Since genetics and gender roles alike have destined men and women to be exasperatingly incongruous, living with a boyfriend under any circumstances will most assuredly be a challenge. When you throw in living in Africa, oceans away from friends and family, and in the midst of a culture so strikingly different than your own, things are bound to become a bit more complicated.
But, have no fear, because it can be done! Follow the tips below and you are guaranteed to have a fulfilling relationship in Africa with more than a few adventures along the way.
Try to participate in activities without each other: It’s entirely too easy to fall into the habit of relying on each other for a social life, but this isn’t a very healthy dependency. Associating with different people and being involved in different social events gives you alternate outlets for your hopes, worries, and frustrations, provides you with things to talk about when you’re back with your boyfriend, and gives you the space you need to feel like an independent person. If he’s your only friend, things can become bland, and most possibly spiral downward to end up in a breakup. If you were to see this page, you’d be surprised at how much common activities come into play for a stable relationship.
Set aside purposeful time that is just for you two: When you live with a boyfriend, you conveniently have a best friend at your disposable. After a long and frustrating day in Africa, it takes a lot of motivation to venture back out of your house, but sometimes having date night is vital to the relationship. Taking the time to do your hair, dress in something pretty, and have dinner at a nice restaurant keeps the specialness in the relationship alive.
Be an encourager, not a downer: In an impoverished, third world location, there are so many things that can and will go wrong. And if you are at all human, these things will at some point frustrate you, possibly to the point of wanting to hide in your bed for a few days. But you need to remember that both of you are experiencing the tough times together, and if you are both making an effort to stay positive and encourage each other then the whole experience will be infinitely better.
You HAVE to communicate: With so many frustrations, you might try to keep things bottled up in order to appear to be strong. However, if it’s a continuous or recurring worry or fear, you have to talk to your boyfriend about it because it’s not going to go away. If he cares about you he will try to understand and will help you through it. If you keep silent, on the other hand, he’s bound to notice your anxiety and he could think it’s him you’re not happy with.
Make sure you are both there for the right reasons: It’s understandable if one of you followed the other for work or travel reasons, but at some point you need to make sure you are both there because you truly want to be, and not just because the other person is there. It’s easy to quickly descend into resentment and bitter feelings once you discover that you are unhappy with where you are, even if you are still in love with your boyfriend.
Know when to call it quits: That being said, it’s important to do something about it when you realize you are unhappy. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must immediately break up, but it could mean both of you moving somewhere else or entering in a long distance relationship. No matter what, the decision should be openly and thoroughly discussed with your boyfriend, and all attempts made to collectively reach a decision that both of you are comfortable with.
Rest easy in the knowledge that everyone would find this situation hard. But if you can manage to live in Africa with your boyfriend, even for a short time, without wanting to kill each other, you will be more than adequately prepared for any difficult challenge you come across in the future.
Are you a couple residing in Africa? Leave us a comment below on how it’s been!