… grow fonder? Not really. It mostly really just “makes the heart”. ‘Tis a slippery slope, so many things happen when you spend time apart from your loved one. One thing’s for sure though — if/when you come out of it alive, then that’s about 8 levels higher, my friends.
Nope, nope — no tips on this post — mostly just me venting out my feelings about being in this situation, and the things I realized nearly two years into it.
I vividly remember telling Drew a few years ago that I wanted to experience living on my own for awhile if I was ever granted the opportunity to move to Dubai. My reason was that I never really felt what it was like to be independent; I was such a sheltered child.
When it finally happened, I had no idea how hard it actually was … in all aspects. Let alone, how difficult it TRULY IS TO BE MARRIED AND LIVE APART FROM EACH OTHER. There is a longer version to this story but let’s try to get to the point (Drew and I have lived apart for more than a year now, and this is the longest we’ve lived apart — hopefully this would never have to happen again because as much as I value my independence, it fucking sucks).
Aside from dealing with physically missing your significant other, there is another type of hurdle people like us have to overcome.
Please bear with me, because this is going to get pretty cheesy, and please know that this is not in any way discrediting the hardships couples go through that are different from ours.
When I booked my flight to the Philippines 2 months before my leave, I knew it was going to be a bitch coming back to Dubai on my own. I prepared myself for the adjustment period (yet again), even if I was only going to be spending 2 weeks home.
It dawned on me the week after I got back here that it’s such a different feeling when you’ve stripped yourself of the “needing your significant other” part and are left with the “wanting your significant other” part. Does that make sense? It does to me. When you realise that you don’t actually need anyone else but yourself, and end up with a strong feeling of want towards another person, that’s something else. Pretty scary too, if you ask me — because I’ve been clingy in College but this version is off the chain and is definitely doing damage to my emotional health.
Okay, that may sound like an exaggeration but my emotions are so extreme that it feels like I’m back in the honeymoon phase. I’m also extremely selosa again, and the slightest interaction females make with Drew (and vice versa) drives me nuts (“why are you liking this girl’s photos???”, “why are you talking to this girl on Messenger?” You get the picture) — and I feel like when I miss out on the smallest thing that he does without me witnessing, I completely lose it. My insecurities have multiplied to what feels like a thousand.
I’ve tried to study my behavior and I spend so much time nitpicking the reasons behind me lashing out. What I’ve gathered is that this, to me — felt like learning how to walk again. I was the type who needed him by my side always, but since learning how to do things on my own and actually loving it, it’s so much different when you know you just WANT him with you. In my perspective, it was a lot worse. You can unlearn needing someone, because it’s a mental aspect … but longing??? That shit is all heart, and you know what they say about this forking muscle.
A few days before my flight back to Dubai, I was crying out of nowhere because of the amount of fear I felt leaving Drew behind — not because he couldn’t handle it, but because I couldn’t handle it. Not to mention, that wasn’t the first time I was crying out of nowhere. It was such a weird feeling, because most of my outbursts happened while we were together, probably because I was already fearing the impending separation (+ its best friend, anxiety) and fear of the possibility that I may not be able to handle being on my own again. I was so overwhelmed by emotions, least to say.
One of the conversations my good friend Yousuf and I had recently was how people think there is a guidebook (a.k.a. a strict list of rules) on handling LDRs. “Ohmigosh you guys don’t Skype????” is an initial reaction people have when they ask me how Drew and I work through it. Yes, we don’t Skype, nor do we call each other (I could count the number of times we heard each other’s voices over the phone since we lived apart using one hand). We’re terrible people on the phone, even back in College during sembreaks we’d spend apart (me in Laguna, him in Pangasinan), we’ve made several attempts and WE’RE TERRIBLE AT IT. So much dead silence, which is weird because we’re super madaldal and never run out of things to talk about when we’re physically together. Our main medium of communication during the past 21 months is Messenger. We like typing better, and it’s most likely an introvert thing.
It really goes down to compromising, as I tirelessly mentioned in this post. We do our best to communicate what makes the other person comfortable, and we work on doing just that. We don’t set rules about “asking permission” whenever we go out with friends. As much as possible, we just keep each other updated on plans, and that’s it. He doesn’t need my approval, but I do appreciate being told of his whereabouts, and we like to send each other videos / photos of what we’re up to from time to time. That’s it. I also do my best to be more understanding if he does miss out to tell me things he’ll be doing — my Husband is still his own person, and 24 hours of his day should not be devoted to me, or to anyone (wow, Abbie — try to remember that the next time you have an outburst).
We’ve had our fair share of INTENSE ARGUMENTS, especially during the first year of separation. Pretty sure we’ll still be having those, but man, have we learned. We have much to learn still.
So … apart from making sure you communicate with each other, learning how to distance yourselves from tricky situations (like avoiding flirts, etc.), there really is no “secret” in dealing with long distance relationships. You just wing it — that’s the kind of mindset you should have because doing everything according to plan is just going to put a lot of pressure on both of you; being physically apart is a lot of stress on its own. Why would you want to make things harder for yourselves?