6 Lessons Learned in Peace Corps about LDR

Long Distance Relationships are hard to be in because it requires a significant amount of time separated from each other, trust, commitment, communication, love and a whole lot of effort. Some work and some don’t but no one really knows which one the relationship will fall under until time has passed. LDR take a toll on each person individually but when it’s worth it, both make an effort.

Being in Peace Corps, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on LDR and what makes mine so special. As stated from Long Distance Relationships in Peace Corps,  I never intended to get into a relationship before Peace Corps. However, that didn’t mean that my relationship while the two years weren’t special, it was a lot of work. But because it was so much work to maintain a LDR, it taught me a lot.

  1. Continuous communication is vital; the good, and especially the bad. Since Eddie and I can’t be face-to-face, we therefore can’t view each other’s body posture and facial expressions. That means that learning how to communicate properly has been one of the most important things we continuously have to work on. We have to speak up when something bothers one another because we are not mind readers. Being thousands of miles away from each other, we hold one another responsible for speaking about our individual feelings and talking it out with our significant other. We are two equal but separate people who are leading two separate lives for the moment so it’s imperative to talk about things; everything in our life that is good and is making us happy and everything that is making us sad. We try to speak at least twice a week but a lot can happen to a person in a matter of days.
  2. Choosing each other is a commitment you make every single day. Sure, there might be temptations but talking to him when I feel lost or scared? He makes everything okay by listening and by telling me one of his God awful corny jokes to make me laugh. I choose to wait until I can be with the person who has been by my side for the last two years. Relationships consistently require you to pick each other over and over again, but to try doing that when you only see each other once or maybe twice a year? [A ticket from Ethiopia to D.C. could cost anywhere from $700 to over $1,000. Who has the money to do that several times a year? I certainly don’t].
  3. The right one would be willing to make sacrifices so that you can fulfill your dreams. Before Eddie, there were two “almost-relationships” that never really turned into anything. I was too immature and the men were too emotionally unavailable. When I first met him, I wasn’t looking for anything because I would soon be leaving for Ethiopia. I was clear about my goal and my dream of continuing the Vilorio legacy, but he still supported my dream of joining Peace Corps. When I tried to end it on the way to the airport, it didn’t work. We still spoke several times a week and we wanted to make it work. More than two years later, and it’s still going well. I don’t resent him for the LDR and he doesn’t resent me for leaving to follow my dream. Of course, I know that I someday I will have to make sacrifices for him as well but it doesn’t seem to scary now. DSCN4422
  4.  Plan exciting time together.  Meet up with each other somewhere. When we went to Italy, although only for ten days, we had the best time ever. When you are in a long distance relationship, time together often feels like a holiday. You want everything to be perfect and it is, but there are also many frustrations and expectations that come with it. We learned a lot about what frustrates and makes the other person tick, but also what to do to make it okay again. We learned a significant amount by traveling as a couple.
  5. Find different ways to let your partner know you are thinking about them.
    Since you can’t just lean over to give your partner a hug or a kiss — text messages during the day,  video messages, picture texts, cards and letters through the mail — all of these are ways to let your partner know you are thinking of them and to remind them of their place in your life.
  6. Have a goal in mind. Since Peace Corps service is only two years long — there is a goal in mind. There has to be a time frame of when you are expected to be together in the same state, same country. September 2nd — I will be running into your arms — hopefully not tripping over all of my bags.
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