Be honest, when you hear of a couple who are in a long distance relationship, do you automatically think: ‘Aww, absence makes the heart grow stronger’? or ‘Hmmn, I give them three months max’! Claire Clottey talks to two ladies who took a chance and found long distance love.

We all love LOVE but sometimes the relationship part can be LONG, and by long, I mean challenging! But what happens when you’re in a relationship made ‘LONG’ because of the distance? Are long distance relationships more hassle than they’re worth? Or are you failing to realise that there are plenty of fish across the seas?

Picture the scenario:

Your friend who’s been single for forever,
Meets a nice man whilst in Grenada,
You’re excited about her holiday fling,
But then she says she is really into him,
It makes you start wondering,
Whether he’s on a visa ting…(read back and recite as a rap)

Dayna Raeburn, 32-year old British teacher, met and married her husband this year after meeting him on the Island of Spice aka Grenada in 2013.

Long distance love

After kissing a few frogs, who, quite frankly remained frogs, Dayna threw in the towel.

I had a few relationships in the past and they all ended when I realised that no matter what I did or how many times I asked them, the men I dated were not going to treat me the way that I deserved to be treated. I looked at the people around me and realised many of those giving me advice were in unhealthy relationships themselves so I took a break to refresh my mind and readjust my life lenses. I had no intention of being in the club the night I met Alvin. I was not in a sociable mood yet when he came over to me we instantly connected. I just felt ‘comfortable’. For the remainder of the holiday we were inseparable yet when Alvin expressed his feelings for me before I left to come home, I told him straight: “I don’t do long distance relationships”!

We agreed to exchange contacts, perhaps speak from time to time and if we were both single when I returned the following year… re-connect. Texts turned to calls, which turned to Skype calls, which turned into scheduled daily calls to fit around our different lifestyles and time zones. I sat back and thought about it properly when a friend said to me: “How are you going to find someone if you’re always talking to him?”

That’s when I decided to really give the relationship a go. Initially, I didn’t tell many people about the relationship because I didn’t want to hear their negative projections.

After our first year of dating, we spent six weeks living together during a summer holiday back to Grenada. This was the moment that I realised, there was no going back.

When asked what the key to a healthy long distance relationship is, Dayna’s response is;

“Communication, Communication, Communication. Find out everything you need to know about each other, and when you’re angry COMMUNICATE MORE. Trust is extremely important, and I think ladies need to be clear, whether he lives around the corner or on the other side of the world, if he’s going to cheat, he’s going to cheat! You just have to trust your intuition and be open to love.”

Whilst Dayna and her husband Alvin are working through the process of residing together in the UK, another lady who hadn’t even been out of the country of her birth until she met and travelled the seas to be with her husband, also illustrates the simple reality of long distance relationships.

Nina Oppong, 32-year old Personal Trainer and Banker was born and raised in Utah, USA. She met her, now husband, Edwin four years ago in Las Vegas.

nina

We were both on holiday, I was there with my girls and he was there with his boys from England, UK. There was an immediate attraction. He is tall with beautiful dark skin, has a gorgeous smile, charming nature plus his accent was the icing on the cake. After our holiday was over, we messaged each other here and there and then the calls started. We’d spend endless hours on the phone getting to know each other. We simply became friends, making trips to visit each other about six months apart. I remember when it was time for us to fly to our separate homes, I literally felt like a piece of me was being pulled apart and the feelings were mutual.

I didn’t want a long distance relationship. Trust me, no one wants to commit to a long distance relationship.

I’d spend Friday nights wishing I was out on a date with Edwin or wishing I could go home to a hug and kiss after a long day. And of course, there was the eight hours’ time difference. We actually had to schedule communication! BUT, I knew Edwin was the one I wanted to spend my life with, so once we committed we began working on reducing the ‘distance’.

Some friends and family were skeptical but most were supportive and my Mum told me: “if you know with all your heart that Edwin is your future then give it your all”, so I did.

Practically, we looked into the legalities of relocating, I also prepared myself emotionally for leaving my family. It was hard but it has been worth it.

I’ve learnt the hard way that you don’t have to ‘settle’. Fairy tale love does exist and I’d advise any woman thinking about or starting a long distance relationship to:

* Establish a foundation through friendship
* Learn about each other’s values, morals, likes and dislikes
* Communication- be open and honest about your feelings and expectations
* If you’re going to commit, make it work no matter what (there will be trying times but true love is worth the work) AND
* Have fun!