By Gary Barbour
(Disclaimer: This article is not about how hard/easy/survivable LDRs are. This article is an article about writing articles about Long Distance Relationships. Officially, my head is so far up my own ass, I just made an infinity symbol.)
Let’s talk for a bit. My manfriend, the dude I’ve grown accustomed to waking up next to, decided that job opportunities in Singapore are much better than those in Malaysia. Also, the water is cleaner, the streets don’t smell like butt, and I’ve never seen anyone step in a dead rat there.
We’ve done this before. For eight months. It meant getting used to waking up at 6 am to say good morning and speaking on the phone until midnight just to say good night. It meant spending up to 20 hours in transit because I was too cheap for a bus. It meant sexy time in front of the camera.
Did it work out? Thank the Lawd, yes. Was it fun? Not in the least. Luckily, I was surrounded my amazing and supportive people who put up with my shit without questioning who this dude was.
Now it’s happening again, and I’m ready for it. A colleague commented that I’m handling myself with surprising aplomb. To which I replied, “Because I am an adult who doesn’t base his relationship on the proximity of our genitals.”
When I’m trolling the internet for stuff to read on the toilet, I’ve noticed a trend. People LOVE to write about long distance relationships. A quick Google search brings up a Wikihow page (Step 1: Download Skype. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit.), a Buzzfeed article (because of course), an article from Time on how technology is dividing us (Lady, grainy Skype chats saved my life). There’s more, but I’m doing butt yoga, so I can’t get up anyone else’s.
I have a serious hate-on for these kinds of articles. Sometimes, they get me right in the dried apricot I call a heart. Like this video of a binational couple who couldn’t get a spousal visa to the US.
Whether it’s Thought Catalog’s schizophrenic articles (7 Things People in an LDR Say, 7 Things People Say When You’re in an LDR, Why LDRs are the Best Thing Ever, Why LDRs Destroy Relationships and Step on Kittens) or aforementioned Time article, I roll my eyes. But I keep reading in masochistic glee. Kindred spirits, yay! Oh my god, this is hard, nay!
I started this article wanting to tell everyone to avoid these articles (and this one because I am contributing to the problem). Nearly 500 words later, I’m stuck on the fence. So.
Don’t read articles about long distance relationships. Avoid them. Don’t read clickbait titles about how easy/hard it is. Don’t even Google it. Blaze your own damn trail. You’ll probably appreciate the journey more. Use technology to stay connected to your loved ones. We live in a world where you can instantly contact someone half a planet away. It has drawbacks, sure, but you could learn to communicate over a shaky Thai wifi connection. Not even hostage negotiators have to deal with that.
Read the articles. Click every single one in your newsfeed. These are people who’ve lived through it. Kindred spirits, yay! When things get tough, take solace. You’re not the first or the last. We are moving further from to find jobs and happiness. Our careers put marriage and relationships in limbo. Reading about other people puts it all in perspective. Borders aren’t nothing but lines drawn on paper. Fall asleep on camera at least once.
The things we do for love.
Gary teaches English to Middle Eastern students at an American school in Malaysia. Read about the convergence of this cultural mishmash on his blog, Collecting Sparrows.