When I tell people that Ruchi (my wife) and I had a long-distance relationship for 2 years when I was studying in the US, an obvious question is “How did you two manage?”
And the answer – as crazy as it may sound, is in part – “because we spoke only once a week”.
You see, I think a big reason why relationships are hard and have become harder, is because the two individuals are perpetually in each other’s face!
Today’s technology allows for that.
WhatsApp, video calling, social media, location tracking – it seems wonderful, isn’t it?
Until it isn’t.
Before becoming a partner to someone else, we need to become a friend to ourselves.
And that means, distance.
It helps us process what we go through and what we went through.
When I was in the US in 2002, none of this technology existed.
Calling was expensive.
I could only afford a 30 minute call once a week.
So that was what it was.
Every Thursday, I would call Ruchi on her landline.
And we would talk for 30 minutes, through a calling card.
Which meant there was no “speak to me for 5 minutes more”.
In 30 minutes, the call would disconnect.
So we were focused.
We cherished those 30 minutes.
It was all we had.
So we didn’t engage in random chatter.
That was the time we caught up on each other’s lives.
And it was the time when we had to be careful of what we chose to share.
Because time was precious.
It was our currency.
Our next opportunity would come after a week!
Imagine if that was the case today.
Imagine if all you got was 30 minutes with your partner every week.
How differently would you act?
Would you still engage in that useless fight? Pick up that unnecessary argument? Lose your patience over that random person you felt threatened by?
Or would you do everything to make the other person feel loved? And cared for? And heard?
Just because you can speak to your partner every second, do not.
Just because you can connect with them on demand, do not.
Give yourself the space to long for them.
For them to long for you.
Do not misuse the privilege you have.
Do not waste a relationship because technology made it easier to start one.
Relationships still need to be built.