Being In A Long Distance Relationship

Relationships can be challenging, but being in a LDR is the ultimate test. From staying in touch to meeting physically, the experience can be quite a challenge to some – especially with time differences, late-night calls, and texts. 

However, for Marissa and Hendrik, who have been together for 9 months, they found their LDR to be surprisingly seamless. Not only did they learn a lot from each other, but their love also blossomed to the point where they made the decision to move in together permanently. 

Here is Marissa and Hendrik’s heartwarming love story, and it all began with just one swipe.

How they met

Long Distance Relationship

Marissa and Hendrik met in early December of 2022, while using Bumble and swiping each other’s dating profiles. Since it was Hendrik’s first time visiting Malaysia for a scientific conference, and he had flown from Germany, he wanted to get some local insights into the food and culture.

The pair matched with each other, and Marissa struck up a conversation with Hendrik. They were instantly attracted to each other, fuelled by their common factor of being German – Marissa is actually half-German but grew up in Kuala Lumpur for the majority of her life. 

Initially, Hendrik had thought that Marissa was the same as him – another fellow German who was visiting KL for a while. But, funnily enough, that wasn’t the case. He found it amusing that he had come all the way to Malaysia to meet another German on a different life path, in an unexpected twist of events.

Getting to know one another

After matching with each other and talking online, they went on three dates IRL as Hendrik was only in KL for 10 days. Despite fancying each other, they both knew that staying in different countries might have made the situation ‘’not very feasible’’. Marissa had relatively low expectations about how the relationship was progressing. She recalled, ‘If someone was travelling, how far could [the relationship] really go?’

When Hendrik left to return to Germany, he had to head back to the airport around 5am. While the time spent together was arguably magic, both of them didn’t dare to bring up the elephant in the room.

There were no “hey, let’s keep in touch” or “let’s see each other again”; they just said their goodbyes. The pair felt a bit bummed out when they were parting ways, and although they both wanted to see each other again, it seemed “inconceivable” at that point.

“I think at that time, it didn’t seem practical,” Marissa shared, “I don’t think anyone had made up their mind about that particular thing at that time.”

She knew that Hendrik was “very into me, even on the first date,” and he felt the same. It’s no surprise that they kept in touch even though Hendrik flew back to Germany. 

Keeping in touch virtually

For illustrative purposes only

After Hendrik left, he started texting Marissa – marking the beginning of many conversations between them. After a week, they had their very first call apart, and it happened at 3am in the morning. Subsequently, they began calling each other every day.

Neither of them ever felt the pressure to make their calls exciting. Instead, they focused on keeping each other updated about their lives through texts and phone calls. Marissa would even wake up early in the morning for their calls, jokingly sharing that their budding relationship had made her “more tired”. NGL, it’s their dedication and commitment for me.

They both agreed that their relationship had progressed very naturally, and never saw long-distance as a challenge because they were on the same page when it came to their commitment and effort they put into the relationship. Marissa shared, “Even though it wasn’t official at that time, it just seemed unreasonable to keep dating other people.” As Selena Gomez once sang, “the heart wants what it wants”. 

For illustrative purposes only

That’s not to say that they didn’t face any setbacks. Hendrik mentioned that the biggest challenge for him was “not being able to be spontaneous”, as people don’t normally plan their dates two months in advance. However, being in a LDR did make it harder for them to be more impromptu with their plans.

Being super communicative also helped them maintain a smooth-sailing relationship. Although they had more serious conversations, they never had any major arguments.

Trust was neither an issue for them, and the couple agreed that without it, they didn’t think a LDR would ever work out. They would often tease each other. One time when they were parting ways, Hendrik said to Marissa, ‘’don’t run after other men on the street!’’ as playful banter –  major couple goals

Marissa and Hendrik also shared that being in a long-distance relationship sped up many conversations that couples would usually have much later, such as plans for the future, living together, and settling down.

While typical couples in Singapore would still be sussing out their compatibility, Marissa and Hendrik were catapulted to thinking about life-changing decisions.  

