It is no news that the world has become a global village. Now we can chat and make skype calls across the oceans at a very low cost and very conveniently, using only a mobile phone. Gone are the days when we had to go to a cyber café to send an email using an Africa online or Hotmail email address and get charged an arm and a leg. Making a phone call was equivalent to making a small investment. Because of these and other infrastructural obstacles, communication with loved ones who were away was usually quite strained. Many a long distance relationship did not survive. Now in this Zuckerberg’s generation, difference in time and space is no longer an issue. Keeping in touch with our loved ones is as easy as uploading pictures or videos of your overfed cat singing or of yourself watching grass grow or any other such interesting shares, that then your loved ones are able to see from wherever they are and love on both your cat’s skills and yours.
Thanks to advancement in technology, meeting online and/ or dating long distance is more common. And then it gets serious and we plan to get married. Then now a new problem arises; how to deal with the distance. As much as many couples are willing to do long distance dating, very few are open to continuing with the same arrangement in matrimony. Usually one partner has to relocate. This is never easy. The thought of uprooting yourself, having to quit work and leave behind your support system and other such disturbances make for a harsh reality check. I remember myself in that position a few years back. I had worked so hard, and sacrificed a lot to get to where I was in life. It was the same scenario for my then husband-to-be, yet after critically evaluating our situation, it made more sense for me to relocate at the time.
Looking back, there are a few lessons I would like share with that couple in that space of trying to figure out how they will finally be together:
Be Open Minded
As a couple you need to weight the pros and cons of living in either city. The decision should be for the benefit of the new family and not based on selfishness or gender roles. Once it is agreed who is to relocate, the other one should be willing to support his or her partner to settle in. Remember that your partner has left everything behind for the sake of the relationship, surely you should be willing to sacrifice a few evening out with the boys or your girls for their sake.
Use your heart but don’t forget your head
I have mentioned this in past blogs, that saying goodbyes to Hun while we were dating was always so excruciating. It was tempting to make a rash decisions based on emotions. Many people have packed and left their home with no plans and without seriously evaluating their relationship, and soon when the relationship breaks down they feel cheated and trapped. For myself, a long term commitment was necessary. It was not going to be a trial and error arrangement. I work with plans, so we made a plan.
Don’t worry until you need to worry
This was a piece of wisdom that I was given by Hun’s friend. Initially when I began considering the move, I was a mess. I worried about my career, about friends and family, about food, about church, about everything. The truth is uncertainty usually magnifies stuff in our minds and the more we worry ourselves about it, the worse it seems and consequently, the more we worry. An unhelpful joy-stealing vicious cycle.
Make a trip prior
With time and finances allowing, make at least one trip and get acquainted with your new home to be. It really helped that by the time I was moving, I had a general idea of the city and the ways of the people of Uganda. As a bonus, I had even made some friends. Some of them were locals and some were expatriates from Nairobi.
Talk about it
Talk about the move with your significant other, ask questions about what is on your mind and seek clarifications of what you are not sure about. Talking over and over about the relocation dispels many fears that you may have. It also helps a couple clarify expectations of each other instead of working with assumptions.
Look on the bright Side
Usually there are things you will be looking forward to in your new city. One of the things I was looking forward to in Kampala was the great weather, not having to endure the cold June-Julys in Nairobi. There are always things or a thing that you can look forward to, and the big one of course is usually being together with your significant other.
Finally, once you move, keep the right attitude and acquire a learning mind. Try out new experiences and ways of doing things as you also giggle at the few ridiculous quirks encounter. Living outside my home country will remain to be one of the richest experiences in my life. I am so glad I went.
PS: This Article was originally posted on Arusi Guru Blog Page