Long Distance Relationship: Commitment Despite the Distance
We were a few months into our relationship when I moved to London to work. We committed then that we would give it a shot, and that if it didn’t work out in the first few months then we would part amicably. If it did work out, we decided to at most two years apart, after which we would do everything in our power to be together.
What happened next, while unique in detail, is at its very core your basic love story plot.
This part was the most difficult. I was so used to being with Nat, and now, in this strange new land, I wasn’t only without Nat, but was also without… anyone. I needed her; I felt incomplete without her. I missed her terribly everyday. The nights were the worst; breakdowns were not uncommon. We’d Skype every chance we get, which was much more taxing for Nat than for me – she’d stay up until 3am just so we had ample time to be together. We’d go on dinner dates (here, try this…), we’d watch movies together (ready, 1, 2, 3… play!), we’d even sleep beside each other (I was always on the right side of the bed – very important as you don’t want to be upside down), all through Skype.
Funny enough, this was the easiest part. As hard as our setup was, breaking up would have been infinitely harder. We wanted to stay together. The fire was strong and the commitment so alive in our hearts that no one could have convinced us to do otherwise.
The Reality Check
Six months on, things started to sink in. We were apart, in space (10,700 km.) and in time (8 hours). Our social lives were dying, and Nat’s sleeping patterns weren’t sustainable. We realised we were letting our individual lives slip away. So we started accommodating more of “life” into our schedules, which meant much less time together. We learned to appreciate life on our own, which actually wasn’t so bad.
As a result though, the relationship became a lot more turbulent. We were tested often. One year on, we had to decide what we really wanted out of this.
This point was the real commitment. Before I left, we had no idea what lay ahead, but at this point, we knew. We knew what we were signing up for – distance, miscommunication (and lots of it), bouts of depression, separate lives. Trust was paramount at this stage – in God, that He is forever there to whisper in our ear when it gets tough, in Nat, that she will hang on despite the hardships, and in myself, that I will have the strength and patience to love Nat just enough to let her live her life as she lets me live mine.
As cliche as it sounds, the experience has indeed made us stronger. For my part, I now deeply appreciate every single moment we spend together (and the abundance of such hasn’t diluted my feelings one bit). More importantly, I now deeply appreciate her individuality – we respect each other as individuals with different passions and aspirations. I still need her, but no longer in a you-complete-me way, but rather in a you-make-me-so-much-better way.
Given the chance, would we have changed the situation? Honestly, I don’t think it even matters. It would have worked out either way. The details are just that, details. At its very core, it would have been a classic love story regardless, where trust – in myself, in Nat, and in God – is paramount.
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