Going The Distance

All you need is love

By Paul Craig

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, then you’re very lucky.  To have found somebody completely devoted to you, even in your absence, and to be able to reciprocate that feeling–it’s truly incredible.

On the other hand, long-distance relationships suck.  A lot. They’re long, barren, and unremitting; and after several months you might be questioning whether your long-distance relationship was such a good idea after all.  The answer, however, is simple.  If you’re not in love, then don’t do it; if you are, then you can’t do anything else. It’s a paradox, I know, but it’s only the first of many that partners in a long-distance relationship will have to wrangle with. To be in a long-distance relationship is to court a contradiction – to attach oneself to another who doesn’t seem to physically exist.In an international hub like Singapore (with 18% foreign enrollment in 2011, there’re bound to be a number of students committed to someone ‘back home.’  In this article, I interview four students from NTU: asking about each of their long-distance relationships, and ways they’ve found to cope with them.

Q:  Once you were apart, was it harder than you expected?  

“Yeah, … it was really hard.  I wasn’t really prepared, [maybe] for three months…”  – Hubert Jacob-Banville, 21

 “[In] the beginning, it was really hard.  Harder, much harder, than I expected.  I hadn’t  thought about it [beforehand].” – Franz Pohl, 23

It can be shocking just how insubstantial an electronic relationship can be: you feel like a prisoner on a diet of stale crusts.  Ironically, it is largely the increasing sophistication of communication technology that enables us to feel so isolated.  The more capable our technology becomes–the more realistically we can simulate contact–the more glaring are its limitations.

Q: What do you do to make it easier for yourself?

“Well, I go travelling, or I go see friends.  [Just] as long as I’m doing something, and I don’t think of it.” – Meaghan French, 19

“I do running sometimes.  I usually run because I really want to get my mind [cleared up …].  Running helps. Stay calm, don’t panic.” – Emerson Xu, 23

“[It helps to] have other things in your life … other than school.  Having things you cannot skip so you’re not always in front of the computer just waiting for her.  
…[Also] try to find ways to make Skype more than just asking ‘how was your day?’  … When we began to date, she bought a guitar, and I play guitar, so [I said I could teach her].  She brought her guitar to Berlin and I gave her little [lessons] on Skype, which was fun.” – Hubert Jacob-Banville, 21

Although often entered into without any idea of how hard it will be, many long distance relationships are surprisingly durable; there are many who remain together at the end of their trial.  It may seem hopeless now, so maybe trying some of these aforementioned strategies will help you out. You will find that it gets easier, and ultimately it was worth going the distance.