Keeping Zen In A Long Distance Relationship
At a cafe one afternoon, I walked in to a heated conversation between an 18-year-old and a 38-ear-old about the viability of long distance relationships - are they worth it or not? The younger one in question had been considering one, with someone she fancied who lived in Barcelona (we’re in New Delhi), while the older one was of the vehement opinion that LDRs, as they are called, are not worth it.
I don’t think it’s a question of whether LDRs are worth it or not, or whether they work or not. These things aren’t absolute, and as digitalisation and the ease of communication that comes with it goes, relationships are fast changing form. Indeed, there are many long distance marriages now that do work. The success of an LDR, then, is not in the logistics of dealing with the distance, but rather the temperament of the two individuals involved. In an LDR, its longevity shouldn’t be the goal (or, in any relationship, for that matter), but rather, keeping zen while you’re in it.
To not lose your shit with a lover you can’t physically access at all times, you must develop a strong sense of self - the ability to keep yourself entertained, occupied, and feeling validated. No doubt, being in a long distance relationship can come with bouts of loneliness and longing with no solution at hand except for a tease of a phone call. But, staying connected all the time, or putting your life on hold to catch your partner on a video call for a few minutes is not the wisest approach. Unfortunately, it is a mistake many of us make dabbling in the territory of living apart, together. We won’t go for events we may enjoy, or watch movies alone, or hang out with friends because we must make as much time as possible for our partner with whom the best we can get is a call. In the short run, it may feel like a sensible compromise to make. But, in the long run, you’ve dug yourself a hole of isolation. Besides, if you’re not living your life, and gaining experiences, you will very soon run out of things to talk about.
There is plenty of cliched advice, like see each other as often as possible, be honest, etc, that should be paid heed to, but with one overarching thought - the definition of trust, companionship, and commitment can be different in a long distance relationship. For example, if you and your partner have agreed that while it is a complete no-no to sleep with someone else, it’s okay to flirt with a stranger you find cute, do they have you have to tell each other every single time such a thing happens? Is it something that will bring the two of you closer, or cause worry and jealousy where it’s not warranted? The answer to this and other such quandaries of long distance love are not universal, and require much contemplation and many conversations.
The question then, isn’t do long distance relationships work? Rather, it is: Am I cut-out for long distance relationships?
Having been in a couple, in different stages of my life, I have come to the conclusion that I’m not. The first one, obviously, failed. The second has led to marriage, but that’s largely because both my partner and I, when we entered the arrangement, were grownups with the freedom and resources to fly down frequently enough to see each other, and also because both of us had several conversations about our intent to make it work despite the distance. So, above all, in any relationship - long distance or not - it’s the intent of BOTH people involved that matters.
Image Source: Pexels
For more from the author, head here: