Will your Long Distance Relationship stand the test of time?
To a kingdom far far away………
The sharply dressed guy turned back to see his girl one last time before leaving the country. It was a tough commitment. Once he walked through that boarding gate he knew that everything would be uncertain. She had tears in her eyes, while he was fighting that heavy feeling in his heart. Both of them knew a long distance relationship is one which neither of them could depend on.
More than each other, they could not trust themselves. Feelings which were not known crawled somewhere deep inside. What would it be like not to be able to see each other everyday, not to be able to wake up next to each other every morning, not to know if one could even call.
The paradigm of a Long Distance Relationship
As we venture into a world of desires, dreams, ambitions and aspirations such relationships become the need of the hour.
Our existence is not only our physical self, it also involves fulfilment of our spirits. No matter how much you are judged for it, if you do not take care of your goals, you will remain unfulfilled. You would remain unhappy. And that could also make you part ways from each other.
So you try the Long distance relationship. You trust in each other.
You say: “I will wait for you, forever” You say: “There is nothing that can separate us”. You say everything you have heard in the movies and you do that with complete conviction. Every song ever written now seems to be about you.
That is something you truly believe.
But will you believe it after a few months? Will you say it even after a year, or, years?
Maybe there is a way to analyse your relationship.
Why am I talking about this?
I am a sailor. We set milestones for Long distance relationships.
There was once a time when the old seafarers used to kiss their loved ones goodbye before they embarked on a boat – and it would be months and perhaps years before they could see or talk to them again. Their loved ones were expected to wait with no knowledge of when or whether at all the sailors would return home.
Well, things are not like that now. We are in the digital world.
Sailing does not mean being cut off from the rest of the world.
That said, our attention span has reduced too. If I felt bad in the 1930-s, I had to find a friend, meet him and talk to him to feel good. I had to take the effort to push myself and visit that lakeside which would make me peaceful.
Today I can pick up the phone and get connected to anyone I want. If one person is busy I can search for others. There will always be a way to fill that small bit of emotional gap that needs to be filled right now.
I have a steady abundance of places which can make me happy and content. Why then , will I wait for that one person so far away to take care of my emotions and to fill my emotional gaps?
Well, I am married to the most beautiful woman I have ever known.
I think at times what, in all these years, have I done to deserve her? And our relationship has always been a long distance relationship. There are things which we have between us due to which it has lasted the ups and downs of time, making us somehow stick together.
No there was no compulsion, no there was no inhibitions, we had the same options as others do. Yet like birds who would return to their nest, for years we have always returned to each other.
For all you folks out there I have dissected our relationship to be the best of my ability to make sense out of what we did right.
This is an attempt to find a pattern – to see what works.
The Theory and Practice of a Long distance relationship
So what can I tell you about a Long distance relationship?
I can tell you about us.
And I can tell you for sure that if you think about these things, your relationship will have a much better shot at making it through.
Think about you and your partner. Think of your relationship like a parent raising his kid. Every parent tries to raise his kid to the best of values and teach them sense. But they cannot protect them forever. There comes a time when every parent have to relinquish control and let them face the world. Once mature, every kid will take care of themselves, no matter how much garbage life throws at them. Similarly, once your love for each other has matured, you can let it go. Your love will take care of itself, forever free of bondage.
Is your love mature?
Here are the few ways to find that out.
When I decided to stay with my wife for the rest of my life, she was not the best option I had.
She was My Only option.
Think of your boyfriend, girlfriend or your spouse. Is he the best option for you? Is he really an option for you?
Please be honest with yourself. If you think it is, perhaps there is still some time before your love matures.
Remember that small emotional gap which was created? You will always have options to fill it up from various places. Yet there must be something that is exclusive to your partner, something so extremely important that you will always come back to him or her for it. No one in the world can fill that place for you.
In relationships there comes a time when you will not be in a position to choose. Your partner will not the be the perfect woman or the most eligible man, and yet will be perfect for you.
Not because you don’t have choices, you will always have choices. Your relationship with your partner will be exclusive. It means it cannot be compared, because no one else is or ever will be in the same platform. That exclusivity gives you a strange confidence, which brings us to our next point:
Trust yourself, not the other one:
Often the question we ask ourselves before we part is: Can I trust him? Can I trust her? If you find yourself asking this, you probably cannot.
So it is a rather rhetorical line of thought.
Lets get real, a year from now if you have not seen your guy and you find him with another girl on Facebook you will get ideas. If your girl sends you a group photo and you find a man putting his arms on her shoulders, you will feel violated.
