Long distance love : a survivor’s guide

I was 20 when I first came to Lao PDR. It was April and the country was actively preparing itself for the Buddhist New Year celebrations (Pi Mai Lao). If this colorful and wet event was surely a bonus in my travel plan, it wasn’t what convinced me to book my ticket to fly through half the planet. I had met few weeks earlier a cute Lao guy on some gay website. After chatting our fingers off on MSN, I had decided to move things a step further and meet him in real life. Love at first sight, few days of walking on clouds and I couldn’t be happier. But this was only a vacation and I eventually had to go back to my boring european routine. We were back to square one. Actually, we weren’t exactly at the same point. Our little situation was even worse than before. I had kissed his lips. I had felt his skin on my fingers. Marcel Proust cherished the odors of freshly baked madeleines as his dearest memory. My madeleine was my lover’s smell. With thousands of kilometers separating each other, the lack of him became excruciating and the only window opened to his world was my cold computer screen. How frustrating! Phone calls helped for a while, cam sex did too but we needed more. After few difficult months, I’ve managed to move to Lao PDR. If our story came to an end, having to deal with a distance relationship happened to me again once, twice … From a boyfriend living in Chiang Mai to another one spending most of his time working in Pattaya, I had my share of that schizophrenic lifestyle . One day, I’d be jumping in his arms and have passionate I-missed-you-so-bad sex but the next we would have endless I-miss-you-so-much conversations over the phone. Sadly, it always failed the test of time and left my heart in pieces.

couple_aéroport (© Eric Audras/Onoky/Corbis)

I’m convinced that long distance relationship trauma is the new disease of the 21th century and of course we can all blame it on Internet. Thanks to Fridae, Gayromeo, Gay.com or Manhunt, we now meet people living in other cities or even countries; we surely find them exotic, intriguing and much more appealing than the ones who live around the corner, so we end up dating internationally. Relationships move as fast as the speed of your wireless connection. You hop on a plane, meet up for a date, chemistry is there, you go back home and you already are in a committed relationship. Several of my close friends are now dealing with that situation, with more or less result. If their journeys are different, their hopes are identical. They all deeply believe in their love for one another and feel that a few hundreds or thousands kilometers won’t stop them from being together. Realistically speaking though, geographical distance is often followed by a sentimental gap, growing bigger and bigger between each partner, as time passes by.  So don’t waste a second, no spontaneity is allowed if you want to survive a long distance relationship. You’ve got to be prepared, organized and able to plan ahead of time your love reunions. It will give you a sense of stability and ground your relationship.

If getaways can’t occur as often as you would like them to, be prepared to make concessions. I don’t know if it’s testosterone’s fault or simply the central place given to sex in the homosexual universe, but asking if two men together and living apart, stay faithful to each other sounds nowadays like a bad joke. The concept of open relationship has taken over the gay world as rapidly as sissy boys shake their asses on Lady Gaga’s beats. Monogamy became tacky. In Thailand, “gigs” gravitate around your loved one. You close one eye and have fuck dates with other guys. You’ve just got to convince yourself that cheating doesn’t mean anything and that your feelings for one another aren’t fading away. Is it a skip and a go from a break up? It doesn’t have to. Just set your own rules and make sure you take every decision as a couple and not as two single people sharing a special bound.
To ensure that your love is distance-proof, there is actually only one requirement: don’t let that uneasy situation poison the core of your relationship. Don’t let distance be its central component. It should be about you and him, not about the absence of “us”. Keep in mind that being apart is not a death sentence hanging over your love story, it’s just an obstacle.

outinthailandAs published in Out in Thailand (march 2011)

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