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A few days ago I was asked about the boyfriend I had for some time during my exchange year.
“What were you thinking, going into a relationship when you knew that you had to leave?”

That’s just the thing, I wasn’t thinking, I let my heart choose for me. I didn’t want to decide anything, I didn’t want to think about the consequences that came with the responsibility of developing feelings for another person. I had been there for almost five months, and I went on my first real date. We don’t do any of that in Sweden in that way so it was the unknown that made it even more interesting too. I had never been treated so well, with so much respect before I met that guy. It was a whole different culture with traditions that are so far away from what I’m used to that it left me in shock more than one time.
I know that this is really personal but I still think that it’s important to talk about. I have never really been the person to plan ahead with a boyfriend because I never expect them to stay, I don’t expect the relationship to last for very long. That might sound crazy and sad but my past has done that to me. This situation was different, just like everything else.
I caught myself actually thinking about the fact that I was leaving this person in five months, and I felt torn. I never thought that I would be put in a situation like that where i dared to think about the future. Luckily, I didn’t have to say goodbye the day I left since we broke up a few weeks before.
A relationship like that between two people from two different upbringings, cultures, traditions, families and past, can both be wonderful and absolutely horrible.
We didn’t think alike at all when it came to reasoning about things. As a Swede, I’m very used to having a lot of close guy friends, but that is rare in America. Girls and guys don’t really have that kind of friendship in the US as I do in Sweden. Some of my best friends are guys and we talk about everything, we hang out alone without anyone thinking that it’s weird. And that is something that you have to be aware of, going into a relationship with someone from a different culture since there can be a lot of jealousy and such.
Another heads up would be about the gossiping. High school is high school, if you’ve watched the movies, you know how rumors are spread and how wrong they can be. I was accused of a lot of things during my stay over there, and most of it was false. When these stories came my way and I heard what people were saying about me, it made me sick to my core. They thought that they knew me, they thought they knew how I worked and what kind of person I was. And all of this gossiping might make it hard to have a relationship. Since you are new, you are foreign, you are different, and you’re not like everyone else where you stay as an exchange student, people will want to talk about you. Some people will want to turn people against you just because you should know that you’re on their turf.
With all of that said, am I glad that I was in a relationship over there?
Yes and no, I learned a lot, I experienced things that I had never even dreamed of. But I have never been so hurt either. I had trust issues before and I can’t say that they’ve gotten any better. Just because the way you think differs so much from the one that you might be crushing on. If I said that I regret it, it would partially be true, but it would also be a lie. Everything that we go through in life makes us who we are and I know that that relationship brought me both joy and tears. But it made me stronger as a person and I’m positive that I know more about myself when it comes to coping with situations that I’ve never been in before.
So if you fall in love, if you find a crush, if you’re really interested in someone, take a chance. You might regret it if you don’t, and trust me, you don’t want to have regrets about anything that you know could’ve ended up differently.

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