For this article, I am going to talk about how my girlfriend and I survived a long distance relationship for almost 10 months now and also give tips for those in the same situation. Ever since the pandemic spread across the Philippines, I left Metro Manila before the lockdown was imposed. The last time I got to spend time with my girl was March 13, 2020. During that day, I really didn't expect I'd be leaving early morning the next day going back to the province. The government announced lockdown on the 15th and I thought I'd be leaving Manila on the same day. So I wasn't able to properly say goodbye to the love of my life. To be honest, during those 10 months, we broke up a couple of times and only to find each other mending our relationship again and realizing we're best friends as well. It's important to remember that it's not you and her against each other. It's you both against the argument.
COMMUNICATION. I am a first year law student in the Philippines and the workload is really grueling and time consuming. You both need communication even just once or twice a day. It's really not much to tell your other half that you love them and you'll be busy for the day and that you'll talk to them once you have the time to. My girlfriend and I prioritize our academics. We're both chill when one of us is busy cause we both know it's for our future's betterment. Really, communication goes a long way and they'd appreciate you talking to them despite your busy schedule. It's not really about talking to someone when you're not busy. It's more of making time despite a busy schedule and got plates on your hands.
PRESENCE. Never forget to make your partner feel that they are loved. They are loved by you. This also includes supporting, listening to their rants, how their day was and even listening to their food cravings. I know it's hard to make them feel like you're next to them for quite a long time but your words literally touches the heart. This is greatest intimacy between two people. One that touches you beyond your skin and sinks in.
HUMILITY. One thing that changed me from my past relationship to the present would be my pride. I used to never let down my pride; I'd rather lose the relationship than my pride. I realized now that my girlfriend is the only person I have and I never want to lose her. I'm willing to let down everything for her. It really doesn't matter who started the fight or what started the fight. What's important is you forgive each other. My girlfriend and I would actually stay up even until 4am when we have an argument. Why? Because you can't let the person you love sleep with a heavy heart. I can say that I never slept with a heavy heart now that I'm with her. This really improves your relationship. This doesn't leave a wall between the two of you after you wake up. Fixing the argument before sleeping actually makes you both realize that the person you made peace with is the person you'll be sleeping next to for the rest of your life and really it will remind you how much you love them. Why you're with them, why you love them, why you treasure them, and why can they make you feel weak and strong at the same time.
EFFORT. I know. How can you show effort when you're like islands away? Easy. It's important here to know the love language of your partner. My girlfriend's love language would be quality time and acts of service. Since I can't really do much for acts of service, I would always or most of the time, have a designated time for us to watch a movie, video call, chat, play online games and many more. Giving her quality time already makes her that much happy. For me, I like efforts. My girlfriend would actually randomly make food deliveries to my house in the province. She would take the time to find a rider to buy my food cravings and deliver it at my house. This wasn't much but it surely helped me to remind myself I needed to eat and take care of myself. This is also another way of showing reassurance that you love the person; through effort. Also, this doesn't need to be material. Again, learn your partner's love language.
COMMITMENT. What does it mean to stay committed? Being committed means you're ready for sacrifices. You're ready to be free by giving yourself to another person. Commitment is a complex word, really. For me, Im deducing it to dedication. How much of you is dedicated for her? 10? 20? 50? 100 percent? How much pain are you willing to go through for her? Until when can you take it? I'm convinced my girlfriend right now will be my wife so I've set up my commitment to her 24/7. However, there are days and there will be days when commitment is not given a best 100 percent. This doesn't mean cheating or anything that involves third parties. What I mean is, when your partner had a rough day, you have to know that sometimes what they can offer is only a 10 out of a hundred. And it's okay. Being committed means being the other half of your partner even when sometimes this half means being 3/4. Your partner won't always be the perfect person you thought they would be and you need to accept the fact that you're both humans. Being committed means accepting each other's flaws and lacks and embracing them. It means knowing one's strength and weaknesses and be each other's foundation.
HAPPINESS. Never ever let your partner feel lonely. It's important to keep your partner happy. Why? Because there's already too much stuff going through their head without you knowing it. It's another thing to add to her burden. I know all relationships are not always happy. There are sadness and thunderstorms but you've got to know that sometimes, the very reason for both her sadness and happiness is you and you alone. A person can indeed be your greatest strength and weakness at the same time. Don't ever take advantage of the fact that you are their weakness. You know you're also their strength so make use of this and encourage her everyday to do what she loves and appreciate who she is. Her happiness should also be your happiness.
ADJUST. You don't like her tone during one phone call? You don't like the way she talks to you in front of her friends? Learn to talk it up and adjust to each other's personality and attitude. When the two of you can't stand each other's attitude, it's better to talk about it calmly. If it doesn't work, try again. This eventually removes the tension when always discussed upon. Also, this isn't a one side thing. Adjustment needs to be reciprocal. I adjust to you, you adjust to me. A relationship works when both of you learns how to meet in the middle of everything.
TRUST. The very foundation of a long distance relationship would be trust. Learn how to trust your partner. Your relationship will never work if you don't have this. This will lead to doubts that will always be brought forth every argument. You got trust or nothing. Trust also includes talking about people who you think likes you so that your partner would be confident that you don't hide anything. Please don't ever tell your partner "you don't trust me?" When they're jealous of someone you talk to when they're not beside you. It's not really about them not trusting you rather, it's about not trusting the people your partner talks to. Trust should be backed with reassurance and communication. These are keys for your partner to know that it's only the two of you against the world even when you're both miles away from each other.
LOYALTY. Be faithful to you partner. I know there's a lot of temptation surrounding you both but to know that your other half can take up this much for you both, then you can too. Again, tell them if a coworker or a neighbor is hitting on you. When you tell your partner this, they'll appreciate it. They'll know that you'll never cheat on them. This also leads to reassurance and less of those doubts. This also prevents the very common scenario of partners thinking if they're good enough for you and for themselves.
CONTENTMENT. Be contented of what you both have. Stop comparing your relationship to others' relationship. Each relationship is different. You are both unique individuals and you both show effort and love in very different ways and it's valid. Also, stop the "I'm sorry. I'm not enough. You should be someone who's worth it." This is bs and seriously if you love someone, BE THE ONE they deserve. Don't go telling them to look for someone else cause it really breaks one's heart into million of pieces. They'll keep thinking what they did to make you feel like you're not enough. Be the one you think they deserve.
These are what my girlfriend and I had during quarantine. Until now, we're on LDR but we met twice last December and you know, all of the 9 months of struggle, pain, joy, missing someone... it's all worth it when you see the person you love. You struggled and you fought hard not for you but for both of you. I knew that being on a Long Distance Relationship made us stronger individuals and as a couple. It's another thing that added to the obstacles we overcome in this relationship. To my girl, if you're reading this, I thank the whole universe for you and our struggle. We won't be here right now still fighting and growing with each other.