I actually wrote over 1700 words but I guess the editor had to trim it down to a more suitable proportion. Oh well. If you’d like to read the original one, here it is anyway. Forgive the mistakes if you spot them, it was all written after midnight.
Being In A Long Distance Relationship
By Jolene Lai Pei Shan
Someone once said that we are too young to love. Being in a relationship meant taking care of each other and being with each other every single possible day. Just someone to be close to. Just someone for you to understand completely and thatâ€™s enough for the most of us for now. Itâ€™s not too far from the truth to say that people who fall in love before going off to university are those who feel most heartbroken and nothing can hurt more than a perpetual heartache. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their dreams woven together. Some of us have to choose different paths to work towards a better future as education should always be a priority. We all know that.
A long distance relationship is never an easy one. Those who make it look like a bed of roses probably hide a whole lot more from the eyes of the people around them. Afraid of losing the remnants of what they once had, they paint a picture; not to deceive but to convince themselves that things are going great, that things will always be great.
Relationships fall apart due to distances and time apart. The absence of physical contact can be detrimental to some where else some are more troubled by the emotional part of the relationship. Itâ€™s a tiring task for most people. Such as the stress that ensues, the ever growing insecurities, the hurt from the doubts but most of all, the inability to experience each and everyday with that special someone is the one that takes the cake.
However, be it bad or good, everybody has something special to share about their long distance relationship. Each story is equally as romantic as the next and hopefully, a happy ending for all of us at the end of the day.
Ada Foo Lee Mun, 19, and Justin Lee Jiao Hao, 21, have been together for one year and seven months. Within eight days of officially becoming an item, Ada had to leave for Australia to pursue her dreams of becoming a psychologist. It all started when the both of them were working at the Star Edu Fair. â€œI asked him if he needed any help rolling out some posters and thatâ€™s how it all began,â€ Ada reminisces about the beginning of their courtship.
While Justin has a whole stack of calling cards in room and Ada, an empty bank account, no amount of phone calls can compensate for the intimacy of a simple hug. â€œItâ€™s especially hard as the next hug would be in about four monthsâ€™ time. Since we are apart for such long periods of time, we have to constantly reassure each other that we still love one another. Itâ€™s important to trust each other and to give the other person space and freedom,â€ says Justin.
If things go well, couples in a long distance relationship would be lucky to have had time and space to grow up without the constraints of a controlling partner. You get to enjoy life a little more and indulge in the freedom of being young, something that is not too convenient when thereâ€™s a person sulking next to you while you have fun.
â€œItâ€™s knowing that I will come home one day after finishing my studies that keeps me going,â€ confides Ada who is looking forward to the day when they wouldnâ€™t be apart from each other anymore.
Unlike Ada and Justin, Liew Suet Li, 19, and Barry Ooi Eu Hock, 21, have been together for a year and a half before they embarked on a long distance relationship when Barry left for the States in 2006. It was a chance encounter when Barry was dining at a local pizzeria only to be completely smitten by Suet Li, a pretty waitress serving at the joint. A phone call to the pizzeria for her name, a comb through of Friendster profiles and with the heaven sent MSN messenger, the two have been inseparable ever since.
After eight long months of being in an LDR, coupled with the lack of physical contact, the usual fights became harder to resolve. â€œWeâ€™re much more emotional when we are apart as the time difference is about twelve hours. It has been hard,â€ notes Suet Li. â€œWe do webcam a lot though as we need to talk to each constantly,â€ says Barry. The innovative couple has successful made the most out of their trusty web cameras. When Suet Li turned nineteen recently, Barry sent her a box of birthday decorations, banana muffins and vanilla candles. He made her open the box in front of the web camera on her birthday just so that they can celebrate her birthday together.
When asked if they have a common goal, Suet Li laughs and nudges Barry, â€œDo we have a common goal? Set one now!â€ Barry relents and says, â€œI guess the goal was to get her to go to the States to study so that it wonâ€™t be a long term thing. This way, the future is more certain.â€
In a way, the eight months did take its toll on the two of them. â€œWe were not used to having each other to ourselves for the first couple of weeks. I kind of forgot how to be a boyfriend,â€ says Barry sheepishly. â€œNeedless to say I got pretty sensitive for awhile,â€ smirks Suet Li.
