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Bon Journal

Long distance relationships

"I've come to the conclusion," said my young colleague, "that long distance relationships don't work."

"And why not? " I asked.

"You only see the best side of each other," he said. "When you're apart, you hide the negative parts and show only the positive. When you're together, you're so conscious of the little time you have, that you are on your best behaviour."

He cited an example from his own experience. When his long distance girlfriend finally moved into the same town he lived in, the relationship fell apart. Suddenly they were able to see the bits that irritated them. They couldn't get used to that.

That summed up the wisdom of all his twenty-four years.

True, there is safety in distance. You can project your best self.

When you're apart, your feelings are not in sync. One can be so happy, and the other not. The happy one feels let down when the other cannot relate to his/her happiness. Similarly, the sad one could get angry by the lack of empathy from the one who's happy.

Even with modern technology, can words truly replace a caress? a hug?

Still, the marvels of telephone, mobiles, and instant messengers make it that much easier to communicate. It's like cheating on time and distance. It used to take a week to write, send, receive, and read a letter. Now, less than seconds. Airplane fares are more competitive than before - and it's possible to see each other more easily. If time and distance can be conquered by modern technology, what is truly then a long distance relationship?

My young colleague had no answer to this. Only that he is happy that he met his new girlfriend in the same town. And they can develop their relationship short distance.

18 June 2001

My colleagues