As my boyfriend has mentioned time and time again – reality is harsh. For some of us less privileged and living day-to-day sometimes we may find ourselves stuck by our disadvantages and sometimes we may find ourselves blessed by newfound opportunities. Which ever way the pendulum sways those experiencing an international relationship and/or long distance relationship can understand this reality.
So what do you do if the pendulum sways and one finds themselves stuck? This is an open-thought question with no specific answer. However, it is quite relevant to some if not all who fall into and maintain an international and/or long distance relationship. If a couple finds themselves in such a scenario the two will both make decisions on how to work their way out of their disadvantages that personally affect each person or both persons(i.e. jobs, locations, finances, etc.)
For these couples working out a disadvantage could be moving across countries, leaving behind one’s family, taking time off of one’s career, spending all of one’s savings, etc. Whichever disadvantages they face one if not both individuals in the relationship will either lose some of their own self-independence and fall into dependency or the reverse(*they will gain some more independence and become less dependent).
In any relationship one’s self-independence and/or dependence in a relationship can have a strong impact on the lives of each individual. For example, in international relationships one partner’s in-country visa status might heavily depend on the support of their partner in order for them to remain together. In this instance one individual’s self-independence has been lost as they have become a dependent girlfriend or boyfriend/ spouse/ partner/ etc.
Losing one’s self-independence is one’s personal free choice. But, even though it is a choice it is not an easy one to make. As a girlfriend/ partner in an international relationship I have experienced conflicting views with losing part of my self-independence and becoming more dependent. My conflicting views arise from highly debated conversations surrounding topics such as leaving: behind one’s family, taking time off of one’s career, etc. Often received in the form of negative remarks made by those within one’s closest circles any woman (such as myself) may feel stuck in the decisions that they choose to make regarding their in-dependency and dependency. As a woman I openly feel that all women should not feel pressured or pushed to lose their self-independence within any relationship, especially an international relationship. Viewing women as an equal (50/50) companion all women/ partners/ girlfriends/ spouses/etc. should feel freely open to express themselves(*when their independence/ dependence comes into question).
In the case of new opportunities self-independence and dependence also plays an important role. For couples who are blessed with new opportunities self-independence and dependence may not be viewed as heavily as in relationships with disadvantages. One reason maybe due to the positive leverage in which the new opportunity brings to both individual’s personal choices and decisions. For example, if a partner within an international relationship receives a steady employment offer that promises job security & room for growth it can be a considerable blessing for the couple as both individual’s can actually reside or continue to reside within the same country, can both continue their chosen careers, and most importantly can be together. In this instance neither person within the international relationship will lose their self-independence or become more dependent. Rather both individual’s will not be weighed down by earlier mentioned scenarios.
Trading in one’s self-dependence to become more dependent on a boyfriend or girlfriend/ partner/ spouse/etc. is freely one’s own decision. In addition, always possessing the ability to decide and not feel compelled to choose (*between the two) is an individual’s choice. Speaking from present experience, as well as, personal experiences from close friends who have gone through disadvantages in their own relationships – it is never an easy choice to make. But, whatever choices(i.e. sacrifices) are made by the individual you or your partner should be openly there with unending support.