially breaking up due to distance if I ever decided to go back home.

Numbers one and two were a breeze, but heartbreak due to distance became a very real issue. There was a time during my two years there that I got deported (yep, you read that right). That was the first time the thought of leaving and never coming back turned into a real possibility. My boyfriend and I would see each other every day, so to suddenly find out that I would no longer be able to do that made my heart ache. It was strange to know I wouldn’t see someone I loved anymore and have it be completely out of my control.

I had to leave the country (I chose to go live in Thailand) and wait for an email to let me know if I could go back, with the possibility of no return if my new application got rejected. So when the time came, I packed my bags and we had a sad, tear-filled goodbye. We FaceTimed each other every day, sometimes twice a day, and sent plenty of memes, GIFs and pusheen cat stickers of course. We did this for a total of 3 weeks before he told me he had booked a plane ticket to Thailand. He made his way to Phi Phi Island and said he’d stay with me until I heard back from immigration. 

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He flew from Sydney, to Singapore, to Krabi, Thailand, spent the night in Krabi, took a ferry to Phi Phi Islands, got off the boat and received my good/bad news which was, “I know you just got here, but I got my visa so we can head back to Australia!”. It was chaos.

As ridiculous as it sounds, being deported turned out to be an amazingly fun experience, but the second time we went through this (which was this year) involved a bit more anxiety. This year, I moved back to Los Angeles, permanently – due to a few personal predicaments. This was astronomically harder than being deported because this time there were no “what ifs”, it was a permanent move that I was in control of. Long distance was brought up, but if you both are pretty certain that you won’t be living in the same continent for years or possibly ever, there comes a point where you have to come to terms with the decision. We acknowledged that once I got on the plane back to the US, it would mark the end of our relationship. I was shattered.

We spent my last few weeks in Australia doing our all-time favorite activities. We spent a tremendous amount of quality time together, but eventually I ended up back at the airport with my bags in my hands and tears in my eyes. We squeezed each other tight, knowing that this was the end. We didn’t call everyday anymore, but we did send a few messages here and there to check in and help each other get through the breakup. A few weeks in, we agreed to FaceTime. I was not expecting what came next.

Call him a romantic, but yet again he bought a plane ticket to meet me in a foreign country. He came to visit for a month to explore LA and see if he liked it here enough to move! It was the most amazing feeling to give him a bear hug at the airport. We had a great month together. Not going to lie, it was super tough saying goodbye again a few days ago, but now we’re talking through everything and planning out the logistics of a potential move here!

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I never could’ve imagined these crazy series of events when I first arrived in Australia in 2015. It’s definitely been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride. In the words of Contiki, I have “no regrets”, but just know that falling in love abroad can come with some major challenges. If you love each other and work through it together, it may all work out in the end. I can only speak to what I’ve experienced so far – I have no idea what the future holds, but I’ll keep you posted. Wish us luck!