Something big that’s changed in my life recently is that my girlfriend has finally fallen for me. This means that I no longer ever really feel lonely here in Korea, even though my social life has dwindled to my girlfriend and one other solid foreigner friend, with a few other foreigners and Koreans who I see from time to time. BREAK

This means that I have stopped putting the effort in to form new friendships, which I spent six months doing. I want to put my time into the relationships I already have, and spend my remaining time on personal projects rather than having all my free time absorbed by a social life. I got really bored with that. The problem with this is that my current situation could disappear quite fast. My best foreigner friend will leave Korea for good in April, and my girlfriend and I might break up. I think this is okay, because I feel free to leave Korea if I ended up lonely again. My best foreigner friend has been here for five years and he’s had to go through the rounds of making new friends over and over because people are always leaving, but I’m not willing to do that nor do I feel I have to. I’ll just leave. I recognise that this present way of living in Korea with these people who I am close to will not last forever, in fact will not last all that long at all, even if the relationships themselves survive its ending.

The fact that my girlfriend has fallen for me makes me feel a certain amount of responsibility. The cost of that steady companionship is that the relationship is no longer just a casual someone who I’d like to stick around in my life for the time being. The fact that her feelings have changed has changed mine for the more serious, too. I’m not going to be in Korea forever, but I’m not too worried about that because that’s pretty far in the future and we’re probably still in a belated honeymoon period where nothing is clear. I more worry that I need to have a good reason to leave Korea. I don’t feel able, say, to jump over to another asian country and teach English there, as an alternative to my second year in Korea.

I’ve also been thinking about the expectations that we now have of each other. Though, as previously described, my girlfriend has always had various expectations of me, I never let myself expect anything of her besides the really basic stuff (prioritising meeting me, sexual exclusivity etc.). I always thought to myself that I appreciated having her around and so long as that was true, I had no right to expect her to behave in any particular ways towards me. So when she didn’t show me much affection, I just told myself that it’s better than not having her at all. I don’t think this attitude will quite cut it now. I’m not sure what expectations we can reasonably have of each other. Progressives would tell me to talk about it with her but I’m not sure what I’d say because I don’t know yet what expectations make for a good, moderately serious romantic relationship.