Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

My boyfriend and I met while ice-skating at the top of the Eiffel Tower.  As cliché as that sounds, I promise you that it’s not some stolen bit of plot from a book or movie. While I didn’t expect falling for him that day on the ice rink, I never would have guessed that only months later we would be surviving a long distance relationship…

Even though I’m from California and he’s from Russia, our romance began in France and it is currently continuing in Lebanon. We’re constantly traveling, but not always traveling together. In fact, we just spent the better half of this past year in different continents. Last Winter, nearly a year into our relationship, I learned that he was moving to Beirut… indefinitely. From Paris, France to Paris of the Middle East, it is a total distance of about 3,200 kilometers. But distance is just a test to see how far love can travel. Fortunately, we’re finally in the same place – at least temporarily. We even just hit the Comfort Zone stage in our relationship

With my old high school sweetheart, I couldn’t even stand him going off to a university that was barely 5 minutes away. The thought of cooler and older university girls flirting with him absolutely terrified me. Thus, to the contrary of my insecure and clingy teenage self, what I felt then was not love but a naïve facsimile of it, void of trust.

Despite it only being a few years later, I’d like to think that at least part of me matured enough to accept the exhausting emotional and mental trials of being in a long distance relationship. I had the similar fears as before (Will those sexy and foreign Lebanese women seduce him?), but this time around I was more confident in my boyfriend and in myself (They can try, but I’m just as hot and exotic!).

Love alone isn’t enough sustain a long distance relationship. From being in opposite time zones to not understanding each other’s tone of voice, the most strenuous problem with a LDR is the notable lack of physical touch.

But if you think that is difficult, just be glad we don’t live in the age of snail mail anymore.

Can I get an Amen for Skype?

While Skype allows you to see your beloved’s face in real time, there are countless of other web-based applications that can keep you two at least close, if not at heart.

Actually, my boyfriend and I have been obsessing over a new app called “Pair” which is available for both iPhone and Android. On one privately shared chat screen, you and your partner can: send live or pre-recorded videos, post photos, sketch silly drawings together, create a mutual task list, and even thumb-kiss. And yes, the last suggestion does exactly what it sounds like.

With trust as the foundation, communication is the key to keeping your love alive. A simple hug can do wonders for an argument, but when that is clearly not the option – the art of rhetoric becomes necessary. Love is not just a battlefield, but a war of words. Extreme patience is necessary as you endeavor through the tearful outpouring of emotions and the steady banter of debate. Fight not prove that you are right, but to show that you are fighting for the relationship itself.

Unconditional love is for family and pets. In a romantic relationship, you will always need to earn that love and try re-earn it again and again. It’s the effort that shows you care. Otherwise, you or your partner will be left feeling unappreciated.

Are you a lover or a fighter? Or are you both?

Commitment. It gets difficult over time and space, but it keeps the relationship strong. Commit to patience. Commit to honesty. Commit to overcoming adversity.

If you’re not ready for that, then you’re especially not ready for a long distance relationship. If you ever come close to that situation and find yourself hesitant, always be honest with yourself and what you really want. If you’re already in a long distance relationship and finding yourself waning and weak – have a frank discussion with your significant, and I mean really open up. If you’ve done that and honestly tried your best, don’t be upset.. There’s just no use in dragging out the hurt.

It’s time to log off, delete contact, and move on.

Loraine Ong

Loraine is educated in Paris, and currently living in Lebanon. She holds a passion for international relations and sharing with others what she’s learned abroad. Marketing, PR, and Social Media are Loraine’s specialties but she loves to write as well!