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Saturday, May 31, 2008

The challenges of a long distance relationship



A misunderstanding this week between *Twinkle* and myself has led me to realise that, after 5 months apart, we've started to lose touch with one another's realities. Whilst we do communicate regularly via email (just over 2,500 messages since we saw one another in January), these cannot give us a true picture of the daily mosaic of each others lives. Skype is all well and good, but the time difference and our busy schedules means that these exchanges are limited in number, and quality, with one or both of us being too exhausted for meaningful conversation.

This means we are losing the ability to understand one another's feelings and reactions to the everyday occurrences that we do talk about.

Things have become especially difficult lately as the end of this period apart has suddenly been moved back by between one and four months. This is due to recent conversations with the Japanese authorities, who not only require me to go through a tedious 2-month-plus application process for my visa (whether it be a work visa or spouse visa), but also require that I have between £2000 and £3000 (US$ 4K - 6K) in my bank account for three months. I'm a student at the end of 5 years of higher education, so of course that is money that I don't have - and I don't know anyone who could lend it to me either. Even if I did, we couldn't do the usual temporary transfer to get the required bank statement. It needs to sit there.

This means that I might even have to stay in the UK until the autumn in order to save up the necessary funds (even if I had a job lined up before I went to Japan I would need funds to keep me going for the first two months). Thinking of how difficult things are between myself and *Twinkle* at the moment, this is an horrific thought. Especially as we'll be newly married in July.

It's all a bit of a mess really. The only thing I can think to do is try not to worry about these disagreements that have resulted from a lack of understanding of our current situations, and instead focus upon the love and understanding that holds us together at a deeper level. I think it's important that we not let the situation get the better of us. We are good together, and we know it. Just got to stay strong.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Shari said...

As a "survivor" of a year-long long distance relationship, I can relate to what you're going through. It may not surprise you to learn that the end is far harder than the beginning. There are several reasons for this IMO. One is that you're determined and marshal all of your mental resources to cope at the start. Another is that there is usually something which you are working on which keeps you apart and keeps your focussed. Once that goal is achieved, all sorts of new changes come into play and your primary focus on a positive goal is gone and you're left with the mess of arranging things to bring you together.

The biggest problem is that the logistics of getting together, which were nebulous and hazy when the separation began, become a harsh reality. You've used up most of your resolve and just want to be together and you have nothing left to deal with the niggling things keeping you apart. For T. and I, the last 3 months were absolutely the worst. It was nearly unendurable.

If I were you, I wouldn't be so quick to conclude you've lost touch with each other's realities. My guess is that you didn't need to be as in touch with them before this time and you're both probably stressed by the situation and reacting more poorly than usual under the circumstances. Life changes always bring out the worst in people, but your situation is harder than most.

It will get better soon. Just try to remember how much of your difficulty is tied up in the stress of the situation and how little of it is related to greater relationship issues (I'd guess none of it is).

31/5/08 17:41  
Blogger Joseph said...

That's really helpful, thank you. It makes the picture a little less bleak. Just knowing that it does get harder helps.

I was thinking whether I did have more of a sense of *Twinkle*s reality beforehand, say back in February, and you're right, the situation was basically no different from that today. But it just didn't matter. We were both just focused on what we needed to do.

It's only now that we negotiate the big changes that will lead to a re-integration of our lives that conflict emerges. Until now, we haven't had to deal with making joint decisions whilst living apart. Everything has been prescribed, it's just been a case of one foot in front of the other. I suppose it's almost inevitable really.

I find consolation in the fact that however bad it gets, it'll all a good life lesson.

31/5/08 20:21  

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