Updated: Feb 2, 2018
I used to call it long-distance relationship, but today, I decided to call it long-distance love as it's more personal and connected, don't you think? People say "Out of sight, out of mind" and then I also hear "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", which one is correct then? I am so lucky to hear and witness some beautiful stories about this topic when I am in China this week. I will let you experience them and decide which one works for you.
One of my colleagues shared with me that she has been in long distance love in the last 5 years. I commented that it must be quite tough for her and her boyfriend but her response really surprised me. She told me that both of them really work hard to find time to spend together, either in Japan or in US or somewhere in between. In fact, the time they spend together in terms of absolute number of days when they are in long distance love is more than the number of days they spent when they were in US (different cities). She also shared with me that while they miss each other but both of them are ok and know that the other is also comfortable being alone. What a provocative thought!
At dinner last night, I made a new friend and she told me about her past long distance love with a Vietnamese guy. They fell in love in Australia but then her boyfriend had to return to Vietnam while she was still studying there. To keep the relationship on, she had to travel distances to see her boyfriend in Vietnam. Despite being a student and having not much money and facing challenges to find many different budget flights to reach the destination, she always found ways to get there. I noticed that her eyes lit up when talking about these trips. Love really has a power to move people. While their relationship didn't work out, I still feel that it was a beautiful chapter in her life. The saying "Don't cry because it's over; Smile because it happened" can't be more true in this story. They had each other for these beautiful moments in their lives and it's enough.
Long-distance love is really tough and I myself am not a big fan of it at all and have so many skepticism. However, my roommate this week managed to change my perspective on this with his actions. He has been in long-distance love in the last 18 months after spending the first year living together. I asked him how he could cope with these challenges of being separated. He admitted that it was not easy but they didn't give up on each other, instead they have been working extra hard to make it stronger. They make it a point to travel to see each other every 3 weeks despite the crazily expensive travel cost. I lost counts on the number of times in a day my roommate politely asked me if he could make a call to his partner, whether it's the first thing in the morning when he wakes up or it's the last thing before he goes to sleep. I quizzed him on what topics you guys talked about and it's really reassuring and refreshing when he told me that they shared about everything and anything. Most of them are not important but that's the beauty, they don't need to think or plan on what to discuss, they just share so that both can be part of each other's daily lives despite the distance. I am getting emotional writing this because their love is just so beautiful and pure. They don't let the long-distance get in their way, they put in extra efforts to make the best out of it, they just keep loving!
I believe that for long-distance love to work, 2 requirements need to be met:
Both have a very strong foundation (knowing each other well, have spent some time living together, etc.) to establish trust & love before the long-distance love takes place.
There must be a deadline/ goal on when the long-distance love stops so that both can reunite and live together again. Otherwise this will be extremely challenging as we can't just live separately indefinitely, can we?
If you are reading this and having your partner right next to you or if they just live a couple of blocks/streets/districts away, I hope you will be planning to meet each other asap. Because remember, there are so many couples out there, all they wish is just to spend quality time together, to see each other in person, to give each other a tight hug but they can't. So do it while you can, treasure these precious moments and please, never ever take our partner for granted, we all need to work hard for our relationship.
For love is worth fighting for.