Monday, January 24, 2011

The Greens of Long-Distance Relationships

Ashok and I have had a long-distance relationship for many years and I think that qualifies me to write about it. Since everyone knows the blues of long-distance relationships – travel, double household expenses and above all, staying away from each other, I decided to throw some light on the greens.

Respect for each other’s career choices: Long-distance relationships are 99% of the time the result of career choices. When both of them are employed and the decision is not simply about the money, it calls for an understanding and respect for one’s career from the other partner. In many cases, the girl inevitably has to make the career change and while it may be practical because of a number of reasons in some cases, in most others, she simply does not have a choice. So any partner, who is willing to try a long-distance relationship for the sake of the other, immediately takes a Vishwarupam in the other’s heart.

Keeps passion alive: A relationship always survives on love but the zsa zsa zu is needed to keep the spark alive. Many of us can easily spot people who are newly weds or couples who have just started dating. This is mainly because they have too little time and too much to say/do and hence have eyes only for each other. This precisely works for a long-distance relationship where weekends are exclusively reserved for the other partner and everyone/everything else ceases to exist. Ashok amma used to make fun of me for calling her on Friday evening saying that I was saving my time over the weekend for Ashok and getting the phone calls to families out of the way! Well…guilty as charged!

More consideration and compassion: Well, its hard to fight with someone on the phone and in the age of cordless and mobile phones, its even harder to bang the phone down and create the appropriate effect. When one comes home tired after traveling, the other, however angry, will push the anger aside and choose a warm welcome instead. So its more or less abusing the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder logic ! In addition to that, it teaches a partner (especially a man) the value of housekeeping. Being alone and fending for himself makes him more open to helping with household chores (although I have to say that nowadays most men I know do this).

Allows more traveling: Long-distance relationships mean travel…duh! So it makes taking vacations and traveling for pleasure even easier. I can’t keep count of the weekends Ashok and I spent in another European city like Madrid or Hamburg or Verona. We figured “Why meet in Munich? Why not meet elsewhere if it means traveling the same distance?”. Not to mention all the additional flying miles one accrues and that ends up as a free ticket later ! In the last week of 2010, we had just come back from a trip and we spent 4 days at home without doing anything – no travel, no restaurants, no outings, nothing (except of course grocery shopping). At the end of the 4th day, on New Year’s Eve, when we were going out to watch the fireworks, we suddenly realized that it was the first time that year we had spent 4 days at home without any plans!

Avoids the ‘we’ syndrome: We love that restaurant, we hate that movie, well, there is nothing wrong in being “we” but many couples very often lose perspective of the “I”. I personally feel that its very important to retain one’s individuality. While one learns new things for the sake of a partner and makes changes w.r.t a few other things, a relationship should not mean losing one’s identity. Ashok takes part in chess games and tournaments, I blog. He plays squash, I like table tennis. He started dancing since I like dance and I started showing interest in history since he loves it. So while we do things in common during the weekend, we also keep our separate interests alive during the week.

Time for friends: For many people (unfortunately here people means girls), a marriage (or even a relationship) means hardly any time for friends. Somehow even in this social networking age, some people never find or rather take the time to keep in touch with friends and the first excuse they give is “busy with partner” (I say excuse because the partner may still have time to keep in touch with his friends). The excuse ceases to exist, when the partner is not in town during the week.

Of course this may not work for everyone but when it works, it fosters trust and builds a foundation that makes one say “evalavo pannitom, idha panna mudiyadha” !

Well, as always, I need a disclaimer to safeguard myself. This article is in no way intended to recommend couples to have long-distance relationships. It should only serve to enlighten those who are in one such relationship and cannot see the silver lining. Any decisions you make are wholly yours and neither the author, nor the examples given can be cited to suggest otherwise :D !
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