Monday, September 03, 2007

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

September 2

Long Distance Loving

We all know someone who has a relationship with another who's resident in North America, in Great Britain, in Eastern or Western Europe. “Where’s your fiancĂ©”, you ask. “Ah, he’s abroad. We’ll be getting married soon” is the answer, or “We’re married, he’ll be home after he’s worked awhile”.
The reality of the economics of Africa has forced a large part of the middle class of this continent, abroad, in search of meaningful existence. In almost every family, there is a son or daughter away, sometimes up to three or even four, building new lives, setting up new homesteads, sending aid to the home front to make those left behind live more comfortable lives.

However, sometimes, relocation forces some to leave loved ones behind in the search for new frontiers. Married and unmarried partners often separate for many years, developing, maturing, away from each other because of the peculiarity of the economic situation. Others, believing home is best, develop relationships with potential mates back home, some whom they have never met, the relationship developing via e-mail and telephone conversations.

The point to ponder now- Can long distance relationships work? Can someone who lives six thousand miles away maintain a healthy relationship with a partner whom he or she rarely sees? I once had a neighbour whose husband lived continents away. For two years, she only spoke to him through the phone. I wondered about many things concerning that relationship. What happened when the man had the need to be physically intimate, when he wanted to spend time with another? Would memories of a mate thousands of miles away keep him on the “straight and narrow” path or would he seek intimacy at the hands of someone closer?

What happened in moments when he felt like sharing his joys, his achievements or his pain? Whom would he turn to at those times and wouldn’t whomsoever he shared these with, hold a bigger claim to his heart and his emotions than his partner back home?
There is a myth that women are not as susceptible to the need to be physical as men are, that women can stand long periods of separation from their men and not seek solace in the arms of others. I will be honest; there is very little difference between men and women in this regard. A man who is of the opinion that his mate can spend two or three years away from him and not fall into the hands of another, lives in wonderland and is probably dating Alice.
The things that can damage a relationship are not only things that have to do with intimacy.

The emotional growth or independence of one person in the absence of the other can be damaging as well. As a partner moves from one milestone to another, he or she begins to feel that there is nothing in common with the absent partner. When there is a reunion, if ever, there is a chasm that is sometimes too wide to bridge, a gulf between the partners that might be the beginning of negative things.

The dangers are a reality that few accept to face in their relationships, denial being the way many people cope with what is termed a necessary evil. However, the chances are high, that long-distance partners will wander, either in their hearts or in their bodies far from each other.
Partners should do their best to minimise separations except they are willing to risk wandering hearts and minds.

Some will say the Whisperer is not being realistic, and that the need to survive overrides minor things like separation for a couple of years. Maybe. The flip side is that if the relationship you are in, really matters to you and if you believe, you have found the love of your life, it would be wiser to shorten the period of separation between you and this person to an absolute minimum.


♥♫♪nyemoni♫♪♥ said...

Story of a typical Nigerian's life...It was my story too, but the good thing was we knew he was abroad for some education...

My answer is Yes...Long distance relationships work when both partners are honest with each other. A lot of the time one party is not honest with the other and has that relationship without exclusivity... It's a strenuous and expensive way to have a relationship but yes, it works

Uzo said...

Long distance relationships are interesting but i think it depends on the people involved.

Mimi said...

it is expensive that's one thing i'd tell you.

i wouldnt advice it anyway. seriously...

Mimi said...

How r u papi? funny thing was i was updating my blog when u were leaving a comment and yea..

i love matt damon too!

Joy Isi Bewaji said...

true words. it is real hardwork to keep a long distant relationship sizzling. a couple needs to be geographically close so as to know if they blend in many ways- character and all, apart from the physical passion

Babawilly said...

I have no experience with long distance relationships but I guess it is possible. It is all down to having someone special in your life who is worth the wait and distance.

Refinedone said...

I must agree Whisperer, you are being realistic on all your points.
I dont believe it is healty to be separated in the early part of a marriage(that i dont get) One would need alot of memories( and I am not only taking about sex)to hold on to in times of lonliness or challenges.

there really is not much to add, 'think you covered it all :)...too muchtime apart can but a strain on any relationship
so one would have towork real hard in a long distance one!

Anonymous said...

Hmm i was once in a long distance relationship but you get more frustrated as the day goes by. People keep feeding both parties with info about the other and you end up breaking up and hating each other

Ms. Catwalq said...

1. Uncle Laspapi, u did not even come and check on me and I was running temperature and everything...*sniff*. It is okay sha. God dey

2. Long distance relationships work when both parties are aware of and have made the commitment to stick it through all the kinks that come with such a situation. I will however disagree with you and second the notion that women are less susceptible to succumb to the claims of our physical needs. the average woman wants to be a matyr and so will keep up the struggle even if she knows her arse is being cheated on like there is no tomorrow.
Personally, for my sanity, it will take alot for me to allow that. We definitely have to have been in the relationship for a while for me be comfortable with an absence of any kind, which I must add must be punctuated with some visits of some kind. I either come to you or you return to me. Otherwise, I let you go so I can have peace of mind.

Atinuke A. said...

I dont believe in long-distance relationships. Unless the time apart, in total, is short.
Basically, if your partner, spouse, bf/gf is away for more than a couple months, I dont believe it's going to work.
Because people change, and people grow. It's best when you grow into each other. Then, there will be no question of I didnt know when He/She changed because both parties will be changing and growing together.
Off to blog about this...

My 2 cents said...

I don't believe it's health to be seperated in any relationship at all. The lifespan of any relationship is with every second, couples need to build up on what keeps them together and should want a lot more of that.

I know cirsumstances happen and all but if it can be avoided then it's fine.

laspapi said...

@ nyemoni- suffered from a bad one a few years back, 'moni, so I can't attest to it.

@ uzo- I guess so, Uzo. Maybe we didn't get it right.

@ ~mimi~ phonecalls and all? I've been there. She meant the world but we're great friends now.
matt damon- He and I will still be friends.

@ isi- I agree totally. Out of sight is sometimes out of mind.

@ babawilly- I suppose time and distance will melt when one meets that "magical" person

@ refined one- thanks for those words. One will allow the other to breath but if you're breathing oxygen from different continents, it can be hard.

@ be silent- I know what you mean. Many things move into the space left and create chaos.

@ catwalq- God forbid I should not pay attention to you when you're feeling poorly. Pele. I'll come by, please forgive me.

2) Hmm, you think women don't play the field as much as men? These days of liberation allow many things o. I agree that one or the other must relocate. Long distance can be hard.

@ atinuke - I understand what you're saying, atinuke. I'll come read your opinions.

@ my 2 cents- "The lifespan of any relationship is with every second". I like this line of yours a lot. Its the circumstances which force separations that worry me.

bArOquE said...

i havent read anything yet, after browsing your blog & I can only say; I’ll be right back

Sherri said...

this bring back some memories!
some grreat and some not so great.
i have seen both sides of the spectrum and can safely agree that it solely depends on the parties involved.however,a good relationship should be able to withstand and weather the storms of life including brief or prolonged separation.
what about people who's job require extensive travelling? or people deployed to war? everyone should strive to maintain their own identities and independence even in relationhips.

Georgevna said...

hey Laspapi long time...nice article...but how exactly would you qualify a relationship of say 2hrs drive away?

laspapi said...

georgevna, how've you been? I'm not sure a 2 hour drive qualifies as long distance. There are couples who live 2 hours away from each other even in Lagos.