After 3 years of surviving long distance love, Sue and Hari are back at it again. What should have been a couple weeks in Malaysia has turned into months.
When I asked for a photo to illustrate, Sue hesitated. She explained that they are an LGBT couple from conservative South Asian countries, that they weren’t comfortable sending their photo for security reasons. Instead, they described their general appearances and let me guess the rest.
I’m honored by their bravery in sharing their story with us and inspired by their attitudes. Sue wrote, “We’re just happy to be sharing our story and reading others’.”
Here’s how it all began.
“In 2015, she saw me in the university library during my final semester in Perth. I didn’t see or talk to her because I was busy with final semester assignments. She didn’t talk to me either. Not long after that, I finished university and flew back to Malaysia.
But that wasn’t the end. She found me again on OkCupid a year later, and this time made sure she said hi. Little did I know that the love of my life just walked in.
I would be flying back to Perth for my graduation ceremony in a few months so we made plans to meet up for dinner. But when I arrived, I really couldn’t wait to meet her. I drove to see her in the middle of the night, the first day I landed. We hung out every day for the four days I was in Perth.
On the last day, we kissed. I knew then that I only wanted to be with her for the rest of my life.”
Starting a Long-Distance Relationship: Challenges and Excitement
“We’ve been doing long distance and flying back and forth to be with each other ever since. I love her family and she loves mine, and we’re so eager to create a family of our own someday.
When it all started, I was nervous about the distance. I was working and she was studying. It’s hard to support each other from a distance. And there are so many stories about long-distance not working out.
But I could only think about what it was like being in her arms, kissing her. I felt at home. She had my heart. We made plans for our next trip to meet each other. Ever since 2016, we flew to see each other every 4-5 months. We’ve been inseparable.
In February 2019, we got married. It was a small registration ceremony in Perth.”
How They Closed the Distance After 3 Years
“So then we needed a plan. We would move in together after she graduated from University. When she finished in December 2019, I left my job in Malaysia and flew to Perth. Her new job was in Sydney, so I helped her pack and we flew together to our new place.
That was our first home together after years of living in different parts of the world! We had fun finding furniture, getting plants, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and just living a happy life together. We were so happy to finally live under the same roof, after years of dreaming of this.
Sydney was a massive change in terms of pace and culture. But I was glad that I could be a part of the move with Hari. When I quit my job in Malaysia, I came to Australia on a 3-month travel visa. So I legally couldn’t work at all. I was planning to start once I received my visa, but I had to fly back to Malaysia for a couple weeks. I planned to start the visa application once I returned to Australia.
But then Coronavirus happened. So the story of our new life together has been put on hold, after years of planning.”
Sue and Hari’s Long-Distance Marriage in COVID-19
“Now I’m stuck in Malaysia. We’re back to surviving long distance love, and I have been feeling down and depressed. I can’t contribute to our household back in Perth. It’s a horrible feeling.
I have no choice but to start looking for part-time jobs in Malaysia while the government decides what happens to those separated from their loved ones. My life is on pause without knowing what will happen to us.
We’ve done long distance for so many years that we’re almost numb to the pain of it. But after you start living with your partner, you realize the difference it makes to live life with the person you love: sleeping and waking up next to them, creating a life together.
It’s hard to go back to square one of a long-distance love again, after finally being able to live together. For both of us, it feels like we’re missing a part of ourselves.
I struggle with not knowing when I am going to see her next. I love her so much and am trying my best not to constantly break down.
Forums and Facebook groups are my go-to places to read about any visa updates or travel situations.
When Hari has a bad day at work, I can only watch from afar. Nothing beats giving your partner a warm hug, a hot meal, and a safe pair of arms to hold after a draining day at work.”
Surviving Long-Distance Love and Dealing With its Hardships
It’s okay if you don’t have a solution for managing the hardships. Some days you’re not able to think of long-distance date ideas or clever ways to connect. It’s all you can do to keep it together.
During the uncertainty of time apart from your loved one, anxiety levels can skyrocket if you don’t learn how to deal with long-distance relationship anxiety.
That’s why we have our community. Read experience and advice from other long-distance couples who share what works to keep them feeling positive and connected.
We’re in contact with relationship coaches and therapists who can work with you if you need extra help during the Coronavirus. Just send us a message and we’ll set you up.