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Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« on: May 03, 2013, 12:30:57 am »
Hello all.

It has always been my intention to try out teaching English somewhere and now that I have graduated I am keen to do it.

I have a girlfriend of 4.5 years and we're really good together, happy etc. I have asked her if she would consider it but she is dead against the idea going. I however am still bursting to do it. In fact I've already started gathering documents etc.

She says she doesn't want to stop me going as it'll end up with me holding it against her at some point, which is quite possible I guess.

What I'm asking is has anyone else been in a similar situation and if so how did it play out? I can't help but feel going to Korea would be the end of the relationship one way or another. That isn't really what I want at all, but I know I need to get the whole TEFL thing out of my system. It has been on my mind all through university.

It was a choice between whether to start this thread here or on Dave's. I chose here, it seems slightly less manic depressive and almost cheery in comparison.

Advice and mockery are equally welcome.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 12:34:07 am by melted_banana »


  • SRon
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    • August 31, 2011, 07:57:36 am
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 07:39:41 am »
In my nearly two years here I've met a lot of people who have partners back home. In most cases they pass out the year with very little problems, except obviously loneliness and in some cases mistrust. I think you can for sure spend the year aprt without ruining your relationship as long as you have a serious discussion about what the year apart means. One or two people have quit contracts early due to people waiting at home for them, so I would think very carefully about if you would be one of them.


  • mikeD
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    • March 31, 2013, 07:46:49 pm
    • Geoje, South Korea
Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 08:46:34 am »
I have been with my girlfriend for the past 8 years. She is not with me in Korea but does plan on coming here within the next 6 months. She would not be coming here if I was not here but she wants to comtinue to experience the world with me. We have been to many countries together and it is quite an experience to travel with the one you love. As for being apart. Last year I did not live in the same city as her for 8 months because we had commitments we needed to fulfill. It was not too difficult, you get use to being alone and it can actually be quite health at times. Another time I went to study in Singapore while she stayed in Canada. Now I will be in Korea for 6 months before I see her again. It gets easier and can be good for your personal growth. You can definetly make it through the year if you are truly commited to her and her to use. THere can be a lot of temptation when you are alone for that long. Hope this helps. Best of luck with your relationship and work plans.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 12:38:44 pm »
I was in a similar situation to you when I was first contemplating coming to Korea. My girlfriend and I had been together for about 6 1/2 years.

I ended up making the decision to come here for a year, and she supported my decision. I think the year would have been doable, but I decided about six months in that I wanted to stay for another year and we drifted apart over the next few months.

Now she's happy back home, and I'm happy here. We've both moved on.

Life pulls you in strange directions sometimes. My philosophy is that it's best to pursue the opportunities that you want to take. In the end your life is your own, and it is what you make of it. I have never regretted my decision to come here, or to stay on.

In the end, you've just gotta weigh things up. Be aware of the fact that moving here might mean and end to the relationship. Make your decision accordingly.


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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 07:50:03 am »
I've known two people who came here with relationships back home. Both cheated. Now, I'm certainly not saying you and your g/f are that type of person, I just have terrible friends. The point is that it'll be really tough and challenging on both ends.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 10:47:07 am »
I have heard no good stories about having a relationship back home, sadly. My one friend had a Korean-American girlfriend back home and they ended up splitting up. My other friend liked a woman that had a boyfriend back home, she ended up playing with his head for a while and then she finds out her boyfriend cheated on her, a train wreck soon followed.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 11:35:06 am »
Just my 2 cents: Come to Korea. Leave your relationship behind.

I know that you two have been together for a long time, and I know that means something. But, you are young, and teaching in Korea is something you are passionate about, and long distance relationships are a terrible, terrible pain destine for failure.

I had a High School sweetheart for all 4 years of HS. Granted, our relationship took place when we were younger than you two, but 4 years is still a long time for any relationship, and I would like to think that we were a bit mature for our age.  :afro:

When it came time for us to go to college, I broke up with her because I knew that we would never work out long distance, not at that stage in life. It was hard for both of us, but now (10 years later) we are still good friends and her parents treat me as if we never broke up.

I am telling you this to illustrate how a healthy breakup can be conducted. If you come to Korea still in a relationship, then the chances of someone cheating or someone getting crazy jealous are very high. Not an ideal end to the relationship.

Best of luck.




Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 11:50:34 am »
I have heard no good stories about having a relationship back home, sadly. My one friend had a Korean-American girlfriend back home and they ended up splitting up. My other friend liked a woman that had a boyfriend back home, she ended up playing with his head for a while and then she finds out her boyfriend cheated on her, a train wreck soon followed.

