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MANILA, Philippines – A special Valentine’s Rappler Hangout, #LoveFromAfar, on #BalikBayan, tackles a subject close to many – long distance relationships.
Rappler talks to two couples living continents apart but whose relationships thrive despite the distance.
Ryan Macasero reports.
This is Lara, a classical opera singer and songwriter from the University of the Philippines.
Her partner, Gian Gonzales, plays the cello.
He is a music scholar at the University of Tennessee in the United States.
Music brought them together – and at the same time – moved them apart.
GIAN GONZALES, MUSICIAN: I was talking to my friend and I was planning to send her flowers every new moon for the whole two years I was here – and the time we were a couple. I was happy when we became a couple because I really love her.
Leaving loved ones behind is a harsh necessity in the Philippines when one goes to work or school abroad.
Most respond to long distance relationships – or LDRs – with skepticism.
A study done by Queen’s University and the University of Utah says, “…being in an [LDR] does not guarantee negative relationship outcomes.”
There’s little difference in well-being between couples who live close together or far apart.
And there are couples who make LDRs work.
GIAN: One of our friends was really scared because she wanted us to be together. She was scared that ‘what if something goes wrong. She wanted to me make a move when I got back.
Lara admits she hesitated when she got together with Gian knowing he was going abroad to study.
But she says it just felt right.
LARA MAIGUE, OPERA SINGER: You know, we just had to. We felt it was right. With all these apps now – available – free – online. We just knew that we could make this work.
Michelle Dumbrique’s partner, Paul Rojas, lives in Southern California.
She has been in a long distance relationship before and says communication is key.
MICHELLE DUMBRIQUE, BANK EXECUTIVE: I guess its more about honest communication. You just really have to get rid of that filter, inhibitions, and really tell that person – show them how much you appreciate them, because oftentimes when you’re in a long distance relationships it is really easy to neglect when you get busy with your day to day stuff.
Long distance relationships take time, constant communication and leaves no room for excuses.
In the end — its not the distance — but the strength of the love, that matters.
Ryan Macasero. Rappler, Manila.
Watch the full #LoveFromAfar hangout.