Those who know me would know that I’ve been in a long distance relationship for some time now. I often get comments like “Aiyo when I see your Instagram feed, I get diabetes,” “Wow, how did you do that!” “Wah, so long already and he is not back yet” and finally…. “wow, time flies hor, he’s coming back already!”
Bry and I have been in a long-distance relationship since August 2013; Yes, that is 3.5 years and 7962 miles apart. Bry has to go to Canada to complete his studies, while I start my career in Singapore.
The reason I’ve decided to share about my LDR experience is to inspire other LDR couples who may be in doubt of the future! Of course, uncertainties are inevitable! Good news is, love can overcome it all!
LDR takes more than just falling in love! LDR is making a conscious decision to commit! It is making sacrifices, dying to your own doubts, emotions and coming to an understanding that both of you are two different individuals with a common goal! It is about compromises and more importantly, learning to love unselfishly!
I am not a perfect lover but I can safely say that I’ve gained so much through these 3.5 years of LDR… I have learnt to love him, as well as myself more, while cherishing all that I have around me.
Another reason to blog about this is to supplement the Travel posts that I plan to put up later!
1. Set your common goal
First and most important step to allay the fears and uncertainties is to talk and face it together.
Give your partner and yourself a moment to put aside all “what-ifs”, instead focus on where and when do you want to end up. Here are some useful topics you can talk about. Are you both serious about making this relationship work? Are you meeting back in your country after his or her work/studies/ task is completed? How often are you going to travel and meet each other?
Keep it simple; it’s the heart that matters. Respect each other’s point of view and find a common goal.
2. Keep the communication going!
Frequency of communication may vary for different LDR couples. I am glad I have friends who go through LDR too and we offer each other support when we need them. Some of the LDR couples I know would video call daily, some text every day but make it a point to call/ video call twice a week.
For Bry and I, we have been making calls to each other daily even before this journey started. So it was easier for us to keep this momentum going. We only video call once a week when time allows. Of course there will be times, where one party would feel tired to stay up and wait for the call because of the hectic schedule, and that’s when understanding steps in. Try not to see that absent call as a measure of his/her love for you but instead think about those other times he/she has made an effort in the relationship.
It is important to keep each other updated about your lives to build trust. Keep the tone fun/positive. Even at times when you have nothing to talk about anymore, it is fine… put down the phone, wish each other goodnight. Then take the opportunity to do something productive the next day, you will have more things to share about!
3. Understand that both of you are different, be patient.
I had a hard time accepting this. Being the one who is more emotional in the relationship, I couldn’t understand why he doesn’t seem to share as much or even do the things I would do for him. These are times when Bry would be so patient with me. He taught me to talk things out. Though he still insisted that he’s not such person who would express love in a certain manner. I could see that he shows love in other ways and I learn to appreciate him more.
Always, always, always try to be patient. When there’s a need to talk things out, give each other the opportunity to express their feelings/ resentments/ disagreements and both of you should be coming from the position of wanting the best for the relationship. Know when to give each other space alone too.
4. Keep yourself busy
A healthy relationship involves maintaining a healthy balance in life. Get involved outside. Join a community that helps you grow as a person and contribute to others (for me, it’s church.) Learn new skills, work hard in your job, get a promotion, get up and exercise, read inspirational books, hang out with friends, and spend quality time with family!
LDR is an excellent opportunity for you to grow as an individual!
5. Make an effort to do something thoughtful for one another once in a while
Spice up the relationship. This can be as simple as a longer phone call when both of you are free. It could be a card/ post to show appreciation. As you do this, bear in mind point 3 (they may not respond the way we want them to). However, do it to let them know that you miss them and there will be someone who is there for them at the end of the day.
6. Travel to meet (if possible)
Isn’t this the most exciting part of LDR? You get to travel to another country to be with one another and explore new places and cultures! Make plans to visit if possible.
From experience, when you meet overseas… Do not start to picture everything like what you see in movies where it’s all sweet and rosy. Manage expectations.
You will be spending almost 24 hours a day together and the trip would probably extend for a couple of weeks. Back to point 3, both of you are different and you may still need space alone to do your own things e.g. if he’s a gamer, allow him time to play his games knowing that he still brings you out to do what you like in the day. Learn to split the time up for a better balance, compromise and make the best out of the trip!
When you are able to compromise and understand, you will receive more joy than trying to change a person to meet your expectations. Appreciate what you have, communicate and choose to love fully. When you’ve given it all, you’ll have nothing to lose.