Surviving Long Distance Relationships

There’s a reason why Singaporeans go “huh?!” when couples reveal they live on the opposite ends of the East-West line—we know distance is one of the factors which can tear a romance apart.

Besides dealing with time differences and the lack of frequent touch, those in long distance relationships (LDRs) have to deal with regular relationship insecurities like jealousy and mistrust.

But it doesn’t mean an LDR is always doomed to fail. From going on virtual outdoor dates to trying out sexting, these 8 Singaporean Millennials share how they remained strong despite being miles apart.

*Names were changed to protect identities

1. Going on virtual outdoor dates

My girlfriend and I love to cook and we often spend weekends grocery shopping at neighborhood supermarkets. When we went on exchange to the UK and U.S. respectively, I started ‘bringing her along’ on grocery runs.

With her on video call, we’d wander the aisles and pick out ingredients together. Once home, I’d prop my phone up on the kitchen counter and we’d chat while I make dinner.

Despite the distance, we always tried to remain a part of each other’s everyday life—so long there’s stable Wi-Fi.
Jack, 25

2. Stopping myself from comparing us against “normal” couples

As my boyfriend’s a commercial pilot, he’s uncontactable most of the time. He’s either flying or only available to talk at odd hours so we have little time for conversation.

Initially, being unable to reach him bothered me as I thought a healthy relationship needed active communication. I frequently lashed out because I felt he didn’t care.

But I realised texting expectations have to change when different time zones are involved. My desire to text constantly was unrealistic and restricted our freedoms.

Having agreed to text less has encouraged our growth as individuals as we can guiltlessly pursue our interests. I have more time to concentrate on my Masters’ programme and he can focus on his flying career, so everybody wins!
Amanda, 24

3. Being in an open relationship

My wife and I had been together for almost five years when she left to pursue her Masters in Spain.

At first, we tried cyber sex but things got boring quickly as it didn’t satisfy our needs. When our relationship went on a downward spiral, she suggested we open up our relationship and see other people on a purely sexual basis.

Although I was skeptical and hesitant, it surprisingly worked out. My wife was happy, and the moves I learned from my ‘sexperiences’ made our post-LDR more ‘sexciting’.

While it is an uncommon arrangement for married couples, I felt our marriage would have suffered if we didn’t find a way to keep things interesting, even if it meant involving other people.
Thomas, 28

4. Receiving care packages

I had a Singaporean boyfriend just before I left for Paris. Living abroad for the first time, I experienced severe culture shock and felt isolated because of the language barrier.

Knowing I was homesick and depressed, he shipped me a care package. In the parcel, he packed three of his shirts, two boxes of my favourite yanyan snacks and a packet of fancy gem biscuits.

With the physical reminder of home and his familiar scent, it helped to ease the pain of separation, especially when I was alone at night.

Although our relationship ended half a year after I got home, I realised how tiny gestures were all it took to show he cared.
Sherilyn, 23

Also read:

How To Maintain A Long Distance Relationship, As Shared By This Couple Who Is Now Migrating For Love

5. Sexting to spice things up

My boyfriend and I had been dating for three years when I went abroad for my studies. While I was overseas, we started to drift apart so I suggested we sext to spice things up.

Alongside our usual selfies, we’d send nudes (always without the face) on private apps for couples. We’d have fixed ‘date nights’ where we’d video call for Skype sex.

More than just a physical need, sex offered emotional comfort that glued our relationship together.

We’re still together now and although the sexting has stopped, other things have come into play. 😉
Roxanne, 22

6. Remembering not to use words as weapons

I’ve got a bad habit of ignoring my boyfriend when I get mad. In a non-LDR relationship, cold wars are more easily solved in person. But during my time overseas, giving him the cold shoulder heavily damaged our relationship.

When you’re in an LDR, having a conversation is the only quality time you can spend time with your partner, so be extra careful not to use words as weapons.

While it’s good to have a cool-off period when you argue, it’s important to come back to the issue and resolve it. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away.
Leila, 23

7. Texting ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’

I met my partner while backpacking in Istanbul. After the 10 days we spent together, we exchanged phone numbers and started dating online.

No matter how busy we are, we’d always send a ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’ text as a reminder that we’re on each other’s mind.

Besides this practice, we’d keep track of each other’s schedules so we’d know when the other was busy. Little habits like these help manage the time difference more easily.

But our time as an LDR couple is coming to an end. We bought a house in New Orleans and are getting married in December!
Risa, 27

8. Playing mobile games together

My girlfriend is American and when she visits home, it’s for months at a time. We don’t get to talk much when she’s away because of the 12-hour time difference.

To make up for the lack of communication, we play multiplayer mobile games and try to keep up our win streaks.

Though I’m lucky my girlfriend and I don’t have to stay apart for long, her periodic absence highlights the need to have shared hobbies and interests.

Having fun together is what made you fall for each other in the first place and is an important part of a relationship you have to actively maintain, more so when you choose to be in an LDR.
Marcus, 26

Being Apart From Your Partner

If you’re going through an LDR, hang in there! Being apart from your partner is tough, but persevere because rough patches don’t last forever. It’ll be soon before long till you see them again.

Cover image: source
This article was first published on 6 September 2017 and last updated on 5 April 2024. 

Also read:

5 Questions I Wish I’d Asked Myself Before Committing To A Long-Distance Relationship