FEB. 4, 2017



The Joys and Sorrows of Long Distance Relationships


“Oceans apart day after day, and I slowly go insane. I hear your voice on the line but it doesn’t stop the pain. If I see you next to never, how can we say forever?”

I remembered my ex-boyfriend, now husband John Marc, singing this Richard Marx song and playing the guitar while we were on a date. It was beautiful.

Being serenaded by my lover melted my heart but at the same time broke it. It brought tremendous joy but also sadness. It was such a sweet gesture but it was painful. It would have been a

perfect date, but the only problem was, he was on the other side of the computer screen. He was in South Korea and I was in the Philippines. It was already midnight where he was and an hour behind for me. I remember tears rolling down my eyes as I listened to him sing. His voice was cracking. I knew he was about to cry. Our two hearts were together but physically, we were separated by oceans and mountains.

We were in a long distance relationship for more than two years before finally getting married in 2014.

Many people ask if long distance courtships really work? Fortunately, it does—for some. It did for me. My husband and I are a testament of the quote that says “distance means so little when someone means so much”

We are one of many couples who nullified the saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It didn’t come easy. It was hard work. It required trust and commitment. Fortunately, technology was on our side. Facebook was our best friend and Skype our accomplice. Couples Joyce and Art Torres, Ladeña and Shaun Castro, She Gallardo and her Tanzanian boyfriend Sam, Mayette and Daesung Kim, Mark and Ei Thu Takushi can attest to this. They all are powerful testimonies that “when two hearts are meant for each other, no distance is too far, no time is too long, and no other love can break them apart.”

Long Distance Challenges

Joyce and Art Torres, now happily married for four years, have been in a long distance courtship for 52 days and a long distance relationship for 10 months before tying the knot. They are both from the Philippines but Art was in Manila when he started to court Joyce who was working in Australia. They communicated through snail mail and everything that was available in social media and technology like Facebook, Skype and Whatsapp. Joyce shares, “We have faced endless challenges. Distance will always be a constant challenge when two people who love each other are far apart. Other challenges would be loneliness, insecurity and uncertainty. As we see couples everyday who could see each other whenever they wanted to, it brings loneliness indeed.”

“It was hard being away from someone you love and value,” according to Ladeña Castro who had been in a long distance relationship with her Filipino-Hawaiian boyfriend, Shaun, for five years before getting married. They are now together in Honolulu for a year and three months. She added, “The time difference made it hard and the internet signal where I was from in the Philippines was not strong. We were both busy with our professions and it was one of the factors too that made our communication harder.”

Internet connection was also a challenge for Hawaiian-Japanese Mark Takushi and his Burmese wife Ei Thu who met in the Philippines. Mark says, “In Myanmar, the internet options are not there. Video chats would be super blurry and disconnect frequently. So we mostly tried calling on Viber, but even then there would be dropped calls. Conversations would not be complete. We couldn’t understand what each other was saying. It would lead to arguments and stress because we couldn’t communicate well.”

For Filipina Mayette and her Korean husband Daesung, the language barrier was a major challenge while they were in courtship. According to Mayette, “Daesung’s English was relatively better when he was in Iloilo. When he came back to South Korea, his English became rusty so there were times he couldn’t understand what I was saying.”

During their time, Facebook was not yet available so she said, “As much as we wanted to call each other often, cost of phone calls were expensive. A five-minute call from the Philippines to Korea cost a hundred pesos.”

Overcoming Challenges

She Gallardo met her Tanzanian boyfriend Sam through a Christian online dating site. They have been in a relationship now for eight months and will be tying the knot in the Philippines a few months from now. Despite not having seen each other physically yet but only through Skype and Whatsapp, their relationship is getting stronger. She shares, “Faith in God and asking for His guidance and wisdom as we got to know each other allowed us to overcome distrust and dissatisfaction. Open communication is very important in our relationship.”

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