Staying Sane in an LDR

Wow, haven’t I been posting multiple entries about my relationship instead of my usual feel-good, you-go-girl type of posts weeks ago. How fast things have changed, and how this bothers me.

You really like him a lot,” my girlfriend accused. “I’ve never seen you go gaga over a guy since I met you.” This was after I mentioned to her that he and I will be planning a mini vacation in a few weeks. It seems that when a girl pays for her airfare to see the guy that she’s dating, she obviously likes him a lot.

I like to travel,” I said in my defense. “Seeing him is just an excuse. It would be a great idea just to get out from the office a bit and see the world.” And of course, I meant every word. Sure, it would be great to see him as I miss him dearly, but at the same time, the thought of traveling excites me. In fact, this month’s highlight is my vacation planning to expense my mandatory block leave. 🙂

Nonetheless, I see the truth in her words. Yes, because I like this guy, I get caught up in the relationship and worry about every teeny tiny detail. Case in point, if he doesn’t call or SMS, I am bothered. Blame it on being spoiled when he was still pursuing me. He contacted me multiple times every single day. So who can blame me if I worried that he wasn’t missing me anymore if he didn’t even call?

We’ve only been dating for a month, and long-distance at that. It would suck if this is my shortest relationship ever. And to be honest, there were a few close calls the past couple of weeks. It’s not as if my or his behavior was stellar. We almost called it off last week till we managed to communicate better and give our relationship a shot to live.

Anyway, long story short, I really hope this relationship can work. However, there are multiple issues from all fronts that can easily break us apart. Not counting my insecurities (yes, I admit it) that we don’t see each other in a regular basis, there’s also the distance, the high possibility of miscommunication and other complicated issues that wouldn’t want to bore you and are too private to mention.

Whereas most relationship had a honeymoon period during their first half year, our relationship has been exciting and rocky from the very beginning. He said his I love yous from the first few weeks, and I followed a week after. What’s funny was that I think we both meant it, but are just unaware of the consequences of our words till later on. Love anyway is actually a verb, not a noun.

Of course, there is never a day when I don’t think about the distance. It’s something he worries about too when we first started dating. But we both knew we lived in two different countries from the very beginning and still continued on (call me stupid). It was only later that we/I both realized just how difficult long distance can be! 😦

But this is something we cannot change. To worry about the distance is a moot point. So what then? How do I stay sane in a long-distance relationship (LDR)? Do note that like many of you, I am still discovering the answer. But here’s what I have till this point:

1) Focus on your life right now. Get busy.

Stop thinking about the relationship too much. Stop thinking about him too much. Thinking about him or your relationship will not make him closer to you. It would just make you closer to being insane.

Trust me, when I am alone and yearning for him, I can’t help but imagine him in different types of scenarios. I start worrying aout the relationship and our future together. But heck, who can predict the future? Can you? I can’t. So instead of being concerned and then bringing your negative energies during your heart-warming but short-lived communication with him, why not instead concentrate about living the best life you can have at the moment, so that you have something interesting to share to him when you do get to talk to each other?

That way, he doesn’t think you’re an emotional loser who makes him the center of your world. This means, without him, you’ll be crushed and can’t exist. Instead, as hard as it may be, get busy. Live your life. Stay interesting. Go out with friends. Watch that film you want to see. Go to parties. Dance. Go wild.

When you’re happy with your present life, he’ll hear about it when you do talk. There won’t be too much of a focus on how miserable you are living apart (when there’s nothing you can do about it right now). That gets boring really fast. Instead, you can talk about your vicarious life and his life, and actually have a relationship.

Another upside is that if it doesn’t work out, you won’t regret that you didn’t put your life on hold for him. You can cry, get comfort from friends and then quickly move on. See? Perfect win-win situation! 😀

2) When you’re going insane, rant to your friends. Not your boyfriend.

When long distance costs serious moolah, who wants to hear you bitch about how he doesn’t care about you enough? Who wants to nag that he should call you or you will find another one deserving your time. Puh-lease. It’s better to talk to him about something more positive so you can move on to your life.

If you want to bitch, there’s your friends (sorry dears!). Particularly your girlfriends. Why? Because you spend hours and hours listening to them bitch about their own boyfriends when they had problems. Don’t you think it’s payback time? 🙂

But seriously though, I think it’s great to have these sort of friends around. They’re the friends who have your back even if you are fat and ugly. Cause they’re true friends. They don’t care what you look like or if you have PMS. They are behind you thick and think and defend your honor by claiming that your man is an ass for not treating you very well. They more or less take your side unless you’re being very inconsiderate. Then you feel a lot better, more appreciated and more loved.

There is of course a limit to their patience, but trust that you have the smarts to know how much to push your friends to be your virtual psychiatrist!

