Dating Abroad (국제 데이팅): Expanding the Distance – Part 5

Continuing my Dating Abroad series discussion this blog post will talk about the decision-making process me and my boyfriend made to enter into a LDR,  and our overall goal to be reunited & not let our expanding distance last forever.

In our relationship, expanding the distance was a major issue for me and my boyfriend. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and as a couple it has been one of the toughest hurdles in life that we are steadily overcoming. For the record, entering into a LDR whether temporary or long-term is not ideal for any couple because of assured hardships that may come to pass as each partner experiences life changes. However, possessing a strong commitment to the relationship as well as to each other will provide the strength for most relationships to overcome the distance between them.

Briefly mentioned in a former blog titled Confessions: Nurturing Love (육성 사랑), my boyfriend and I entered into a brief LDR in mid Fall 2015, and in early 2016 entered into a 1 year LDR.  Our brief LDR took place after I had found a new tenant to rent my Sillim-dong apartment and started preparing for my return home to spend time with my family. I remember the day we discussed the topic as if it were yesterday. On a warm fall day, me and my boyfriend met during his lunch hour in-between work in the Ewha Women’s University area. After having lunch & dessert we sat down together in a park to talk about my decision to return home.

After learning that a new-temporary tenant was confirmed, and my r/t plane ticket was purchased my boyfriend was glad that I was able to leave my Seoul life with some things in order. But, in truth I had already packed up the majority of my belongings, shipped a few large boxes by boat, and had stored some stuff with friends. What I didn’t know for certain was how we would work out going from seeing each other every other day to seeing each other in 3 months (in January 2016).

Originally, in my personal view I felt that entering into a LDR  would cause a lot of stress on both of our lives and I had lamented about the thought(*strongly influenced due to a past relationship) of us breaking up due to my decision to return home. Being open and honest with each other as we sat down in the park I told my boyfriend my worries,  letting my ice cream melt and drip on the ground.  Listening quietly to me speak his face expression was not regretful nor worried, it remained composed and stern. After I finished speaking there was a brief moment of uneasiness, then my boyfriend clasped my open hand and told me that our future’s are entirely unknown, but our feelings would not change. He told me that our feelings would not change during the 1st week, 1st month, or  1st year that I would be back in NY. Hearing those words brought tears to my eyes, and made me feel less stressed about our semi-LDR.  After listening to my boyfriend’s words I realized that expanding the distance between us was not going to create a ‘make or break‘ in our relationship. No matter how far the distance our feelings for one another would never change.

korea university fall 2014.jpg
Korea University,  Main Gate Square – Fall 2014

Speaking first and foremost with your significant other prior to your departure, if entering into a LDR, is important. Having a conversation about you current relationship will verify, clarify, and even debunk any fears, doubts, or worries a BF or GF might have.  Additionally, by openly discussing such a topic provides experience for future LDR couples to work together to solve relationship woes and hurdles, which in turn can help strengthen the relationship and the couple’s resolve to make the relationship work once the expanded distance has taken place.

By the time me and my boyfriend began our semi-LDR we had just celebrated our 1st anniversary together as a couple. Our decision to enter into a LDR was supported due to our founded relationship and close attachment with one another. Additionally, prior to our anniversary my boyfriend and I already decided that we wanted to marry one another & one day start a family. By that point we had started initial introductions about one another to our respective families.

After our initial semi-LDR, I returned to Korea for some time to take care of my stored belongings, catch up with friends, visit new parts of Korea, and off course spend long-awaited time together with my boyfriend. While my temporary stay was meant to be fun-filled, the time was also spent working out our LDR and what next steps we would each take to achieve our mutual goal of closing the distance.

Closing the distance after expanding it is a common goal for all LDR couples, whether they are new couples, long-term couples, or even married couples(*separated due to specific reasons like work). Whatever the reason for the LDR all couples should equally work together throughout both stages(*expanding & closing stages) of the LDR.  To provide some helpful if not insightful advice as a girlfriend in a LDR, I would like to inform potential LDR couples about positive reasons to consider maintaining the relationship while expanding the distance.

Here are reasons to consider why distance is good for making the heart grow fonder:

  1. Distance provides you the time to view your relationship from the outside in, as an observer & participant(*this allows you the ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses)
  2. Distance allows you to spend your former date time being more productive & taking up new if not old hobbies(*you can become more independent & find self-fulfillment)
  3. Distance helps confirm any wavering or doubts you may have about your partner, BF/GF, or husband/wife in terms of your feelings for them and vice-versa their feelings for you (*in confirming your feelings for one another you in turn hold onto your feelings & nurture them)
  4. Distance solidifies your wants & needs from your partner, BF/GF, or husband/wife(*in terms of wanting & needing a long-term partner who possesses all if not a majority of the qualities you wish for – i.e. a shoulder to cry on, a partner to listen to you, someone to provide intimate comfort to you, someone to protect you, someone to support you, someone to take care of you, etc.)
  5. Distance grants you the ability to take time in the relationship(*time to grow individually,time to grow as a couple, time to grow into life-long partners). Distance allows the couple the grace of time, without worry of rushing too fast or going too slow depending on the time that the couple allots.

Based on these 5 positive reasons that come with expanding the distance I hope that couples see that expanding the distance between themselves does not mean that their relationship cannot continue. On the contrary, it very much can. The relationship can continue and can overcome the distance, as long as the overall goal to be reunited remains ever-present.

With that said all LDR couples can struggle with enduring the distance between them. But, they have so much more to look forward to when the are finally able to close the distance. 9 months already into in my  LDR, me and my boyfriend are looking forward to just that.





*Note: All  pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Monica says:

    Long distance is hard, but I agree with you that it does have its benefits. My husband and I started dating when I was in Japan (him in Korea) so we were never together before the LDR. Within a few months of dating, we discussed our future and I decided that I’d quit my job in Japan and move to Korea, so we had a definite plan to be together without the distance. That really helped, but I did struggle a lot. I missed him and my family, and neither were in the same country. For a while, I worried what my life in Korea would be like, so I had insomnia and even though I could picture a happier life there with him, I wondered if I was making the right choice. It was a leap of faith, but in the end, it worked out for both of us, and I respect my husband a lot more for waiting for me that first year. It let me know that he was the one for me, so in our case, our LDR made us grow stronger together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yeppunshikan says:

    You must have gone though many stresses during your 1st year. As for me and my boyfriend our lives after 1 year together were filled with some worries. I guess you can say we are the young couple that worried about providing each other with an ideal secured life. But, with our worries we found strength through our support in our goals such as future careers.

    Since we both are planners we chose not to rush in terms of “marrying to stay.” I know from comments made by friends(Korean and expats) that if we got married and I stayed then we could have avoided a LDR to begin with. But, neither of us wanted that. In truth, my boyfriend and I knew we wanted to marry at different times in our relationship. He mentioned marriage early on around 3-4 months in, but I felt the same around 6-7 months in. I guess you can stay we were growing on each other by slowly taking our time.

    The expanded distance between us now is giving us that time again of calm. However, as time passes we(especially for me) are trying to make the right choices for our future together. As mentioned in my blog ‘couples must overcome experiencing life changes without their partner.’ That is one of the biggest hurdles for LDR couples. Both me and my boyfriend have experienced many new life changes throughout our 2nd year together. But, our feelings remain ever present with each passing day. Knowing this gives us strength.

    Taking a leap in life is taking a big chance. I am glad it worked out so well for you. I know in my relationship a lot of planning is needed and in the works ☺️


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