Japan-aholic

A blog about culture and love in Japan

What It Takes For A Long Distance Relationship To Work (LDR)

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If I could meet my two-years-ago self and tell her “You will be in a long distance relationship soon”, she would probably laugh at my face and tell me “Yeah right” while rolling her eyes. For me, LDRs (Long Distance Relationships) were never an option. I always thought “Nope! Not for me, thank you very much” and just brushed it off without a second thought. That’s why when I met Hitomi (my current boyfriend), I didn’t want to be in love with him — essentially because we were going to live about 10 000 km apart. But since love is something you just can’t fight against, it created a strange situation for the first months of our relationship. I thought there was no way I would go back in Canada and deal with a LDR. Funny how life turns out, right?

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During a Skype session

 

Fortunately, LDRs are not as difficult as everyone seems to think they are. Of course it’s hard at times, but you can totally go through that with your partner if you are willing enough.

However, I think long distance relationships are not made for everybody. Some people can, some people can’t. It depends on your character, your past experiences, and the degree of committment you’re ready to put into your relationship, just to name a few.

A lot of people, either family or friends, asked me how I could do it, or what was the magic trick behind my relationship with Hitomi. Why was it still working, after two years? How could that happen? Most of them probably expected my relationship to fall apart in the first year or so, but then it didn’t. Here’s why: there’s no magic trick, just two personnalities that fit together, even through a long distance relationship. My character and Hitomi’s make us able to survive through that difficult situation that is a LDR. Here’s what I think you need if you want your long distance relationship to work well.

1. You have to trust your significant other

Because you don’t know where they are and what they’re doing all the time. If you don’t trust your partner or if your partner doesn’t trust you, the relationship won’t last long before one of you gets tired of all that pressure and jealousy and leave.

Hitomi and I aren’t jealous at all. It’s not that I have never been jealous in my life; I certainly have (with a previous boyfriend). It’s just that somehow, Hitomi doesn’t make me feel as if he’s going to cheat on me in any way. He never made me feel like that, because he never did anything that could lead me to think he would. So, I trust him. I don’t mind it when he goes out with his friends or meet with one of his girl friends for dinner, and he doesn’t mind that I do a girls’ night-out in Tokyo with my friends or go see a movie with my male bestfriend. We are just happy that the other is having fun and confident in knowing that it doesn’t go against our relationship. Also, knowing each others’ friends is a good way to calm some jealous feelings.

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With common friends

So, I would add that you have to be confident in yourself in a long distance relationship, because if you aren’t, then jealousy will come in some ways. If both partners are confident, they will trust each other.

2. Independance is key: you have to be happy being alone

I think that’s one of the most important thing concerning a long distance relationship. If you have a hard time living all alone and need your significant other a lot, you probably will find LDRs difficult to live with.

Personally, I’ve never been in search of a boyfriend; it always happened as unplanned. The main reason is because I am happy either being single or in a relationship. I’ve never had the need to have a boyfriend. Hitomi is exactly the same: he is happy even when he’s alone.

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At the Toronto aiport when Hitomi visited Canada for the first time in 2014

I won’t lie though, sometimes LDRs are hard, especially when you miss your lover. But most of the time, it’s manageable.

Of course, I’m not saying I’m not happy when I see Hitomi. I’m just saying I don’t have a hard time living by myself when we’re far from each other. I have a wonderful family, awesome friends, and an easy life in general. I may be lucky, but you also have to find what makes you happy in the little things you do everyday by yourself. I’m not a fan of the “better half” romantic saying, because I don’t want to feel incomplete when I’m not with my significant other. He’s not half of me; he is a whole human being which I respect and love, and I’m a whole human being too. We support each other, we learn from each other and we grow together, but we are by no means better or worst than the other. We are equals and we can survive by ourselves (although being together is much more fun).

3. You have to be accommodating/easygoing

Because one day, one of you will have to move for the other. You shouldn’t let go on everything you care for as a way to be with your partner though. But you will have to talk about it sooner or later, and if you’re both not accommodating, you’re doomed.

