Have you ever felt guilty of doing certain things while you’re in a long distance relationship?
Did you ever feel ashamed about hiding things from them, or doing something even if you have their blessing?
If yes, you’re not alone. I felt the same way, too.
When I was in a long distance relationship, I felt a greater sense of responsibility. I felt that I had to put in more effort to keep the relationship going, since we didn’t have the luxury of being together physically.
At the same time, there were a handful of things I felt ashamed and guilty of doing. I felt that I was investing less time in the relationship by spending less time with C, or by not being “strong” enough for her.
Looking back I now realize that I didn’t need to feel that way at all. If anything, it had the opposite effect that I wanted and affecting the relationship in a negative way.
In this post, I’ll talk about things that I personally should’ve been okay with doing more often. Being in a long distance relationship is stressful enough, and I was being way too hard on myself!
1. I Cried, Often
Even as a guy in 2020, there’s still a social stigma around us having a cry.
In some cultural circles, men aren’t meant to be emotional or reactive. We have to keep calm, keep our cool, and shoulder through the hard times without flinching.
But long distance relationships are brutal. When you’re back home after visiting them for two weeks…it’s hard not to feel hopeless and overwhelmed, and eventually break down.
I felt ashamed of crying. I felt responsible for thinking of ways to push forward and close the distance.
But there was a lot to deal with. The loneliness was crushing. Not knowing how to handle our relationship’s future caused a lot of anxiety for me.
At times, my emotions simply got the better of me, and I’d cry.
It wasn’t just the loneliness of being without her—it was the isolation. At the time I didn’t have a good support network around me, and I felt very alone. I didn’t have anyone around me that understood the reasons why I was in a long distance relationship in the first place.
I rarely shared with C that I cried, because I didn’t want to put that pressure on her. Perhaps I also didn’t want to seem less “manly” for doing that. But looking back, I felt that she would’ve understood, and confided that she had done the same.
Crying is a natural response, and I shouldn’t have felt ashamed for doing so. That isn’t to say that at every inconvenience I’d flop down and burst into tears…but being in an LDR taught me that no one can be strong forever.
2. I Wanted More Time With My Friends
Before I met C, I had a very tight knit circle of friends that I knew since high school. They were like brothers, and I loved spending time with them.
When I started my LDR and returned home, they all expected that I was the same person I was before I left. However, they also didn’t realize that I had to juggle time differences and schedules.
I’d still make time with them, and C was totally supportive of me going out and hanging with my mates. But man, I felt so damned guilty about it!
I felt bad about not keeping to the schedule that C and I had over the months and years. We’d been following that routine for so long that falling out of step with it felt like a mild shock to the system.
We’d never make each other feel guilty for spending time with friends and family. We’d always encourage the other to have fun away from a phone screen, go to parties and dinners, and maintain our social lives. But every time we went out, we’d feel that sense of something missing. For me, it triggered feelings of guilt, wondering if I should’ve just called her and hung out with her instead.
Looking back now, it seemed ridiculous that I felt that way. After all, both of us needed to have our own lives apart from each other, no matter how much we both missed each other.
3. I Wanted More Time For Myself
I’m not going to lie—there were times when I felt obligated to continuously keep in touch.
I thought, “Of course I want to keep in touch. If I stopped, then that means I don’t care anymore. And I do care, because I love her. So even if I want to have some time to myself, I should just call her instead to prove that our relationship is still really strong.”
Long distance or not, that kind of mindset wasn’t healthy.
Feeling guilty for wanting some time to myself wasn’t good for me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but our relationship was strong enough to withstand a few nights apart here and there.
What was also unhealthy was keeping those thoughts to myself instead of letting her know what I felt. It was tempting to make up excuses so that I had some alone time and not hurt her feelings too.
Towards the end of the LDR, I felt more comfortable in telling her why I wanted a bit of time alone. It didn’t happen often, but when I needed that time, she was understanding and respectful of that choice. Nothing to be worried about.
4. I Kept Running Out Of Things To Do
When you’re in a relationship for a long time, you’re bound to run out of things to do. When you’re in a long distance relationship, it’s even worse!
There are only so many TV shows and movies you can watch, and only so many things you can talk about.
If you both also have different interests, that means even fewer things you can do on your calls together.
Over time, I did feel guilty about not thinking up enough date ideas, and was worried that over time we’d lose our spark.
But eventually we found a rhythm where the most important thing was simply spending time with each other and hanging out.
Sometimes we’d do our own thing independently while being on the call with each other. Maybe she’d be resting, and I’d be working on a writing project. Or, I’d be on a video game while she was catching up on social media.
When we felt like reaching out to each other, we’d just say something and the other person would be there.
At first, it felt weird just being there on the call and not really doing anything together. After a while, though, I realized that those quiet moments were where I felt closest to her.
5. I Couldn’t Visit Her Enough
The pains of a long distance relationship can be dulled with regular visits. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with us.
We lived in two different countries, separated by the Pacific Ocean and a 20 hour flight time.
Of course, we tried to see each other as often as we could. Thankfully, I was able to afford airfare for us to travel back and forth for visits.
However, return flights were expensive, and I was only able to travel a few times each year.
Sometimes work commitments would also prevent me from travelling, or being on work probation whenever I started a new role.
Not being able to see each other left a sour taste in my mouth, and I felt guilty of not being able to see her as much as I wanted to.
When I look back on it now, I realize that I did all I could do. Being apart for so long and not being able to see each other was simply part of being a long distance couple.
The flights were also not cheap, and I learned that we did well to see each other as often as we did.
6. I Had Second Thoughts About The Whole Things
You already know this: an LDR is hard.
Being apart from your partner and interacting with them only through a tiny screen is torturous.
The one thing that really got to me? Not being able to look directly into my SO’s eyes. It was maddening!
And, of course, hanging out with people who have “real-life” relationships was painful, too.
Throughout the relationship, I was always deeply in love with C. But there were times when I’d be lying in the dark, pondering what we were going to do and how we were going to get back together.
And, at the time, I was ashamed to feel doubts about the relationship creep into my mind.
However, having these kinds of thoughts is normal. It’s your brain’s way of protecting itself by anticipating a stressful situation, or by preparing itself based on experience.
I found it really important to turn those doubts and that energy into something constructive. It would usually galvanize me into doing more research into my immigration visa, or it would encourage me to open up to C and share my fears with her.
Whenever I did open up to C, most of our conversations would focus on how much the situation sucks. We’d reassure ourselves that what we were doing was worth it for both of us.