Through Thick and Thin

Have been traveling between Singapore and KL so often… it’s pretty crazy! Traveling reminds me of my long distance relationship with Jamie. We spent 2.5 years apart.

If you ask me if I would do it again? E.g. if I were to work in KL permanently, and Jamie in Singapore, I don’t think I will. I do not mind being separated by circumstances (when I was studying), but given the choice, I would rather be where he is, even if it means some small sacrifices on my side. I guess the reason is… we are the “sticky type”? :)

A friend and her husband will be apart for 3 years. Her husband has been posted overseas. She has decided to pursue her career back home as she’s not sure if there are career opportunities for her where her husband has been posted to. Her husband respects her decision.

I respect her decision too. A woman should be independent and able to lead her own life. It is not all about one’s husband, and adjusting to his life and his needs. Perhaps, the Chinese saying “Once you are married, you must follow your husband,” is somewhat dated in this modern fast-paced world. :)

Long distance relationships… this reminds me of a disturbing story that I heard 6-7 years ago. I used to visit this old lady V during my boarding school days in England as part of my community service project. Though, I always felt that she was the one doing the charity as she always prepared these wonderful cakes and cookies for me.

Anyway, back to her story… her son was posted to work in Asia. And his wife refused to go with him. They have two school-going children. It is a predictable story. So… the son stayed in Thailand for a couple of years. He hooked up with his housekeeper and they have a son together.

And eventually he asked for a divorce but his wife refused to divorce him. They worked out an agreement where he will continue to support his wife and his daughters but it was understood that the marriage is very much over.

At first V was on the side of her daughter-in-law, saying that her son was at fault. And she wondered what her son saw in the Thai lady as she’s no beauty. And she was a divorcee as well. But as times went by, V felt that her daughter-in-law made the wrong choice by not going to Asia with her son. Because she said… a man all alone out there, he would feel lonely…

I could see V’s point of view. But somehow I am just not convinced. It does not matter whether he was lonely or not. He, in his wedding vows, has promised that he would stick with his wife through thick and thin…

I do feel sorry for her daughter-in-law.

For she will always think “What if I have gone to Asia with him? Would I be able to save my marriage?”

What are your opinions on this issue? Do you think the wife should have gone with him when he pleaded with her to? Have you been in a long distance relationship and have some tips to share? Or, you would just like to drop me a comment? Looking forward to hear from you!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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11 Comments

  1. angel /

    me thinks husband & wife should NEVER be apart. period.

    wedding vows are … just vows … it doesn’t hurt that person if he/she broke it and that was why he did what he did… sad, but true, ain’t it?

    but then again, in lotsa cases where couples who are together and never apart, their hearts went a-wondering as well…what gives? *sigh*

    nah…no LDR for me…just too difficult to sustain one…

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  2. Promises do mean something, but it takes two to put in the effort to grow together. Everyone needs support.

    You can’t expect someone to promise their life to you and then go off seperately and think that he/she would not need help in keeping this life long promise.

    unrealistic.

    but remember – it does take two – so he could have stayed.

    whose fault is it?

    methinks – both sides for not giving in.

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  3. hmm – i just realised – shouldn’t have said ‘fault’

    sounds like i am blaming both sides – but i didn’t mean that – more like saying both sides share the responsibility as a relationship is a responsibility to all parties in it.

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  4. well, i’ve been thru a yr of LDR with my late bf while he was in USA till he back here, we been together for 4 yrs, i can tell that LDR need lots of trust, compromise and mutual understanding. Really need to put lots of afford to maintain the relationship.

    In a relationship, dun have absolutely who’s right or wrong. basically, one hand can’t clap tho..

    If the man has the commitment and he promised to love her and hold her hand grow old together thru thick and thin, then he shouldn’t do anything betray her or hurts her as well. But again, the wife has the responsibility to develop and maintain the marriage as well. No spice, no spark, the relationship is going to over very soon. It all depends on individual..
    If you love one, you should b faithful and gain ur lover’s trust.

    If something bad happened, dun blame each other, look at urself first, what’s going on? should we take action to solve the problem instead let it spread all over?

    man should live in peace and content what we are having in our life. :)

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  5. IMHO whether the wife goes with him or not is not the issue at hand. The issue is whether or not there is commitment to “stay” together while being apart. If a little temptation like a “housekeeper” or “postman” is going make the person stray, then what is the point of being together in the first place. The commitment is not 100% there – better to go separate ways than to risk being hurt further down the track.

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  6. Here’s the harsh reality: A huge percentage of LDR’s fail simply because the temptation is too great, especially for men.

    I’ve seen and met a lot of married expats here living and enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle which I assume, they weren’t able to do back home where they live a rather sedate life.

    Just my observation… :-)

    BTW, welcome back :-)

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Angel-
    I know what you mean. Some couples who live together for decades, and all of a sudden the husband decides to wander, citing ‘mid life crisis’…

    S-
    Hey! Good to see you commenting! :) Haha! I like your usage of responsibility vs. blame here. I believe that both parties have responsibility to make the relationship work too. So as you say, the husband could have stayed too. And the wife could have gone with him.

    Like what JC has said… “the wife too has responsibility to develop and maintain the marriage as well”. Well said JC! :)

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  8. Loong- it’s true what you say about commitment. Because when you commit, it does not matter if nobody ever found out that you have cheated, because YOU would know. And hence you would not do it, as you cannot face YOURSELF in the mirror.

    But as Rudy has said… sometimes… for men, the temptation is just too great… especially for men who were treated like normal people in their own country and all of a sudden they are treated like celebrities…!

    At the end of the day… personally I think it is up to the individual to make their own decisions. Whatever decisions we make, we just have to make sure that to us, that’s the most logical and rational decision, and we will not regret it.

    [Reply]

  9. The mother is blaming the daughter for being stubborn actually but some women just do not want their life to be determined by their husbands’ career. Anyway, it is not only the husband who would feel lonely, the wife would too but she did not go off with some other guy. It takes two to tango and if one could not hold on to temptations, how committed can one be.

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  10. Hi Princesse-
    I agree with you. The wife too could have strayed, but she didn’t. The wife could have gone with him, but she didn’t. The husband could have stayed put, but he didn’t. There are so many ‘could have been’ in this story.
    But at the end of the day, I think we just have to decide for ourselves how important the marriage is to us. If it is of the first priority, the wife would have gone with the husband. Or the husband would have stayed put.
    Why play with fire? A marriage is a joint decision and a joint effort. As you said, it takes two to tango. They could have chosen to be committed to their marriage, but they both didn’t. Well, I guess as in most of these scenarios, the ones who suffer are the poor children.

    [Reply]

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