The real-unreal binaries of long distance relationship are delusional. It’s heady. Perhaps it brings out the lust-factor louder because of the distance and anonymity. In certain cases, people hide behind fake profiles to snoop in on unsuspecting people, most often pretty naive. The dark side of it is crime – petty to serious. It provides a potent alchemy of love, sex, and dhoka, cautions Rina, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.
The shrinking world of communication caused by the popularity of social media, by the ever lowering costs of communication enabled by messaging, IP-telephony, and the Internet, has contributed greatly to helping maintain long-distance relationships.
The world of committed relationships or even casual dating was confined to close physical proximity, to a network of friends or a network of relatives, or, at best in the times gone by, to advertisements posted in print media with postal letters! All of that changed with the advent of email allowing individuals to write and receive responses near immediately and continued to help build affection once video connectivity was established. Notice that all of the enablers were electronic and its little wonder that critics were quick to point out that nothing substituted to the warmth of emotions felt by people and caused by people and their circumstances.
Long distance relationships are often the outcome of busy careers, or, of individuals in a relationship that had to move across countries or states with career, familial, or even academic compulsions! In today’s day and age, however, with the plus in technology that enables long distance relationships to flourish, is the problem that it can equally cause it to fade.
The thrill of a long distance relationship is often in the heat of the emotion generated by not being able to live and see the circumstances of the other individual – sometimes that causes fears, and sometimes that causes perfect fantasies to take root. Often, these fantasies allow individuals to live a virtual relationship that gives them exactly what they desire – unreal as that may be, it’s what often acts as a great satiate of needs and desires.
Time zones cause a huge strain on these often perfect fantasies as also hugely different lifestyles. Consider the case of a man in Singapore in a long distance relationship with a woman in Dubai! A lifestyle of discipline, of public transport, but open internet, weekends being conventional Saturdays and Sundays in Singapore has to find time with the opulence of Dubai that’s four hours behind, has internet controls strictly, but goes into the weekend mode on Fridays and Saturdays! That leaves a couple in a long distance relationship with the challenge of having to date virtually part-time, if you may while having to find ways to communicate without breaking the bank!
Long distance relationships are very convenient in that they often do not strain any relationship in close proximity and frequently actually raises the intensity of emotions between individuals. They allow individuals to accept perceived mistakes better because they cannot physically influence a partner’s choice. It also allows for great space in the couple that allows them to continue to grow as individuals.
Is it that rosy, however? The wonderful world of in-person emotions runs through several highs and lows in a long distance relationship. Situations and emotions appear distant and not fully understood. The love and equally the stress that arises from situations are often misunderstood, miscommunicated, misinterpreted, or even disregarded at times. The inability to be there to provide a hug or just to be able to lounge over some F&B is a factor that many under-estimate in the world of social media and emoticons.
Individuals make the massive mistake of also judging an online relationship to be ready for the real, in-person relationship. Distance brings with it comfort; of sometimes pretending to be involved, while not being truly involved. It also provides relief in that the two individuals are not facing a common issue – as it happens while being together physically – and use the distance to be a lot more supportive and empathetic. This could quickly evaporate once facial expressions and real handling of situations are witnessed up close and personal.
The real-unreal binaries of long distance relationship are delusional. It’s heady. Perhaps it brings out the lust-factor louder because of the distance and anonymity. In certain cases, people hide behind fake profiles to snoop in on unsuspecting people, most often pretty naive. The dark side of it is crime – petty to serious. It provides a potent alchemy of love, sex, and dhoka.
It is the other way round, however, if a real relationship is forced to get to being long distance. There is a positive side when we network with genuinely good people. There are shared memories, shared emotions, values that bind the individuals. It helps them deal with moments of distress by relating to how the partner was either supportive or was challenged and allows for the individuals to quickly resolve differences. The transformation very often allows individuals to realise the value – good or otherwise – of the partner and quickly translates into either moving the relationship to a state of thoughts of being together or sometimes causing separation. Relationships that are very touchy-feely and clingy often disintegrate over a long distance unless the individuals make changes appropriately.
As people would state – some relation is better than no relationship at all, but then an emoted kiss isn’t anywhere close to a real kiss is it?
Maybe this generation has a different story to tell. Or maybe, time will prevail with its wisdom.
A long-distance relationship is only the starting point or a transitory stop in the journey to having a real, physically close relationship. The sooner individuals realise this, the better their relationships evolve.
Photos from the Internet, sourced from the author
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Rina is an accomplished graphic designer with a strong knowledge of Adobe software, visual communication, multimedia scripting, human-computer interface, and also the knowledge of 3D animation and production techniques. Creative, resourceful and flexible, able to adapt to changing priorities and maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic. Passionate about art, not only practicing it but also spreading, appreciating, and learning it. She is currently situated in Singapore.