Long distance relationships seem to be the bane of our generation, which is grossly ironic since we are living in the digital era, where connectivity is instantaneous and geographical boundaries cease to exist. I remember once asking one of my dearest lecturers about his marriage. He has been married for many years now, and most of his marriage was a long distance one– he works in Kuching, and his wife was, at the time, pursuing her studies in Hong Kong. They made the long commute to see each other at least twice a year, and through it all, they didn’t falter.
I was intrigued, because long distance marriages are rare. With our generation, one of the biggest considerations when we want to pursue a relationship is proximity. What more can be said about marriage, a lifelong commitment? I was incredulous, because I never believed in long distance relationships. I asked him if he found it difficult, and he said no. Needless to say, I nearly fell off my chair.
Why? Because they look forward to seeing each other, and the time they do get to spend together is precious. I have seen my relatives go through long distance marriages and come back stronger than ever. I reflected on it, and realized that long distance relationships are only a problem with our generation.
We have been conditioned by Hollywood and the likes of EliteDaily and Thought Catalog to believe that the key to a successful relationship is physical closeness; that what we really need is to spend a lot of time doing things together. Undoubtedly, I fell prey to this belief, even though I had no experience with long distance relationships prior. I even told my boyfriend at the time that should we be separated due to distance, I would prefer to call our relationship off.
Recently, I went through a paradigm shift. I met someone new, and I was beginning to develop feelings for him. He is one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring people I have ever met, and we share so much in common that I feel like we have known each other our whole lives. There was something about him– and in some weird twist of fate, he liked me too. The only problem was that he was due to leave home two weeks later.
I swore to myself that no matter what happened between us, I would not want to pursue a relationship with him. I did not want to go through the hassle of a long distance relationship, because my primary love language is quality time, and I am always looking to spend time with my loved ones. I was also closed off to the idea of communicating only via phone calls or text messages, because it is highly impersonal and can prove to be a distraction. I even went to the extent of telling myself I would be happier single than in a long distance relationship, because that is the best deterrent of heartbreak. There was one glaring fault in my certainty– I did not factor in my feelings for him, and how he made me feel.
… Then, for the first time in a long time, my heart’s longing trumped what my brain told me to do– and I am currently in a relationship with someone I really love. If I did not take that chance, I would not have been able to experience the love of someone who is positive, and who truly cares about me and my well-being. If I did not take that leap of faith, I would not have had the chance to be loved by someone who would not let me go to sleep feeling sad, or even remotely unhappy. If I did not take that risk, I would not have had the opportunity to love someone who makes me want to be a better person, who constantly pushes me to better myself in ways I never imagined.
Long distance is hard work for some, but for me, it’s going well so far. It doesn’t feel like long distance because at the end of the day, I tell him everything, and he does the same. We do not talk on the phone every night, and we do not feel the need to constantly text each other all day. Yet, I still feel close to him, because I look forward to telling him all about my day before it ends. It is important to have “me” time, and to retain individuality, lest there be resentment, much like my previous relationship.
I am also blessed to have someone I trust, who trusts me just the same. Trust is inevitably the most important consideration in a relationship, and I was just lucky enough to have met a guy I have no trouble trusting. I do not only trust that there will not be infidelity on his part, but I trust that he will have the decency to call our relationship off and be truthful when things go awry, instead of lead me on.
Maybe it is just me being cynical, but I also believe in the importance of keeping things realistic. I do not promise him heaven and earth, neither does he to me. One thing is for sure– we will do whatever is in our capacity to make this relationship work. We do not know what the future may hold for us, but we will fight for it to last as long as we can. And if we do last? Then it will be the greatest blessing of all.