My long distance relationship with my partner bloomed last February when I visited his hometown in Penang, Malaysia. Before that trip, we were simply just friends. To be honest, I never expect myself to get involved in a LDR in the first place. Well things always happen when you least expect it to. Lesson learned: Always expect the unexpected. Although being in long distance relationships can be quite challenging, but through the last 8 months that I’ve experience it I’ve learned a lot about myself and my partner. The truth is I couldn’t be any happier!
1. Being able to focus on yourself at the same time be in a relationship.
If you are in your early 20s chances are you’re still exploring your career options. As for me, I’m just about to take my Architecture board exam this January 2018. In other words, we’re still in that stage where we still can’t settle down. The world is full of opportunities and this is the time where you decide which direction you want to venture. At the same time with everything that is happening in your life, it’s remarkably comforting to know there is someone out there caring for you and supporting you. Every burden seems to be lighter when it is shared.
This particular relationship just gives you the ample space to help you grow by yourself and at the same time it gives you the sense of security and support.
2. Earning and saving a lot.
Since you don’t spend so much time together “physically”, the expenses of dating and going out also lessen. In my case, our time apart is mostly spent on working at the office and just earning money for our future. There are instances where we spend surprising each other with online shopping but it’s still not as much as weekly dates. Traveling together covers the biggest part of our expenses, but nowadays I often see couples not involve in LDR also traveling together either with or without friends. Our relationship helps us build our careers first so that in the near future if we become more stable then we can be together.
3. The privilege of having two homes.
This is my favorite part. Being in a LDR automatically means that you have two countries/places that can make you feel at home. If you’re a local in a particular place most of the time everything is cheaper and you know the right places on where to eat, sleep or play without even researching it. I’m from Manila and he’s from Penang, so it automatically gives us the gist of both places.
4. Win-win situation in currency rates.
Economic wise if peso goes down it would be an advantage to him and disadvantage to me vice versa. Whatever happens in the world’s economy somehow there will be a balance for both parties unless both of our country’s’ economy goes down, that’s a different case. It depends on what type of LDR, but ours is timely with ASEAN integration so it would be an advantage if we grew our connections to Southeast Asia. Always think globally, with the internet and technologies the world is getting smaller and more connected.
5. Physical time together also means more traveling and adventures.
Since our physical days of being together are limited as of the moment, we make everything count. All the moments shared will forever be cherished. Time will not be wasted. We are travelers by blood which means that our physical time together is spent in different places. Meeting on different countries and exploring cultures, cities and architecture together is the dream. Setting schedules and checking cheap flights is fairly common for us.
6. Learning differences and appreciating similarities.
Amazing how I am born a Filipino-Chinese and he is born a Malaysian-Chinese so we definitely have a lot of things in common but we also have our differences. Both of us being born into a Chinese culture family helped us relate with each other deeply and our Filipino and Malaysian culture helped us open our minds. Surprisingly, there are also many similarities between Filipinos and Malaysians in terms of language and way of life. Exchanging and learning from different cultures help us understand different perspectives and situations. Pick the strong points of that certain culture and input them in your life and vice versa.
7. Goals and ambitions have the potential to grow bigger.
Before I used to dream of having a firm in Manila, but now my dream is to have an international firm in partnership with my boyfriend who is also pursuing to become an architect. If your partner is ambitious and as driven as you chances are both of your goals and visions will likely to grow. The advantage of being a local in both countries is not only particular on where to eat shop and play but also in business. What can be found in Philippines that aren’t found in Malaysia or vice versa?
8. Open communication and authenticity.
Our relationship is not always honey and butterflies and just like any normal couple, we fight. But every time we do, we are forced to work it out through open communication because we love each other. Honesty is the best policy. In a LDR when you are upset about something, you voice it out because your partner is not a psychic who can guess why you are feeling that way. You talk it through calmly and understand each other’s perspective. There will be times when your partner is down and you will have to raise him up and support him vice versa. There are misconceptions about LDRs not being authentic enough because they say you have time think the words to type before you hit send. I beg to differ. My boyfriend and I talk every day and if you read our chat box it’s not the cheesy one with well written messages. Communicating daily really normalizes everything. There are days with usual texts like “What’s your plan for the day?” or just “Drive safe.” and there’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t sugarcoat our texts.
9. Seeing each other takes us back to honeymoon stage all over again.
I absolutely have a love-hate relationships with airports. It can be one of the happiest places on earth when I see my bae arrive or it can be the saddest place when I see him leave. Trust me; leaving bae is truly a heartbreaking scene. But when we get to see each other, I get butterflies. When he holds my hand or when he kisses my cheeks, I’m just so happy. The little things that are overlooked in a typical relationship make my heart beat fastest. When you see your boyfriend in full physical form you get to appreciate him even more. I appreciate how he has different smiles: the kind smile, silly smile, lovable smile and the naughty smile. I appreciate how he looks at me and how he looks differently to other people. I know when we settle down together I will appreciate him more because of the experiences we have apart.
10. Realizing you found your red thread or what they call the spring of fate.
Among the boys here in Manila, who would have thought a Malaysian-Chinese would blow me away. To think that our story even started out as friends since we both had our individual relationships during that time. The second time we met was when where our relationship started developing. Fate can really surprise you. The world is full of possibilities. I can say that I’ve never been happier. Meeting this almost-close to perfect man who goes out of his way literally to show his love for me makes me the luckiest girl on earth. Our imperfections are what make us perfect for each other. His weaknesses are my strengths and his strengths are my weaknesses.