Monday, 22 August 2011

Long Distance Love

Despite having determined almost a decade ago that long-distance relationships sucked were very difficult, and I would never ever enter into, or entertain one ever again (never ever ever), I somehow find myself in a relationship where my partner works overseas. I would blame the baby (refer to previous post) but unfortunately this is not a chicken and egg situation. This particular chicken (and yes I am referring to my relationship as a chicken… I am going there) had to precede the egg- that's just biology or perhaps if you're more romantic... chemistry.

Not only is my partner always ‘leaving on a jet plane’, he is flying the bloody thing. Which means unless I crush all his childhood dreams that he has worked damned hard to attain he independently decides to changes careers, this long distance thing is going to be pretty much a permanent fixture in our lives. Let’s not go into how I obviously shouldn’t have fallen in love with someone in his profession. I have heard all about ‘AIDS’ i.e. ‘Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome’. I have sneakily avoiding that by not getting married (yet). I am pretty sure that particular solution won't work indefinitely.

I don’t think it’s insecurity. I’ve always been a confident person. This is the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. You know how when you’re really young, you don’t realise your parents lie. You think they are like God. Literally. That their word is gospel. Well my parents would constantly tell me- ‘you’re so intelligent, you’re so beautiful’ AND. I. TOTALLY. BELIEVED. IT. WAS. THE. GOD. HONEST. TRUTH. I didn’t know they were capable of telling anything other than the truth. You’d think that reality would have struck when I started school and had to socialise. But apparently I take things on face value (especially when that face is telling me I look good). I don’t remember which kid tried to shake this notion, or what they said, but I do distinctly remember reporting it to my parents. They were dismissive, ‘Princess, they’re just jealous.’ You may have picked up that we weren’t big on humility in my home. Yes this could have turned me into a narcissistic precocious brat. But hey, my parents reckon that never happened! And I TOTALLY believe them! Instead I developed what I consider a distinctly male trait- the ability to back myself (without any reasonable basis). So I really don’t think it’s insecurity.

It’s just reality. My love and I fitted easily together. I was delighted to discover how easily. We grew up on the same small island, and while we didn’t know each other then, it seemed to result in us having many of the same values. As the child of a palagi mum and a Samoan dad, I am all for inter-racial relations, but I know first-hand the cross-cultural miscommunication that can occur. Of course I dated non-Samoans, but being with my love was like coming home. We didn’t have to explain things to each other. So many things were just understood. But though we fitted easily together, the reality is, ALL relationships require work. ALL relationships are hard. And it’s a lot bloody harder when you’re away from each other half of the time.

Especially if you’re from a country that is rather laissez-faire when it comes to relationships (or at least faithfulness in those relationships). I was genuinely surprised by the outroar over Tiger Wood’s infidelity. Every magazine in the western world seemed to puzzle over this behaviour. The analysis seemed to be that the only answer could be that he was a sex addict! Meanwhile all the Samoans I knew were universal in their conclusion… he was... wait for it... a man. No other explanation was needed and a number of us asked ourselves, ‘Are we truly sure he’s not at least part Samoan?’. More about this phenomena has been rather wittily related in Coconut Girl's "The state of affairs in this country founded on God". As if that post needed more publicity!

I trust my partner even though he is Samoan with all the charm, charisma and greater likelihood of cheating that that entails. I really do. But I’m not na├»ve. I don’t really believe distance make the heart grow fonder. Ha! More like, distance makes the eye wander. And I don’t mind as long as it’s just the eyes (see I’m realistic and reasonable like that). I appreciate that my partner may actually be attracted to other women. Even though I would never ever ever be attracted to any other man (particularly not the men that regularly feature on Sleepless’ page). However I truly believe he loves me, and that he would chose me, yes even over Beyonce (my parents confirm that I am, in fact, more attractive than her).I believe that he respects me like I respect him. That he wouldn’t act on any such attraction. But it is still hard being apart where I can’t monitor his ass despite that belief.

Of course it’s not just the increased likelihood of infidelity (at this point I should admit that I haven’t done actual polls or statistics on this). It’s also just not having him here. I mean it’s pretty simple- I miss him. I am in love with the guy. I want to share my life with him. I want him to see our son grow. Every day. I want to share my days and my nights with him. Most All of my days and nights. And of course I need him to take out the rubbish (and oh he’s also pretty good at cooking).

