***I’ve been putting off this blog post for a while now. I knew at some point I wanted to write a blog post about being in a long distance relationship (ldr) and what better time to write than when I’m experiencing a low moment in my service. Keep in mind this blog post may be skewed a little as a reflection of my emotions at this time.
Everyone knows that being in a long distance relationship is hard, it’s very hard but as hard as it is, it’s not impossible (although ~ 80% of people in my group who were in a ldr have broken up). In this blog post I will compare a failed ldr I had with an ex and my current (what I like to consider healthy, but who am I to judge) ldr now. If you’re going to be joining the Peace Corps soon and are debating whether to give ldr a try, I hope this blog will help you in some way.
Before leaving, make sure you’ve had an honest conversation with yourself, even before having a conversation with your partner. And I say this because there’s no point in going through a ldr if you don’t know what you want. Really ask yourself if you plan on having a future with this partner. If you don’t see a (strong) potential future, don’t prolong the break up. The inevitable will happen and it’s better to break it off in person and on good terms, that way when you return (in 2 years—though it seems like a very long time—and you probably aren’t even thinking about it at the moment) there will be a possibility of picking up where you left off.
Drawing from my own experience (let’s call my ex Will), when I studied abroad for a year during my junior year of college, I had no intention of staying with him. I knew on that day when I said good-bye to him at the airport, it would be the last time I would see him. But I didn’t break it off! 2 months into my study abroad (after we didn’t talk for about 3 weeks) I finally called it off. I could’ve saved myself a lot of headaches and 3 months of wallowing had I just broken it off sooner.
So lesson learned! Break it off if you have no intention of making things work.
It is hard enough being apart from each other physically; if you have no means of communicating back home on a semi-daily basis, forget it. (This sounds harsh—and you can take it for what it is—but I am only speaking about my own experience). My ldr would be impossible without being able to talk to my partner everyday. YES, we talk every single day, even if it’s just a simple text message. Being in a ldr means that you need to make up for your absence in the forms of text messages, video-chats, emails, and occasionally snail mails.
If you’re one of those people who hates being on their phone or likes to disconnect yourself from the interweb, please save your partner some heartache and break it off now. Being in a ldr means you have to stay connected! You have to stay up late/wake up early to talk to your partner. If you’re not ready to sacrifice your sleep, ldr is not for you.
With Will and I, communications got very bad (hence the no communications for 3 weeks leading to the final break up). One day I decided I wasn’t going to text him, just to see if he would contact me first. Funny, 3 weeks went by and NOPE, not a single text. I finally caved in and asked for a skype date, and he didn’t show (well he didn’t come online—you know what I mean). After 3 hours of me waiting, he finally text back and said “oh I wasn’t on my computer.” So….BYE Felicia! (Ok fine, maybe he was busy at the time, but honestly a nice courtesy text to say, “hey sorry I can’t make it to skype today or I’ll be late” would have done wonders. Who knows it could’ve saved a whole relationship).
Now, with my current partner and I, we try* to stay in good communication with each other (I say try because it’s a constant work in progress). We always let each other know ahead of time if we can’t make it to our weekly skype dates and we text each other EVERYDAY.
#3: Making Time
Being in a ldr comes with sacrifices and commitment! That also means when I’m hanging out with my other Peace Corps volunteer friends (as much as I love hanging out with them and we hardly get to do so) I have to excuse myself and make time to talk to my partner. The key word here is making time. That means if I have spotty Internet connection at home, I walk around my village until I get some kind of signal to let my partner know I don’t have signals! (Yes it’s hard work, but your partner will appreciate it. And yes I’ve had to do this on multiple occasions).
So if you’re one of those people who like living in the moment and would rather be present in the moment, a ldr might not be for you.
#4: 100% Trust, 100% Commitment
This goes without saying. There’s no relationship if there is no trust. If you don’t trust your partner or the other way around, don’t waste each other’s time. If you want to go into a ldr you need 100% trust from both partner.
If you’re not ready to commit 100% to your partner, ldr may not be for you. In reality what does this actually mean? It means not giving into temptation. It’s hard when you haven’t been with your partner for 8-9 months and you see a cute man/woman! Everyone has temptation, but what sets a committed partner apart is not acting on those temptations and trying to avoid situations that could tempt you. And those situations are up to you to judge. Some people say it’s hard to draw the line, but if you’re really honest with yourself the line is not hard to draw.
This is one of the most important components of being in a ldr. You have to pick your battles; some fights are not worth it. So you have to be willing to swallow your pride and apologize (even when your partner is unreasonably upset). I’ve learned that with my partner and I, if one of us apologizes, the other usually follow suits. Also when my partner is stubborn or upset with me (sometime for reasons I don’t agree with) I just remind myself, he’s upset because he misses me. 99% of the time, we fight because we can’t have enough of each other. When you remind yourself that your partner’s anger comes from a good place, instead of bickering you’ll feel happy instead.
Last but not least, I just want to say I have no qualification to say anything. I just happen to be a girl who’s in a ldr with her boyfriend. And we have good and bad days. We fight and we bicker sometimes, but at the end of the day, we have the same goal. And our constant drive for that goal is what makes our relationship strong.
I have to give a lot of credit to my partner because he is amazing. I’m on a crazy journey and sometimes I wonder how he puts up with me. It’s a lot to drop on your partner (hey, you want to stay with me while I go volunteer abroad for 27 months?). But if you’ve found someone who’s willing to go through it, do it, you guys are worth it! My partner has been my rock throughout this journey and he’s one of the best things I have in life. I’m so thankful for him.
I hope you’ve found this somewhat helpful, but take what I say with a grain of salt. This is my experience having a ldr as a PCV, every volunteers’ experience is unique and different.
Best of luck!
This is where I share my journey in the Peace Corps. The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang