Going the distance

So here I am, finally back home in Singapore! Home sweet home? Well, yes and no. It’s great to be home with family and friends I love, but not everyone whom I care about is back here. There’s a certain someone I’m missing terribly. Long distance relationships aren’t easy at all.

Relationships by themselves aren’t always smooth sailing. Throw in some distance and there’s a lot more to handle. It’s been a few years, yet it’s something I think I’ll never get used to. With him coming and going, we’ve never had the opportunity to see each other on a regular basis. Each time he leaves, we find new ways of coping. While he is away, we each grow in our own ways. And so, each time he comes back, things are different.

Thankfully, one thing has remained the same, our willingness to adapt and eagerness to continue to learn about each other. The distance between us means that we don’t get to talk face to face. Even with Skype, we don’t have the benefit of eye contact. And over the phone, it is easy to misunderstand one another. The time difference also means that we can’t talk to each other anytime we like. It’s also revealed some unpleasant things about me to myself. I never realised how selfish or demanding I could be.

To cope with the highs and lows of this relationship (“high” being the short times he is home and “low” when he leaves), I’ve had to learn to keep my emotions in check and how to truly listen to someone. And when I speak, everything I feel or think has to be verbalized carefully and clearly to avoid miscommunication. I’ve also had to stop thinking so much about what I need, and instead ask him what his needs are. The process can be painstaking when all these have to be conveyed over a telephone conversation. (Especially when I don’t always remember what was just mentioned earlier in this paragraph.) Sometimes, our conversations span hours, late into one of our nights. Even then, some issues won’t be completely resolved and we spend more hours sorting it out.

Being so far apart has really tested our patience with each other time and again. But if both people are willing to adapt and be open to learn, I’ve learnt that many things can be overcome, including the discomfort that change can bring. However this relationship turns out in future, I think it would have made me a better person. Patience, listening skills and consideration for another aren’t just for boy-girl relationships.

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