Have you ever heard of the saying: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"? I've revised that. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, farther yet stronger.
In this generation, with internet and cell phones connecting people easily from one part of the world to the other, long distance relationships have become rampant. More and more people become a couple via text, chat or by the thousands of online dating sites. And as I have heard, read and even recently experienced, maintaining a long distance relationship(LDR) is never easy.
My mom and dad have known each other for almost 30 years. And since day one, they've been in a long distance relationship. They even met through my dad's niece who gave dad mom's address. Since dad was taking up college out in the province and mom lived in the city, they formed their relationship through snail mail. And as mischievous as I am, I've seen and (secretly) read almost all of their letters. And if people nowadays think that maintaining a long distance relationship is hard with the technology that we have, they have to think again.
Back then, before internet and cellular phones were accessible to the public, people wrote letters. Handwritten or using a typewriter, it was more personal in a way. They would then send these letters through the post office, and patiently wait SEVEN days before the letter arrived to their receiver. Then they would have to wait ANOTHER seven days, to receive the reply. Harsh right? All in all you have to wait 2 weeks to receive a reply. That is IF the person actually replies. Imagine yourself waiting for the mailman to drop off letters at your house. Waiting for a letter that may or may not arrive. Imagine writing a letter to someone, telling them to meet you at this certain place at a certain time, and you just wait there, hoping they got the message?
It was hard, but my parents endured that. Since after college my dad worked overseas, there were more complications. I read in some letters that it took LONGER than seven days for the letter to arrive. Sometimes these letters would get switched up. And worse, sometimes the letters were lost in the mail somewhere. They went through this until I was almost six years old, when we finally got a personal computer at home where we could email dad easily. So it took thirteen years before my mom and dad could communicate properly, and yet their love stood strong through the currents of life.
Nowadays we rarely hear these types of stories. With the magic of the internet, you could easily video chat them and feel like you're with each other.You could easily update yourself on what your significant other is doing by checking out their Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. You can text them without waiting two whole weeks for a reply unless they have a good reason for doing so. But although the communication part of long distance relationships are significantly better than before, the feeling of being in an LDR is more or less still the same.
There is that feeling of facing things by yourself. You know you can't always depend on him/her to hold your hand when you're about to receive important news. They're not there to really help you when you're in trouble because all they'll know is how you solved the problem. You don't have a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold on to. There is just you and a person miles away.
Missing them. There are just moments when it hits you. When there's no one to carry your heavy bag, no one to kiss you when it starts to rain, when you go home to an empty house. It's like you're always daydreaming that they're there with you. You sometimes loose focus on the things that you're doing. You forget things, you're easily distracted and in rare cases, your body feels unloved. Although the person is there for you 24/7, there is still that feeling that they should have been here, that they should be with you right now. It's the hardest part of it. Knowing that they should be there with you, but they're not.
You grow apart. As cliche as it may sound, change is really inevitable. You can't control your surroundings, and neither can you control the surrounding of the person you love. Your interests, likes and dislikes eventually change. So does your partner. There is the risk that whenever you meet in person, you have a hard time adjusting to who they have become. Whether change for the better or for the worst, it depends upon you and your partner. No matter how many times a day you see your partner through video chat or talking to them on the phone, things change in between the times you're talking to each other and the times that you're not.
Keeping things interesting. There are some couples who lasted five years without seeing each other in person. There are some couples who have seen each other almost everyday of their life, yet are torn by distance all of the sudden. So how do you keep your romance at check? This is a challenge. You have to think of things to help your relationship exciting. This is where you send surprise gifts, send them e-cards or videos of yourself for them. You just have to keep the ball rolling.
Temptations. Now these are the deal breakers of long distance relationships. When you're apart from your partner, you feel emotionally incomplete. And when a person comes along who somehow fills that emotional need, you tend to fall for them. The best way to avoid temptations as such is to remember that everything you are doing is for the future of both of you. That everyone around you who may tempt you are only temporary, just a by passer. Remember you're committed to someone, not everyone.
Waiting. They always say that you should look at the glass half full. That means you must try your best not to think how many days it has been til you've last seen them. Rather, think about how near you are to the day that you would melt in their arms. Cheesy, I know, but that's how we keep ourselves alive. We have to encourage ourselves to think of the crazy things we want to do with them when you finally meet after all this time. Knowing fully that all of your plans will fade when you see them because all you want to do is be with them no matter where the both of you are or what you're doing.
The anxiousness of meeting. No matter how many times you've seen each other before, there is still that excited feeling of holding their hand again, feeling their arms around you, and even when you kiss. There is the question of chemistry, that no matter how often your communication is, it will be further tested when you meet them in person.
The knowledge that after hello, there would be goodbye. Even when you're together, there is that nagging feeling that you won't see each other again for another few weeks or months. Your mind seems to teleport to the future when you're not together and this leaves you in pieces. The hardest part really is goodbye, when there is the uncertainty of when you'd meet again. This makes the person usually scared of being with his/her partner rather than enjoying the moments spent together.
But in the end, I believe that the people who survive long distance relationships are the strongest people out there. They strive their best not to get tempted, not to fall out of love. They trust with all their heart, even when everything seems doubtful. Their love reaches out through the land and sea that keeps them apart. They conquer every obstacle, and they do their best to succeed for the sake of the other. They spend their days counting to the moment where they'd meet their beloved one. And when they gloriously meet and they have the opportunity to stay, that's the best part. This is when we know that love really knows no distance. :)