QQ,QA #4: About Long Distance Relationships

“How do long distance relationships work? If you’re in a relationship, the point is to be together right? If you live apart, what can you talk about since you are leading separate lives?”

Think this topic has been discussed to death. 🙂 But the reason probably is because it is such a relevant topic. Whether you are at university, having to leave your high school sweetheart behind. Or you have just started your career, and have been seconded by your company to a foreign country for 1 year.

Have many friends who told me that they can never do long distance. Because it defeats the purpose of having a relationship in the first place. You cannot meet each other whenever you want, you have different groups of friends, you cannot relate to each others lives anymore.

Yeah, LDR (long distance relationship) is tough. Especially when you walk on the streets, seeing all the couples cuddling up, especially during special days like Valentine’s Day, and you wonder if it’s all worth it… LDR is even tougher when you live in different time zones. As both of you have to study/work, there’s only a small window of opportunity where you are actually both awake.

7 tips for LDR to work (from personal experience!)

1. Have a plan. Plan a holiday together. Maybe meet halfway. Know exactly when is the next time you will be meeting up. Should it be in 1 month’s time. 6 month’s time. Or 1 year’s time. So at least you have something to work towards, and look forward to.

2. Stock up on international phone cards. Or now, there’s Skype. Whatever it is, communication is the key in any relationship be in LDR or non-LDR. This is where you keep track of each others lives and growth. I think I spent a big chunk on my allowances on phone cards when I was studying in UK…!

3. Take plenty of photos. Email those photos to your other half. So at least while both of you are making new friends, experiencing new things, you still can share them with each other.

4. Do an activity together. Ok, this sounds weird right? How are you supposed to do something together if you are like 30,000 miles apart? That’s where the Internet comes in. Now, you can play online Yahoo! Games. Jamie and I used to play Age of Empires (an epic real time strategy game), he in Singapore, me in UK. Or for those of you who are in the same country, but just different cities, you can even arrange to watch a TV program together! 🙂

5. Surprise him/her once in a while with a gift. Jamie used to send me what he called “Goodies Box” – so he will get one of those boxes from the post office and stuff it with goodies e.g. candies that I like, a small teddy.

6. Be honest and upfront. Being apart from each other makes both parties feel vulnerable. You might need more reassurances. There might be times that you wonder if the relationship is working out. Or if your boyfriend/girlfriend is getting too close to that cute colleague. Be honest if you have doubts. Do not keep it all inside. It’s better to ask than assume.

7. Keep busy. It’s not going to be easy. You will be moping sometimes. But life has to go on. And your other half does not want you to just be moping at home waiting for him/her. Make plans to meet up with your friends, especially friends whom you have neglected after being in the relationship. 🙂 Take up a new hobby! Learn new things, and look forward to the day you meet up with your other half again.

The bottom line is… LDR is not easy. For it to work, many ingredients are involved. Both parties have to make an effort to keep communication going. And trust is crucial in a long distance relationship.

But if you ask me… if both of you want it to work, and you are willing to work hard to make it work, then it WILL work. 🙂

Have you been in a long distance relationship? How did you keep it going? Or if it did not work out, why? Do you think people should be involved in long distance relationships in the first place?

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10 Comments

  1. haha.. i just wrote an article for a mag abt how technology has helped LDRs. been through 3 relationships with LDRs, incl the present one.

    i think its when u know the person ure with is worth it in the long run, and u’re not into instant gratification, then it’ll work. there’s alot of positives to LDRs if u put aside the moping. #7 is important, esp if u can learn to appreciate your own “me” time ^_^

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  2. Carol Loh /

    Hi Violet,

    Naturally, it put a smile on my face when i read this 🙂

    Your 7 tips really hit the spot as i have been there and done most of them with my ex. Trust me, it really work and its leave the sweetest memories..

    The most memorable was #4. Although we are miles apart, im in UK and he’s here in M’sia, 7hr times differences, we never fail to make times for each other. We will listen to songs together over the phone, as he knows that i didnt have any kind of MP3 or diskman with me at that point of time. I even get to choose the songs that i want to hear, just like a jukebox! haha.. We even start to sing and end up laughing together.. 🙂

    We’ll updates each other on how’s the days goes by for each other and he even make sure im safe even though far apart.

    One vivid incident that really touched my heart was that, i went to London for a holiday with just 1 of my girlfriend right after my exam and it’s kinda an aventurous trip as we went backpacking. So, it end up, both of us hardly can be able to find a place to overnight. Luckily, we found a motel and I stayed awake the whole night as im too scared to sleep although my girlfriend sleep soundly. It really surprised me when he asked for my motel phone number and accompany me the whole night! I just can’t believed it.

    So, very true to your words which definetly proven, LDR does work when both parties are willing to put effort in it and make it work.. If both the couple want it to work, it will definetly WORK!

