Saturday March 8 2014

My experience of long distance relationships

By Steven F Mandu

I met Jackie a few years ago when I was a finalist at campus. She was, at the time, in her second year studying for a Bachelor of Commerce. She was an external student, which meant that she was not always at the university. Jackie stayed in Mary Stuart whenever she was at University and I resided in Lumumba Hall, right next to hers.

Since my girlfriend and I lived in the close proximity, we soon became acquaintances and spent most of our time together. We would go to various hangouts over the weekends and visit each other’s rooms frequently. Needless to say, we were soon officially dating.

Even when I completed campus before she did, we remained close since she continued to pay me frequent visits in Mutungo where I had moved to. This kept our relationship alive and burning. However, the lovely time that we always spent together was to be ruined when she completed campus. Jackie’s parents secured a scholarship for her to do a master degree. Last year in August, she left for Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany. And there I was, in a long-distance relationship, after all the years of distaste towards the idea, I found myself thrust in a similar situation.

A dilemma
Why did I not break it off, you may ask. I did ask myself the same question, wondering whether to continue dating someone thousands of miles away yet there were plenty other people around I could date. Well, my answer was yes. It was definitely going to be difficult to cope with the situation but we had to endure due to the promises that we had made to each other.

One month down the road, the phone became part of my life and eventually a companion that I could not live without. Phone calls, texts and mail messages started flowing in endlessly. It was not so bad after all; the phone represented my girlfriend and she was with me all the time.

However, I was put on the test when I sent a good morning message one time and three hours later there was no response. I tried making a call, only to catch the voice mail. I convinced myself she was occupied or she would not blow me off like that while I waited patiently, sure she would get back. Internally though, I was panicking. Even when I tried to keep busy and distracted, I found myself checking the phone at least every 15 in case a message had popped in and I had not heard it.

After a week of not hearing from her, I was left confused, worried and hollow. I wondered whether she was well or did not care anymore. Once when the phone rang interrupting my thoughts of her and I dashed to pick it up, I found it was only boss asking why I had not been to work for two days. I was losing it internally.

Fortunately, Jackie called that same day and explained that she had lost her cell phone. I cannot explain to you the calm I felt inside. Even then though, I had had a taste of the agony we shall have to endure in this long-distance relationship and it reminds me why I detested them so.

Love keeps one going
Long-distance romance can change a person’s life and in many ways my life is changed. My social life seems largely the same as I go about my daily chores but a lot has changed. It is impossible to text or call her randomly to ask whether she wants to go for a drink, spend the night or whether I should bring her some ice cream, take her to dinner or a movie, let alone surprise her with gifts.

I can, however, confidently say that I’m in a successful long-distance relationship with my girlfriend although there are some trivial things that I have to worry about. If this relationship does not work, I will ask myself why I put myself willingly through so much pain and anxiety. The only thing that keeps me going is that my girlfriend loves and makes me happy and I love her too. And well, sometimes you need to take a gamble.