So here we go: this is long distance – long term – long everything relationship.
Before I moved from Sweden, I did a google search on long distance relationships. There is a whole world out there with people giving advises on how to do it, how not to do it and everything in between.
Someone was writing a list on the different phases a long distance relationship goes through. The first step was the denying of what is happening, followed by the pain of separation and the phase of replacement, and a bunch of others phases I totally don’t want in my life. The last phase was acceptation.
“Who cares?” I said to myself. I don’t want to go through all of that slow torture. I just decided I was going to jump to the last and final phase and accept how the situation is. He is on the other side of the world, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I really found some good friends here in Taiwan. There are friends I can laugh with, friends I can discuss things with, friends to share long study weekends and friends who open up their home for me. The everyday life talk in my dorm, smiles in campus corridors, someone to challenge and to grow alongside with.
But no matter how fulfilling and exciting social life I might have (some of the days) something is always missing. After a good day I might walk home alone and feel like the loneliest person in the world. Not to mention the late nights when I cry quietly against my pillow.
Some days when I text him, I feel annoyed and a quick thought pass through my head: “why can’t he just come over here so I can say this directly face to face?” The next second reality comes back to me and I remember that you are more than eight thousand kilometers away.
And there is nothing I can do about it.
I feel like I spent this year constantly freezing, not from the weather but from a cold heart that no thick layers can save me from. I not only miss a big part of life, I miss one of the pieces I held dearest of them all.
Being separated from my love is not fun. And I know it was not only the coincidences of life that brought us here. I am in a situation that I choose all by myself, and I dragged him into it too: into the long distance relationship. But just as eternal as the separation feels right now, we know just as sure that it will eventually come to an end. Patience, Patience.
How we survive our long distance relationship?
Know each other: We know each other and our needs well. We know what we can and what we can’t expect from each other, and know how to help each other through the hard days.
Trust: There is mutual trust. If you can’t trust each other in a long distance relationship, it is doomed to suffer under constant insecurities and fear. Your trust in me carries me through the weeks and you love drives out all fear.
Lots of communication: Simply expecting the other person to know how you feel is not enough. Now everything will have to be expressed so clearly so that the both of us can understand it from the other side of the word: everything must be put into words. We keep most of the day-to-day communication with text messages, photos and sound messages.
Avoid being alone: One of the things that helps me the most is that I always have people around. The presence of the girls in the dorm keeps the dark thoughts away. The minutes I actually spend alone in a room during a normal week is so few, I always get surprised when it happens.
Limited time: I think it is hard to stay intimate if you do not know when you will meet again, or if it is just too far away. Someone said that up to a year was considered “doable”. The total time of my exchange year is 10 months and even if it is long it is not endless.
Good internet: Luckily Taiwan is very good with wireless connection. I got a prepaid sim card (Taiwan mobile, I can really recommend it) with unlimited 3G access. The connection is stable enough to withhold video calls – so far many of the connection problems have been on the Swedish side where often a wi-fi connection seems to be required.
And now it is decided and prepared: we will meet over the winter vacation. It will not be in Taiwan or Sweden, but in a third country and we will have one full month together.
Soon our feet’s will walk side by side on the same (sub-) continent.