In a previous post, I mentioned how anxious I was about moving in Japan to be with my boyfriend. We talked about it very calmly and seriously, and it’s recently official: Hitomi is going to spend one year in Canada starting from next year on the working-holiday visa. It’s big news, especially concerning the fact that he has to leave his job (which is a huge thing in Japan). I might actually write a post about that later.

Anyway, what I meant to say is, we both make efforts to accommodate the other as much as possible. He understood my reluctance to move right away in Japan, so I didn’t even have to ask him to come to Canada: he proposed it willingly.

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At the Château Frontenac in Québec, my hometown

The bottom line is, a long distance relationship is not easy, but it’s not as hard as you might think, especially if you have a personality similar to the three previous points. Good luck to everyone who is also in a LDR!

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Author: Jasmine

Jasmine is a 20-something years old French-Canadian student and part-time blogger who loves traveling, drawing, listening to (all kind of) music and eating (everything). To achieve one of her biggest dream, she went in Japan for two months and a half as a tourist in 2013. She was an exchange student at Daito Bunka University in Saitama (near Tokyo) during the year 2014 - 2015. She is now studying to eventually become a nurse back in Canada, so she lacks time to write about Japan. You can still read all her posts on her blog, since she'll let them there for you to enjoy :)

21 thoughts on “What It Takes For A Long Distance Relationship To Work (LDR)

  1. Pingback: The Downsides Of Long Distance Relationships (LDR) | Japan-aholic

  2. I always wonder why european or western girls predicate their opinions perfectly right. (As you can guess, This is not complain but if you feel so, I should apologize, sorry)
    because If Japanese write this kind of sentence, they will use “I think”
    I think every one has his own reason and justice and all of such reason and justice are right and correct because it seems to depend on each person
    So at least for me, the most important thing is whether I can accept what she is and what I am or not
    it seems to be quite natural for your partner to be sometimes jealous, to feel sometimes lonely and to be narrow sometimes
    But in my case, I accept everything which i can accept (and it is enough, I think) like Buddhist, though I am not Buddhist

    So I think it is much important how much you can accept your partner’s properties
    How do you think?

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    • I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand your comment. Which sentence are you talking about in the beginning of your comment?

      And you are right, it depends on each person. I just think that if you don’t trust your partner, if you’re not accomodating and/or if you’re dependant, then it will be probably veeery hard to go on with a long distance relationship (well, with any relationship at all). And accepting everything which you can accept is, I think, part of being accomodating.

      Of course feeling lonely is natural. I feel lonely from time to time, too. But for me, jealousy should be adressed directly when it arises. To me, it’s just the reaction of an underlying problem.

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      • Ah OK

        Sorry, I misunderstood you just said your opinion and you know it is just one of truths
        I thought you wrote the meanings as general things

        (Because I have LDR and she seems to feel sometimes jealous
        but I do not think it comes from untrust + I think it is not rare
        I think every one, including me, can not be wise at every moment, so when she have jealous,
        I just think it is also her cute property
        anyway, we go on quite well, and I think “love that asks nothing in return” like mother’s is true love
        and if you can not accept everything, it does not mean true love for me , so I wonder why you could think it is general
        but it was from my poor comprehension ability, sorry)
        (and I think if I have limitation of accept, it is not true accept for me (I really like the word of 良寛法師”災難に逢う時節には災難に逢うがよく候 死ぬる時節には死ぬがよく候。是はこれ災難をのがるゝ妙法にて候”)
        so accepting everything which you can accept is not accepting for me )

        I hope your relation will succeed
        good luck and enjoy even hardship in front of both of you 🙂

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        • No need to apologize! 🙂 We just have a different view on love, that’s all.
          Of course, my blog contains my personal opinion, and people can think differently than what is written here. I don’t think my way is the only and perfect way. It’s just… my way! 😀
          If jealousy is ok for you, than not problem!

          But I personally don’t believe in “true love”, or in other words in the “soul mate”. I don’t love my boyfriend unconditionally. I know what I deserve and I want to give as much as I can to my partner, too, but I won’t stay around if they don’t treat me right. A love relationship is an everyday choice to me: everyday you keep on growing and learning with the person of YOUR choice. I won’t accept everything if he does something that goes against my principles and values. I think that’s how we can grow together in a relationship and become more complete and better version of our older self.
          Although, if/when I’ll have children, that’s another story. That’s where I’ll love unconditionally.

