People tend to think long-distance relationships are one of the hardest possible ways of loving someone. I live in one: As a young European, I am deeply in love with my African boyfriend who pursues his career in Asia.
I met my love about two years ago. After dating for a few months and sharing a wonderful time in an Asian country, we split up, as he had many doubts about things that seemed to separate us. At this point in time, our differences seemed to be too wide to merge them into a happy, long-lasting life together.
This period was very painful for both of us. After one year—when I had already returned to my home country—he approached me again, explaining how wrong he was, and asking for a second chance.
I didn’t know what this implied, but my heart was saying wholeheartedly yes as I was confident the differences weren’t stronger than our love. My heart felt embedded in his, and I still loved him deeply.
So we started fresh again—this time with an extreme distance between us.
The first months felt easy, as the bliss of being back together melted the distance away. Even though different time zones and tight budgets influenced our ways of communication, it only mattered that we had found our way back to each other.
We missed each other dearly; but there was a certain peace with the reality. I could feel him being on the other side, thinking of me and being in love with me. This was all I could ask for.
However, I knew this serenity would come and go; frustration could kick in eventually and challenge us. Around one year and two visits later, the downsides of the distance did indeed knock me off. I missed my boyfriend during days and nights, and fear crept in.
What if this would lead us only to a big disappointment?
My mind dug through tons of questions and my world felt not as open and wide anymore. We knew we would need to deal with lots of issues if we wanted to be together—ambitious career paths and differentwork/life-balances, immigration papers, money, languages, intercultural differences, a worried family on my side.
It‘s not easy to keep up with the constant uncertainty of the future, and I often feel tired of external factors that hinder us.
But it has also dawned on me that I can’t make myself the victim of circumstances. We need to keep putting our heads up high and take the distance as our current external state that shapes us but will change eventually.
I don’t deny we live on two different continents, and can‘t have breakfasts in bed or spontaneous weekend trips to the sea. But I always wished for a wonderful man with a beautiful character who loves me for who I am. Now I got my wish—just totally out of my comfort zone.
I’ve learned some lessons along the way—and they may help even if you’re not in a long-distance relationship: