Do long distance relationships make the heart grow fonder? Fariha Sabir investigates...
The ups and downs of long distance relationships
The mere mention of a long distance relationship conjures up pessimistic connotations and daunting doom. Yet remarkably, studies not only indicate that these partnerships are more commonplace, but they are also more successful than we would assume. Growing economic pressures means many unmarried and married couples have to make the heartbreaking decision to relocate far away from their partners for work or studies, whilst increasingly strict immigration laws can also have such implications.
Take the story of Shifa (22) and Feroz (24)...
Shifa: “Out of sight, out of mind is easier said than done”
“Over a year ago when Feroz moved to Singapore for work, I embraced it because I had faith in our strong bond. Intimacy had a whole new meaning, since expressing ourselves through words and only having a voice on the other end of the phone, intensified our feelings and passion. Meeting and doing normal routine things together became a cherished luxury. The crazy time difference was draining though – sometimes speaking to him at ungodly times sadly became disruptive and tiresome. Not being able to see each other in conventional scenarios concerned me greatly, as I had started idealising him in a rosy unrealistic way. Somehow, my ambition faltered in anticipation of his return, which became my sole unhealthy focus. It took me a while to come to terms with the situation, especially as circumstances cannot determine when we can finally be together. Ultimately, when we make the crucial move, it will painfully entail one of us making more sacrifices than the other.”
Here's Yusuf (30) and Anjali's (28) take...
Yusuf: “Convenience over love is just not worth it”
“Five years ago during a trip home to Dubai, my British visa was denied and I was refused entry back into the UK. The temporary goodbyes Anjali and I had exchanged became more permanent than we could have imagined. Every year, we would excitedly anticipate the release of the latest iPhone, which had a whole new meaning for us - gone were the days of snail pace internet connections, unreliable messaging/videocalling/free call applications! Thank goodness for technology. It really has been a rollercoaster - there was a time when I became possessive, applying pressure on Anjali to call all the time. Inevitably, I missed her presence immensely, but she was also my only connection left to the world I had left behind. I now realise I was overcompensating for my absence. When she would go away or socialise, I inadvertently became envious and insecure. This led to many fights and made me uncharacteristically needy, but only because it would upset and frustrate me that we were missing out on creating precious memories. Being a model, I work with attractive females, yet Anjali astounds me with her utmost trust – not that she should worry about my loyalty! The reality is that since we live in different worlds, we need to make an effort to consciously make eachother understand and be a part of our world. When we meet quality time is sacred, which we will probably take for granted once finally together. Despite adversities, we are proud of how far we have come – accomplishing long distance is not an easy feat. Ending it shortly after I left would have indicated it would never have even worked in normal circumstances. If you really love someone, you will do whatever it takes to make it work.”
How to sustain a long distance relationship
• Keep the romance alive with love letters and thoughtful surprises. Make your partner feel loved not just by words, but actions
• Communicate regularly by incorporating this into your routine
• Make an effort with each other’s surrounding family and friends
• Don’t let yourself go, make an effort and exchange at least one photo a day
• Compliment often, show your partner you still fancy them
• Stay positive – identify and discuss uncertainties, fears and doubts
• Reminisce about happy times you have spent together
• Ignore negative opinionated people who can’t understand what you share
• Have reasonable expectations – don’t put too much pressure on each other