For Sarah Chong Mun Teng, 19, and Rudy Khaw Keng Wei, 22, it was like a rock band groupieâ€™s dream come true. Sarah finally met Rudy after months of being a fan of Rudyâ€™s band, Throne Away. â€œIt was love at first sight,â€ gushes Sarah. With the aid of the internet, the two of them became further acquainted and only started dating when Rudy came home from Australia for a brief holiday. â€œBeing in a long distance relationship didnâ€™t prove to be a problem for me,â€ says Rudy. â€œIf I knew that I truly liked someone, it wouldnâ€™t be a problem. Furthermore, we didnâ€™t have much time to think it over,â€ he continues.
It obviously takes patience and maturity to be in a long distance relationship. This is where Sarah gets it right, â€œMy priorities are obviously to do very well in my studies, get a job here, being able to study abroad again after my six months scholarship and having time and opportunity to travel more frequently.â€ Itâ€™s important to put your goals in front of you than diving head first into a sea of giddy romance, completely blind to the realities of the world.
Koh Hsien Ju, 20, and Ng Kwok Tsu, 23, are two high school sweethearts who have really lasted the test of time. After being together for almost sixth years and spending three of those years apart, the two of them had no doubts about getting into an LDR together when he left for Perth. â€œWe didnâ€™t even think about breaking up because we believed that we were stable enough to go through this. It was hard for me in the beginning as he enjoyed university life but I too started enjoying my new found independence when I went over to Ireland,â€ says Hsien Ju. â€œSince we are apart, we talk on the phone for at least half an hour a day. It means a lot to me to be able to hear his voice just before I go to bed at night,â€ shares Hsien Ju.
So itâ€™s true that absence does make the heart grows fonder. Hsien Ju and Kwok Tsu tend to fight more whenever they are together as they donâ€™t feel the need to cherish each other as much as when they are apart. Perhaps it differs between individuals as some couples try their best not to get into fights just so that they can relish those fleeting precious moments together. Why let the last memory be an unhappy one before seeing each other again after months and months?
A Long Distance Relationship That Could Never Be
However, not everyone is fortunate to have an equally happy ending. There are those who have been thrown so far away from the ones that they hold dear that they have absolutely no idea if theyâ€™ll ever see each other again. Kimberley (full name withheld to protect her identity), 20, is one such person. â€œThough we didnâ€™t agree to be in a relationship when he left, we remained close in contact. We became closer than we ever were in real life and soon everything fell into place. All the issues that weâ€™ve discussed previously seemed to fade away,â€ laments Kimberley.
â€œOne of the big questions was what if our futures donâ€™t intersect?â€ says Kimberley. Itâ€™s hard to imagine how youâ€™ll ever cross borders just to be with someone you think you love. Especially when youâ€™re still a student, plane tickets donâ€™t come as easily as they would when everyoneâ€™s a working adult with a stable income. But even so, is it even worth the time and effort?
â€œThe distance and uncertainty was very tough on me. Having a light at the end of the tunnel to run towards is a huge incentive. This is where couples who are in a long distance relationship with a common goal get the upper hand,â€ says Kimberley sadly. As the months rolled by, the circumstances became clearer and clearer. â€œWhat was most upsetting for me was when I had absolutely no clue when I would see him again. To only hear his voice on the other end of the line but not to hug him was pretty bad too.â€
â€œWe did have a long talk recently. His career is really taking off and as for me, Iâ€™m heading to another country to pursue my studies. We know that we are headed in different directions and thus parted amicably. Weâ€™re back to being the close friends that we once were,â€ says Kimberly who has obviously found closure.
With long distance relationships, thereâ€™s not much we can do but play by ear. If youâ€™re lucky, youâ€™d have a rough idea of where this is heading. To be kept in the dark about how it will all end is like being stuck in limbo where youâ€™re neither in love nor out of it. So what if others consider our relationships to be unreal? It is our own special story to share and if this is how the story goes, so be it till the day when the long distance relationship draws to an end.