Ghanaians love to travel abroad. From Papua New Guinea to Iceland one can find Ghanaians.
Wherever we go, love travels with us.
There are therefore many Ghanaians whose lovers are in 'Aburokyire' (abroad).
However, they are not alone. Studies indicate that there are over 10 million couples in this type of international long distance relationships.
Why long distance relationship?
Many go to seek greener pastures. Some go for studies or skill improvement.
Some are on national or business assignments. In most cases due to financial, immigration and - domestic difficulties many leave their lovers behind. There are also those in arranged relationships in which the lovers have never met but are planning a future together.
Advantages of long distance relationship
Marriage experts believe it is healthy for couples to be alone for short times to enable them to look into themselves and feel complete as unique individuals without being totally physically and emotionally dependent on each other. Some time away from each other will enable you to show your love in many other ways apart from physical contact.
It also makes you appreciate the benefits you enjoy with proximity and the many things you do for each other as you share in activities but which you take for granted. In many instances the quality of relationships increases when lovers get together again.
Disadvantages of long distance relationship
Nothing challenges a relationship more than a long distance between lovers. A lover is thousands of miles away. You don't know what s/he is doing or the people s/he is staying or moving with. The tendency to lose faith in the relationship is high especially if you keep thinking about similar relationships that have failed.
Many lovers in Ghana are left stranded with uncertain future. If children are involved single parenting becomes a big problem.
Long distance relationships breed loneliness but when lovers socialise to reduce their isolation, friends and relatives sometimes send messages of unfaithfulness to their partners abroad. If lovers are apart, because they don't see each other physically any small difficulty gets exaggerated.
Long distance relationship therefore requires a special willingness and understanding that test love like no other relationship does. Commitment out of sight can be tempting.
Handling long distance relationships
All relationships are like flowers. They need to be nourished constantly to bring joy and fulfillment. You have to use words, the most effective tool you have. You need to communicate constantly.
Write letters. Send taped messages, CD and indigenous gifts from home. Do all to learn more about each other and bridge the distance between you by sharing lots of ideas. Be honest and realistic. Be yourself but appreciate the difficulties and the possibility that, like any other relationship, you may fail.
Sometimes a lover may no longer be interested in a relationship but may just drift along. S/He calls less often and his answers are short and lack romance. S/He may even reduce or cut his/her remittances. S/He starts finding excuses and may criticise or accuse you unjustifiably. You call and someone of the opposite sex picks your call or you hear the cry of a baby in the background. If you see the relationship going apart say it and demand honest answers.
Do long distance relationships work?
It is uncertain if a long distance relationship is worse than one in which the couple live together. Research shows that long distance relationships have no greater risks of breaking apart than other relationships.
Are you in long distance relationship?
Long distance relationships are not easy but neither are other forms of relationship.
True love goes beyond distance. Mutual respect, commitment and unconditional love will make long distance disappear. Don't focus on your loneliness. Be strong and keep busy.