Recently I talked to a friend about their relationship spanning to the other side of the globe, and they told me how the biggest part holding it is hope. Well, I’m not an expert in distant relationships, but since I am not in one, it makes me look at my own relationship differently, and appreciate it more I guess.
I try to give an objective opinion when I give advice to my friends, but it always comes out subjective. For me, OBJECTIVE opinion is not an opinion – it’s a weighing of both sides. And giving advice is personal (subjective).
I guess I find this idea interesting because people are interesting. Some people want only a little. Some want a lot. Some want everything, and some want nothing from a relationship…
When I think of any relationship, the first thing that comes to my mind is the definition of a ‘girlfriend’ or a ‘boyfriend’ – the half of the whole. Being away for as long as a year or two, does he still fulfil all the qualities that a boyfriend should? Or is he just a pen-pal we used to have at school when we were kids?
And does that let you perform your duty of being a girlfriend? If not, perhaps this relationship is not letting both of you to complete your identity, or accomplish the relationship goals that you have in your mind. If we cannot do something we like, or cannot be something we are – we do not feel free.
Personally I’m all about close relationships, as I know I wouldn’t be able to handle a distant relationship, at least for a long time. Sometimes I forget myself that both people are responsible for the relationship, there shouldn’t be a manager and an employee in a couple. Unless you are, in fact, an enterprise. Hehe.
But a relationship is not a meeting that you attend once or twice a year to see your ‘other half’. Relationship is a continuous process – it is made by little things that we do daily.
If you have a pen-pal, you learn about each other, and if the person’s character is up your street, you can start meeting them more and more, and then start a closer relationship. But if it’s the other way around, you start close, get accustomed to each other, but then distance yourself from them, as if there was no other possible way in this life to get close again? We adults are just like kids – we like to laugh, smile, hug – it makes us feel like home, it makes us satisfy our basic needs. But everyone’s needs are different, which you learn through your day-to-day interaction with that person. Even if you’re thousands of miles apart, you still learn and think about each other. For me having a long-distance relationship is like having a crush on a celebrity: following their activity online, watching their movies/videos, reading to know more about them, and so on. That’s what one of 8th graders said to me: “teacher, I have a boyfriend from Korea”. I was like “ok, good for you, any chance he’s from the EXO K-Pop band?” The student was like “yes teacher, I know everything about him”.
If you are not happy with your current relationship now, will you be happy with it one more month later? One year? Two years? What will happen after your initial plan to get back together? What if he or she will get an amazing job offer unexpectedly? Maybe you will go abroad yourself? And do either of you have a big ego? Is that an obstacle? Do you have to sacrifice your own ego to satisfy his or hers?
If there’s a social/emotional breakdown we tend to seek support or empathy from someone who’s close to us right HERE, right NOW. That’s why it is shown in movies all the time. We people have feelings. We tend to go to someone who lives a similar life, someone who you can find in the same places you go to, someone you share moments with. And that’s kind of all we have – moments. You have good ones, bad ones – every second, every minute, just like breaths of air – some are fresh and nourishing, and some are short and smelly if you happen to experience central Bangkok traffic… It’s not like you can breathe every moment, and then stop for a year or two. But that’s only if a relationship is a priority to you. Again, people have different priorities!
I’m guilty of being less of a guy who wants to do EVERYTHING together, but Auste makes us do more. If you think of it, when someone from a couple decides to travel, and the other has to stay and work – it’s fine, you can wait it out. But think of all the moments the travelling person will experience WITHOUT their other half?
Excitement, new energy, new people, new ideas, new smells, tastes, etc – a form of enlightenment. And then when they get together again, what happens? There is a big chance that the travelled person would become bored in the relationship, because of having grown more during their travels. However if couples travel together, they grow together, they stay together (assuming they have gone past the stage of learning how to be able to handle each other in many situations!)
However, the heart can do amazing things. Some people go through years and years of separation and then get back together as if it never happened. Someone close of mine lived in a beautiful country for a few years and had a good relationship with her boyfriend. Then she left for another country, but he had to stay, because of his ongoing studies. They tried to keep a distant relationship, but kind of vaguely split up eventually… They met up again for a short while, but then separated again, so it was like an emotional roller-coaster. She lived her life and worked on her career and personal development, but just wasn’t happy. Many months, many conversations and many awkward get-togethers later, somehow all circumstances changed. They both managed to settle in the same country, and now they live together, have a house, cars, both have jobs, and both travel and grow together 🙂
If you’re in a distant relationship and have thoughts that it may not work out in the end, you don’t really want to spend time, money, energy chasing what’s not worth it. Maybe it is worth it? Because that’s what relationships take – time, money, and energy! This may be the stage to find out whether it is worth waiting, taking a break, or moving on in a different direction. I believe these issues have to be dealt with in person, and not remotely, because only then you really know the truth – from your basic senses that connect us: touch, smell, and looking into the eyes – and eyes don’t lie.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship and are not happy, only you can decide what you want in this stage of life. If you need a closer relationship now, if you need someone to support you through THIS current stage of life – go for it; otherwise if you can keep yourself busy and entertained, and don’t need someone close by your side – maybe you can wait it out?
These beautiful drawings show [in my view] a happy relationship. Have a look and see if these little things matter to you .