Long distance love

Does a long-distance relationship really work? t2 taps into some home truths — the aye, the nay and the maybe

  • Published 22.01.16
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I’ve been in the going-to-be-in-a-long-distance-relationship situation twice. And both times, deciding to break up was a better idea than going through. No matter how deeply we felt for or admired each other,  and how much we loved each other’s company, it was always clear that if either leaves the city, we would end the relationship there.

I was in a relationship with Ex #1 for almost two years. She was always determined to pursue higher education outside the city, so we had “the talk” very early in the relationship. We would jokingly remind each other about the “no-long-distance” agreement. “I am not going to look at somebody hot and regret not flirting” was the general thought.

We were more of close friends than romantic partners, so the idea, though hurtful, did not seem impossible. A few months before she left town, we decided to part ways after a small and silly fight, since it was going to happen anyway. It did hurt a lot but somehow both of us felt it was a better decision. It saved us the restlessness, the overthinking, overpossessiveness and illogical obsession that LDRs are famous for. In fact, now that she is in a different city and settled and living her dreams, we are back to being friends again with no awkwardness at all. It is actually fun to hear her talk about all the cute boys in her class.  

The situation with Ex #2 was pretty much similar, though a much shorter stint. One month before we officially hooked up, I found out that she would be leaving the city. Actually, not just the city, the country. That would mean a different time zone. We signed up for it despite warnings from friends. We were daring enough to go with the flow and enjoy the moment. Three months and many intense feelings later, it was her final week in the city. We had “the talk” again, after all time difference was an additional obstacle. We of course decided it was better to end it. The two months were pretty sweet and it deserved a good ending. We parted on good terms, visited the same place we went for our first date. She had said: “It would be pointless to continue it, mess up our education, feel bad about each other’s absence and spoil the bond. I can at least always come back to you when I am in the city to say ‘hi’ and go out for a coffee. I don’t want that to be spoiled.” It made perfect sense to me and it was such a happy ending. We are still good friends. 

Maybe someday, sometime when we’re in the same city we’ll take up again, who knows! My exes and I had always figured out our priorities and the impossibility of an LDR. And I don’t regret my decisions a bit.

 

My relationship with Mr Ex began as a long-distance one since we decided to take the next step from friendship after he left for an internship programme in a land very far away. The long hours of parar adda were reduced to a few minutes on the phone, which soon got down to very few messages. It wouldn’t be fair blaming him because I understand that he must have been very busy then. And it also wouldn’t be fair blaming myself because I was just growing up. I was meeting new people, charming people, and even I wanted to go out there and enjoy like my friends. 

There was this one particular guy with whom I started spending a lot of time and we became close friends. I liked the kind of attention I got from him. I started choosing a fun conversation about the new Salman Khan movie with a guy with whom I went to watch the movie over “Babu, what did you do all day?” with my ex. 

One day my new friend asked me out and things started to get really complicated. 

1) My friend had no idea I had a boyfriend and he believed I had feelings for him.
2) My boyfriend had no idea what was going on.
3) I was not in love with my new friend, and I was already out of love with my boyfriend. 
4) I said “Yes” to the new friend when he asked me out... okay, also shared a moment.... Umm, maybe not “a” moment. It was a pretty big moment. 

I can try and explain... I think. I was very young. And at that age, people tend to have less control over their hormones and emotions. Maybe I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, and definitely not a long-distance one.

What happened next? I told the boyfriend about the new friend. Got a few hate calls, messages and emails. 

I told the close friend about the boyfriend. I have never heard from him since. Though I did get a few blank calls. I guess that was him.

Moral of the story, Part 1: I sucked at relationships. I sucked at friendship. I sucked at cheating.

Moral of the story, Part 2 : Long-distance relationships are like a long obstacle-filled journey. Only you are journeying in a car which is on fire, through a road of molten tar!

 

When I tell someone that I’m in a long-distance relationship they look at me differently, you know in a ‘she must be crazy’ kind of way. To be honest, we were a little crazy when we decided to continue our relationship over miles. When you’re 500 miles away, living separate lives, there are few direct responses. Communication is that much difficult. 

Hey there Delilah was no longer any other song and our relationship wasn’t the same. Coffee dates over Skype, open chat windows and the anticipation of him returning to the city made up most of my nights. The challenge was anything but easy. The uncertainties and insecurities can, and did, take a toll. Sometimes your imagination is your worst enemy. I have had the most terrible fights. Sleepless nights where I’ve cried my eyes out. 

LDRs are not everyone’s cup of tea and it takes two tough individuals who are secure and crystal clear about what they want from each other. You have to learn to be independent and give each other the space you both deserve. 

When making any long-distance relationship work, it’s necessary to always have some date that you are both waiting for. Some milestone to look forward to together, else you’ll be stuck in what seems like an eternity of an emotional mess. 

While communication is key, I never forced conversations with my boyfriend. We just didn’t have enough to talk about on somedays and that was okay. It helped keep the anticipation and mystery alive, and we were eager to find out more in the next few days. 

The best way I could cope with it was by focusing on other things. If he was busy, I’d try to find something to do or someone else to talk to. 

But LDRs do bring you closer and when you finally do see them, all the waiting and all those plans you made, they’re all worth it. There is no magic trick to any relationship and long distance isn’t much different. When I look back at my relationship, I feel that being honest with each other is what helped us make it through, the ability to trust each other even though we couldn’t have known what our significant other was really up to.

I believed LDR doesn’t work until I made it work. After seven years I can proudly say that if I could make my relationship work, you can too.

