(See an updated version of this article at Humans Media.)
Long distance relationship, or LDR, is a bitch. But, she’s a bitch that you would want to be friends with. I’ve been in an 8-year relationship that ended because of long distance, or so I thought. It’s not something I regret though because LDR taught me a lot of things. Some of it I probably already knew, but had to re-learn in a harder way. Here’s some of it:
1. If it’s love, it’s worth a try
Yes, my story wasn’t a success story for the books. It didn’t have that fairytale ending my naive self have pictured. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d still do it. Why? I loved the guy. Love is more than enough reason to at least try to make a long distance relationship work. Lesson learned? Taking risks for love is worth it.
2. It’s a lot of work from both sides
All relationships need work. But for LDRs, more external factors are considered. Imagine having different time zones or the internet speed is acting up. When you’re fighting but the other person is buffering and you have no idea what they just said so you get more annoyed. You can’t just come over to kiss and make up. You miss special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, celebrating job promotions. And even though you try to compensate, it still feels like what you’re doing is not enough. Everything is just way too complicated to deal with and will take most of your patience. Whoever said the words “It takes two to Tango” was right. Lesson learned? Patience is a virtue.
When in a relationship, we tend to feel too attached to the other person. As if, we can’t function without the other. Or maybe you can function on your own, but you would prefer to do things with them instead. It will be a major adjustment to be on your own. Doing stuff you would normally do with your significant other. You want to watch a movie, dine in a restaurant, go on a trip, or walk around the park with your loved one. Well guess what? You can do all those on your own as well. You’ll find that it’s actually fun and liberating to do things on your own. You can take it as an opportunity to rediscover yourself. Go on a solo travel, meet new people, or try new things. You will thank yourself someday for putting yourself out there than being in a corner sulking for being miles away from your partner. Not everything is about being in a relationship. Lesson learned? Be your own person.
4. It was never about long distance
All the complications and struggles of being in a LDR can’t take a relationship down, if the couple won’t allow it to. If one fails to hold on, it wasn’t about the long distance. Everything is a choice. You couldn’t keep up with the annoying skype calls or messaging, it’s not the long distance. It’s because you have lost interest in spending time talking. You’re tempted to cheat because someone else is giving you attention that your partner is supposed to be giving. Again, it’s not long distance. It’s you and your ego’s need to be satisfied that is allowing and entertaining adultery. It was never about long distance. Distance just served as a catalyst to whatever was bound to happen anyway. Lesson learned? Acceptance.
5. Letting go
Some couples are lucky enough to overcome long distance. But some of us are not. It’s sad. You’re not a bad person if you chose to let go. You have all the right to mourn on your failed relationship whether you were the one to let go or the one who was left behind. You can play the blame game but it’ll get tiring and unproductive at some point. Cry your eyes out, have all the ice cream and cakes you need, drink all the alcohol you can get your hands to. Feel all the pain until there’s nothing left. Lesson learned? Forgiveness.
6. Moving on
Don’t pressure yourself, take your time. Moving on is not a competition. You would want to do this right, believe me. There will be times you’d feel that you have finally moved on but then a facebook memory, or an old photo, or just a mere thought will bring you back to square one. For some time, it’ll be a battle between moving on and holding back. Until the time comes that your heart is ready to finally take the first step towards your new life. Some may take more time than the rest, but rest assured you’ll get there. A friend of mine promised me that eventually all the pain will be gone and you’ll be okay again, that someday you’ll see this breakup as just a memorable chapter in your book. If no one has told you that yet, let me assure you– it’s true. You’ll be fine. Lesson learned? You’re stronger than you think