Tough Love: The Reality of Long Distance Relationships

To say that long distance relationships are hard is an understatement. I would know for sure, as I’ve been in one for over two years now. If you’re ever wondering what it’s really like, I took the liberty of interviewing my own boyfriend, TJ, to share his personal take on the matter. I opened up the idea to him, and to my surprise, he indulged me. I think he was just really excited to get featured on my blog. HAHA. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

About TJ

Born and raised in Massachusetts, TJ is a die-hard Star Wars and Led Zeppelin fan. He’s a real badass when it comes to word games. He’s quirky and funny, and he never runs out of things to say. He’s got the perfect blue in his eyes, and he doesn’t even know it. He’s stubborn, a certified snugglebug, a caffeine addict, and a one-of-a-kind pain in the butt. 

Let’s see what he has to say about our long distance relationship and LDRs in general. Spoiler alert: Might contain cheese in various forms. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ 

1. When and where did you two meet?

We met November 5, 2014 on Words with Friends during random gameplay. She invited me to play, messaged me and said hi. She was the one who made the first move. *grins*

2. Would you say it was “love at first sight” when you met her or was it the “developing” type? How would you describe it?

I would say both because the immediate attraction was there, I won’t deny it. I fell in love right at the beginning when we exchanged messages and phone calls. Then when I saw her for the first time on video, I was like, “Whoa, I didn’t expect that.” I was just overwhelmed by her beauty. From there, it developed into a greater love and now, as I recall it, it had always been more than puppy love. It was and is the real thing.

3. What would you say is the biggest challenge of being in a long-distance relationship?

I think the biggest challenge is not being able to touch each other in person. Touch is very important in a relationship and the fact that we are deprived of this need because of distance makes our set-up really painful and oftentimes, aggravating.

4. What would you say is your favorite thing about being in a long-distance relationship?

My favorite thing about being in a long-distance relationship is being able to embrace a new culture. She lives in the Philippines and I, the United States, and apparently, our ways of life differ. Being with her has made me realize that in as much as we are alike in a lot of things, we also have palpable differences such as the food we eat and the language we speak. She has inspired me to learn Filipino and without her, I tell you, I wouldn’t have bothered. *laughs*

 5. Has being in this kind of relationship helped you as a person? In what way/s?
 
Being in this relationship has given me a brand new perspective on love. It has helped me grow as a person, it has taught me the value of waiting and patience. It’s true what they say, “Good things come to those who wait,” and I believe she’s worth all the time and effort. Our phone calls are the only thing we have right now. It’s sad, yes, but we both understand that we have our own lives to live. She works, I work, and we have this 12-hour time difference. It sucks but whatever time we have, we take it, no matter how little, and we make the most of it.

6. Long-distance relationships are commonly frowned upon. How do you deal with it when people say you’re being a fool for choosing a long-distance relationship over a conventional one?

Life is nothing without risk. She is a good woman and I believe that in my heart. It doesn’t matter if she is living faraway or if she is my next door neighbor. What I’m getting at is, distance doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of the relationship we have.

7. Would you say it’s better being in this type of relationship? Why or why not?

That’s a difficult question and there really is no right or wrong answer to this. All I can say is, the quality of a relationship is never determined by its form or type. It depends on the people involved, and how they make things work for them. There is no guarantee that domestic relationships are better. A lot of them fail, just like long-distance relationships. At the end of the day, it boils down to how much effort a couple is willing to put in, in order to make a relationship healthy, fun, and exciting.

8. Last question, what’s the most important advice you can give to people who are in long-distance relationships?

Two things. First, don’t give up. Long-distance relationships are sure as hell difficult and heartbreaking. There will be days when you will break down to tears and wonder how and why it’s all hard. You may feel like quitting but you have to remember not to give up on the relationship. Never give up on the person. Never give up on love. Always try to see it through. Nothing is ever impossible in the name of love. Second, work together as a team. Establish a common goal, that is, to get together. Focus all your energy into the fulfillment of this desire. Work until distance becomes history, and you two are able to live your own happy ever after. πŸ˜‰

So there it is guys! To be honest, he and I share the same sentiments and I’m almost certain that anyone who has been and who is in a long-distance relationship right now would very much understand where this is all coming from. TJ and I have been through a lot of ups and downs. Distance sure makes the heart grow fonder, but it doesn’t get easier especially when the yearning turns to frustration and the latter translates to tension. If you ask me how we managed to stay together, I guess it was because we both understood the imperfection of our situation. We worked our way through disagreements and made conscious efforts to stay in touch and really, really talk about things that bother us, scare us, and those that make us happy altogether.