APPS TO KEEP THE ROMANCE ALIVE LONG-DISTANCE

PEOPLE

Swastika Mukherjee and Suman Mukhopadhyay

SWASTIKA MUKHERJEE
(Actress Swastika Mukherjee and director Suman Mukhopadhyay have been in a relationship for the past two years. Suman shifted base to Mumbai a couple of months ago, and the two make it a point to meet up in each other’s city often.) 

I prefer doing things together rather than doing them alone, so a long-distance relationship doesn’t really work for me. I don’t see anything good in it. In fact, it creates a lot of problems. Though whether Suman is in Calcutta or Bombay, we are constantly in touch. We talk many times every day. The problem is when you want to meet up. You know there are so many problems that get solved by just a tender touch or a warm hug, that is something I really miss. The physical presence sometimes becomes very important. And it’s frustrating because if we have to meet, the distance is too much. 

After Ma passed away, I am very worried about Baba. What I fear is if there’s an emergency and Suman is not around....

The biggest disadvantage is that when we fight, it takes days to make up because everything is over phone. Earlier when Suman was here, even if we fought we would immediately meet and make up. 

I don’t see anything good in a long-distance relationship.

Karan Kundra and Anusha Dandekar have been seeing each other for a few months

KARAN KUNDRA
(Karan is currently seeing fellow MTV VJ Anusha Dandekar. The two barely get to see each other since they travel a lot on work)

LDR is a huge task... it’s one of the toughest things you can be a part of. I am somebody who needs my girlfriend around me. I am dating Anusha for a couple of months now. She travels a lot. I respect and like her for this independent nature. When I shoot, she comes to my sets. She sacrifices her sleep when she’s with me. Even if it is a few hours, we try to spend time with each other. One needs to put in a lot of effort because distance does create a lot of problems. She will be in Los Angeles for a month soon and I am going to Bhutan for Roadies X4, so we are trying to spend as much time as we can together. On her birthday (January 9), I had to take a day off even when that means more pressure on other days. 

In an LDR, you have to surprise each other and be more attentive... make sure you know what’s happening in each other’s lives. She also gives a miss to many events. As soon as she leaves, I start missing her. 

But if there is distance, it is also a good thing. You need to give space to keep the relationship healthy. It also means you miss and die to meet the person. The romance remains alive. If you can keep up with an LDR arrangement, then that means you guys are really into each other. FaceTime and Skype help because you get to see the person.

Rannvijay Singh Singha with wife Prianka

RANNVIJAY SINGH SINGHA
(The TV heart-throb was in a long-distance relationship with wife Prianka before they got married in April 2014. Currently, Rannvijay travels 20 days a month, while Prianka lives in Mumbai)

I miss my wife all the time, especially when I go to a beautiful place and I wish she was there with me. It’s terrible to be apart. All I look forward to is going back home to her. We try not to stay apart for too long, but it’s amazing to meet her after missing each other for so many days. I feel excited because she is a piece of me. If you want a happy relationship, you need to have trust. In a long-distance relationship without trust there’s no fun because then there would be questions like, ‘Where are you?’, ‘Who are you with?’... When I was courting Prianka and she was in London, we used to do a lot of FaceTime chats.

Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Ike

PARAMBRATA CHATTOPADHYAY
(Parambrata is in a long-distance relationship with girlfriend Ike who is a doctor by profession and lives in The Netherlands. The duo take holidays together and talk on Skype. Ike flies down to Calcutta at least twice every year)

The best thing about a long-distance relationship is that there’s enough space to not let the partners feel suffocated. The worst is whenever you want to share a moment or an emotion or maybe just how the day was, most of the time you have to take the help of a digital device.

CHEW ON THIS: 13 TIPS FROM LDR VETERANS IN TEAM T2

1. Don’t get into one. We are serious. 
2. If you must, let it be one that has an end date. 
3. Don’t force yourself to make the relationship work. If you’re not happy, let it go. 
4. Remember, you lead separate lives in separate cities. Don’t expect LDR-companion to know how your day has been by the power of telepathy. Communicate. Clearly. 
5. Keep two clocks, one displaying your time zone and the other his/hers. Know when to call. 
6. Just because LDR-companion is living in a different city doesn’t mean you stop having fun with others. If you aren’t happy in your own life, you cannot be happy in your relationship. 
7. Just because you stay in different cities and have different friend groups doesn’t mean you should alienate yourself from LDR-companion’s life. Share things regularly, even the stupidest of things. 
8. Send each other gifts from time to time. Doesn’t have to be fancy/ expensive items. A hand-written note, for one, works wonders. Which also doesn’t mean you can’t add a pair of cute earrings or a nice aftershave lotion with it once in a while, you miser! 
9. If you are working, try to keep an emergency fund to take a flight out to meet said LDR-companion JLT (just like that). Plan a trip together every six months. 
10. No matter how busy you are, try and take at least half an hour each day to talk to LDR-companion. Forget the rest of the world for that half-hour. 
11. Guard against starting to like someone else simply because they are here and LDR-companion is not. You’ll be surprised just how often that happens.
12. Don’t think of the future and panic. Don’t think of what 
will happen after two years. Take one week at a time. 
13. Have phone sex. As much as possible. It is the closest you’ll get to physical intimacy.

 

What happens when your LDR starts on social networking sites and remains primarily
long-distance?

Here there is very little scope of knowing the real person. The pluses of this scenario is that from the beginning, one is prepared for it. Both enter the ‘relationship’ knowing what it entails, that physical proximity is going to be minimum. So people can deal with it better. The flip side is that both individuals rely on a constructed image of the person based on partial information, and there is no reality check. It is not unusual for the image of one’s partner to be shattered on meeting them in person. That’s why it is essential to be with the person for some time before committing. 
— Counsellors Dr Sangbarta 
Chattopadhyay
and Dr Namita Bhuta 

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