Being a part of an international community of travelers, dual citizens, and racial diversity, most of the time we are separated from our friends or away from home. Distance has always been the enemy of platonic and romantic relationships.
When I moved to Tokyo, I had a difficult time stepping out of my comfort zone that consisted of my Filipino friends who shared the same language, culture, and beliefs. I watched everyone start a whole new chapter of their lives from afar while I was stuck in high school completing my IB diploma. I tried my best to reach out—I constantly asked people to Skype and I even wrote an actual letter to one of my best friends at that time. But despite my efforts to keep in touch, somehow the space between us inevitably grew.
I had to accept that Tokyo was a fresh start for me. New people, new friends, new experiences, and indeed, I have found some of the greatest people who have supported me through my toughest times and who I have shared the fondest memories with. After graduating from high school, the thought of falling into the same pattern of growing apart frightened me.
Luckily, with the help of technology and social media, we were able to make things work. Friday night Hangouts and monthly Skype sessions made our situation so much easier to handle. Although there are times when physically seeing each other on breaks is impossible because of our busy schedules, we make things work because our friendships are so much stronger than any distance that might hinder us from being together.
Looking at the romantic facet of long-distance relationships, people say absence makes the heart grow fonder—but does it really? I have met a lot of people who are against the idea of dating someone from afar, a notion I would agree with to a certain extent. Growing up, it has always been a constant pattern for people to come in and out of my life because of the inescapable existence of distance. I asked a couple of my friends what their take on long distance relationships are.
The common perspective I received is that fear is a natural feeling that comes with getting into a long-distance relationship. However, I also got some optimistic opinions saying that effort from both parties is an essential factor to making it work—something I would disagree with based on my experience. I have lost people to distance regardless of how much work or effort was put into the relationship.
Ever since I started dating my boyfriend last year, there was not a day we could be away from each other. Nights apart became insomniac patterns while the days seemed like endless years and a million miles. The burning passion we felt for each other made it so difficult to let go even for just a day or two. In a couple of months, he’ll be leaving to go to another country to work for six months—the longest we will ever be apart. Even during this quarantine, it gets tough making it work in a relationship sometimes, not only for us but for a lot of other couples out there, I’m sure.
A plethora of questions and concerns flood my mind as his departure comes closer each day. I used to wonder, why are we so afraid of getting into a long-distance relationship? Maybe it’s neither the distance nor the time difference that terrifies us, but rather the possibility of a change of heart, the volatile feelings, the never-ending oscillation between “he loves me, he loves me not.”
And it keeps me up at night.