When geography is against a couple, the well-being and nature of the relationship can be put under mammoth strain and it either crumbles or survives. I can speak from experience as my boyfriend and I have been travelling to be with each other for over two years now, and we’ve definitely experienced our fair share of ups and downs. What brought on such a ponder was that my good friend has gone the distance to be with her boyfriend who lives in China, after they had been separated for little under a year. Since then, her happiness has yo-yoed and it fuels my curiosity for the notion: can closing the gap between partners keep things alive?
We all know variations of a success story where a couple who’ve had separate lives have somehow managed to amalgamate them into a blissful romance, or so ‘rom-coms’ have taught us. But what about the difficult times we often put rose-tinted glasses on for?
For my now-in-China friend, it seems that year apart had no trust issues or complications; she waited out the time until she could be with the man she’s in love with. When she arrived in China to live with him, things started off well but gradually grated down. It seems closing that 6000 mile gap led to heated arguments, and now that she’s back in England for the summer, threats of breaking-up and tears. I fully respect my friend for trying to make things work between herself and her boyfriend, but what I’ve observed is that there are often consequences like anything else with life.
My boyfriend and I have been through difficult moments and enduring a week long separation in the heat of a ‘dip’ has been but one. We’re slowly living closer to each other as the years progress and now we’re only an hour’s train journey away. The distance is still there between us, unlike my friend’s relationship. With the availability of university days, we’ve managed to spend more time being the soppy and ridiculously vomit-worthy couple we are, but it took ’til the end of second semester for things to get patched up and get, so far, on track. Like my friend, however, trust became the monster which created schisms within our relationship and we were too involved with our own lives; a blatant aspect of going to university. Issues were ignored, festered and magnified until they were much larger than they had to be. It seems this is a common aspect in some relationships.
Considering what my other friends who have boyfriends have been through – the worries, tantrums, insecurities and questions if the relationship is what they want – I wonder if living in the same area of your girl/boyfriend has the highest rate of success for today’s youthful relationships. Yes, it’s giving up a lot in some people’s eyes, but nowadays romance is not what it used to be. Some men buy you a drink in a bar and expect your body for compensation! I miss the wonders of my grandparents’ era where you met your partner in high school and from then on you never separate, unless there’s a world war to act as a barrier…
On the other side of the coin, things can work. I imagine that long distance relationships can flourish without any hiccups and everything is constantly hunky-dory with those involved feeling happy-as-Larry. What my friend and I have learnt is that nothing is perfect. Relationships are hard, harder than what we expected. Perhaps going the distance forces you to mature and start thinking for two instead of yourself, or it’s the true test to see whether you’re meant to be together.
Either way, que sera, sera. Changing the status of a ‘long distance relationship’ to a ‘relationship’ will probably have pot-holes to manoeuvre. And if that distance is kept, we need to be as emotionally open as possible to those we care about. For me, this is the hardest point to fulfil.