How COVID-19 affected my relationship with my boyfriend and how we got back together again.

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Hi, this is Yumi(@___yum0)

So, this post is really personal, but I thought some might be going through the same thing as I did and I hope this post helps.

To summarize, I broke up with my boyfriend during this pandemic and got back together again during this pandemic. This new lifestyle has changed my perception and lifestyle, which led to this. So I would like to share my experience and also give some advice to those going through the same thing.

Intro

Just to give you a background, my boyfriend is Khmer or for those who are not familiar with that term, Cambodian.

We go to the same university, my boyfriend majoring in Software Engineering and me majoring in Tourism Management. Pretty cool. I don`t speak Khmer, he doesn`t speak Japanese, so we communicate in English.

We`ve been together for about half a year, broke up, and then together again.

Long-distance relationship

Since my university is a boarding school, we basically stay together most of the time after class. Just watching movies together or munching onto some snacks and study together. That was our “normal” then.

And then the pandemic. At the end of March, the Cambodian government announced all schools to be closed down until further notice due to the spread of COVID-19. I decided to go back to my home country, Japan. At that time I thought it would just be like a 1-2 months leave (which was totally wrong, there`s no direct flight to Cambodia now).

I`ve never been good with long-distance relationships. So things got worse when we became apart. There are two reasons why I broke up with my boyfriend.

Stress

Being everything online, I became so stressed out with texting and calling which was also online like the others. I sit in front of my computer for more than seven hours a day for classes/internship/entertainment…and I just didn`t feel like spending time online texting my boyfriend. Now I got used to this online lifestyle, but my past self was not able to bear it.

Also, I wasn`t able to find any topic to talk about since my daily routine was repetitive.

Realistic self

I think of myself as a pretty realistic person. And this personality didn`t really work out well when it came to relationships.

When I was in Cambodia, I kinda forgot how my lifestyle was in Japan. I forgot the feeling of living in Japan and was pretty optimistic about my future.

But when I came back to Japan I felt this kind of anxiety and uneasiness. I love Japan, but this feeling kept on bugging me for years and years when I lived in Japan in the past and it still does when I come back. It`s difficult to describe, but it`s one of the reasons why I decided to study in Cambodia as well. Maybe I`ll talk about it in another post.

Cambodia and Japan is different in terms of different aspect such as culture and economy, and one thing that concerned me when I came back to Japan regarding our relationship was, “IF we decided to stay together after graduation, where are we going to live and work? He can`t speak Japanese, I was optimistic about living in Japan together, but is that realistic?”.

So here it is, the realistic part of me. It`s not a bad thing to be realistic, but it can hurt someone. I told him that I can`t see us staying together in the future because I was thinking of pursuing my career in Japan because I wanted to earn a lot and it will be difficult for us to stay together.

Change in my perception

So that`s how we broke up. I still loved him a lot, but I assumed it would be a waste of time going out if I don`t see us together in the future. Some might think, “You still have plenty of time! Just go out with someone without thinking about the future! Whether you end up with him or not, it would teach you a lot of things in life.”

Yes, that is true, but when I think about the other person sparing his precious time and money to spend time with me, I feel bad if I just go out with him easily. I also spare my time and money as well, so I only go out with people I think would be a perfect person to stay with after graduation.

So, after breaking up, I had some changes in my perception.

Stress can be managed

I started to be able to manage my stress. Although I was having a hard time online, I found a lot of ways to get comfortable with it.

These are some examples, but it might not apply to everyone.

  1. Listen to lofi hip hop when doing tasks online.
  2. Have tea with me all the time.
  3. Do some part-time jobs. Now I manage 2 part-time jobs which are not a wise decision because of the hectic schedule, but I still manage my studies and internships so it wasn`t a bad idea after all. This gives me some off-line time to communicate with customers and other employees. Human interaction is so important.
  4. Go window shopping once in a while for stress relief.
  5. Use my favorite fragrance when studying.
  6. Play with my dog often.
  7. Do something challenging every day.
  8. Write in my diary.

You can see how I write in my diary in the below post.

Here`s a link of the fragrances I use often.

There`s loads of fragrance out there, so I think you can find the best one for you. For me, smell keeps me relaxed and focused.

You don`t know what`s gonna happen in life

I sometimes see ads saying “work in Japan and get high salary,” targeting foreigners. Not all jobs are high paying, and sometimes although you`re satisfied economically, you`re not mentally.

Salary can be a motivation, but for me, I realized it`s not really important. Yes, I want to earn enough to raise kids and live, but more than that I don`t really care much. If I love the job and the salary is high that would be the best though.

I realized this because of my part-time job. I work 3-8 hours a day depending on my schedule. Not every day, but mostly every day. Since I never had the experience working part-time, I thought this was a good opportunity to do so. Thanks to the workload I am able to earn around $900 per month, but I wasn`t satisfied. Economically, yes but not mentally.

The work is repetitive. I do the same thing every single day. The first several days were such fun, learning about the work and doing it on your own. But after a while, it gets boring. Maybe it`s just my personality, but I got to the conclusion that I want to work somewhere that I can grow and try new things frequently. And most of all, FUN.

My workplace now is a great place to experience what working is about, but if I were asked whether I want to work there forever, that`s a no.

So, back to the title “You don`t know what`s gonna happen in life.”

I just assumed that I wanted to work in Japan and him not able to because of the language barrier. But there are tons of alternatives. For example, I can just work in Japan and him not. (It`s not like men have to work. I think it`s okay women working and men not.) He can find a job that can be done in all English. He can learn Japanese during the university years. We can both stay in Cambodia. We can be freelancers roaming around the world. I can stay in Cambodia but work with a Japanese company online. We could live somewhere outside of our home country.

I`m still a student. I don`t know what`s gonna happen to my life. I should not take it pessimistically. When I focused on salary, Japan was my option. However, when I realized money is not what I wanted, there are tons of options out there.

So, I told him all this and asked if we can be back again. I regretted breaking up with him. I should have had a more broader view. And that`s how we came back together again.

Lessons

Yes, I`m still a student and some might think I`m not taking life seriously. But I do not want to regret what I did. My boyfriend supported me in everything I do, and I thought I would regret it if I let him go.

If you`re stressed being away from your partner or because of COVID-19, just stop for a second before taking next action. There might be things you can do to solve it. When I was stressed, I thought I was doomed. I thought there was no way we could stay together. But I was able to get that thought out of my head.

Hope you enjoyed my post. Stay tuned!

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