Thank you to all those who dropped comments on the just concluded series: The woes of a long distance relationship (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Like I said at the beginning of that series, the story was meant to stir conversation and discussion. This post will be a compilation of comments and some more.
- Communication: This is key. Communication- not just “we talk everyday” but more about “we talk about the things that need to be talked about”. Folake and Tayo should have constantly evaluated their relationship and should have caught the hint when things started drifting. Since the other person is not inside your head, complaining to yourself is pointless. “There’s no time. I’m too busy”- Just drop that line. You make time for what is important to you.
- Don’t be selfish: If you are serious enough to be in a relationship with someone thousands of miles away, then you are planning for the long haul. In that case, you need to start thinking of your plans that will affect the other person. While we all have our individual plans, like Folake who wanted to do her PhD, and while we should strive to achieve our individual life goals, we need to remember that sacrifices and compromises will be made. Such compromise may not be the complete forfeiture of that goal, it may just be the time or the place.
- Complete avoidance: If you can, avoid it. That’s just the simple truth. If you can’t avoid it, keep it short. Relationships are work enough being in the same city and Skype cannot fully replace the physical presence of a loved one. That being said, don’t allow fear rob you of God’s blessing for you. Keep in mind that time is a funny concept. It moves really fast and 1 year out of forever is quite small. Moreover, God’s grace is sufficient.
- Commitment: Tayo is at fault here. Once you commit to something, you stick to it. In fact, I’d like to add “irrespective of what the other person’s attitude is” but maybe that’s for marriage. The tendency to develop feelings for someone else who’s closer (geographically) to you, smarter, more beautiful/handsome, funnier, etc than the one you are currently with is high but that’s an ‘everyday fact‘. What you do with these feelings is what matters. What’s more, we are usually not under a spell when this happens (haha, some are), and we can tell when situations become compromising. You may say “I can handle it” but really, no need for the extra stress.
- Hard work: Hollywood would have us believe that relationships are having dinner dates, going to the cinema always, whispering sweet nothings to yourself and just loloxing all around town. Right. There are phone bills to pay, emotions to handle, financial responsibilities to discuss, feelings to keep at bay, arguments to diffuse. In short, there’s a lot of work to be done. And it’s harder to keep fighting for something you don’t believe in. If after every argument you start thinking “How am I even sure she’s the one I’m supposed to be with?“, brother, you are not yet there. Keep at it, these things don’t just happen.
I’m sure there are a lot more advice to go around and different people have had things that worked for them and different levels of experience also exist. In the end one thing stands sure: God has to be involved.
Food for thought:
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller