So I’ve been in a long-distance relationship (LDR) for a couple of years now. We mostly only get to see each other once a month. And I’ve never been more in love.
I get the usual questions from friends all the time.
“Isn’t it hard?”
“How do you know you can trust her?”
“What if she sees another guy behind your back?”
And the worst among the bullshit: “There’s no way it’s going to work out. Especially not for someone like you.”
I get that a lot of people would think a long-distance relationship is hard. I felt it at first even. But it’s honestly not as scary as you think. It’s just playing the game called life. I even kind of understood that people wanted to judge me for the asshole, player, lady-killer, heartbreaker or whatever the fuck I was labelled, but I didn’t let any of that nonsense faze me.
If anything, I consider myself extremely lucky that I can easily fly over to be with her. With budget flights, it’s only a couple of hundred dollars at most. And she’s like only two hours away. I really don’t know how it’d be like if I’m with somebody who’s living in Europe or some shit and flights are ridiculously expensive.
So check it. Lots of relationship and life lessons here.
21 Lessons from a Long-Distance Relationship
1) Ignorance is part of trust. Accept that
Let’s start with the pseudo-deep topic of trust.
If you ask me, a lot of people have a deep misunderstanding of what trust is. They think it’s some magical, omnipresent aspect of a relationship where you tell yourself you trust him or her and you leave it as that. That can have adverse effects on yourself if you know deep down you can’t or do not want to trust your partner. To make it worse, most play along because it’s supposedly the right thing to do as others tell them it is so.
So how do I tackle questions like, “You aren’t there with her. How do you know she’s not fooling around?” ?
Simple. I trust her and I accept the fact that I can’t be with her 24/7. I accept that I can’t be in the know all the time. This is how it should be in all relationships, long-distance or not.
There is absolutely no way you can watch your partner’s every move. If you think you can, then you’re going to give yourself a ton of unnecessary stress. Plus that’s a strong indication of your own insecurities and that you need to get a life.
So, my answer to the above question is always, “Even if she was here, she can have a lunch time quickie at work in the handicap bathroom without me knowing.” So I trust. I don’t go nuts thinking I’m not thinking enough. That’s that.
2) People will judge, but that their’s problem, not yours
Be it the collective doubt people have on long-distance relationships or that… people are just assholes, I think that at the end of the day, how you deal with a long-distance relationship is how you deal with any relationship.
There’s really no reason why you should back down from going into a relationship with somebody you’re attracted to just because others think it’s an unpopular idea.
For whatever reason you want to be with somebody, you ought to always do it out of your own will. Not others.
3) Modern apps today are a god send
Thanks to apps like Whatsapp, Line, Viber and Tango, communicating with my girlfriend is completely free. We do it everyday and it’s smooth as silk.
Whoever thinks that technology is the devil and that we should go back to nature or whatever is a liar and full of shit.
4) There’re cultural difference and that’s pretty amazing
This was when I traveled to her home town, like in the countryside of Thailand to meet her parents. I was blown away with the scenery there and the way people lived.
The thought of distance may be pretty daunting in an LDR, but if you focus on loving each other and accepting where you guys are from, it can be an amazing form of unity. You’ll learn a lot and expand your horizons.
5) Don’t book an evening or night flight home
There’s honestly nothing worse than the feeling of anticipation of your parting and saying good bye. What more, there’s probably nothing left to do on that last day because you’ve done enough.
It’s so surreal to think during the day, “What’s the point of today? I’ve to leave.” Yet, this begs to be thought all day. It’s like using your tongue to keep touching your ulcer.
So personally, I’d recommend booking a flight in the first few hours of the morning. That way, you can just wake up, go home and be done with the pain of saying bye as soon as possible.
6) You suddenly realize why selfies are important
I don’t FaceTime my girlfriend every hour of the day, so I do the next best thing which is to send her photos of what I’m doing when we message.
That is how I annoy my friends and make them take selfies with me, which are the only ones I ever take in my life.
7) It is always hard to say goodbye, but that’s what makes a relationship real
Alas, up to this day, after over two years and nearly twenty trips to both Singapore and Bangkok airports, I still feel the pain of saying bye to her. It’s just pretty hard to let go of someone you know you won’t be able to hug at night.
Yes, I’d admit that’s hard and it feels less-than-stellar.
But the way I see it, it’s what makes my relationship, my life and me real. The pain makes everything real and meaningful.