3) Understand the limits of LDR-oriented communication. Don’t jump to conclusions!

My boyfriend sent me an SMS, then a hurtful email and then called me last week. It almost broke my heart and had to resort to Tip #2 to get back to my happy place. However, after we talked and discussed the issue, rainbows came out and everything was all right again. If he was here in person explaining, of course, it would even be better but that’s the downside of an LDR, right?

What am just saying is that there are limits in communicating via an SMS or email. How many things can you say in 150+ characters, right? Putting the words on a short SMS or a blunt emal can take away the emotional part of a relationship. The limiting factor sucks.

Hence, when you’re in an LDR, don’t jump to conclusions. If you need to talk about something difficult, don’t place it on an SMS or email. Instead, call so he/she can hear you and react accordingly. Plus, you don’t leave any evidence for him/her to read and react later on. I’ve sent emails and regretted it. Never again, unless it’s something that I don’t mind having hm read and re-read (e.g. travel itineraries so that he doesn’t forget).

4) Find the time to see each other in person.

Nothing beats meeting each other face to face. Physical affection is great. Even though you’re shouting at each other, and then you give him a warm hug, it’s as if everything is okay once again. When some couples fight, they can make up with passion even later.

People in long-distance relationships cannot afford to do that. We have to rely on the Internet or the phone to stay in contact. And if someone is really pissed off, there’s always a risk that he/she goes online or turns off his/her phone. And then there’s really no way to talk it through.

Which is why, it’s always good to come up with a plan to see each other. Why? Because no matter how shitty things may be, there’s still something to look forward to. There’s that trip you’re both planning together. There’s that time when you can feel him in your arms again. And even though things are tough, you think about that future day and you smile. Yes, something to look forward to indeed.

5) Treat an LDR like any relationship.

Sure, the distance sucks, but like any relationship, its purpose is to see whether this person is something we can be with for the long term or not. Hence, it’s crucial that you don’t lose sight of this goal and fight for the sake of having a relationship at your expense. That’s not the goal. The goal is to see if this person is someone you can be with in the long-run. To see if this person treats you well despite the distance. If he can’t shape up, then no matter how you love him, may be better to ship him out.

Getting late. Hope this helps. I feel a lot better myself.

To those in LDRs, I feel for you! Hope this gives you a bit of hope, and have a great week everyone!

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
This entry was posted in Lists, Men, Relationships, Things I Ponder About. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Staying Sane in an LDR

  1. Teo says:

    Hi bonita, this is the first time that I post a message in your blog, as recently found it -by good fortune- and so I most confess that since, I remain glued to it! It really feels releasing when you find words and experiences from others that are similar to what you think and feel, (even thought you know this person is a complete stranger, who lives in the other side of the world, in a very different culture, with different whether, idiosyncrasy, politics, environment, population, economy, language, age, and god only knows what else!) proving you that you’re not alone with this feeling of being trapped inside a sort of “little-insane- own world”, (called your head) that drives you crazy sometimes. So, keep on writing for you! And your humble fans 🙂
    P.S: living a LDR too…

  2. Teo says:

    Hi bonita, this is the first time that I post a message in your blog, as recently found it -by good fortune- and so I most confess that since, I remain glued to it! It really feels releasing when you find words and experiences from others that are similar to what you think and feel, (even thought you know this person is a complete stranger, who lives in the other side of the world, in a very different culture, with different whether, idiosyncrasy, politics, environment, population, economy, language, age, and god only knows what else!) proving you that you’re not alone with this feeling of being trapped inside a sort of “little-insane- own world”, (called your head) that drives you crazy sometimes. So, keep on writing for you! And your humble fans 🙂
    P.S: living a LDR too…

  3. alatus says:

    Thanks for the warm response from a month ago. I should reallly have done a better job following-up. I’ve now added you to Google Reader, which I read daily, so when I have something to say, you’ll hear it. 🙂

    I agree most with point #1 about keeping busy, and it applies to Short-DRs too. No matter how great the fit, there’s always a need for space. How do you keep things interesting if you know what to expect at every corner? The honeymoon you refer to, that we all know so well, involves learning about the other. We also know very well that the honeymoon must, at some point, come to an end. What then?

    Time apart does many things for a relationship. It teaches appreciation, preventing us from taking for granted the other’s company. It adds life to the relationship, because two people will always have their differences.

    Not all my interests are not your interests, and I need time leftover to devote myself to something that has nothing to do with you if our relationship is to remain healthy.

    At the end of the day, I still believe each still needs to be clear on what’s theirs. I’ve made the mistake of viewing a relationship as ‘two becoming one’ from day #1. It’s a nice thought, but not so nice in practice.

  4. Pingback: The Tale of Two Men « Nameless in Taipei

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