Arguments are bound to happen when your other half is halfway across the globe. Two things work against your relationship: the time difference and the mother-loving Internet speed in Manila. Sometimes, if you’re really truly blessed, you’ll experience these two things at the same time. That’s when you need to reach deep, deep into the cockles of your soul to carry on a conversation with your loved one. The operative term here being, “loved one.”
Technology is a catch-22 when it comes to LDRs. With it, you can talk with your other half and not have to pay a ridiculous phone bill at the end of the month. On the other hand, you get to experience mood swings, bad days, suspicions, accusations and all the other “good stuff” in real time.
Whether you’re on the receiving end or the giving party, bottom line: technology is paving the way for full on confrontation, time zones be damned. Now add the frustrating Internet speed from local providers in the mix, and you have a recipe for arguments that spit on romance.
People in relationships back then were probably luckier than the rest of us because they didn’t have Skype or Facebook chat or unlimited IDD calls. They had the luxury of deferring arguments, and sometimes that works to prevent an explosive fight that lead to breakups. Also, it’s really hard to pick a fight in a letter. You would develop carpal tunnel syndrome from all the furious writing.
It’s Not Fight Club
Of course, the absence of arguments does not guarantee a happy relationship that lasts a long while. You just need to know how to fight because some fights actually help improve your relationship. They reveal problems you can resolve before they get bad. They also help you communicate better because you discover how to listen to the other person.
So instead of throwing your fists in the air or wanting to throw your laptop in the air, try the following strategies:
Don’t jump on each other’s throats when a question or remark goes unnoticed. Your Internet service might suck and so there is a delay in when your comment reaches your loved one. Do not take it against the other person when he or she keeps asking you to repeat what you just said. Breathe. And talk calmly.
The time difference will kill you, especially when it’s 2 a.m. his time and 7 p.m. your time. Guess who’s going to throw a fit because a Skype call didn’t happen? It’s important to make time now that one of you is living in another country or continent, even when it’s just to say “good morning.” It is doubly important to schedule conversations when your other half doesn’t know anyone where he or she lives. Think about your loved one’s loneliness before you get lazy about “skyping.”
Never go to bed angry.
Resolve issues as they arise. Talk about them in a calm, respectful manner. When you fix the problem right away, you keep the bitterness away from the relationship. There is no need to dig up old issues because you’ve settled them.
Fights are inevitable in any relationship. Learn to manage arguments and your relationship will work — whatever the distance.
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Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.