Whoever said “Distance merely makes the heart grow fonder” did not see the dark side of a Long Distance Relationship (LDR). Distance is a great obstacle for a relationship. I do not want you to be under any kind of illusion while entering into an LDR. Let me characterize the types of LDRs:
i) You start a relationship with your partner while you both are already stationed away from each other. An example of that would be when a guy met a girl online and started dating her knowing the fact that they both live in two different states, countries or continents. In this kind of an LDR, both the partners understand the fact that they cannot meet each other regularly. Hence, they have lower expectations from the other and have higher chances of surprising the other by landing up at their door step. Since travelling is costly, one would not expect the other to come and meet him/her all the time. Therefore, there will be better understanding of each other’s situation and every meeting would be fun and new.
ii) The second type of LDR is where a normal relationship turns into an LDR. For example, Jack and Jill had been dating each other since high school but after that Jack moved far away from Jill while she stayed back to finish high school.
I will be focusing on the second type of LDR through the real life story about Jack and Jill (names changed, of course). They started dating each other when Jack was in his last year of high school while Jill was still a sophomore. Obviously, they spent each and every waking moment with each other, in and outside school (high school sweethearts, awww!) Their families knew about their relationship and everyone knew it was serious. After Jack graduated from high school, he shifted to the countryside with his family while Jill still had to finish two more years of high school. Jack started studying for a competitive entrance exam and Jill was still in the habit of cramming up last minute for her finals. They had been the two sides of the same coin a few months ago, but now they led two different lives and became different people. It seemed to Jill that her days had become longer than Jack’s as she had nothing much to do while he had to study all the time. She consoled herself by saying that atleast they met frequently, about once a week. As compared to spending 18 out of 24 hours a day with each other, both of them were saddened by the fact that they met for about 2 hours a week, but they compelled themselves to believe that something was better than nothing. To pass her time, Jill started hanging out with old friends whom she had unconsciously boycotted earlier due to her preoccupations with Jack. One of her friends was an ex of hers who was still into her. Her boyfriend did not approve of their friendship and told her to severe her ties with him. Like a puppy in love, she obeyed him blindly. But after a year of their LDR, which had turned sour due to rising doubts, constant suspicions, daily disappointments, innumerous fights about petty things and a sharp decline in their ‘meeting each other graph’, Jill rekindled her friendship with her ex. She told Jack that she was back on talking terms with her ex and a huge fight ensued between them. Jack disconnected the phone in anger and turned it off. Jill was utterly dismayed and in her troubled state and did not know whom to talk to. Coincidentally, her ex called her up to meet him that evening and she did. She was distraught and kept crying on his shoulder. One thing led to another and they started kissing! She caught herself a moment too late to take back what she had done. So she came clean about what had happened between her and her ex to her boyfriend when he called her up to apologise about his behavior. He became so livid that he called her names and broke up with her. She was so broken hearted that for the next 8 months she cut off from all her friends. By now, she had completed her high school and joined a regular college. On the other hand, Jack did not qualify the exam for which he had been studying and stepped into his father’s business.
Loneliness made him call her up one day and they got talking again. He asked her out to coffee and she said yes. He promised to spend more time with her and proposed her again. It all seemed like a Bollywood movie to her and she was thrilled! She said yes to him, believing that this time they would meet more often, talk more often on the phone, go out to see movies like in their school days and everything would be like the ‘good ol’ days’. But once again, disappointments cropped up. Jack was busier than ever before as he was expanding the business. He called her up at 7AM in the morning before he left for work and at 10PM after he got back home. They met even more scarcely i.e. once in every 3 months. If she wanted to talk to him during the day, she could not as he was not able to take her calls. But even when she had an exam the next day, she had to talk to him when he got free and called her. She constantly thought about him, which prevented her from concentrating on anything else. She got fed up of this and started comparing it with the relationship that they had shared when they were in school. When she breached this topic with her boyfriend, he got annoyed and told her that if she did not want to talk to him anymore, then she shouldn’t. Misunderstandings that led to tears were an everyday story. When it was her birthday, she had expected that he would turn up at her doorstep with flowers and chocolates. But all he did was wish her on the phone at 7AM and went to work. She cried her eyes out thinking that he did not care for her as much as he did before. Her expectations were never met. Whenever she told him this, he would shout at her and tell her to grow up and understand that his world could not revolve around her as he was working now. Sometimes she almost made up her mind to break up with him so she could put an end to the torture they both were going through but she was never able to take that step. She wondered whether it would always be like this, even after they got married. The biggest problem in their relationship was the added emotional stress. Living far from each other made them both feel lonely and frustrated. In addition, since they were not always aware of what the other person was doing and who he/she was spending time with, they easily got jealous, even of each other’s friends. After a long day at work, Jack needed a hug from Jill or wanted to cuddle with her and tell her all about his day but he could not. To make up for her absence from his arms, when he would call her, she would serve him with tears of exasperation and they would fight through the night. Being the emotionally stronger one in the relationship, he tried his best to make it upto her but his job did not allow him to.
It has been a total of 5 years since they have been dating on and off but their issues have been on the rise and the solutions are depleting. I had seen the initial spark in their relationship when they began dating each other but now I can only see the embers in the ashes of their so-called relationship. It has made me realize that LDRs do not work. It should make you realize it too.