Perhaps you won’t agree with me, but pain and the shitty things in your life are what gives your life meaning.
Everytime I feel the pain of parting, I know that deep down in my heart our love is real and not just a constructed form of a relationship where I systematically tell myself to be happy, when I know I’m not.
I don’t really know how to explain this, so let me just say it straight: I’d much rather feel the pain of missing her than be in a relationship of basic comfort where we just stay home, watch movies and not do anything exciting.
So, the pain is how I know everything will always go up.
8) Quarrels still happen
They do. No details needed. All relationships have their differences. Yet, a long-distance relationship is also very much the same as a normal one.
9) You just want to be happy, and you should
But after all the squabbles and bullshit, you just want to be happy, because saying bye at the airport is hard.
When emotions from longing are amplified, it always makes you realize how petty and small your everyday problems with each other are.
10) Meeting each other is always exciting.
Needless to say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. And you will cherish your time together.
That being said, I think travelling as a couple is pretty awesome. All couples ought to travel together abroad at least once. I may have traveled over to Thailand ample times already, but I always look forward to it.
11) Quarreling when travelling together is the worst
That being said, when shit hits the fan in your limited time together elsewhere, it is extremely cumbersome and draining. Couples who’ve fought overseas would know.
12) I love my space
One of the main reasons why I’m so happy in this LDR is that it has given me the freedom to do anything I want whenever I am alone.
Sure, saying bye at the airport is hard, but I usually recover after a night’s sleep back in my own room. Then I’m back to writing, reading, Bboying and playing video games without permission from anybody.
I wrote about the importance of couples having space in my drunken rant and I strongly believe in it. All couples, young or old, need their space apart. This is how a relationship survives with love.
13) Just sign up for budget airline newsletters and you can get flights for cheap
I don’t know where you are, but this is one easy task that can save you a lot of money.
Cheap flights don’t necessarily have to come in the form of a flash sale which disappears in an hour. This one has promos every week here.
14) Some people have an extremely stupid excuse for infidelity
Infidelity is, unfortunately becoming a norm today. The excuses to fuck around piles up all the time.
Obviously, I’ve never cheated on my girlfriend, but that has not stopped friends, especially the guys from thinking that I have every reason to.
“She’s not here right bro?” Go figure.
15) You need to put in the effort to learn a new language
Unfortunately, my Thai still sucks. That’s because I didn’t put in the effort to learn and communicate with my girlfriend in Thai.
So yeah, traveling back and forth often and talking to her everyday doesn’t automatically mean you can assimilate a new language effortlessly.
16) You’ll go beyond a tourist’s point of view and that’s awesome
I view Thailand in a whole new light now as I immerse myself in the culture, meet people and see how religion affects their lifestyle. You can read all about it here.
Learning new things, especially of another country’s way of life is always good. That’s how you open your mind.
17) Just get a SIM card so you can stop bloody worrying about WIFI
Unfortunately, not everywhere has WIFI, although the many shops in Bangkok offer it for free if you simply ask for the password politely.
Don’t even bother worrying about WIFI. Just get a SIM card.
18) People don’t view your partner as your partner. They view them according to their perspective only
In other words, they view them according to what stereotype they know of the foreigner.
I’ve no idea how many times people have asked me, “Are you still with your Thai girl?” and I’d reply, “She’s not my Thai girl. She’s my girlfriend.”
There’s a whole line of reasoning behind that stereotype here, but I won’t go into that now. At the end of the day, it is very true that people would always view the foreigner, especially in a relationship in largely misunderstood ways.
It can be pretty depressing, but as mentioned, it’s their problem, not yours.
19) It gets a lot better
I used to cry at the airport when we have to say bye because I was just sad and I knew I was going to miss her. The pain was insane. But it’s a lot better now.
Many people think LDRs are always hard, but they forget, like most things, it gets better.
The trick is to simply put in the effort in your relationship and not being so afraid about everything in life.
20) A long distance relationship can work out if you want it to. Don’t say it can’t
It can. If you want to, it can.
Just do what it takes. Plan your budget wisely. Take leave from work. Communicate everyday. Don’t fuck around and think you can get away with it. Have some trust.
It’s how much you want it.
21) It’s not ever good bye, it’s “See you later.”
Plot twist. Not once was it ever a goodbye for both of us.
It’s always “See you later.”
That was what she told me the very first time I had to leave Thailand as a guy who decided to turn into a boyfriend.
And that was how I fell in love.