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  3. I really think you have got the right idea. I think LDR has it’s positives, the main one being it is a pretty good test of the relationship and the people in it and will give both parties a sign of how they handle hardships to come. Personally I feel real love should transcend the physical aspect anyway, the person your with should make it seem like there is no one else, therefore having that person in your life in whatever form you can get is better than losing them. I guess it’s a different take on the notion of the other half. IMO the movie that best captures the LDR concept and how it should be is the Korean movie Il Mare.

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    • Oh, I’ll have to check that movie out! Don’t know about it, and I love Korean movies 🙂
      Yeah you’re right, maybe it’s the same concept as “other half”, but seen differently… interesting!

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  4. My husband and I spent a year long-distance and #1 on your list is so true!
    LDR will really expose the level of trust two people have…if it doesn’t work out because of jealousy or mistrust, it’s probably for the best.

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  5. I remember taking that picture of Hitomi with the hat I bought him, it looks great! 🙂 Best of luck to the both of you on this new journey!

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  6. Oh that’s exciting that Hitomi is coming to Canada now. So he’ll get to experience living in your culture.

    I agree with all your points on what makes LDRs work. I was especially impressed at how much Yasu and I trusted eachother during our 3 years apart. I guess because other people couldn’t believe it and incredulously kept asking about it. We always missed eachother and wished we were together but neither of us was ever jealous. It wasn’t even difficult. If you can’t trust your partner there’s no way LDR will work, though.

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  7. Wow, congrats 🙂 I’m glad to hear that.

    Ryosuke had a really rough time leaving his company a couple weeks back – I had no idea it would actually be that bad. So I wish Hitomi the best of luck! And I hope he finds an awesome working-holiday gig 🙂

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    • It’s actually kind of funny because you wrote a post about Ryosuke quitting his job and I was like “That’s a nice coincidence” hahaha

      Yeah well, he’s been working there almost ten years now (he was recruited in high school by this company and stayed with them as most Japanese people do). But he was getting pretty bored with it. I think that even if we weren’t together, he would have left his job anyway, but being with me gave him the push he needed somehow. For now, he told his boss he will quit in July and it has been all right. I don’t know how it will go for him yet. I hope everything will be fine!

      We’re looking for a couple of jobs in Quebec (Canada) for him and some are very interesting! 😀 We’ll see!
      Thank you for your wishes, and I also hope Ryosuke and you will have a great time working together 🙂 I’m sure you will succeed well!

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  8. Hey there! Glad to see you have a plan of action! Usually the hardest times for me are when I’m not sure when I will get to see my boyfriend next. But we have a plan too! I’m moving to Korea this year and in between that, we have a lot of dates that we plan to visit each other. I think it may shock people sometimes that LDRs work, but honestly it just feels like daily life as usual to me because it’s been so long since we started ours. I was really unwilling to do another LDR since all my past ones failed, but I’m glad I got to see first hand that they can actually work. I think you are right – it depends on the people and their personalities. I wish us both good luck in our new endeavors!

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  9. Ah I am really happy to hear that you guys found a solution, I was worried when you hadn’t posted in a while!

    I think of myself as one of those people who would never tolerate a LDR, it’s hard enough to keep in contact with friends and family. If I couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who was physically near me, I’m not sure I would make the effort.

    That being said, I think if I were married, it would be a different scenario. The promise and commitment is official and I like to imagine that if we were married, we would know and trust one another enough to function with little attention during our times apart. I think that would be enough for me, as long as the separation wasn’t grossly long.

    But I can’t say for sure! Praying it’s not something that I’ll have to experience. ^^;

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    • Sorry about not posting for a while! I went back to Canada and worked full time for the past two months -_- But now I’m back in Japan 😀

      Yeah, I hope you won’t have to go through that either! It’s not really recommended, but sometimes there is no other choice!

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