I’ve been doing long distance for 2 years now and been in a relationship for roughly 3 years. I often have friends asking me how is it like and how do I do it.
From the outside, the perception most of them got was that it is easy for me. I choose to share good memories on social media. I document the happy aspect of our relationship. I show the world our happy times together. What they don’t see is the ugly and terrible truth that goes into maintaining a long distance relationship.
Happy moments candidly captured by our friend.
When we first started doing long distance, I remembered how alone I felt. How I’ll never be able to call him at any hour of the day anymore, how I won’t have someone waiting outside my door to pick me up for lunch. I remember that was the first time I truly appreciated the time we spent together before. As alone as I felt, there was nothing I could do, except to adapt and get used to this new routine. It took awhile to discover what worked for the both of us.
Being 9000 miles away with a 14 hour time difference really tested our love and patience for one another. It is no easy ride and every time we part, it is not guaranteed that this time round we will pull through like the last time. Though whenever we reunite for a month or two, we’d appreciate one another’s company more than ever. We would want to spend every minute of the day together, doing absolutely anything as long as it is done together. When you finally wake up to your other half beside you in the morning, you’d count your blessings. When your phone buzzes midday, you’d know they’re waiting for you outside your house and you’d hurry up and leave for a date day. You start appreciating every little thing and not take it for granted. It will be the best time of your lives and you wouldn’t want it to end.
We spent a month travelling around UK & Paris in December 2014.
After parting 4 times throughout our 2 years of doing LDR, each time brings about different challenges with no secured future. It is difficult when we part, only because we don’t know when we will meet again. It is difficult because it isn’t a guaranteed smooth sailing journey just because we did it before.
I can safely say that you will face challenges like never before. You’re forced to trust one another and forced to have effective communication. It is the only 2 things you’re able to do to keep the relationship going.
There will be days when you feel like you’re all alone because your other half is too busy having a life of their own. There will be days when you’re swamped with work and can’t make time for your other half. There will be days when you get insecure and overthink when it isn’t even necessary. There will also be days when you feel like giving up because it is taking a toll on you emotionally and physically.
You will miss out on celebrating special/important occasions together. New Years, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, Christmas, etc. In the span of 3 years, we’ve never celebrated our anniversaries or valentine’s day. All these special days become an ordinary day. While we do hope and wish to be together with our other halves on these joyous occasions, there is nothing we can do about it. We are bound to stumble upon our friends who are in relationships celebrating these occasions when scrolling through social media. On those days, we can’t help but feel slightly helpless and crushed inside.
Surprise! He sent me flowers for Valentine’s Day in 2015.
Admittedly, you would be swamped with waves of sadness, but I assure you all will be well as time goes by. You will get used to it. You will come to terms with it. You will be semi-single. You learn to live the single life with emotional attachment. You do everything on your own, you get through both tough days and happy days on your own. You will not have a physical shoulder to lean on. Your days will be filled with constant checking of your phone because that is what emotional attachment does to us. We know there is someone out there who loves us, but they’re so far away. The only way we feel their presence is through their text.
Being apart gives us time for ourselves, way too much time may I add. It gives us time to be independent and grow as a person. I’ve learned that who I am isn’t defined by my other half. I’ve learned to not live in his shadows and create my own identity. I don’t want to be recognized as xxx’s girlfriend, I want to be recognized for my skills and talent within me.
After all I’ve been through, I can safely say that long distance is not meant for everyone. It demands much more than some may be able to give. It is a journey that has no certainty and that’s where you’ve got to put your trust in.