Love across borders: How one cynic embraced a long distance relationship
CAN you go the distance? Marcella Purnama gets personal about long distance relationships and their chances of success.
I used to be a non-believer of long distance relationships. I felt they were too tough and no one could ever withstand the hardship of not being able to be with the one you love physically.
Throughout high school I said to myself, “I don’t want to be in a long distance relationship. Not now, not ever.”
I congratulated those who were in one because I could imagine how hard it would be.
Then when graduation came and all of my high school friends scattered across the universe, I saw those long distance couples crumble. One by one, they broke up – until no one was left.
Moving onto my university life, I made new friends. I listened to those who were still trying to make their long distance relationships work, encouraged others. Saw the pre-wedding videos of those who made it through.
Then, I met someone.
First date. First anniversary. Life was perfect. And it stayed perfect.
But after a year together, he decided to move to Singapore for work. Suddenly, I was faced with the real possibility – no, the truth – of getting into a long distance relationship. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. Then I remembered how I used to despise it.
I thought, “How could I find myself in these shoes?”
Then again, how could I not?
He was, and still is, worth it, despite all my prejudices about long distance relationships.
The first time we said goodbye, it was a catastrophe. I was crying non-stop on the last date, trying to hold on to every second we had left. I would no longer be one drive away, I would be one plane trip away. I was taking solace in his commitment and trust. I knew his heart was genuine.
When it was time to part ways, he gave me a high five. I knew he was feeling emotional too and he did it to lighten the mood. It worked. I gave him a small laugh. Then he walked away, turning one last time to give me the most beautiful smile and disappeared among the crowd.
How I wished I could run towards him and plead for him not to go.
When people say distance makes the heart yearn more for the other, they’re right. When you finally get to meet your significant other after a long separation, it’s one of the best things in the world. But at the end of the day, it also sucks, because you know you will be separated once again.
Having said goodbye four times now, I can confidently say there’s no “getting used to” saying goodbyes. Not now, maybe not ever. The feeling of holding his hand for the last time in a long time is quite excruciating.
But those who are in long distance relationships know we choose to be in one because it’s far better to be with someone who is committed continents away, than to be with someone who’s only metres away, but his heart isn’t in it.
During my last holiday break, I met up with some of my high school friends who were once in long distance relationships, and they gave me some words of advice for my own.
“Good luck on that,” said one of them, who had broken up with his girlfriend of three months after she went overseas.
Another gave me a weird look, half pitying, half amazed that I chose to go the distance.
I could sense what they were thinking. It hadn’t work for them, it wouldn’t work for anybody else.
Long distance relationships are not for everyone. They are hard and they are harder than a lot of things. But they are worth it in the end. Because he’s worth it.
Do you think long distance relationships work? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.