I’m sure it is a common challenge developing good communication when you are in a long distance relationship. Well any relationship really but some of these challenges are greater when you cannot see each other on a regular basis.
I recently had a good Skype conversation with IT Guy. There were some connection problems and elements were rather chaotic but that kinda made it more fun and relaxed. Particularly when he decided to show me his laptop only he had trouble opening it and had to investigate. While it was great just watching him it was also very frustrating because I was not able to touch him or hug him.
There are so many difficulties finding time for a decent conversation. There is a 2h time difference and the weekend in the Emirates is Friday and Saturday. Things are often chaotic when I get home so I find that by the time things settle and I am ready to chat he is tired and heading for bed.
There are days when he is very quiet and it can be frustrating waiting for him to reply to a message. Sometimes I start wondering if he really is committed to this relationship. Wondering if it is too soon to focus my job search on Dubai.
What is a reasonable expectation for staying in touch and how does this fit with our particular situations? After-all I can’t expect him to chat just because I am bored and I want to. Do I really want to insist he stays home and chats on WhatsApp instead of joining friends for drinks?
Actually it is silences that I find the most difficult to deal with. Especially those evenings he fails to say good night. It is the not knowing that comes with silence. It allows uncertainty to creep in. This isn’t helped by the memory of other guys how have let me down recently. Particularly Guy 0 who messaged less after he met someone else or the ghosting from Import-export guy.
In contrast IT Guy reappears after a short while. Sometimes he apologies and explains if he has been quiet. Phone batteries die, people fall asleep and guys can’t multi-task (certainly this one can’t). Last week I just got regular cricket updates. One evening he reappeared to say he had just ordered some books I told him about. Various things he has said, including during the Skype, which have given me insight into why he sometimes struggles to chat on WhatsApp.
I have found a good strategy to cope when I start getting stressed by the silences. I remind myself of the examples which show he cares and wants a future together. He made the most of a trip to South Africa when he wanted to to go to Italy, asked for my input on an important decision, he cares what I think of some artwork wants. Sometimes the reminder is a simple as a picture of a nice restaurant in Tuscany, The list is growing steadily. ‘How is your day going?’ works well to understand the reason for the silence.
So while there are still challenges with communication, made more difficult by the distance, I believe we both want this to work. Relationships take effort and I probably need to find a way of explaining that I would prefer ‘tough day, need sleep’ to no message.