7 years ago today, I fell in love with an extraordinary soul, more than 3,200 kilometers away from me. I had heard all sorts of scary stories about online dating, long distance relationships and I had sworn to never fall prey to any of those situation-ships.
Unknown to me, fate ensured my next love adventure would swing towards that very direction. We started off as friends and that was the best thing to ever happen to me. Every chat left me willing to get to know my friend better, though it still scared me stiff. I was pensive about everything, including a physical meet as I thought it was all a fad. I ignored texts, mails and calls for a while before eventually giving in. This was real. Our first date was an airport pick up and getaway. I was too nervous, I’d have pissed on myself. I never thought they’d show up despite having our weekend planned out. The journey started and the rest, as they say was history.
From the get go, we developed a habit of reviewing our relationship regularly. It’s a random day set aside to touch base on what we are grateful for, what could be done better and ultimately planning our finances moving forward. We also share our thoughts and update one another on any intended plans because our opinions do count. These can be done indoors or outdoors, over coffee, on your day off or during evening walks.
Loving and being loved is truly, a beautiful feeling, when you find your person. I would never have imagined we’d have gone this far because there were challenges along the way. We never set any rules from the start, just went with the flow and identified what worked and did not work for us along the way. We simply lay ourselves into the truth of what our individualities were, revealing anything and everything, no ifs, no buts. Love blended into our ways.
Distance was the first challenge, we both strategized and sacrificed to see one another at least once or twice each month. That meant digging into our finances. We were open about that too. Love is about sharing costs, at least in my/our opinion. All this happened as we sought a more permanent solution to conquer distance. We did.
Initially, after relocation, we stayed apart for a while but it was easier because we could see each other on a daily basis. Living with someone after distance relationship was not easy. Each one has a way in which they live and work around their spaces. It is the time when you get to know someone for who they really are. That informs whether you’re going to stick or not. We compromised our little comforts in order to accommodate one another. Love made it an easy flow.
Juggling a new relationship, starting life in a foreign land, new job, shift work et all was a scary but an exciting adventure. We still made time to be with one another. We remain grateful today because honeymooning 7 years on is nothing short of a blessing. Love is a sacrifice.
This goes out to all those are in long distance relationships, those that have conquered the distance, those still trying to work things out, those that incredibly believe in love, those, like us commemorating 7 years and more, those who have not found love yet and those that have not given up on love despite being hurt.
- Love is about openly communicating, about everything. No secrets.
2. Be friends first before lovers. Do not be too quick to hop to bed before taking time to know what the other person is all about. Respect before desire.
3. Love is a risk worth taking. If you never try, you’ll never know.
4. My mother always told me. When your partner hits you the first time, run and never look back. You do not owe anyone an explanation. The next hit could be your last.
5. You have to let go the hurts of your past and not punish a potential future love for the mistakes you have made before them.
6. Do not compromise your happiness in order to please others.
7. Give your person freedom and space to be. You do not always have to go everywhere together. Obsessing over where they are, who they are with and what they are doing should not suffice as long as there is open communication and trust.
8. Stay disciplined. A lot of cheating in relationships is within your control. If you entertain someone, what message are you sending? Be clear from the word go. Set boundaries and stick to them.
9. Friends outside your relationship. Yes. Running to seek help when your house is on fire? Not a very good idea. If you have issues, sort them within the relationship whenever possible. We say in Swahili, ‘kikulacho ki nguoni mwako.’ translated to ‘what destroys us the most comes from within.’ Be very careful when it comes to friends. We however are very different and our relationship dynamics vary, do whatever floats your boat and do not be slow to cutting out anything or anyone that threatens your love and happiness.
10. Love is forgiveness. There might be occasional disagreements and possible fall-outs. Drop your ego and apologize whenever you go wrong. ‘Sorry’ is a five-letter word that does not diminish your worth in a relationship. Remember, repeated mistakes are a choice.
11. Love is not only about serious stuff so do not forget to have fun with and around one another. They say, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’
12. Do not get too blinded by love and miss the red flags. Disrespect, extortion, physical, verbal and psychological abuse and emotional blackmail. This is a constant cause of heartache and breakdown in relationships and marriages today. It is never too late if the person is not right for you. Keep your eyes open.
May you witness many more love, joy, good health and fulfillment each coming year in your relationships.
Go on, allow yourself to experience love and being loved. Give it your best shot. Seek love, be love, stay in love.
Happy Loving! From us.