Friday, September 21, 2012

On a long distance relationship



It's Friday night and time to take a break from the monotony of studying. I received an e-mail from a reader a couple weeks ago and wanted to answer it through a post. Here's a clip of it:

Dear Saumya,
How do you handle a long distance relationship? What's it like? 

So, honestly, how is it? This might come as a surprise but it's wonderful. Now, a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm with the most understanding man I've ever met but from what I've experienced---and everyone's story is different---long distance has served as a magnifying glass for what's already there. I am more present because of it. He forces me to value myself, to indulge. We put each other on a pedestal---on the phone and in person. Since we rarely see each other, we make the most out of our weekends. 

Also, I get to live alone during this time in my life, which is a privilege my own mother didn't even have. I know this isn't for everyone but I'm grateful to have the choice to marry later in life. I've been able to cultivate a relationship with myself (cue lame, Sex and the City dialogue) that doesn't worry about loneliness.



He's following his career while I'm doing the same. Just knowing my personality type, I'd be resentful later if I chose something solely because of his location. Whatever little free time I have, I can be with my classmates or write or learn something new. A lot of relationships suffer when one person enters medical school and I realize how lucky we've been. 

Different people have different preferences so it might not be ideal for everyone. I get that. 
And of course, I miss him all the time and often long for the days I was in New York, scrambling to finish a feminist philosophy paper while he rubbed my shoulders. But I'm also grateful. And fortunate.

So, to conclude this post, these are three big things I've taken away so far:

1. It'll hurt like Hell when you leave each other. As in, there will be a real ache and too much space and silence and a graying resentment towards circumstances. But with a little time, life picks back up and if you're lucky, it's pulsating with things only you've established. No, you'll never stop missing them but you'll learn to build a more fertile life on your own because of it.

2. Distance won't be to blame if things don't go well. I was in another long distance relationship before and thought that was the problem. It was only a highlighter for the other issue. The sacrifice is not only worth it for the right person but it'll also be smooth. Yes, smooth. Long distance doesn't have to equal disaster.

3. Relationships take work no matter where partners are located. They also demand a sense of independence and optimism. If long distance isn't for you, then so be it. But if you've decided to commit, then do just that. Don't let distance take away your gratitude. Don't give it the power or weight to  make your days seem empty. 

16 comments:

  1. I think if you really love each other then you'll make the long distance relationship work. It's great that you are getting your independence before you settle down.
    The photos are super cute! :)

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    1. Thanks, girl :) Good luck with your writing! So exciting!!

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  2. There's nothing wrong with waiting and establishing your own paths now. As you said, you'd regret it later. And time to get to know and like yourself - really like and appreciate yourself - is great.
    And did you know you have word verification on?

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    1. So true. Establishing a firm relationship with myself has been one of the most rewarding things I've done. And thanks so much for the verification alert. I turned it off so hopefully it's good to go!

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  3. I think you are a wise woman as well as a blessed one to have found your soul mate and establish a thriving relationship with distance as a bridge. Great pics!

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    1. Thanks, Shelly! I am very blessed :)

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  4. most of my husband and I's 'courtship' was long distance. Even though it was rough at times, it also made us appreciate each other that much more. If you really want to make the relationsip work, then you do what you have to and overcome the distance.

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  5. I spent a year doing the long-distance thing with my almost-husband (two weeks from now the 'almost' goes away!), and it was honestly one of the best things I/we have ever done. I spent the year playing basketball at a different university and he stayed busy with a really intense internship (which he ended up loving and later landing an awesome job at.) Distance gave us each a new perspective we otherwise wouldn't have been able to develop. It definitely made us appreciate our time together more. We became stronger halves during our time apart, which I believe will make us a better whole in the future.

    Not to say it wasn't difficult at times, but it was well worth it in the end.

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    1. So glad everything worked out for you guys, Lee :). I definitely think distance makes us appreciate our relationship more as well. There's no room to take one another for granted and developing an independent identity is so important.

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  6. Good for you Saumya. Times have changed and our priorities also change, the best thing is to let the change happen and embrace it wholeheartedly. It is not easy to do well and be focused once you have chosen a particular path. In the meantime the relationship is also going fine for both of you, as both of you are giving the space needed to each other without grudging. What more can one ask?
    Enjoy your studies, enjoy your time with him and enjoy life.
    You both look really good together. God Bless!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rama. Your comments always leave me with peace and wisdom.

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  7. You are fortunate to have the ability to see your beloved. My husband and I met online and didn't even meet until we had six months together, so it was a bit harder.

    There ARE advantages to it, though. You get to know the person more thoroughly because talking is one of the only things you CAN do (no movies in the dark, loud concerts, etc.).
    It makes you evaluate yourself more because of what you put out there for your mate to see and it makes you more conscious of if your potential partner is compatable on more than just a "gee, you're pretty, let's let my hormones dictate for me if we should try to spend our lives together" level.

    I still remember our talks that lasted all night, the tears when we thought we would be nothing more than two dumb people who wanted to erase a thousand miles.
    The day I met him at the airport his plane was late and I thought he wouldn't come. When I saw him at the end of the flow of people from the gate, time held its breath for me and everything got fuzzy around me, except for him...
    I still remember the feel of his lips on mine, like electric shock and I looked into his eyes and (corny as this is) I saw my forever.

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    1. Wow, your story was so beautifully written. I love that you just knew right away; we had a similar sentiment when we first met. I'm so glad you found your love.

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  8. Saumya, you are indeed lucky to have such a guy in your life. I think he is lucky to have you too. Its great that you are getting the chance to explore your wings. I know that you will be soaring to great heights soon.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Rachna. I feel very lucky every day.

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