Long distance relationships really are hard. And here’s my little piece of wisdom. Yes finally, what passes for some wisdom in this long-winded piece. You have to be absolutely sure that the person you are in that relationship with is the right person. You don’t want to waste time or effort or, most importantly, your heart. Life is difficult, and you can’t always choose your circumstances. But you can choose how you deal with them. So I’m choosing to work damned hard! Because he is worth it. And so am I.


Teine Samoa said...

By the way 'Outroar' is my own very special combination of outrage and uproar- because I'm fobby like that!

Lani Wendt Young said...

Several thoughts jumping all over the place. Will itemize them to attempt to make them legible:

1. Your parents are polar opposites to mine. Specifically my mum. She lived to tell us how unattractive/DUH/untalented/rotten we were. Which was her way of making us aim higher? Work harder? Hmmm. Now with my own children Im trying to do the opposite. I think my 5 are amazing. (Except whn theyre lazy bums and take forever to do their chores) And i constantlly tell them how intelligent and talented and beautiful they are. Its been a little sad sometimes to see how the 'world' starts to creep in to their psyche, esp for the girls. My eldest daughter askd me the othr day, "How come I'm not small and skinny and petite like the other girls in my class?" And we had a good talk abt how being tall and bodacious and strong and striking can be SOO much better than tiny and skanky skinny. (sigh)

2. Long distance can really suck. Be thankful for great technology. When i met my future husband and we did the whole, "get engaged aftr 2 weeks thing" I then went back to school in NZ while he stayd in Samoa to work. (To pay for my phone We had no internet or mobile phones txting etc, and of course the man didnt write me every day like I wrote to him. So yeah, lots of money went to support telecoms profits 4 the year... But yes, defn coping with the challenges of a long dist relationship can pay off and be worth it.
I had a pt 3. but this novel is too long already.

Teine Samoa said...

But I want to read the third point Lani!!! You know I love your novel-length comments! I don't think my parents told us how awesome we were to motivate us (I say this because like you I'm always telling the baby he is awesome just because I am totally and utterly unable not to express this) but I always felt if I didn't do well... it wasn't from lack of any natural talent... it's because I wasn't working hard enough. So strangely it made me work harder.

Also it is SO much better being bodacious, strong and striking. I have always wished I was taller than my 5 foot 6 especially as I've grown older (read fatter)- it would stretch it out more!!! LOL!!!

Oh and I should have totally gone into the costs!!! They are crazy!

Coconut Girl said...

I love this one. I've never been good with long distance relationships. All that about distance making the heart grow fonder is lost on me. But this was all in my days of puppy love, immaturish infatuations and not being ready to make real commitments. My mother always told me that distance is the real test of your love for each other and I agree. I admire your perseverence to make it work. And when it IS with the right person, it makes it so much easier :) That is such a great way to approach it - choosing to deal with your circumstance by working hard at making it work. I'm rooting for you both from the sidelines :)

P.S. Hope he changes his career soon hehe.

Teine Samoa said...

If distance is the test, I don't want to take it!!! Thanks CG- I keep telling him pilots are just glorified bus drivers so hopefully this will wear him down!!! LOL

jo_an said...

Firstly - your parents rock!.
I'm soooooo jealous that you have such bountiful amounts of self reassurance. I could totally take a page out of your book. There's nothing more attractive than a woman that knows who she is and what she wants. Obviously, your partner is a very lucky man. Keep it up, things will get better. I am also ^ rooting for yous!. Oh and i love - 'Outroar'.

**AiTaH said...

Almost a month later I find this blog..

Love this blog! It hits a tender chord in my less than harmonious heart. Everything you've mentioned hits home. Thank you for expressing my relationship (with my ex) so well! LOL Yup, I'm still deeply and stupidly in love with the man but maybe... well I guess in our situation distance won.

LD relationships is very hard work, and those around me made it a point to remind me that hugs are hard to get when there are many miles between us. Even to say that he could never be here for me when I most needed him. They were all right. I needed the hugs, and at my lowest when I knew only he would have the right words to cure the ailments of my mind and heart, he was unreachable. My confidence lies in the plans that God has for me, even if it's without this man that has protected my heart and now has abandoned it. (Oops...looks like I'm going overboard here with my soppy story)

I admire your positive thoughts! Hang in there and keep up the hard work! For you're absolutely's all worth it!