Most people say long distance relationships don’t work. Most of the time, they’re right–a lot of couples have broken up because of it, and a good number of them have given up on the idea even before trying it. But while LDRs pose some common concerns for partners, that's not to say they don't work. As my fiancé and I prepare for our upcoming wedding, I’d like to share how we persevered through our own LDR concerns over the past couple of years.
This tops the list of concerns for couples disillusioned with the idea of LDRs. Men would never say outright that they don’t trust their girl; rather, they would say that they don’t trust the people around her. Absolute trust makes for a great relationship, but more often than not, we only give our partners conditional trust, as cited in my earlier example. You can’t have an LDR if you can’t give your partner absolute trust. In our case, I was secure enough knowing that I have given my all for the relationship and that if she found someone else, it’s beyond my control. What is within my control is my willingness to give her my absolute trust. Thankfully, she reciprocated by giving me the same. It doesn't matter if I don't trust the people around her; all that matters is that I trust that she’ll do the right thing for our relationship.
The Comfort of a Partner’s Touch
Sometimes, just holding your partner’s hand already gives you a sense of comfort. After nine years of being together, we struggled with the fact that I couldn't hold her hand after a really stressful day. In the age of social media, however, there are various ways to stay connected to your partner despite the distance. Video calls may not be as comforting as your partner’s hand, but it’s better than emotionless chat threads. Overcoming challenges without your partner may be difficult, but it helps you learn to be more independent and be stronger as a person.
You have an important presentation, but when you get to your office, you realize you left your laptop at home. You park your car, leaving your bag in the trunk, then remember that you put the keys in the same bag. These are just a couple of instances when having your partner nearby would be of great help. Sadly, there is no alternative for this especially if you’re looking to solve these issues yourself. However, that’s the great thing about having family and friends around–you’re never really alone anywhere. Family will always be there, and as for friends, you really don’t need a lot.
When we’re in a relationship, we sometimes take them for granted as we spend most of our time with our partners. It’s always a great idea to keep a strong relationship with friends by going out on group dates or catching up every once in a while. During the first few months that my fiancé was away, her friends would constantly invite me to movie dates or dinners to keep me occupied. My friends also made themselves available whenever I needed help with something important. Our tip: Keep a strong relationship with the people around you. Don’t be that person who only calls when you need them.
Keeping the Romance Alive
The distance prevented us from going out on regular dates and even prevented me from making surprise visits to her office when she’s working overtime. However, as they say, "if there’s a will, there’s a way." I made an effort to watch Korean dramas, because I couldn’t get her to switch to watching American series that I enjoy. We’d go on virtual dates whenever a new episode came out. Our tablets would be playing the same episode, while we were on a video call on our phones. For our first Valentine’s day apart, I shipped a small stuffed animal with a letter and sent it to her office. The distance was a challenge, but it can’t be the reason for one to give up. Trust may be the foundation of the relationship, but never forget that you still have to cultivate it. Having a solid foundation is useless if you don’t build on it.
While it’s ideal to lay down plans before moving away from each other, my fiancé and I initially didn’t discuss how we would move forward. All that mattered then was for her to focus on her new career opportunity, and not close herself to possible new ones by giving herself a deadline. After a year of being apart, I decided to propose, and we made our plans together from there. Being in an LDR is like running a race–you need to see where the finish line is otherwise you’ll just get tired of running. Keep yourselves motivated in the relationship by running towards a common goal.
SCREENCAP: Dear John/Pioneer Films (2010)
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