Many people are giving long distance relationships a chance these days, sometimes with the women doing most of the traveling. Men and women are engaging in this like never before and some of my subscribers pursued a Filipina to marry her and bring her to be with him. Is this because LDRs are easier, is it because the couples are less picky or do they just try harder? While my initial responses may make it seem like there was no “special effort”, I do believe that there is something to this, that we do try a little harder to make a LDR work, and I will try to explain why. Please comment on this if you agree or not.
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You might think that I tried harder in my LDR because I just wasn’t able to find someone I wanted to marry (that wanted to marry me) in America. Granted, I was not looking to have a relationship with someone far away like in another state, because I thought that was impractical. There were two times I considered someone in another state, and had good rapport but like they all seemed to do online, they just disappeared.
I signed up on an international dating site without expectations but it was a completely different story, as it took all of five days to meet the woman I married, who I proposed to in less than three weeks. Did something change? How could a guy go from getting nowhere to getting married and so fast? I can tell you it wasn’t because I lowered my standards, in reality, you could say I substantially raised them when this time, I was looking for a younger woman.
Did I work harder in this relationship? It’s hard to say. I communicated with someone I liked, which was nearly impossible here in the states, because when I sent a message to someone, I had no confidence she was going to write back. With the Philippines I got the impression the women wanted a husband, how refreshing!
Since I didn’t have much experience over the years, it wasn’t like I had changed strategy and decided to work harder. Actually, it wasn’t hard work at all unless you count chatting with the woman you eventually marry for four hours a day a burden. It was all very exciting, yet I think there are some elements that suggest a little more effort, if you will, when a man decides to embark on a relationship that he knows is going to be different than anything he has done in his life.
I have always liked seeing those videos where a couple meets each other for the first time, even the ones where they meet after she has gotten her visa. When I see them embrace and think back on my own experience, I know something about what was involved in their LDR. I don’t think these couples necessarily work harder to keep their relationship afloat, but I do think they make concessions, have to trust a little more and accept some challenges they ordinarily would not have to.
Time zone difference-It is nice to be on the same time zone, which you usually take for granted, but not so with a LDR. You can still chat, even use a webcam, but some concessions will need to be made with that. You still do it, it’s just different. In my case with my wife in the Philippines, my morning was her evening, and her morning was my evening. With both of us working, if we didn’t utilize those time periods then we wouldn’t be able to talk.
In a way it was good because I was serious about getting married and I was fine with making this my top priority. My friends had gotten married, rendering me invisible, so I had the time for conversation. With America and the Philippines, it’s not too bad, but with other countries, communicating regularly and with enough quantity can be difficult if the time zone gets in the way. You do what you have to do.
Lack of time in person-While it is invigorating to be able to communicate with someone from another place in the world, an extreme distance apart makes it pretty much impossible to be with each other in person very often. With the Philippines, I was discouraged from getting a tourist visa so I could see her after we got married and before she immigrated, because I was told a tourist visa is not likely to be given.
While it is more practical to have a girlfriend in the same state as you, and allows you to see how she reacts in different situations, and learn from body language, you give that up with a LDR. What are you going to do? Skype is your friend and similar apps. If you are really interested in a woman from far away, you take what you can get and see each other on camera as much as you can.
At least you don’t have to take time off work to travel to see her or spend money on plane tickets to communicate. You just establish the best times to see each other on camera and away you go. If you reached the point that I did, where looking overseas HAD to become an option, then you accept the limitations and get to know them by asking questions and spending time on cam. When I joined Christian Filipina I didn’t even have a web camera and never thought I would.
So far away-This ties in to the previous one of lack of time in person. I never reached the point when I thought the Filipina that I was communicating with didn’t exist, but it can almost seem that way since you are too far away to go places together. You can’t even invite her over to meet your family and friends, not in person anyway. To other people, it can even be difficult when you talk to them about your relationship, to consider you as a couple since they never see you together and know you won’t be together much because of the distance.
For me, this wasn’t a problem because I was just so happy to have a woman I could chat with and we got married very quickly, so I was able to estimate approximately when I might be able to see her again by petitioning her for a spousal visa. It ended up being eight months after the wedding but we could have done it sooner.
I know a guy at work that saw his Filipina wife at least several times in person before she got here so he made the effort to be with her after they were married, but I wouldn’t consider it trying harder to make it work, they had already gotten married, he just wanted to see her again.
Different culture-This is an area that requires acceptance and understanding. It is what it is. If you are from different cultures that will take some adjusting to, but it isn’t like it’s hard work or physical effort.
The unknown of it all-There probably needs to be more trust in a LDR because of the things I’ve mentioned so far. You are not able to be with each other so you might wonder what they are doing that you can’t see? Are they talking to other guys? Are they really who they say they are or live where they say they live? You might wonder if you are able to know each other well enough to make a good choice for a marriage partner. Scams do happen and you hope you’re not involved in one.
You might have people telling you how it will never work, your foolish for looking for a wife overseas, reminding you of all the horror stories they have heard about, firing off stereotypes. You might be tempted to second-guess yourself. You could get cold feet as the day approaches to propose to her. You don’t want to think about going all the way there and she is nowhere to be found. It might not even be possible to know for sure how well you will interact with each other when married, since you haven’t been able to be together much.
Sometimes an age gap-This may or may not be a challenge. We are 27 years apart and have not had issues really that can be traced to our age difference. A Filipina knows what she is getting herself into with an age gap. A man shouldn’t have to work extra hard to seem likable, to win the affection of a Filipina. He would do well to just be himself. If he finds himself sweating this area, he might need to consider a woman a little bit older.
Immigration process-This part actually can be construed as hard work but it is simply part of marrying in a LDR, I am referring to one where immigration needs to take place. The paperwork can be a hassle, you might even get a delay asking for more information, but not stating what that information is! It can be frustrating. I have one last aspect to acknowledge.
Extended time before you can be together-Although it can be a little hard on the nerves, waiting out the immigration process just goes with the territory. The good thing is it keeps you hopeful as the days, weeks and months go by and before you know it, you will be together again.
I admire what couples go through with a LDR. Each couple’s story is unique. There are things to work through that I hope will only bring the two people closer together. I believe couples in a LDR really want to make it work, because they have experienced a lot to be together and it is an exciting experience. I believe they make concessions and adjust as they need to in order for the relationship to thrive.
I think they are usually realistic about what they are doing and on their best behavior more often than not. That’s not trying harder, I think it is just following through on what they know is different than they are used to, but want to do whatever it takes to be with their someone special. I don’t think people are trying hard to make something out of nothing.
Our LDR wasn’t hard work, but I would have swam across the Pacific Ocean if needed, to be with my love beyond the sea!