I’ve been told a million and one times that the best way to get to know your partner is by living with them. Jared and I started living together 2 years ago and I must say, I drew a pretty good hand as far as roommates go. He’s obsessively clean, enjoys cooking, does the laundry, and is respectful of our space…all qualities I wish some of my former roommates would have had. So while I do agree that living with your partner is important in getting to know who your partner really is, it’s even more effective when you’re living together in a completely different country half way across the world.
An experience like living abroad can only do 2 things for a relationship: it can either drive you both crazy to the point you resent each other or it can build and grow your relationship in ways not previously possible. Knowing that we’ve always been stronger together, I was willing to take this chance.
Since living in Italy for 8 months, here is how our relationship has evolved:
- Trust. In order to move to the other side of the world with someone, you must really trust them, right? Coming to Italy, I was never scared or worried about my well-being and safety. Although, there have been a couple of times where I’ve felt completely vulnerable and lost in this city, to which Jared has always been there to comfort me. It’s safe to say, our trust level has grown tremendously with each other since arriving here. I know he will always be there for me when I need him.
- Fear. There are many fears I would have held on to if it wasn’t for Jared pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. The fear of jumping off cliffs in the Mediterranean in Nice knowing I can’t swim very well, the fear of skiing and wanting to quit after 5 minutes, and of course the fear of moving to another country. Although I can say I was a scared-y cat in many aspects of my life before, I can proudly say some of those fears have been washed away thanks to J who always knows how to push my limits.
- New commonalities. Since this is both Jared and I’s first time living in a different country, it’s nice to be able to experience everything for the first time together. We both came here not knowing anyone, the language, or how to manage day-to-day life. Since neither of us had an “advantage” of being here over the other, it’s comforting to know that we are both experiencing this foreign lifestyle together at the same time.
- Growth. I feel like I’ve seen Jared change more over the past 8 months than I have over the past 4.5 years I’ve known him. He is learning a new language, not afraid to make mistakes, working in a completely different field, growing his hair out(!!!) & gave up ranch dressing after using it every, single, day in the states. All jokes aside. I can’t believe sometimes this is the man I met in 2012 because of all the changes I’ve seen him go through since we’ve been here.
- Connection. Like moving to any new city or place, it’s hard to find a sense of community at first. Jared and I didn’t have any friends here or people we could just hang out with. We were pretty much stuck with each other all day, every day (before we started working). This may drive some people crazy to be with their significant other at all times, but we never got tired of it (at least I didn’t). I think it helped us grow closer, in fact, because we had no one else to turn to. We only had each other.
Coming here, I really had no idea what this experience would make of our relationship. I knew things with us were fine back home, but I wasn’t sure of the impact living abroad could have on us. Luckily, it has only been a positive one and I am so thankful to be able to share these moments with him.
What experiences have you gone through that you felt has tested your relationship with someone? Whether it be your boyfriend, husband, sibling, parent? Everyone’s story is different so I’m interested to know how what you’ve been through has helped shaped you into the person you are today.
P.S. La Casabloga is finally on Facebook! Make sure to go show me some love and go “like” and follow the page.
All my love,