5 Lessons from My Long Distance Relationships
|December 19, 2011||Posted by ness under Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships|
I don’t know if it’s just mere fate but I may be one of those very few people who always end up in a Long Distance Relationship or what they call LDRs.
I’ve only had three romantic relationships my entire life and for some reason, a certain portion of it had to exist from a distance.
The first one, I was very young. It was technically a one month affair (or can be appropriately labeled as a fling) that in reality only lasted for 5 days because the remaining 25 days was spent so far apart each other. Since Skype was not available that time and long distance calls was too expensive, not to mention the fact that we were both high school students who cannot afford international call charges, the romance suddenly waned and stopped.
The second one was in college. Just counting the years, it may have lasted around 4 years. But, there was no real togetherness. During that entire time, we only saw each other for two weeks every October, December and March. So in totality, the “real relationship” only happened 6 weeks a year or 24 weeks for 4 years which summed up to only 6 months total.
Now on my third, this one is for real because I’m married to the man. Initially, it was my biggest fear to be separated from him. Good thing we were able to spend time together for two years straight prior to the temporary distance we are in right now. Then again, I don’t know if it’s just mere luck but certain circumstances happen that force us to be where we are today. Although I am very sure that this time it is going to work, it still feels terrible to think that for the third time around, I am once again involved in a Long Distance Relationship!
Thinking about this, I couldn’t help but wonder why I am always in this situation. Did I ever attract it? Am I just unlucky? Is this mere fate? Well, when I’m sad because I miss hubby, then these thoughts come to mind. But then, I always go back to the realization that I am where I am in my present relationship because I chose it. It didn’t happen by chance. I think I am one of the few being placed in this temporary ordeal because God knows I could handle it. I guess my first two relationships served as training grounds for me to be able to patiently wait for my real togetherness with my current partner.
Although I am not yet a “guru” of LDR’s and I do not hope to be one, there are five important lessons I learned along the way that those of you in the same situation as I am in may find helpful:
1.) Being in a Long Distance Relationship is a Choice.
As I said, I am not in my situation if I hadn’t chosen it. In most of life’s choices including relationships, you can still apply the “take it or leave it” rule. If you think you can manage it, then try to pursue it, endure it and make it last.
If you know yourself too well and you are sure that the love quote saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” won’t work on you, then you better leave it! I chose to take it and I don’t regret doing so because I am very much certain about the stability of my feelings for my partner and his feelings for me.
But, do you also feel the same way that I do? Think about it.
2.) An LDR requires HARDWORK
Every relationship requires WORK. When I got married, a friend of mine sent me an unforgettable greeting reminding me to “WORK ON MY MARRIAGE and NOT MAKE MY MARRIAGE WORK FOR ME.” It was a useful and credible advice knowing that the person who said it has stayed married for almost 20 years. I remind myself of his advice every day especially that I am not constantly with my husband. What this simply says is to do something to make the relationship last. Since you made a very difficult choice of loving someone from a distance, also make the effort to connect in every way you can.
My first two LDR’s fell apart mostly because calls and texts were expensive. Without constant communication and togetherness, you eventually lose touch and outgrow each other. But, in this day and age we cannot give the same excuse anymore. Technology provides us with every cheap means to communicate. So if you think you cannot afford it or are not willing to spend for it, then do not pursue a relationship with someone who is oceans apart from you.
3.) Set realistic expectations
It is normal to have expectations from your partner. But, it has to be very realistic if you are in a long distance affair. For instance, you can decide to talk to each other and contact one another at certain times of the day. But, you should not pressure your partner to do so if he is at work or is asleep (this is especially applicable if you are from different time zones).
Your time to communicate should be an act of love. It should be something that you will both willingly do. If it reaches a point that you begin to feel obligated to do it for your partner and not because you really want to do it, it will eventually breed feelings of resentment and cause damage to your relationship. Let your partner know what you want and need but do not be unrealistic and impose it on him or her.
4.) Recognize your motives from the very start
A lot of people try a long distance affair but fail because they do not have the right motives from the very beginning. I personally know some people who stay with their partner just to have someone entertain them over the phone or chat when they are lonely in another country or place. There are also those who just couldn’t honestly tell their partners from the onset that they are not just sold to the idea of a long distance relationship that they eventually end up cutting ties without warning.
This is harsh but I know a lot of couples who used to be in a long distance relationship wherein one partner just suddenly went MISSING IN ACTION. That is, no notice was given to the other person regarding the status of their relationship. The worst part is the “faithful” one eventually heard that the other person has been seeing someone else.
If you are about to embark on a long distance relationship, figure out your motives first before deciding if you can do it or not and be honest about it.
5.) Keep yourself busy during the wait
The stress of a long distance relationship is unexplainable. It is even more extreme for those who do not have work. If you cannot handle it, you may end up nagging your partner without any logical reason. You will do yourself a huge favor if you keep yourself busy while waiting to see your partner again.
Find anything that will allow you to survive a day easily and effortlessly. It does not necessarily need to be a job. You can focus on your hobbies. You can start exercising, reading, meditating and writing. In this day and age, you will never run out of things to do for as long as you know what you want to do.
Parties, night outs, shopping sprees, or any other shallow activities will not work. It will numb the pain temporarily, but will eventually worsen it. Find a good, wholesome activity. “Wholesome” always works.
A long distance relationship may not be the most normal and ideal way to be romantically involved. It is not for everyone but it is also not for a selected few. If you are not up for it, it is best if you do not even attempt to get into that situation.
But, if you are willing, be ready to invest extra time, effort, energy and money just to keep it strong. Despite the challenge, just like any other type of relationship, being in an LDR and surviving it can be very fulfilling.
Did I miss anything? Any other lessons, tips you want to add? Do you have a story? What’s your story? Share it in the comments section.
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