Do long distance relationships really work?

They say that life is unfair and indeed sometimes it really is. You have worked so hard for that promotion in the office, your three year old daughter has just been enrolled into a prestigious school and your husband is thrilled with your accomplishment, then you realize that your new position requires you to relocate from Rwanda to another country.

They say that life is unfair and indeed sometimes it really is. You have worked so hard for that promotion in the office, your three year old daughter has just been enrolled into a prestigious school and your husband is thrilled with your accomplishment, then you realize that your new position requires you to relocate from Rwanda to another country.

Nearly everyone has experienced a long distance relationship at some point in their life. Most of us have failed to maintain it and have broken up, even though this may have been a promising relationship. Why is that so? What are the common reasons to break up in those long distance relationships and how can you make them work?

Long distance relationships have both, advantages and disadvantages. For some, the distance helps open up the relationship without the incessant presence of the partner.

Vincent Mukhula is a Kenyan working and living in Kigali. He points out that if it were not for the trust his partner has shown in him, their relationship would have collapsed along time ago. He attributes his ‘faithfulness’ to a sense of guilt he feels while away from his partner, who resides in Nairobi.

‘The idea that someone somewhere has put her trust in me makes me have no choice but to be faithful’, he asserts.

“The romance stays kindled because you aren’t around the person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Seeing various habits and routines that can get repetitive sometimes becomes boring.” he concludes.

In terms of disadvantages, it is very frustrating that there is no intimacy. No hug to wake up to nor kiss to fall asleep on. You will experience difficulties in connecting because you don’t have eye contact and can’t take walks or enjoy dinners out together.

Then again that makes the meetings so much more intense than they would be in a “normal” relationship. It’s the quality, not the quantity of time, as some would argue.

Ssemakula Mukiibi is an IT consultant in Rwanda. He is engaged and intends to get married in November this year to his Ugandan girlfriend. He noted that this kind of relationships only works when both parties stay positive and not focusing on the negative things.

Nevertheless, Ssemakula warned that it is not as easy as it may sound and requires a lot of sacrifices. He confesses that he has once ‘tripped and fell’ (read was unfaithful).

According to statistics compiled by the Centre for the Study of Long Distance Relationships in America, people who got used to their parents’ absence as children may be equally comfortable with “absence” as adults.

Yet if long absences caused problems in childhood, long distance relationships may be harder to maintain. People, who have always been especially close to family, either emotionally and physically, can sometimes have a harder time maintaining distance relationships, or commit to moving away from family at a later date.

A psychology teacher at Kigali institute of Education (K.I.E) says that while all relationships face challenges of trust, the long distance one faces an even bigger challenge on the issue of trust and needs a lot of commitment.

She also noted that the biggest problem faced by a long distance relationship is the interpersonal communication gap, as well as the frustration of not having your partner there for you all the time.

Often, living away from your partner could put you in a situation where you wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation of getting emotionally attached to a third person because he or she is physically close to you, especially when you need some emotional strength or encouragement.

The lack of physical touch and inability to share everything makes long distance relationships a hard thing to contend with, but if you really are into making it work, patience and self-control is highly recommended.

There is no room for suspicion in a long distance relationship. To survive distance you must learn to trust your partner wholeheartedly.

A single suspicion could break the bond you have for each other and it is the beginning of the end if you start to suspect your partner at any point of your relationship.

Although it is easier said than done, if your partner is up to doing something unfaithful to you, they will still do it even right under your nose. Therefore there is no need for you to create such unnecessary stress in your life.

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