One of the greatest advantages of a long distance relationship is that it gives you ample scope to do things to and make each other feel special, says Divya Nair.
The first time I told my friends that I met my boyfriend on a social networking site, they thought I was crazy.
What surprised them was that I had never met him and yet we felt like we were destined to be together.
I have been in a long-distance relationship for over five years now. And I’ve realised that I'm not alone.
Some people even get 'engaged' to partners they’ve never met. In South India, if the parents of the groom-to-be gift a bangle to the bride-to-be, the match is considered approved and fixed.
Quite a few of my friends are married to partners who are away working or pursuing higher studies in different cities and countries.
We often discuss how challenging it is to survive a long distance relationship.
Over the years, we have learned to accept the limitations and make the most of what we have.
Here are some tricks that have helped us:
In April 2010, when I barely knew him, I had sent my boyfriend (who was then studying in the US), a T-shirt and a greeting card ahead of his birthday.
It had reached him four days late and the shirt was two sizes too big, but he appreciated the fact that it was the first time somebody had surprised him or sent him a gift.
In return, the reluctant gifter sent me some crazy things -- a stuffed tiger toy, a 3D pair of glasses, some marker pens along with some notes.
As we got to know each other, I continued to send him gifts for Diwali and even planned an elaborate birthday with his friends in the US.
The idea was to make each other feel special.
Never mind the execution or the reaction, when you're in a long distance relationship, the effort and intention to do things for each other is what really matters.
Do things together
For the most part of our relationship, we have lived in different time zones and struggled to take time out of our respective schedules.
Whenever we could we tried to do things together -- from cooking a meal (when he was in the US, my lunch would be his dinner) to watching sitcoms together on Skype.
I remember the puzzled look on my younger brother’s face when he once woke up at 7 am to find me giving cooking instructions on Skype!
Be the bridge
One of the greatest disadvantages of being in a LDR is missing family, friends and loved ones and the important events in their lives.
In hindsight, I believe this disadvantage is what brought us closer.
When he was abroad, I would not only attend some of his friends' weddings but also check with his family here in India if they required any help.
Although my responsibilities doubled, I got closer to his friends and family which further strengthened our relationship.
In the initial days of our relationship, if one of us made an individual plan without informing or consulting the other, it would lead to a disagreement.
Something urgent might come up and either of us would be unavailable around that time, or in the worst case, one of us (almost always my then boyfriend now husband) would feel lonely and throw a tantrum later.
Over the years, we found a way to reduce the friction.
For example, if he wanted to watch a football match or attend a get-together, he’d inform me in advance so I could make other plans for that day.
Most arguments happen when there are last minute changes in the plan.
The key is to prioritise and do what needs to be done. The arguments and disagreements can follow.
Make up for it
As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of scope for disagreements, disappointments, misunderstandings and quarrels when you’re living away from each other.
However, we appreciated the fact that we were fond of each other and were willing to go the mile.
When my husband could not make it home for our first wedding anniversary, I was mad at him and did not speak to him for two days.
Two weeks ago, he more than made up for it by landing up at my office straight from the airport (a delightful surprise) and followed it up with a trip to Goa.
One of the greatest advantages of a long distance relationship is that it gives you ample scope to do things for each other and make each other feel special.
Instead of sulking over what you can’t do together, it would be interesting to find out what you can do to bridge the distance.
Lead image used for representational purposes only.
Photo: Aphrodite/Creative Commons
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