First, things have not been and will never be easy.
Here’s a quick background: I’m in Manila, Philippines. He’s in Washington State, USA. We live in opposite timezones. He wakes up by the time I go to bed. The complete story is here.
With COVID-19 restrictions, he can’t travel, and neither can I. This year truly changed everything for us.
These are some difficulties we face and the good that comes out of them.
Video call intimacy is not enough. I have to admit, no matter how many times we see each other on video, I’ve never been this lonely and feeling so far away from him.
The daily, twice-a-day calls became tiring and almost meaningless. Every day was the same. Now we’re left with frequent text messages and video calls every 2 days or so.
This might be the perfect time to bring out the “quality over quantity” card.
Less time on the phone may not always mean you connect less with your significant other. It could simply mean that the relationship has reached a different phase.
If you’re Filipino, you know how important families are in every relationship. They say that when you marry a Filipino, you marry the entire clan.
While this is difficult for me and my partner to establish now because our families are cities and countries away, sending gifts and a few video calls here and there. They work.
As we stay at home for safety, we try to make use of online services that are available to keep the connections alive. It will never replace being together in person but this will do for now.
Big life plans
Getting married, having kids, how to spend or save our money, and where to live are major decisions that every couple should decide upon together and — hopefully — in person.
Here is where openness plays an important role. Asking questions and talking about these delicate topics greatly help.
Desmond Tutu said, ‘There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.’ Better to start chewing early before things blow up.
We’ve had our fair share of arguments — all of them over the phone. We wonder how an in-person argument will look like. Will I go for a walk when I can’t handle it? Will he still be patient with me? Will I ugly-cry?
There’s no way to find out. We will just have to wait and see how things will be like once we start living together.
All I know is that for now, apologizing, being aware of our mistakes, saying “I’m sorry if I hurt you,” is the best way to practice being kind and respectful during or after a heated situation.
If you are in a long-distance relationship just like I am and the pandemic mildly or greatly affected you, hang in there! I always say this: This is only a bad year (day, week, or month — whichever applies), not a bad life. Set your eyes on what’s ahead of you and take it one day at a time.
If you’ve been thinking of getting into a long-distance relationship, think long and hard if this is the person with whom you want to do this. This road is not easy. The only way to make this possible is by giving and earning trust, consistency, and patience. This can only happen with daily affirmations and relentless commitment.
These moving words from Khalil Gibran, in the book On Love, are unforgettable.
When love beckons to you, follow him. Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him. And when he speaks to you, believe him.
No matter how difficult relationships might be at this time or any other time, if it’s real, we can’t let it go by. We nurture it, care for it so gently, breathe into it as the wind does to the trees.
Onward we go.
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