Long Distance Relationships

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Ah, Relationships…

Challenging as they are, we all love to feel safe and warm in a cosy little cocoon: A safety net from the world and the societies that haunt us, a support system when everything else fails, and most of all, someone to go back to at the end of the day. Sometimes, we get hurt, and even after we feel broken and torn, we keep going back for more. At the end of the day, this journey, this life, with no one to witness it along with you, would seem dull and meaningless. Yes, as challenging as relationships can be, there is one type that holds the reputation of being the most difficult: Long Distance Relationships (LDR).

long_distanceHomosexual relationships already have a bit of a strain on them when it comes to social and familial pressure. It is hard to be in a relationship when you have to be hiding your identity and your love for your significant other most of the time. Apart from dealing with your partner, you also have to deal with homophobia, prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, religion repression or just simple ignorance. Add to that geographical distance, the weight just starts to get unbearable.

In such a relationship, what the couple mostly relies on, is internet communication. We’re lucky we were born in a time where instant free communication exists so easily. Since reading body language becomes less efficient and possible, the couple must really focus on enhancing their communication. “The very first thing that you must do in a long distance relationship is to establish an effective communication channel” says Alex Chew. Each of the two must work on voicing out their feelings and needs. You see, when you’re with your partner the entire time, it gets easier to understand their moods swings and their feelings on the spot. However, when you’re separated by spaces of clear blue oceans and you’re on pissed at your girlfriend via webcam and you start tapping your foot, I highly doubt she’s going to notice it.

For Ev, being in an LDR for over a year was easy, because it always came down to love, “I loved her beyond distance and beyond all the other complications” – for them, communication was essential. The distance actually played a part in getting them closer to interact on an intellectual level. They relied on good communication as the essential key to keeping everything clear and open. She admits that the hardest part for her was when she had to travel each time after they’d meet (which was twice a year) but that she had learned to cope with it and accept the facts. She adds “I discovered a lot about myself, she’s the only one who was able to touch my soft spot, and not on a physical level – our break up had nothing to do with distance”. However, as Farah would insist, that despite love: “There will never be a time when a phone can replace a voice, a screen can replace a face, and an e-messenger to keep communication.”

But while certain couples can live without physical interactions, others simply cannot. For some, physical connection and intimacy is just as important as anything else in a relationship.  Meeting each other, after a long time of separation, Mirs tells me “and then we parted having less hope, knowing that our souls can’t connect through wifi. We needed physical connection as well”. Learning from her first LDR experience, Mirs tried to enhance her second one. From the beginning, she was clear as to what she expected and what she needed. You have to be able to make an agreement of what your expectations are in the relationship and how much of a commitment you are willing to give and receive. Some would decide to be monogamous and wait until they met twice a year in order to “ignite their passion.” In that case, the couple must work on finding ways to meet each other on common ground; to even surprise each other if that is possible. Being clear about that is extremely important in order to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements. Fear of sharing those details should not be in the way, being apart is already hard enough; you should at least get to share your thoughts, feelings and needs. You partner also has the right to know the truth and be able to judge whether she can or cannot give you what you need. If you choose to take that challenge, you have to be able to trust your partner to keep her promises to you. Insecurities, doubts and tension will be your enemies otherwise! Mirs confirms “we were very realistic, we agreed to a very easy going relationship with no restraints and eased feelings until we meet again.”

For those of you who decide to wait for that special someone, you should really let her know that you only see a future with her. If she decides to move on, you would know that perhaps it is time to go on with your life as well. You do not want to find yourself building a future around someone who is not willing to sacrifice for you as much as you are for them. SS reluctantly had to go through this experience. At first she thought it was great, the excitement of meeting after a long time and the passion that aroused between them. She worked hard for several months so she could gain some money and go see her and she told her time and time again that she’d be waiting for her. However SS’s partner was not on the same level. Her physical needs were not met and so she started looking for someone else. They both thought they understood the situation, however that was not the case. SS affirms with all her heart that she would never make such devoted promises without concrete compromises in return. “I had so many chance to sleep around, but I was stupid enough to reject them. I couldn’t get over my feelings and sleep with someone who meant nothing to me. Love is supposed to wait. But it is only for the brave ones.” Easier said than done, to be able to take on a hard challenge such as this one, you must fasten your seat belt. As a good friend of mine said: “it’s really strenuous. It doesn’t make sense whatsoever unless the person is really special to you and you know that you have a future with them. I mean I wouldn’t do it just for the fun of it!”

On one hand, we have those who have tried LDR, and learned from it. Some had their hearts broken and would never do it again. Others, had their hearts broken and keep going at it because “they’re in love with love.” And for the few lucky ones, LDR  worked well for them. As Farah declared, now that she’s experiencing her second LDR, “with her, it is different, she made me believe in new tools of communication: Telepathy- Vibes- Visualization- Law of Attraction- Dreams- and Silence. So far, they are working- I breathe her as if i’m clinging to her physically and I literally see her in every face- she is a ticking clock and a tolling bell in my head, heart, and soul.” She also continues to say that being able to balance their relationship is at the same time difficult and needed. “I depend on two things: my promises and her strength. She is way stronger and I am, way more expressive. This balance works well for us”

On the other hand, this “fairytale” or “unrealistic” lifestyle doesn’t go well with everyone. “ I believe that in order to be in a relationship with someone, you can’t rely on technology. You need to know what it feels like to be around them, see the look on their face, touch them, read their body language… that is not possible in long distance relationships!”. Ran clearly states her opinion, as for her communication does not only revolve around words but it also takes into consideration the presence of that special someone around. “Some things cannot be said out loud” another source tells.

Those who do not believe in LDR have a good reason not to in their opinion. The stakes are too high.” The couple would be growing and changing every day, continues Ran , they’ll be going through different experiences and no one will be there to witness the other change and adapt to that. And that’s only normal. What long distance relationships lack is the actual presence of the person, and I do consider that to be very essential.”

An online blogger shared her experience saying that for 2 years her and her partner had build up this entire future and life around what they truly believed to be true love. She says that up until this point she would still love to consider it as such. However, when they were finally able to meet, they discovered that they had no physical chemistry.  They found out that physically and sexually they were not compatible. This anonymous online blogger says at that moment in time she felt disappointed with herself when she couldn’t overcome that obstacle. But now she understood that physical interaction is just as important as any other interaction in a serious long lasting relationship.

Relationships, whether long distance or not, heterosexual or homosexual, come with a package. They always need a lot of TLC, sacrifice and compromise. The key is always good communication on whichever level  the couple agrees upon. If you have the right ingredients of patience, love, understanding, flexibility, support and will, a LDR is possible and can overcome the frequent obstacles it comes across. You have to keep in mind, although relationships can be affected by geography, they do not thrive or fail because of it. When you want a happy long lasting sustaining constructive relationship, both of you should commit to the promises you’ve made. Never take a heart lightly. If you think you cannot do it, get out of it from the beginning.

Contributed by R.Kim


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