Long-distance relationships can be tough and tricky to navigate. There’s a lot that goes into making a long-distance relationship work such as trust, consistent communication, spontaneity and the willingness to make sacrifices.
We spoke with a few Nigerians in long-distance relationships about the ups and downs of having their partners live far away from them. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Angela, 27
I don’t have a problem with long-distance relationships; I actually prefer it. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and we’ve only met twice. Long-distance works for me because I’m not much of a physical person. Physical touch isn’t one of my major love languages, and being apart helps us avoid fornication. This doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I wish we were together physically.
There are days when I crave physical touch and wish we’d just cuddle and binge-watch ‘The Office’. It’s our favourite show and I don’t like watching it without him. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t looking at his face through a screen and sometimes I wish he could play with my hair till I fall asleep.
But the most important thing is, we’re deliberate about the things we do and we find ways to make it work. He also comes to over to Nigeria to visit, but because of the nature of his job, not having him around is something I’d have to get used to.
2. Bayo, 24
My major problem with my long-distance relationship is that there’s always a problem with communication. Even with video calls, words and emotions get lost in translation. I also almost never know how my partner is truly feeling. She can say “Oh, I’m okay”, and really not be okay and that can cause a lot of miscommunication and tension. For me, it’s better to be together with the one you love, to hug and to kiss them every day. I can’t wait for this to end.
3. Emily, 26
I’d never been a fan of long-distance relationships before I got into this one because I’d never found someone who I was willing to try it with. In my current relationship, being apart has brought us closer than I could imagine because we’re being very intentional about communicating very often.
There are times when I think, “What manner of punishment is this?” because everyone has physical needs, but in the end, being in a long-distance relationship pays if you’re doing it with someone who fully understands you and your needs and my boyfriend does.
4. Debbie, 28
I like the fact that being in a long-distance relationship makes us put in the work to make our relationship work. We’re constantly exchanging pictures, videos and voice notes, and talking about how our days went. It’s cute. There’s also the thing where not seeing each other makes you value each other better and enjoy each other’s company better. But those are the only good parts about being in a long distance relationship.
I’m a young woman with physical needs, you know. Who will satisfy them? And me, I cannot cheat, so I have to wait to see my man before I get any action. It could be months. It gets really lonely and it gets really boring. And when we stay apart for too long our communication starts getting strained and sore. I absolutely hate being away from my man.
5. Victor, 31
I hear many people say their biggest fear in long-distance relationships is not knowing what the other person is doing at the other end but that’s not it for me. My biggest fear is that we’ll grow apart. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a possibility that they’ll cheat, but if you’re in a relationship with someone you fully trust and you’re holding being faithful on your own end and doing your part, then there’s nothing you can do to stop them from cheating. And even they do, you break it up, move on, and don’t let it affect your future relationships. You can’t let something like that hold you down forever.
Then there’s the constant worry about your partner because you’re always having to think “Are they doing alright?”, “Are they lonely”, etc.
Two things make long-distance relationships work; a clear timeline, like “When will this end”, and constant and clear communication. I’m in a totally different timezone from my partner so we have to schedule calls and sort of book timeslots to talk to one another. It makes things more organised.
But it’s super important to realize when it’s over. Distance kills a lot of relationships and you should know when yours is done as well so you can move on and heal quickly.
Note: Names of respondents have been changed for anonymity.