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Life by Design


Bridging the Miles

Posted by Carren |

What can I say, life influences art. This article is definitely based on a my own situation. A personal insight helps especially when approaching people in the same boat as I am.

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carla Casanova
Published: MEGA October 2009

As leaps and bounds are made in the fields of transportation and communication, people become increasingly mobile, affecting not only their options for work and education, but also their relationships.

Where the playing field was once simply made up of your neighborhood (and perhaps nearby cities), love can now blossom with partners literally from the other side of the world, giving birth to what is now called a long distance relationship (LDR for short). If you find yourself quite unexpectedly in a long distance relationship, here are some ways to make it last.

Survival Tip #1 Keep it real

Though love is reputed to be blind, never enter an LDR blindly. Talk realistically and openly about your options for the future as a couple. Try to pin down each of your expectations and lay down the ground rules. Most especially, identify a time frame for being apart. A long distance relationship is not meant to become a permanent arrangement, and being able to clarify expectations help curb disappointments in the future.

Dr. Gregory Guldner, director of the Center for the Study of Long-Distance Relationships and author of Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide cites that nearly 70% of LDR couples who weren’t able to talk about their plans broke up within six months.

Planning is the key to building a successful foundation for their LDRs. As someone who has been in an LDR for two and a half years, 24-year-old social entrepreneur Josephine Perez* puts it eloquently when she says, “to building a successful foundation for their LDRs. Josephine puts it eloquently when she says, “What makes [LDRs] easier is having a plan - knowing when you'll see each other next, taking steps towards being in the same time zone, working towards [being together], and dealing with the uncertainties that come along with it as partners…It's easier when you have a goal - short-term and long-term.”

Survival Tip #2 Communicate creatively and courageously

According to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationship cites that the biggest challenges facing LDR couples is “maintaining the feeling of simply being part of one another’s lives.” This is a fact that 26-year-old marketing manager Cesca Silvestre, who left a two-year LDR last year, knows all too well.

She shares, “You don’t have shared experiences, shared memories, how can you grow together?” She also explains that the 12-hour time difference was a difficult challenge to overcome, “When you’re with someone, they’re there for you at your happiest or lowest moment, but in my case, when something great or bad happened, he was asleep. Suddenly, he lost his role in my life. I felt I was single.”

The Center further explains that intimacy is composed of two components. The first is the sharing of emotions, which everyone readily understands. The second is inter-relatedness of daily activities or “being somehow involved in your partner’s, often mundane, day-to-day activities, adventures, struggles, and accomplishments.”

There are many ways to accomplish regular communication and many couples are helped by the sheer wealth of technology available. However, sometimes a simple phone call, text message or online chat isn’t enough. When LDR couples commuicate through phone or Internet, the challenge is to become more expressive—and since they cannot physically show affection, they must find new and innovative ways to show how much they care.

Take graduate student Anne ElicaƱo, 26, as an example. She and her long distance boyfriend play online games like “Literati and Warship on Yahoo. It breaks the monotony of just yapping away on the phone all the time. We play for "prizes" which we can claim the next time we see each other,” she says.

LDR couples should also discuss issues as they arise and take care not to wait for the perfect moment. Because of separation, many couples tend to shy away from bringing up sensitive topics, but some things must be said. Sophia Delgado*, 27, shares from experience, “Since we're in an LDR, we want to deal with issues right away. We have to make the most of our time talking especially on Skype, so as much possible we are in good terms when we sign off.”

Survival Tip # 3 Claim your independence

Marketing consultant Carissa Reyes*, 27, who has been in an LDR for one and a half years suggests that rather than viewing it as an inhibitor in their relationship, she rightly views it as a chance for personal growth. She says, “Being apart is difficult, but I’ve also come to appreciate the space that it gives me to become my own person. Exploring the world without him makes me feel like a more confident woman, and that I have more to give in our relationship.”

*Names have been modified upon request


Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

In our world of Facebook, Twitter, IM, and Skype, it's never been easier to keep in touch. The question is, are we able to maintain a love connection inspite of all our tools.

Carren said...

That's true. It is as lot easier now than it was decades ago. I find that because of the distance, sometimes you find more things to love about each other. I figure, if both of you can survive long distances then anything is surmountable :)

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