It’s been 18 months since I’ve been away from my wife (and my son). We’ve been living apart. I’m in the Netherlands and they are in Indonesia. How far are we separated? It’s about 15 hours direct flight and their time zone is 6 hours earlier than mine. Sounds like time and space is separating us. Indeed, we’re separated, timely and geographically speaking.
Don’t think that our marriage is broken. In fact, we’re still in a very good relationship. I love her and (I know) she loves me too. I feel like our love is growing bigger and bigger over time. We never have any quarrel. Only few times have we argued, but that was not a big deal. I mean, there were just differences of opinion about some stuffs, which I believe it is normal. I think “discussion” is a better word to call that moment.
We’ve been keeping our long distance love for a relatively long time. Some people just think that we’re crazy. They are wondering how we can maintain our love or even make it grows bigger and bigger. On the contrary, other ones might say something like “distance doesn’t really matter if you really love the person…”. Well, that’s true. But speaking for myself, it’s not that simple (if you think it’s simple).
I have to say, it’s really difficult actually (but we make it). Distance does matter. It is not only about how to deal with loneliness and the feeling of missing family (note that I also have a 29 month-old baby boy), but also about being patience and to keep the spirit up for a long time.
First, you have to have a strong motivation/goal why you need to live apart. Better future plan, make a living, or whatever, you must have the motivation. It can be anything but selfish motivation. So, your partner must be involved in the plan. This is important because at some point, you’ll have moments with bad mood, feeling down or tired of being apart. When that moments come to you, just remember the motivation why you’re doing that. Your partner may also support you as she/he is involved in the plan.
Secondly, you really need to put extra efforts on being faithful. People tend to be unfaithful when there is distance between them and their loved one. It’s natural to find yourself attracted to others, even people other than your spouse. But don’t get yourself into any situation where there is a risk of cheating. However, being faithful would help nothing if there is no trust between both of you. Faithful and trust are like two sides of a coin. They have to be always together and prevalent to keep your long distance relationship doing fine.
Furthermore, faithful and trust are not enough. What is also important is that you have to always keep in touch with your spouse in any situation. Share your feeling, your situation, anything about yourself but don’t forget to be a good listener. Each of you should be able to allocate time dedicated for talking with each other. Intense communication makes both of you are emotionally connected, although you’re physically apart. Nowadays, technology really helps to communicate and there are many choices; phone call, SMS, chatting, skype, messenger, e-mail, and etc., unless you are in a remote island, far from civilization and technology.
Those are three important basic points (motivation, faithful-trust and communication) needed for maintaining your long distance relationship. Those should be the framework from which both of you can develop your own practical steps to deal with any situations related to a long distance relationship (i.e loneliness, feeling of missing, etc).
(Eagle flies alone, Feb.2012, Marbee Lab).