When I moved to South Korea in February this year, the hardest thing I had to do before leaving was break up with my boyfriend, Brandon. We were together for two years and things got rocky just before I left Los Angeles. He devoted less time to our relationship, barely texting or calling and rarely spent time with me, all leading to me deciding it was time to part ways. Picking up and moving to another country is hard but it becomes ten times harder when you’re trying to heal from heartache. Within a couple of months in my new home, the desire for the familiar cuddles I’d gotten used to from Brandon came creeping in and I was texting my ex as if we had never broken up. Don’t do this ladies, don’t be me.
Many of us who have moved abroad know about being homesick, lonely and in some cases traumatized from culture shock. At work during my lunch break I remember falling into deep nostalgia listening to Jhene Aiko, wishing I was back home in LA with the beach, my friends and my ex. When an ex is waiting in the wings, drunk-texting can become routine comfort and before you know it, you’re trying to piece your relationship back together, ignoring why you parted ways in the first place.
On numerous occasions I found myself using the friend card that my ex so gracefully extended to me as a crutch. Texting and sharing my life with him allowed me to have someone there emotionally without the complications of a title and I already knew how to behave in our relationship because we’d already been together. But now, I’ve started to yearn for more from the casual friendship. I’ve attached my loneliness to my ex so reconnecting with him seems like the solution but it won’t be my choice. I know these emotions are temporary, but sometimes it’s hard to see the light when feelings are clouding our judgment.
So before you take the plunge back into the ex-zone, try the following:
Redirect Your Focus
The worst thing to have is idle time. When you’re all alone, your phone taunts you with temptation. It’s easy to pick up your cell and call your ex a call. Don’t fall victim to too much free time, find a hobby, hang out with friends (even when you don’t want to) and most of all explore your new home! Isn’t that why you moved abroad anyway? Go outside, right now.
Remember Why You Broke Up
This is often easier said than done. Remembering the happy feelings when missing someone is perfectly okay, however there’s a reason you forgive but you don’t forget. Truly think about why you broke up and honestly decipher whether the negatives outweigh the positives. If the negatives beat out the fond memories, move on.
Channel Your Support System
Having a best friend (or friends) in your corner during low moments will help you stay strong. They’ll encourage you and remind you why you have to move on. When you want to talk to him or her, call up a girlfriend instead. Be strong!
When it’s all said and done make sure you really evaluate your feelings for an ex, there’s a reason why you broke up. If you’ve gone through all of the aforementioned tips and you’re still sure that your ex is the right one, then by all means go get your bae. Just keep in mind, distance, communication and each other’s wants are more important in a long distance relationship, let alone one that spans continents. Be open to discussing where things are going in the long run and either way, be patient with yourself to make the best decision.
— Charmaine Griffin is a travel blogger sharing life lessons and experiences while abroad at @_hellocharmaine.