Heart to Heart

Coping with long distance relationship

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By Esther Oluka

Posted  Thursday, January 21   2016 at  02:00

In Summary

OUT OF SIGHT. Why is it that some of the long distance relationships work out while others fall out? Are these relationships simply doomed? What are the underlying issues? Can they be resolved? Esther Oluka finds out.

Long distance relationships are never easy. While others have succeeded in making them work, others have failed after reasoning that they are complicated, time wasting and emotionally draining.
A case in point is the Obbo family.

For many years, Obbo was frustrated with his occupation as a mechanic. The earnings hardly supported his wife and their two children. When he heard about a job as a security guard in Dubai, he seized the opportunity. In 2014, he left the country for Dubai.

“I did not want my husband to go. I pleaded with him several times but he refused to listen,” Ms Obbo says.
Relations between the couple soured after a year in Dubai. “He hardly calls or replies my messages,” she says. “I am frustrated. He even sends us less money nowadays unlike before when he had just landed in Dubai.”
At a certain point in time, the mother of two wanted to join her husband but the challenges were she did not know exactly where her husband is deployed and also lacks a passport. All she does now is wait and hope for that phone call from her husband saying he is coming back home.

Jena and Sam Kizito is another couple involved in a long distance relationship. Jena stays and works in Uganda while Sam is in South Africa pursuing his studies.

“It is really tough being in love with someone who is miles away. It is like we are living different lives since we are not creating memories together,” says Jena.

The couple communicates mostly via WhatsApp and Facebook. Jena is also glad that Sam atleast makes an effort to call her from time to time.

“It is during such occasions that he reassures me of his love and that he will certainly come back home to me,” Jena says.
The constant communication and assurances is what Jena says keeps the relationship going.

Issues that arise from long distance love
David Kavuma, a counselling psychologist at Mildmay Uganda and Adonai Counselling and Training Services, says problems usually start from the point when one party does not conform to the idea of the other person leaving.
“To this particular person, they will think that you are leaving them despite the fact that you are either going to further your studies or embrace a new career,” Kavuma says.

The only way of restoring calm and hope in the situation is by reassuring the person that you will either come back to them or that you will do everything in your power to see to it that they join you.

“Atleast such words give them assurance that you value the relationship and want it to continue,” Kavuma says.
But that aside, Kavuma says the other challenge with such relationships is that they start to drag along the way because of the uncertainty of where the relationship is heading to.

“It is the reason an individual will even stop communicating regularly as they used to and for those who would also make it a point to visit their partners from time to time, they suddenly stop.”
But again, there is also the issue of infidelity and mistrust.

“It is not that one wants to cheat or have an affair but it is circumstances such as loneliness that force them to seek solace in other people.”

For instance, when Jacob Busuulwa came back to Uganda from a one year study scholarship in the United States, he discovered that his girlfriend had moved on to another relationship and was even expecting a child with her new man.
“I was very hurt because she had always assured me that there is no one else and that she was waiting for me to get back home,” Busuulwa says.

“But when I got home, I found out that another man had taken over and it was already too late to do anything about it.”

Brenda Naiga, is another example of an individual whose long distance relationship crumbled. According to her, the distance diminished the things they talked about.

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