More than the other person you need to be sure of yourself.
Instead, ask yourself: Can I trust me?
So, what you are asking yourself is whether you trust yourself when you say: I love her no matter what.I love him for what he is and for what he will be.
If you do trust yourself, the battle is won.
Whether you will develop feelings for someone else or not is not something which you can consciously control. But if you are genuinely concerned about whether you can trust yourself not to get involved with someone else, probably you have already set your boundaries. That will take me to my next point now…..
Do not set boundaries for each other: Let love run free
Again, this is the most valuable thing we have learnt from our relationship.
If you are in a long distance relationship you cannot get this wrong, so listen very carefully!!
Love can only survive when free.
Do not set boundaries for your partner to love you. Do not check at each hour. Be free and let free. The only thing binding that man to you must be his love for you. If that does not stop him, you cannot. Instead, let him free and watch how you are the only place he comes back to. Your woman cannot keep reporting all her activities on an hourly basis to you just because you are insecure. She will do that herself when you stop asking her. She will because she will want to. Wait for that time to come.
Freedom cultivates true love, a love free of any compulsion is the strongest kind.
Also, when you talk to yourself, if you find it is ‘ethically wrong‘ for you to get involved with someone else, or “what will your partner think?” you are going wrong on a basic premise.
You are trying to use logic to control your emotions. Ethics come from the Logical portion of your brain and gives you the sense of right and wrong. Your emotions come from a vastly different area, and this place does not know what is right or wrong. It just wants what it wants.
If you try to control Your heart with Your mind it does not work, eventually you will end up unhappy and your relationship will suffer.
Be Happy with yourself
I have always believed in this basic premise and it worked miracles for me.
If I can be happy by myself I can be happy together. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, no matter how much you love a person, he or she is not the cause of your happiness.
You are happy because of your own love for the other person, which is your mind, not in the other person. And vice versa.
I have seen couples living together everyday, yet in their far apart worlds and cribbing about each other everyday. because they started with the basic premise that they are supposed to derive happiness from each other. That’s not really how it goes.
Find your third space, you must know how to keep yourself satisfied.
There’s a very interesting blog on this by Andy Luttrell:
In our long distance relationship we remain happy because when we close our eyes, our reasons make sense to us, our love for one another makes us satisfied, even when the other person is not physically present.
Your Love cannot survive to make you happy, it will only survive when you feel good to make the other person happy.
Make the other person happy:
Think about the other person – how can you make her happy today?
You are not there with her, so get creative!!
Can you send a message which is remarkably beautiful, not something forwarded from another person, something personal. Maybe a photo from your first date? Do that when she wakes up in the morning that’s the first thing she sees? Can you send her a photo of her favourite flower? Maybe a short message in the middle of the busy day to tell her you love her? There are endless ways, but it cannot happen when you are expecting something in return. Do it because of the satisfaction of seeing the other person smile.
Imagine her face lighting up and see if it makes you fulfilled inside. Create surprises for her. It works miracles. It makes a long distance relationship feel so much more.
I have an uncle who, at 70, still surprises her wife once a week with something random. It can be as trivial as bringing home a huge gift packet for her from the market of baking a pie for her. But her weekly dose of surprises never gets missed.
So believe me, no relationship is too old to have surprises.
If you genuinely feel good and completely satisfied because the other person smiled at what you did, you become, to her the most attractive person in the whole world. If you can have that attitude towards everyone you know you will be showered with so much love and affection that you will be swept away!! Whether in a long distance relationship or otherwise, Giving love is far more satisfying and fulfilling than receiving it.
A simple I-Love-You
I have been with my wife for 8 years now, and we are married for four. There has not been a single day, whether we are together or apart, that she missed telling me that she loves me. I forget at times, she never does. It can be random, in the middle of the day or perhaps early in the morning.
It does not seem to me that she is trying to establish something by saying that. She does not need to do that after so many years.
She says it because it just feels like the right thing to say. She feels happy to say it.
See, that’s what makes it impossible to ever leave her, even if I could. It makes me feel like she is my only home.
Remember that kid inside you who fell in love. Do not let that kid die in this busy world. Be silly, be romantic and be happy about it.
It will keep Love alive.
Well, that’s my story.
I guess if we really speak to ourselves as much as we speak to one another we can find those patterns in life.
Life will be simpler.
Are you ready for a Long distance relationship?
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