Can long-distance relationships work? Corona forces this question on many couples separated in the pandemic. But it’s nothing new for Cheryl and Cyril. They’ve seen each other once a year since 2018 and this year’s visit is canceled.
If you’re wondering how to connect with others in a long-distance relationship, Instagram is a great way to go. There are so many profiles with advice and relatable experiences. I met several of our contributors there and have maintained friendships and meaningful contact with Valerie and Amanda, among others, because of it. I also met Cheryl there after I followed the profile she shares with Cyril.
I was interested in publishing Cheryl’s story because she lives in Singapore and Cyril is from France. They met online in 2018 and have been visiting each other in person about once a year, so their story reveals determination, patience, and persistence. They’re definitely an example of a long-distance relationship success story.
Meeting in Person for the First Time
“We met through a language exchange application. We were helping each other practice and continued studying together for 10 weeks after Cyril took his English test. After the 10 weeks, we continued talking. As time passed, we became good friends and slowly best friends. Finally, here we are.
We met in real life about a year later in 2018. It was our favorite experience and best memory.
It was at the Singapore airport. I arrived there 3 or 4 hours early because I was so excited. I thought, ‘In the off chance that the plane lands earlier, at least I will be there.’ I was really nervous and kept tearing up and getting emotional.
As for Cyril, it was his first time out of Europe taking a long flight like that. So it was pretty funny when he told me that he needed to get his passport. I freaked out and was like, ‘Do you not have a passport?’ At that time, I forgot that he didn’t need a passport to travel within Europe. He was just excited for his first time leaving Europe and taking a long haul flight! Of course, meeting me was a plus too.
I was so touched that he would come all the way to Singapore for me. When he arrived, my eyes were all dried up and I didn’t cry. When we first saw each other it was pretty funny because I couldn’t see him very well. I was squinting and my friend beside me had to point him out!
When I finally recognized him, I was so happy. He walked calmly towards me, I went to him, and we hugged. I never felt so happy, with such a sense of relief that he was finally there.
The experience was so great for both of us because it was the moment we realized that what we have is special. And we knew we wouldn’t give up what we had together.”
Cheryl and Cyril were planning to meet up again this year in 2020, but because of Corona, that’s probably not going to happen. Now, they’re both in their respective countries waiting out the quarantine.
What Life in Singapore is Like for Cheryl
I asked Cheryl about what life is like in Singapore and she gave me a great overall description.
“I would say that the laws are really strict here compared to most countries. That means it is quite safe. I could be out and about at night at 2 am, and wouldn’t be scared. It is really safe at night, as long as you are not out drinking or walking in dark alleys.
Some people feel that the laws are too strict. In a way, maybe they are. But it is what makes Singapore safe. For example, when Cyril was in Singapore, he told me that he felt really safe here, compared to other countries. Although he usually keeps his guard up when it comes to losing his valuables, in Singapore, he doesn’t have to worry about it.
The majority of us who live here are Chinese. But there is a mix of Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. Of course, there are cases of stereotypes. But generally, it is not as bad as some other countries, where people actually call you out and commit crimes toward others for being a certain race or skin color.
In school, kids do make fun of other races, but as they grow older, that slowly goes away. Most of the time, there isn’t any kind of discrimination. People will not look at you differently. You wouldn’t really have to be worried about being treated differently.
I feel like most Singaporeans don’t really have a ‘dream,’ but rather a goal to study hard, get a good job, and earn a lot of money. Which is kind of sad. Even if you try not to be competitive, you can still feel the stress. There are many exchange students in the universities here, When we asked them about the education and lifestyle, they said it can be stressful, that people are working hard and not chilling.
I would hope to raise my children in an environment where learning is an experience, and we can spend time together as a family.”
How They Make Their Long-Distance Relationship Work
“Being long-distance for most of our relationship, we were pretty much used to the distance. When we are free we call each other; otherwise, we text.
One new challenge that has arisen during this time is uncertainty. Since neither one of us is in the position to move for a long period of time, traveling isn’t an option in the new Corona era. If I can make it to France, I’ll have to quarantine for 14 days first, then all my visiting time will be over. It’s the same for Cyril, too.
We just have to ride through the uncertainty and observe this new normal. While waiting during this unstable time, we try to be more thoughtful of each other’s needs and feelings.”
Cheryl and Cyril’s Advice for Couples During Corona
“If you are separated indefinitely from your partner because of COVID-19, don’t lose hope. There are many, many people in a similar situation. If you know that what you have is special, don’t let go of it. Meanwhile, keep holding on to the hope that you will see each other again. Appreciate each other a little more. Be a little more patient. Give small gifts like letters or flowers to remind your partner that you are still there for him/her.”
Answering the Question, ‘Can Long Distance Relationships Work?’
While we all know deep down that’s a question we have to answer for ourselves, it can help to read other real-life experiences of couples in the same situation. Cheryl and Cyril are apart, not just because of the pandemic, but because it’s not feasible for them to close the distance yet. But they’ve decided their relationship is something valuable and they’re going to endure the long distance as long as they have to.
Suzy and Kaz had also dealt with a long-distance relationship for 3 years, and then finally moved in together. Now that Corona hit, they’ve been separated again and are back to square one. We hope reading these stories will give you some examples of those who have made long-distance relationships work and give you inspiration and clarity in your own journey.