I couldn’t help but smile while I was reading what I had written for a website some years ago. Of all the topics I could possibly write about, I actually submitted something about making long distance relationship work. Oh my, I am grinning as I read it now. 😀
The year 2013 was exactly a year after I ended a relationship with someone who decided to pursue his dreams and study abroad. C knows about this relationship fully and would often tease me about how weird it was (sorry but I had to keep the details to ourselves 😀 )
I won’t paste it here as a full article, instead, I would make some reflections on it as I go along with the lines. It is entitled “Making Long Distance Relationships Work” and its introduction goes this way…
“Nothing can be more challenging to a couple than a long distance relationship. While there are cases when both parties can develop into more independent and appreciative lovers, many relationships reach bitter ends as partners can’t take the challenges of having to live away from each other geographically. When lovers don’t meet often, problems arise due to issues of fidelity, honesty and trust too often turn relationships sour.”
Three years after I have written this (and a couple of dates later,too), I am quite firm with the belief that having trust in each other makes long distance relationship work smoothly. When one of the parties lack trust, almost everything will be subjected to doubts which will then be translated to misunderstandings and fights. And to think, that many of us, would find a certain degree of fighting to be an ingredient in the romance. 😀
A relationship without misunderstandings is quite doubtful if not boring. To be on the opposite sides of an argument is a healthy part of any relationship; it just have to be an issue that centers on how the two of you would deal with decisions you will both have to make. I believe C and I are both independent and can’t imagine being otherwise, so it is still true. As with dealing with the challenges having to be geographically separated, dang! There are times this feels okay, but as many would agree, there are times when it sucks big time.
And to continue…. I could even afford to share some tips for a happy LDR. (Seems like I had a great imagination at that time). It started with the tip….
- Mutually Set Rules – Be clear on your status and create no confusion on whether you both are dating, engaged, boyfriend-girlfriend and exclusive or non-exclusive. Decide on how often you should talk, update each other about schedules or any changes to them.
“Where did I get all those ideas?” I asked myself for a while and realized that some of my imagination can make sense. 😀 I realized it now. As a couple, C and I are clear about our status. I even remember the time when we had quite a funny discussion about the word “single”. I was talking about the civil status single but he was reiterating his view on this word as being unacceptable to refer to one’s self when “in a relationship”. So, in the name of excitement in healthy arguments, we had a free-flowing mini debate and laughed all night.
It went on with the next tip…
2. Maintain constant communication – You don’t have to talk about very serious things all the time. Instead, update each other with daily experiences, challenges, discoveries and even misfortunes you may have encountered. To make it even more special, send love letters or other gifts that you know your partner will appreciate.
I think that C and I are able to keep up with this too. We make it a point to talk to each other every day, as he drives to work and I am on my lunchbreak, and when he drives back home and before I hit the sack. And tells me I am a sleepyhead in both occasions. 😀
I send him postcards or snap some photos when I travel. In return, he would ask me how much money I have left and if this is enough to keep personal and gradschool expenses covered. A very sweet question from a German, right? 😀
The write-up continues with the next tip that goes…
3. Pursue your mutual interest – You can defy distance by enjoying the same computer game that you both love to play or singing your favorite song while on a webcam conference together. There are so many ways to make your partner realize you are thinking of him/her always.
Ah, C and I share the mutual interest of watching documentaries or reading. But, since he would mostly read in German or Dutch, he would challenge me to try reading the words and we would laugh at how strange I utter them. We would exchange links and laugh or cry over what we are watching. And yeah, I would try my very best to get him to sing which he would firmly avoid saying I would ridicule him. Sometimes, he would send me a photo or icon of a ball as a sign he thinks of me (he calls me ball when I would complain about gaining weight). The list goes on and on, believe me.:D Oh,and did I say he also reads this blog from time to time and would laugh about how I documented his many firsts here in the tropics?
Reading the next tip hits me again… it says..
4. Don’t be a control freak- never be tempted to control your partner’s life. Despite your doubts or worries, make your partner feel that you value his/ her freedom.
I know it’s just not me who is expecting to know every single detail of what my man is doing 12,000 kilometers away. Believe it or not, in the beginning, C told me he finds me controlling as I would ask many questions like who he would meet, what are they doing and stuff like these. I was really shocked at how he used to view this typical Filipino way of asking your partner about his/her day. I feel he gives me so much freedom but I would always give the details of my whereabouts, who am I with, what we will do, and so on. He would only say I should enjoy the time. We had a great time discussing these differences and now able to banter each other on these updates. And yeah, he now says “take care” (ingat) everytime we would end the call or would go on different places for a while. 😀
Lastly, the three-year old article said….
5. Avoid temptations – One very good way to avoid getting tempted is to introduce your lover to your colleagues. Through this, friends of the opposite sex will realize you are committed and they should not start showing interest anymore.
I remember clearly when for the first couple of times I asked C about the voice of a girl I overheard in the background while we were talking. He was quite shocked as to how I reacted. Turned out, the girl is his acquaintance’s girlfriend who would iron his clothes every weekend for extra money. I would asked why a woman would call him on the phone (clients) or many random things that involves the opposite sex. He told me I was jealous, something which I would likely brush off quickly. Then he came up with a perfect response when he heard me try to explain something to our pupil’s dad. He would tell me the tone of my voice changes when I talked to another “man” in the office. He would laugh as I strongly insist I don’t. Now, he would tell me my red lights are on when he talks to women, and I would retort he feels bad when our pupils’ dad, uncle or grandfather would talk to me in the office.
I was amused I was able to write (or get paid to write) something which I could relate to some years later. I know most of the thoughts I had was out of my pure imagination, research and a sprinkle of experience. Anyway, it seems like I am now grinning with the things C and I were able to connect to.
What a crazy way to break my hiatus (again) from blogging. (Getting close to finishing my master’s thesis, yay!).
Have you written something in the past which you can surprisingly relate to (seriously or crazily) in the present? 😀
The article was originally published here.