A little over a week ago, Rappler released the interview we recently had with Nile Villa, one of their Social Media writers. It was basically a “follow up” on what happened with the Humans of New York post about Warren, and how we are doing right now as a couple.
I just have to say— although I am pretty sure there are a lot who are already annoyed and angry for having this story out again (yep, I have read some of the comments!), we are still overwhelmed with the happiness shared by a lot of people, even friends that we have not heard from in a long time, and inspiration from those who are in the same situation. I have gotten tons of emails asking how we do it, and how we have kept things light and make LDR look so fun!
I know Warren and I have not been in this relationship long enough to go through the phases that most people in LDRs go through. But our previous relationships have taught us quite a lot, and I guess that’s what equipped us now. Distance is really, really, really hard, and I would like to share some of the things we both keep in mind in order to make our relationship lighter and less complicated. So whether you’re in an LDR for 3 or more years, or your partner’s about to leave for another country and you’re scared… or even just contemplating on how to move forward with your partner and keep the spark alive… I hope you enjoy this read and help you remember the very reasons why you are with that person you are with today (despite the distance, time and cultural differences!)
Warren and I had a long talk about this, so thank you, lovey, for your inputs!
Be Generous with Praise. One of the things that I love about Warren is that he never runs out of good things to say to me. Even when things look bleak at work, he will point out to me a small achievement I made recently, or how happy he is with the progress I am making on a certain project. He’s very optimistic and would always note the positive things I tell him. In turn, this also makes it very easy for me to notice the good things about him, and overtime, I get to voice out these things to him too. A compliment a day does wonders!
Be Proud of Your Partner. It’s one thing to praise your partners and make sure they know you notice their good traits. But to tell it to everyone else? Priceless. I am generally a shy person, and would often think that maybe people won’t care about what I have to say. So imagine my surprise when Warren came along and shouted to the world our love story. But more than that, he is never shy to tell anyone how happy he is to have me in his life. 🙂 I think that’s one of the sweetest things you can do to your partner. Be in love and be proud.
ALWAYS MAKE Time to Catch Up, No Matter How Busy it Gets. This is probably the most common problems for LDRs. Since your partner cannot be physically present, you end up doing activities on your own, seek the comfort of being surrounded by family and friends… and eventually… lose sight of your relationship. For me and Warren, we have “mastered” this area by making sure we talk to each other as much as we can: he wakes me up as he goes home from work, and I do the same. If there’s a chance we’d stay up late, we try to squeeze in a 5-min video call, during lunch breaks. We send random photos (not just of food, but also of surroundings and the people we are with). We still make time for our friends and loved ones, while making sure we have at least a couple of hours during weekends to really talk, thanks to modern technology.
Try and Be Creative in Expressing Yourself. I always say that it takes extra extra effort to be in a long distance relationship. Since a hug can’t be done daily or even once a month, affection should be replaced by something else. Once in a while, Warren goofs around and sends me these doodle notes from his phone that tells me I am on his mind. It’s funny and even corny, but I love it. Whenever I can, I try to send him something he can use when he travels. One advantage I have are our common friends, so it’s easy to just send him a cake for his party, or even chocolates on a random day! Tip, guys: flowers never get old for the ladies! I love that he sends a bunch of them with love letters!
Pray Together For Warren and I, this is perhaps the most important. I think this is what linked us in the first place, sending each other daily devotionals and praying together (over the phone) whenever we can. It was also my ultimate “deciding” factor, when, one day, he was going through something big at work and he said, “Pray with me, will you?” Not “Please pray for me.” but, “Pray WITH me.” Whenever I pray with Warren, it does not just does it give me an idea what’s on his mind, it also gives me comfort knowing that I have a partner who is a God-fearing man. It’s so hard to explain, but this practice provides me a great sense of security, and enables me to really really trust him.
Again, I know that we haven’t gone through much, comparing to others who have been together for a long time. Like most relationships, it’s not all roses for us too. And during the days when it’s really hard, I go back to these to remind myself of the good things that we have. I know that as we go along, there’ll be more lessons and more realizations that I hope I can share with you in the future!