Same here.  I've seen it.  It ends badly. 
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


  • jmfullbright
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    • April 24, 2013, 09:26:40 pm
    • Gwangyang-eup, South Korea
Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 11:07:52 pm »
Well, if you are planning on keeping a long distance relationship with your girlfriend while you are in Korea... for a year, without being able to be together.... I would say you either have an incredibly strong relationship or you are fooling yourself. And as someone who has fooled himself many times I will warn you, that it is not going to work out, trust me.
But, I assume you have a very strong relationship. And I would have tell you in this case, moving to Korea is probably not worth straining this relationship... honestly. I can tell by your excitement that you're expecting Korea to be something it's not. If your attached to someone back home you may instantly regret coming.
That being said my blunt advice would be to ditch the girl and pack your bags!  :smiley: but make sure you research your options well before coming. If you want to save some money while teaching, would like to have most modern conveniences and would like to eat kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner... then by all means come to Korea! you won't regret it. But if your in it purely for the experience with little money, you don't mind a lack of modern comforts and would like a bit more exciting living environment I would look into South-East Asia (Viet Nam, Thailand, etc.) Just something to keep in mind... The fact that you're already gathering documents means your coming! 8)


  • Harpoinseoul
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 11:26:43 pm »
Sam Keen in his book Fire in the Belly- On becoming a Man, talks about how in life you have to answer two questions:
1. Where am I going?
2 Who will go with me?
If you get these two questions in reverse order, then you are screwed!

What I see is someone who wants to explore the world and have an adventure abroad. What you have to ask yourself is this:
Does your girlfriend have some desire to travel, or does she want to set down roots? Are the two of you compatible? Are you heading similar directions? Only you can answer that.

This decision is one of the biggest you make and may be very pivotal, and may be one that you live to regret. I guess that you have to back up and see the big picture. When you are 70 years old, and looking back on this day, what might you imagine yourself thinking about this decision?

Sounds like you are very torn about this. I wish you clarity to make the best decision that you can.
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 12:57:23 pm »
Korea is actually a great example of this. As you know, in Korea there is a mandatory military service, just under 2 years long.  They say the relationship break up rate is insanely high, and this is with them being in the same country! (not much contact, but they still have certain holidays off and occasional use of their phones)

Though the waiting is hard, I think the real problem is the change that occurs. They say when you return from the military that you become a different person. I believe it's the same when you go abroad. Your perspective changes. In some cases, you become more mature. Either way, you are different.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 06:37:53 am »
Thanks for the replies. It has been helpful.

We've had a couple of talks about it in the past few weeks, we're still at a standstill and I am still collecting my documents. I'm now at the apostille stage.

Make of that what you will  :police:


  • livzy
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 11:27:09 am »
It seems odd that you're so close but have such different directions you want to go in? There seems to be a disconnect somewhere but I won't assume by telling you what that is; only the two of you can decide.

Good advice is ~
to research the school/s (not the recruiter; they're all pretty similar);
to come with an open mind, things are done a bit differently in other countries and the decisions don't always look logical to a westerner;
to expect some of the students to be great, some average and some bad;
to expect some bad times as wells as good;
to be prepared to do some work when you're out here, it's not a case of just standing up and wowing them with your vocabulary and pronunciation.

Bear in mind this gig ain't for everyone, but it is enjoyable for most of those on this forum.


  • BTeacher
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 03:16:40 pm »
That's a tough call that I don't think anyone but you can make.

I would advise you to keep your expectations in check. Coming to Korea is a bit of a gamble, as you are probably aware. You may get placed in a great school/location & end up loving it, then again, you may not.

Most likely, it will be a mixture of good and bad, depending largely (though not necessarily) on your attitude & ability to adapt. At the very least, you should be able to save a significant amount of money and travel afterward.

I'm curious as to why your girlfriend is so dead set against coming--does she have a great job lined up? On that note, where would you be working if you didn't teach overseas? One of the major reasons I came to Korea is because I could not land a decent job back home. I could get work, but all the jobs were terrible compared to teaching in Korea. But, again, it's a gamble. I got lucky. Twice. Not everybody does.

I doubt this helped. Sorry about that.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 11:40:10 pm »
I thought I'd give a final update on this since there were a lot of helpful replies.

It seems odd that you're so close but have such different directions you want to go in? There seems to be a disconnect somewhere but I won't assume by telling you what that is; only the two of you can decide.