Flying back and forth to meet up

Long Distance RelationshipFor illustrative purposes only

But just as quickly as they had met, it was time for their second F2F meeting. Hendrik made the decision to fly back at the end of the same month they had met, and there was no denying the nerves from both ends.

“I had this panic moment, like what if he’s really not coming?” Marissa recounted. But all of her doubts disappeared when Hendrik bought a necklace for her. “It has a silver plaque, with ‘Germany’ and ‘Malaysia’ on one side and our names on the back, then there’s an aeroplane moving behind.” Hendrik then stayed on for another two weeks. 

They knew there was more to come, and they firmed it up by making the decision to spend Christmas and other major upcoming events together. The plan? Hendrik would clear his holiday schedule to book flights and make time to see Marissa again for the next couple of months. 

Also read:

Singaporean Girl Explains Why There Is No Shame In Making The First Move, Shares Relationship Advice

What they love about each other

As time passed, they slowly fell in love even more, discovering new quirks and qualities about each other. Marissa described Hendrik as “intelligent, funny, patient, and understanding,” while he described her as “very empathetic, great at expressing her feelings, and communicative.”

An extra quality that Hendrik noticed was Marissa’s unwavering support while he was dedicating all his time to his PhD thesis and working for his institute. While he didn’t have much time to plan a fancy trip as he had hoped, he was assured and appreciated by Marissa.

TBH, hearing them speak about their relationship and their lovely interactions would make anyone swoon on the inside.

Moving to Germany to stay together & their future plans

If you thought this fairytale romance was going to have a plot twist with a tragic ending, think again. The couple is making even more progressive steps together, with Marissa moving to Germany to be together with Hendrik soon. 

Even though she is very close to her family in Malaysia and will eventually need to move back, Marissa found it more feasible for both of them to stay in Germany first, as Hendrik’s career is taking off in Germany. Hendrik added that he wasn’t too familiar with Asia either, which Marissa agreed; hence the decision for her to fly over instead.

She’s sure that when the time comes in the future, Hendrik “will get a really good job in Malaysia and will be living the expat life.” She jokingly added that hopefully, she will be “living the tai tai life.”

Long Distance RelationshipHendrik and Marissa with their friends in Malaysia 

Other exciting plans on their agenda include travelling to more accessible places from Germany such as New York, Paris, or London. By moving in together, they also plan to focus on spending more time with each other and “seeing how far it works.” 

Being transparent with each other, they even playfully mentioned that they might have their first big argument sooner than later. 

Tips for people in a LDR

Long Distance RelationshipFor illustrative purposes

Not every relationship is as smooth sailing as Hendrik and Marissa’s. But if you aspire to make things work with your SO while physically apart, you could take a cue from the blissful couple.

Marissa and Hendrik shared that being in a long-distance relationship is all about communication and trust. Commitment also plays a huge part in making it work. “You cannot play hard to get when you are already far away”, they shared, also emphasising the importance of providing each other with reassurance and security.

The couple recognises how trust can be another issue for other people in long-distance relationships. “Just be cool and transparent. Distance is not the issue; it’s either that you trust them or you don’t, so just be open and honest.”

They also suggested developing a routine to make it easier to stay in touch with each other. For example, they would ensure that they make plans to see each other again. “This way, you don’t have to say goodbye to each other and then get back into your own daily life.” Hendrik shared. 

“Time will pass by, and suddenly, you haven’t seen each other for six months.” Setting a date to see each other in person gave them something to look forward to, rather than having a grey cloud of uncertainty looming over their heads. 

This LDR Couple Shows That Love Does Conquer Everything, Even Distance

NGL, hearing Marissa and Hendrik’s story made me feel like anything in love is possible. I’ve personally never entertained the thought of a LDR, but this couple proves that it doesn’t have to be that hard, as long as you both communicate, put in the work and be vulnerable with one another.

Perhaps you might meet your Mr. Right too – a simple swipe could lead to a world of possibilities.

Images courtesy of Marissa and Hendrik.
Some quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Also read:

Office Romance In Singapore — This Engaged Couple Shares Their Love Story & How To Be Professional