    I can say that in my case, it was not the LDR that make us went our separate ways.. 😀

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  3. Like Carol said, I think the distance is not the problem that breaks a relationship. I was in a LDR. We did every one of those things u listed as well. We were on MSN, using the video chat function, even when one party was asleep, just so the other could see him/her wake up and be the first to say “Good morning” =) (coz he was living in US, and me in SIngapore). We planned trips together at least once a year etc

    Whether it can work or not ultimiately comes down to Trust. If both parties trust each other 100%, LDR shouldn’t ruin the relationship. Of course, many people feel that the physical aspect is one of the most impt, but to me, I think the emotional aspect is more impt, and as long as I knew that he would be there for me whenever I called to talk, it was good enough for me.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but I felt it wasn’t coz of the distance, but more of a shift of priorities (in his case), and he decided he wanted more time for his friends. In other words, I guess he just lost feelings for me, and I know LDR wasn’t the cause of it.

    So, I think LDR can definitely work out if both parties are committed to making it work, trust each other, and NEVER abuse that trust. =)

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  4. iblogme /

    Good advice dished out, Violet. True most are no. 6 and 7. What are most important in LDRs is communication and trust, as there are essentially nothing but words as a form of communication.

    I’m not sure whether really long LDRs could work out, because they would just be “pseudo-relationships”, but I am not discounting the fact that some long LDRs do work out. For those cases, I give my hat off to them – for the true bond and faith. 🙂

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  5. Hiya Midnite Lily-
    Hey, good to see you dropping by! 🙂 Maybe you can share with us the name of the magazine, so that we can check it out too! 🙂

    Hello Carol-
    All your stories just make me go Awww…. 🙂

    Hi Nan-
    Welcome to my blog! 🙂 That MSN Video Chat is a great idea. 🙂 To see each other the first thing in the morning! Yes, I agree Trust is very important especially in a long distance relationship… because when we don’t have the constant reassurance, we tend to start thinking of crazy stuff!

    Hello iblogme-
    Thanks for dropping by again! 🙂 I think LDRs where both parties have no idea when they will be actually be together in one place might have difficulties ‘surviving’. But yes, I have seen quite a lot of LDRs with happy endings! 🙂 Jamie and I were having LDR for 2.5 years, after being together for only 1.5 months… so I am a believer of LDR. 🙂

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  6. I’m in a LDR now myself, with me being in Australia and my other half in Malaysia. It’s not easy at all. There were many misunderstandings and miscommunications but in the long run, it’s all essentially about trust and trying to right whatever miscommunications we had.

    The hardest part of it all was the fact that we were together for 2.5 months when I had to leave for Australia. But at the end of the day, I know he’s someone I want to spend my life with and it’s reassuring to know that he feels the same. Yes, it’s hard to see friends who are couples together and it does bring me down sometimes but to get myself out of the dumps, I get myself busy doing school work and thinking bout what lies for me in the future with him. 🙂

    Violet: Piggy, can totally understand how you feel. Cos I had a similar experience of being together with Jamie for only 1.5 months before we parted. Am glad to see that you have such a positive attitude. Hang in there! And am sure that you and your loved one will pull through this long distance relationship as long as you two put your heart and soul into it! 🙂

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  7. PC.com i think it might be out next mth ^_^ will keep u posted

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  8. I’ll be in a LDR soon and it scares me a little. First, the thought that it might not work out, and Second, that he might lose his feelings for me while away. But I suppose it works both ways right?

    All the points you pointed out really hit close to home.

    I hear stories of LDRs that do work, and also those that DO NOT work. I hope mine will be a success story and know that I am inspired and hopeful because of yours. 🙂 Thank you, Yan.

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  9. Midnite Lily-
    Yup! Do keep me updated! 🙂 Would love to read it.

    Kea-
    Don’t worry! Just give it your best shot. So even if things do not work out as expected, you know that you have done your best, and you will have no regrets… (hmm, ok I know that sounds a bit cliche)… but that’s my philosophy in life really, as long as I know deep down that I have done all that I can do, if things do not work out, then maybe it is just not meant to be.

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  10. Oh well.. i was surfing around and came across this.. since i was in a LDR before (4 freaking years….. well.. maybe 1 year together with 3 years apart) i felt maybe there is something to it…

    hmmmm.. LDR.. is such a funny thing…
    When two persons in love.. you just want to do the right thing and wants to be connected emotionally no matter what is the reason…. you will enjoy the laughter over the MSN or phone.. the talks you have etc… but the end on the day is where is the ending line… we as individiuals cannot be apart for so long. If there is a plan to converge and meet in the future, temporary LDRs can work… but if it is like indefinately… then how….

    The situation i was in was that we met in australia.. but after studying.. we went back to our countries, we tried to stay in touched LDR for a while, (even visiting and meeting each other once every 6 months) but realised that it would be difficult to shift our bases as reality checks sets in (cultures, languages and finances) …. maybe we did not love enough to make the extra commitment or leave our comfort zones… (water under the bridge now)

    Anyway.. what i am trying in conclusion… LDR can work if there is a light at the end of the tunnel where you converge and become one. If there were never an intention to converge, no matter how strong the LDR is… it will just fade away with time..

    Just my opinion on this….

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