I’d love to hear your insights about long-distance relationships. If you’re in one right now or have been in one on the past, I’d love to hear from you. Leave them comments below!


See you around lovebirds, 

Neri❀


Up, Up and Away: Fulfilling the Dream of a Lifetime Blog Series, The Birth of an Idea

dream (noun)

: something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

In my twenty-seven years of existence, I’ve had quite a number of dreams. As a kid, I wanted to become a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact, a teacher, and an actress. Gee, looking back at it now, I can’t help but laugh at myself – I had such high hopes, can you believe it?

Fast forward to the day that is today, a lot has changed. Some childhood dreams got washed away by time and the need to be practical. I ended up as a nurse, basically because I got drawn to the promise of a bright future. Yes, the reality of the nursing profession here in the Philippines continues to stupefy me however way or angle I look at it. Even then, what kept nurses afloat despite the horrendous working hours and the menial pay was the hope that one day, they’d be able to seek a better opportunity abroad and live decently. This same thing has kept me going for nearly three years working as a nurse in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. I relied on three things, and God knows that it took more than that and sheer will to get to where I am today. Every day, I had to repeat these words to myself: Better life. Stable job. Income that is going to be more than enough for bills and basic needs.

You’re probably wondering where I am writing this from. If you must know, I’m still here in the Philippines, but God-willing, I hope to be in the UK soon. Yes, you heard it right. That’s where I’m headed and this blog series will be on all accounts of what has happened from day one, what is happening and what will happen to me when I get there. I am way, way behind in my writing, as I’ve come up with this idea not even 48 hours ago. But hold me down to it, I will try my damnedest to recount everything that took place from the time I decided to embark on this journey.

So now, where do I begin? Hmmmm, let me see. It was 2016. September. I had grown weary from days and nights spent being a nurse. It sure had its perks, which I did get to enjoy most, if not all. πŸ˜‰ The sad truth was, no matter how much working with the rest of the team felt like bonding with family, my exhaustion finally took a toll on me. I realized I wasn’t happy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a nurse. I wouldn’t have stayed being one if I really didn’t feel passionate about it. It just got to a point where I paused momentarily, looked at myself, and asked “Is this still worth it?” Aside from the fact that I was clearly experiencing the cardinal signs of what you may call a “burn out,” much of my frustration resulted from the inequity that is – how inversely proportional every nurse’s pay grade is to the amount of workload he bears. I was part of the industry for a while and with my own eyes I saw how nurses grappled just to make ends meet. I was one of them.

It was heartbreaking, bearing this in mind every time you had to go into work. But my inner resolve was much stronger than I imagined – when every day felt like a quitting moment, a mental picture would flash right before my eyes and remind me that in 5-10 years, all the hardships would pay off. That kept me going, what urged me to wake up and brace yet another 8 or sometimes 12-hour shift without breaks in between. You have no idea what it feels like to put this all down into writing. Surreal. I feel like I deserve to score an Olympic medal or an Oscar trophy. Haha. 😁

Going back, it was late last year when I ended up fooling around with the idea of working abroad. To be honest, while I have considered the possibility of a life away from friends and family, I haven’t really made a solid decision about it yet. It seemed pretty tempting, especially when a lot of your colleagues are doing the same thing. Bandwagoner, I guess that’s me. πŸ™‚ Out of curiosity, I managed to send out resumΓ©s to one or two recruitment agencies. One thing led to another, and to cut the long story short, I got a job as a nurse in the UK. It all happened so fast, that none of it even registered to me at first glance. Suspension of disbelief. This is how I would phrase that moment. More than ecstatic, I felt a whole lot of emotions overwhelm me. I felt worried and anxious because not only did I have to physically and emotionally condition myself to take in what would be – the biggest change in my life – the immediate need was for me prepare myself mentally. Just when you thought you’re already done with exams, you realize that life is one hell of a test. No way you and I are getting out of this, brotha. 🀣

Anyway, in order for me to jump-start my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) application, two exams were deemed necessary – one is this English proficiency exam called the IELTS, and the other is a nursing competency exam, which is the CBT.

Join me as I open the next chapter of this blog series with my experience sitting the IELTS. Crazy things happened along the way and I’m looping you in with all the juicy details.

See you around,

Neri❀