Ghanaians love to move around the globe. From Dubai, China, Papua New Guinea to Iceland you will find Ghanaians doing different things.
Some go for greener pastures, some for studies and some for business and others for national assignment.
Many Ghanaians, due to financial, domestic and immigration difficulties, have to leave their lovers at home. There are also those in arranged marriages who are in relationships with people they have never met.
Wherever we go, love goes with us. There are, therefore, many Ghanaians who are in long distance relationships. We are not alone. Global studies show that there are about 15 million people in long distance relationships.
The good of long distance relationships
Time away from your lover gives you the space to grow your individuality. You plan your own time. You feel complete as a unique individual without being totally dependent physically and emotionally on your lover. You have the chance to show your love in special ways other than being in physical contact
Time away makes you appreciate things your lover does for you but which you take for granted. In many cases when lovers are away for a long time and they get back, the quality of relationship gets better.
The bad of long distance relationships
Long distance relationship is difficult. Your lover is far away from you. You do not see each other and do not know what your lover does or those he or she associates with.
You tend to lose faith in the relationship, especially if you think of many Ghanaian women who have been married traditionally but have been left stranded by their lovers abroad. It is harder for women because they fear a vacuum in relationships.
Today, the Internet is fraught with fake relationships. A young man poses as a young woman. He sends fake photos and pretends to be in love when his real intention is to dupe unsuspecting prospective lovers.
Long distance relationship has loneliness. You miss doing what you love doing with your lover. Unfortunately if you try to reduce the isolation by socialising with friends, relatives and friends send framed and exaggerated stories to your lover abroad to convince him or her that you are unfaithful.
And because your lover is away from you, chances are that he or she may believe what he or she hears.
Long distance relationships, therefore, require special willingness and understanding. Commitment out of sight is very difficult.
Any future in long distance relationship?
Studies show that when a long distance relationship fails, while a man blames it on difficulties outside the relationship, a woman blames it on difficulties inside the relationship.
The good news, however, is that studies show long distance relationships do not have greater risk of breaking up than other relationships. This means your long distance relationship will work if you work on it.
The most important thing is to keep the feeling of togetherness. Communicate freely and regularly. Share ideas and keep your lover up to date about anything that happens to you. Make every moment count.
Trust each other but like any other relationship, long distance relationship may fail. Sometimes your lover may no longer be interested because he or she is unable to face the challenge he or she faces.
Most of the time when a man leaves a relationship, it has nothing to do with the woman but everything to do with him because he is not meeting his expectations and, therefore, losing his ego.
He starts giving excuses and may accuse you unjustifiably. If you see any warning signs, talk about them and work at them. If you cannot accept what you see, do not waste your time. Leave it.
Long distance relationships are not easy but so are other forms of relationships. This means true love goes beyond distance. It is mutual respect, effective communication, commitment, honesty and a forgiving spirit that make relationships work.
If you put your best into your long distance relationship, you will get the best out of it.
By John Boakye / The Mirror / Ghana
The writer is the Director of Eudoo Counselling Centre, West Legon. He is also the author of 'Your Guide to Marriage' and 'Love Unlimited'