So today was a good day, but an emotionally taxing day. I went to lunch with a close friend, and then to dinner with some friends and genuinely enjoyed the company of others.
But even around all of the people, sometimes it is so hard not to feel isolated. Very few people understand what it’s like to be in a long distance relationship, and much less a cross-cultural, cross-continental relationship! Its hard to explain to people why I look so tired, or why I am sad sometimes, and when I do explain they are sometimes insensitive, and trivialize the struggle of being apart from your significant other for such a long period of time (1.5 years).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about my relationship. I am sooo happy to have found a man who I can love for life. But the fact is, the current circumstance of being in a long-distance relationship is emotionally taxing and super difficult.
Today, I explained my relationship struggles to two people on two separate occasions. And each of them had varying responses:
Response # 1 (negative response)
“I haven’t seen my boyfriend for a year and a half, and that’s pretty taxing on my emotions”
“Why haven’t you seen him?”
“He’s an international student in Kenya and the U.S. will not issue him a visa because he has no ‘substantial ties’ to Africa.
” Oh okay, well I’m sure everything will all work out. At least you have a man, and you know who you want to marry! The rest of us are out here trying to find potentials. Its so hard out there for single ladies to find good men, at least you have found yours.”
This was a pretty painful response. She didn’t empathize at all. I guess I’m just lucky to “have a man.”
Response # 2 (positive response)
I said the above story again…and she responded:
“That’s seriously unfair! I am so sorry that he hasn’t been able to travel to the U.S. I’ll be praying for you all.”
And this response was AMAZING! It was short and to the point. She didn’t belittle me, or make me feel like I was being ungrateful for the blessing of a relationship, she just encouraged me and empathized with me. To all those who have friends in Long-Distance Relationships…PLEASE be conscious of what you say and how you say it. Words can do A LOT of damage when they’re not thought out carefully.