I’ve been in the United States since August 2014, which makes it about 9 months of doing an LDR. The D in LDR conceals the time part of it – back in Singapore, it’s a 12 hour time difference, and that’s on good months. On not-so-good months it’s 13. This means that when I wake up, it’s almost bedtime for him. If I don’t sleep in.
There was a time in our relationship when an LDR would have been intolerable. During my grad trip and his grad trip – stacked not-so-brilliantly one after another, and separate ones – there were times when he would message, or call, and I would be so engrossed in being hustled to the top of the Eiffel tower that I would miss it, only to remember to check my phone two hours later to realize that it was 1am and he was worried sick about me. These days at least, the first conclusion he draws from my lack of replies isn’t that I’ve been killed, but the more boring alternative, doing work in school.
I think settling into an LDR is like settling into the dynamics of a married couple – being comfortable enough with each other to be aware of each other’s presence without active interaction. We have a daily skype call, about half an hour, while I’m commuting to school and he’s about to sleep. If we have time, we top it up with gaming sessions on the weekends. The routine of it is comforting. Plus, I like the dedicated time for conversation more than messaging throughout the day. In a huge part this is brought about by the time difference, which thankfully is more merciful to us than a 15/16h time diff that being on the west coast would have entailed.
It’s a little ironic when you think about it – time difference resulting in quality time, rather than the diluted trickle of conversation that we’ve been conditioned to have, because of the constant availability of social media. The Art of Being Apart on NY Modern Love made some resonating points about this as well. On my side it has also led to greater productivity during the work day, where I’m able to focus completely on my task at hand and not have to tend to some blinking window or other. It’s a little nerdy but programming gets me into the state of flow more easily than arguably anything else.
A lot of people are staying here to do an internship but I’m just heading back home for the summer, which makes me feel a little ambition-less, although more happy than otherwise. An LDR might not be intolerable, but being with each other is infinitely better.