Good thing Gone Bad? Long Distance Relationships

Long distance relationships (LDRs) are never ideal.

Sharing a close bond with someone is so rare and precious, that the thought of being separated by space and time can rip at your very core.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

Love knows no distance…

It sounds great on paper, but is there any truth to these well-known sayings? One thing we can all agree on is that LDRs are HARD.

Femi’s new life in Jo’burg means that he and Sheila are nearly 3,000 miles away from each other! 3,000 MILES!!! That’s 6 hours by plane, 96 hours by car and 57 DAYS by foot.

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Being in a relationship is tough enough as it is without having to deal with the added pressure of being apart. It’s worth remembering, though, that all relationships have their own challenges, regardless of how near or far you are from one another.

LDRs mean different things to different people. Different towns, different cities, different countries, different continents. Only YOU can define what counts as long distance to you.

Are LDRs one step too far? Or is there hope in the terrestrial distance that separates your from your lover?

For those brave few that pursue this noble venture, there are a few things to bear in mind…

Have CLEAR goals

Is your partner the greatest person in the universe? Are they the one you see yourself ending up with? The answer to this doesn’t have to be a resounding yes, but it should be a possibility. Being away from your lover means that your ramping shop can get pretty lonely, but all those cold nights are worth it if you know that you could be seeing out the rest of your days with them.

Make an effort

It is notoriously difficult to sync LDRs. Lives no longer overlap like they used to, with time-differences, new friends and busy work schedules limiting the time you have to speak to each other. For this to work folks, you’ll BOTH need to put in some real effort. Staying up late to skype your partner, spending long hours travelling to see each other, or providing daily reports of your new life are some of the ways couples can stay in each other’s lives. Is it REALLY worth all of this effort and ‘missed’ opportunities? That’s for you to decide.

Haters gon’ hate

Be warned. If you are going to embark on an LDR, people will constantly doubt the logic of your decision. Friends and family may be supportive, but you can expect people to question your romantic struggle. What’s the point? It’s not even a real relationship? There’s no way you’ll last! This is NOT a reason to end your passionate love; just something to be aware of. Being in an LDR may have you constantly questioning whether you’re truly cut out for such a relationship. Having a running commentary from LDR non-believers is not likely to ease any doubts you may have.

Have an end in sight

Not for your relationship, that would be silly. Instead, whether it is 1 week, 12 months or 3 years, having an end date to your separation can really help. Knowing that you’ll be back together in the future gives you something to aim for, making the whole experience easier to manage.

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LDRs get a bad rep. However, there are some good things to come from having a relationship across land and sea…

Rediscover YOURSELF

It’s easy for couples to mesh into one, indistinguishable blob, where two identities become one. You go from being Femi and Sheila, to FEILA, and your sense of self withers into the abyss. Having time apart from your significant other allows you to pursue hobbies and likes, whilst prioritising your own interests. A little bit of ‘me time’ is a great way to explore your thoughts about a whole variety of things, ranging from your opinion on the rise of Donald Trump to the ridiculous excitement for #MTVShuga5. Being alone isn’t so bad…

Go Deep

If there’s one thing that we can guarantee about LDRs, is that physical contact will be kept to an all-time low. This may sound lame (admittedly, it’s not great), it can have some surprising perks. Missing out on Netflix and chill means you have to fill up the time in other ways. Getting to know each other on a deeper level will help you discover new and exciting things about Mr/Mrs Right. The hot, steamy mess of sex can cloud your relationship and stop you from taking things to the next level emotionally. Taking a step back (geographically) can help you connect on a deeper level.

Sleeping on your 1s

One of the best parts of being in a relationship is having constant sleepovers. Unless you’re always forced to be big spoon, sharing a bed with your partner is pretty nice. Strangely enough, not having to share a bed is one of the highlights of LDRs. If you’re going to be alone, you may as well make the most of it. Fart to your heart’s content! Wrap up in the covers mercilessly! Having someone assume the starfish position in the middle of the night is long as hell, and fortunately, it’s one less worry now that you’re in a fully certified LDR. There’s no-one around!

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So, are LDRs as bad as they’re made out to be? We’re not too sure. We all experience things differently. LDRs may be perfect for some, and unbearable for others.

Trying to recreate intimacy through computer screens or mobile phones is tough. You may think that being apart is easier, but that’s not necessarily true. Breaking up isn’t easy and losing your ‘best’ friend is rough. One reassuring thought is that if you both survive this, then you can probably survive anything.

Whatever you decide, this should not be a decision you take lightly. However, it is a decision that YOU have to make, either way, when push comes to shove. Seeking advice is good, but you’re the one who will ultimately live with your decision.

Will Femi and Sheila last the distance (pun most definitely intended)? Let us know what you think fam! Have you been in an LDR? Are you in one right now? Is it a good idea? We want to hear from YOU…