Monica’s note: My friend Linda, from Linda Living in China, and I met through our blogs and we have a lot in common! Both of us are living in Asia and dating Korean men who live in South Korea. We have really similar views on Long Distance Relationships (LDR), so she agreed to write about her experience and advice.
LDR between China and South Korea
I have had two long-distance relationships. One that failed, and one that has been blossoming into something beautiful. Many people can’t understand why someone would deal with the hassle of this kind of relationship. Being apart for a long time can’t work, they say. I say, it can work and my relationship is proof of that. My Korean boyfriend Jeongsu and I met in college in San Diego, California. We dated for about 6 months when we both graduated and returned home. He still had to finish a semester in Korea and I started my first job in China. We just recently celebrated our 1st year anniversary.
The Time Difference and Having a Routine
Sure, a long-distance relationship is not easy. It requires a lot of effort on both sides. I have been very lucky to only have a 1-hour time difference since Jeongsu lives in Korea and I live in China. I think that plays a great role. We developed a daily routine that has become a part of each other’s lives. He wakes me up in the morning before he goes to work, we talk during our lunch time, and we get off work almost at the same time so that we can have certain evening rituals such as watching Walking Dead together via Skype.
However, I must say that a greater time difference can also work if both partners are committed. In my last relationship with a Chinese, who I met during my internship in Guangzhou in 2012, we were on two different sides of the world and we also got used to it and had a daily routine. Even though this relationship failed in the end, it had nothing to do with the time difference, but with personality clashes and different goals in life.
Talking About the Future
It was absolutely necessary for me and Jeongsu to talk about our future before and early in the LDR. We both knew what the other wants in the future and that was to be together. Dating someone who lives far away requires talking about serious issues and future plans very early on. I needed to know if he felt the same way so that I can put all my effort into it and it will be worth it. The same goes for him. Nothing could be worse than thinking you and your partner will get married and live together forever when his or her plans might be totally different from what you want, but you realize it too late.
Commitment is Everything
I would also add “trust” here. Commitment and trust are the two most important things in any relationship but more so in a LDR. It takes a lot of work to be at a point where you don’t worry about potentially losing your partner to somebody else. In the beginning, I was probably very jealous and afraid, other girls might be trying to get to Jeongsu or even the other way around. I would ask him to send me photos when he was out so that I could see who he hung out with. It made me feel much better. The more commitment each partner shows, the more trust you gain.
We enjoy talking to each other on a daily basis and are committed to keep to our daily routine. This is why our relationship works. We tell each other everything that happened during our day, we watch our favorite TV show together and are part of each other’s life. Even if it is only virtually, we try to be there for each other as much as we can.
This is how my LDR turned into a stable relationship. Overcoming the time difference is only a small deal. The key is trust and especially commitment. After three months of being in a LDR, we met again when I visited Jeongsu in Korea. Having these milestones is a great way to make a long-distance relationship easier. I met his family and even stayed with them for a few days. Also having met his friends gives me more security when we are apart again because I know the people he hangs out with and don’t have to worry about anything.
I think a good LDR relationship can turn into a stable and promising relationship even faster than if you were dating in the same place because you put much more effort into the relationship and you can see if your partner does the same. If you or your partner is not committed, the relationship will fail.
Don’t be afraid of dating someone long-distance. It makes it much easier to discover if he/she is the right person for you. If you talk openly about what you want, your future plans and you are committed and trust each other, the relationship will blossom and reach stability. Don’t let anybody else speak for your feelings or tell you how you should handle things. Listen to your heart (and maybe your mind), even if people close to you think your relationship will fail and has no future.
About the blogger: Linda is a German/American girl who studied Mandarin Chinese and moved to China. During college in California, she fell in love with a Korean who she is now dating long-distance. On her blog Linda Living in China she writes about life in China/Korea, language learning, travel in Asia and her AMWF relationship with her Korean boyfriend Jeongsu.