This is certainly a valid question. I guess it just comes down to us having different aspirations in what we want to do career wise. We're not just partners we're best friends, there isn't any ill feeling from either side that has caused this situation to arise. We're both committed enough to work around it and have complete faith and trust in one another. It'll definitely put a huge strain on the relationship but if we get through this we'll get through anything, we are trying to look at it positively.

That's a tough call that I don't think anyone but you can make.

I would advise you to keep your expectations in check. Coming to Korea is a bit of a gamble, as you are probably aware. You may get placed in a great school/location & end up loving it, then again, you may not.

Most likely, it will be a mixture of good and bad, depending largely (though not necessarily) on your attitude & ability to adapt. At the very least, you should be able to save a significant amount of money and travel afterward.

I'm curious as to why your girlfriend is so dead set against coming--does she have a great job lined up? On that note, where would you be working if you didn't teach overseas? One of the major reasons I came to Korea is because I could not land a decent job back home. I could get work, but all the jobs were terrible compared to teaching in Korea. But, again, it's a gamble. I got lucky. Twice. Not everybody does.

I doubt this helped. Sorry about that.

I completely understand the expectation thing. It's hard not to get carried away. I've read up enough to know that it isn't going to be one big party. I think I'm level headed enough to cope with difficult times.

Her main reason is that she is really family orientated. The way she was raised was the complete opposite to me. Her family has always been about living nearby relatives and being together in big groups for events etc. My immediate family moved away from the rest of our relatives several years ago and I guess I have picked up some of the same traits. She also has a pretty good job that she isn't too keen on leaving behind.

The current plan is that she will stay at home for 6 months saving what she can from her job and then come over on a tourist visa.  From then we might look at landing her a 6 month gig if she feels she will enjoy it. After my 12 month contract we'll just see what happens whether that's staying for another year, doing some travelling together or going back home. We're both mature and we value what we have so we're thinking we will be able to make it work while we're apart.

I realise this is really idealistic but that's all we can be right now.

I've been offered a position this week and it's 95% certain I'm going to accept it. I'll keep this thread updated on how things go if anyone is interested. It could be a confirmation of how strong our relationship is or it could be a hilarious disaster. We'll see.


« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 11:43:08 pm by melted_banana »


  • Cereal
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 08:44:55 am »
You're both very young. You've been dating for a few years, which means you were extremely young when you started your relationship.

Once you leave the comfortable and safe confines of school and get out into the real world your relationship will undergo many stresses and strains. So much so, that the chances of your staying together till death do you part are nearly zero.

Add to this the clearly different goal paths you have: travel and explore vs. stay home and settle down, your chances of staying together are nil.

Leave her and keep loving her, but move on. In the long run, you will both be happier.
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
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  • fishstick
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Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2013, 05:59:16 am »
I faced a similar path several years ago. I had been dating someone for 6 years when I planned to teach abroad (alone) the first time, to avoid animosity. We are no longer together. Ask yourself what you cannot live without: her or the experience of teaching abroad.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2014, 07:35:37 pm »
Megabump.

I came to Korea in September and we ended up breaking up last month (my call). Looking back I can see how I should just have ended things when I left. It would have saved a whole lot of hassle and wouldn't have wasted 6 months of our lives.

Contact just gradually decreased as the months went by and it wasn't long before I felt completely detached from the relationship.

Maybe this thread will help someone else in a similar situation.


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2014, 08:10:41 pm »
depends on the two people involved, I know equal numbers who broke up before they came, and who are fully committed to their partner despite the horrible distance, but those people (including myself) will return home after a year, or like myself, I'm planning to work in Spain after korea, with my girlfriend. She's going to be in Indonesia this year. We're both from the UK


Re: Want to go teach, girlfriend doesn't.
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2014, 07:42:50 am »
Just my 2 cents: Come to Korea. Leave your relationship behind.

I know that you two have been together for a long time, and I know that means something. But, you are young, and teaching in Korea is something you are passionate about, and long distance relationships are a terrible, terrible pain destine for failure.

I really believe this depends on the people involved and the expectations. I was in a long-distance relationship for 1 year and am now married to that person.

I'll say at the year mark it started to become very difficult, but we were able to get back together after that.

If you want to stay here one year, it could possibly work out for you! If you decide to stay multiple years though, well you and your girlfriend might need a serious talk about your futures together.

Good luck!

Edit: Necroposts are so common on Waygook that I'm going to need to start looking at dates every time I click a thread...

I'm sorry to hear that things didn't completely work out. Long distance is one of the most difficult things you can do, but take a bow for sticking it out even that long! I hope that overall though, you don't have any regrets.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 07:46:40 am by RabiteAmbulance »