Making it work: The ups and downs of long-distance relationships

Making it work: The ups and downs of long-distance relationships

by Ritchel Mendiola & Bianca Cruz / AJPress

Being in a long distance relationship is a struggle, and given the choice, most people would steer clear away from it. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced world, there is a pretty good chance that couples may find themselves in different cities — sometimes, countries — for a job or even a scholarship to study someplace else. When this happens, making the decision to end the relationship or stay together is nowhere near the vicinity of easy.

Thankfully, the technology we have today has made communication easier. With the influx of messaging apps like Messenger, Skype, and Viber, keeping in contact with one another has become more convenient and less of a hassle. For couples who choose to continue their relationship, the distance will always be a problem, but if it’s any consolation, they can now quickly reach each other with just an app and a webcam in the comforts of their homes. It takes a lot of effort and commitment, but any couple can make the distance work for them rather than against them.

Here are two couples in long-distance relationships (LDRs) who shared how they make their situations work and how they stay close to each other even when they’re far apart.

Shen Bacal (Las Piñas, Philippines) & Nathan Amora (Los Angeles, California)

“We met through a mutual friend when we were both 16 years old and in sophomore year. Nathan was just someone I considered a friend of a friend until we got to know each other better. We’d stay up late texting and chatting about anything and everything. I thought that it was nice to meet someone I could talk to the way I did with him. I was myself and I was comfortable to share my thoughts and feelings. It felt great!

“We’ve been together for six years and three months now. We’ve been apart more than we’ve been physically together. He left to live in the States for good in May 2013. We’d only see each other once a year — every year if we’re lucky. We’re not physically together right now but we’ve learned to accept our situation. We actually thought that this kind of relationship was both beneficial to us since it gave us space and time to grow as individuals. We didn’t feel the need to change each other, instead we were able to watch each other become the best version of ourselves.

“To those who are in a long-distance relationship or are thinking of being in one, I suggest you get to know each other better since you’re entering a more serious level in a relationship that requires mental and emotional commitment. Learn to support each other, as well. Relationships can be selfish. Long distance taught us how to let go of what we can’t control. It might hurt that you aren’t a part of your partner’s daily activities and milestones, but at least you can be proud at the fact that they’re doing well on their own.

“There will always be days that your longing will be unbearable, so find a healthy way to express your feelings. Call your friends or family to keep you company; cry, drink, or dance your sadness away. Know your boundaries and avoid doing anything that will jeopardize your relationship. Relationships are constant works in progress, so always make time for each other — no matter how long or short it is.

“LDR is actually like any other relationship, the difference is the distance but the connection is the same. What made it easier for us is that we were able to establish the friendship before anything else. This definitely helped us trust each other better. In the end, LDR wasn’t a decision we had to make, it was a flow that we just went with.”

Pamela Andres (Manila, Philippines) & Mark Ocampo (San Francisco)

“We met seven years ago during my dad’s basketball game. We were in high school at the time, but from different schools. Later on, we realized we had a lot of common friends and started to hang out with each other. We met again in San Francisco when I went there for a two-month family vacation. Mark took me and my brother for a tour since my sister, who is a nurse there, only had a week off work. Before I went to Las Vegas, I said yes when he asked me to be his girlfriend.

“We’ve been technologically together for seven months now. We’re not physically together so we facetime each other everyday. We still constantly struggle with the time difference; he wakes up when I’m about to sleep. Being in a long distance relationship, you will definitely miss the personal contact. You will get those random urges to hug your partner even though you can’t.

“Before Mark and I separated in San Francisco, we mentally prepared ourselves and even googled ‘how to make long distance relationship work.’ There was a list of rules that we agreed on and consistently do to make our relationship work. We strengthened our trust in each other. It can be hard, at times, but if you really want to make your relationship work, you have to trust your partner and believe that your love for each other is strong enough so you won’t have to be paranoid all the time.

“The distance can sometimes fizzle the spark in a relationship so we always make an effort to keep the spark alive between us. We are also each other’s best friends. Being your lover’s best friend helps in building the trust between the two of you. You become your lover’s personal cheerleader in their endeavors and interests in life. Most importantly, we plan when we’re going to meet. Never forget to set a specific date you can both look forward to and prepare for that special day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and there really is nothing quite like the feeling of finally hugging your partner after not being with them for a long time. “

Ultimately, long distance relationship might be a challenge for most couples, but isn’t it better to at least try it rather than give up easily and spend your life being haunted by what-ifs?

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