May 13, 2008

A long distance love affair

Dear Joe,

I am 19 and residing here in the States. I've been here for almost 10 months now. I also have a steady boyfriend back there, he's Raffie, and he's a year older than I am. He's sweet, caring, thoughtful, sensitive, smart, and a mature gentleman. Pretty much the type of guy any girl would dream of. We were school mates in college. But I had to stop my studies for awhile because I had to go here. At first, I thought I was just like going on a vacation, but it turned out I have to stay here for good, so now I'll be continuing my studies here.

That's the big problem. Joe you wouldn’t believe that Raffie and I have spent just 2 weeks of our 11 month-relationship together, because I had to leave. We trust each other so much. I love him very much. I know it's hard having a long distance relationship. Most of the time, it doesn't work. But we survive somehow.I really don't have friends here, Joe. I meet people through the internet and there was this guy I met in one of the chatrooms last June. He is Junie, 6 years my senior, and also a Filipino. It turned out that he lives near our city. So we were able to talk on the phone, continued to talk online, and send emails to each other once in awhile. Unlike the guys I had talked to online, hindi sya boring kausap, kalog sya and makulit. So, we talked on the phone for hours, we talk about almost anything under the sun. It was great having a friend like him, it was like we've known each other all our lives. Parang hindi ako na-ho-homesick when I'm talking to him. He even says "I love you" to me, even though we haven't seen each other yet. Talagang palabiro lang sya.

We finally met after four months. He was pretty cute in person. Since that day, he emailed me regularly. We still chat online or talk on the phone nd he comes over to our place every weekend. Then one night, while we were talking online, he told me that he has a crush on me. I hesitated, but I confessed that I also have a crush on him. He has a girlfriend back there in the Philippines. But, I mean, it's just infatuation, nothing bad could happen, right?

But then again, one night ,on the phone, he told me that he loves me. I know he'd been telling me that before but the way he said it was very different. And so, I badgered him with questions why he told me that. And I don't know, I guess I believed him, because I, myself, was feeling the same way, too. Actually, I didn’t want to feel that way. I though it was like a brotherly love, because I'm an only child, but then it was different. I was falling, I still am. Well, I don't blame myself . Junjie is sweet, caring, affectionate, thoughful, mature and a gentleman. Pretty much like Raffie. But I know they're different in many ways. And I don't wanna compare them.

One weekend, he came over and suddenly kissed me. The moment he our lips touched, I saw the face of Raffie. I felt guilt running through my veins. Goodness! Joe, we decided that night na kami na, even though we had different partners back there. It's been two months after that incident, and kami pa rin. Am I so bad? I mean, I already have a boyfriend, and he has a girlfriend. I know what we are doing is unfair to all concerned. But we can't really stop what we're feeling, we tried to, but we can't. Until today, I feel guilty, but still continue this forbidden relationship. No one in my family nor his friends here know about us, they know we're dedicated to our respective partners back there. So we really kept our relationship a secret.

Raffie knows about Junjie coming over here, but he knows we're just friends. Every time I think of Raffie, see his picture, or talk to him on the phone, I feel so guilty. I know I love him, but I want to be happy as well. But I also know that Raffie doesn't deserve to be treated this way. I guess, I found in Junjie a friend and a person who would take care of me while I'm here. I had talked to Raffie a few days ago, and he suddenly, out of the blue , told me that it's OK if I find a boyfriend here, as long as I told him. At least daw there will be somebody who'll take care of me. He said if we are really meant for each other, we will be together, no matter what happens .I feel so guilty, I want to tell him, but I can't. I can't afford to loose him. I mean, I care for Junjie, but not in the same way as for Raffie. He's the love of my life. But, we're in two different countries. So I don't know what to do. I want to tell him about Junjie, but I am afraid to ruin our relationship.

I am confused. I don't know if I'm just doing this because I miss Raffie a lot...or I am really falling for Junjie. But I like him, I really do. And I also care for him. I know he cares for me too. I know, Junjie and I can't really be together because we both belong to someone else. I guess, we just needed someone to hold on to while we're here. But, I am really confused, I don't know what to do.

Please help me. Thanks. More power on your show. And God bless.



Joes Notes

Dear Jermaine,

I have been in the same boat several years ago and I can truly say that it is indeed difficult to keep a relationship that is separated by spans of oceans and miles of land. Sometimes I wished that I could be transported by some magical force so that I can be where I wanted to be, next to the one I love. But reality bites back and I’d just be waking up alone and longing for that someone who I miss like crazy.

Now, we are luckier because we have affordable technology at our disposal. The internet, e-mail, voicemail and video conferencing are just some of the great marvels of science that somehow help us bridge the gap of time and space. But not even the best technology can bring us physically closer to the people we long to be with.

Raffie probably never wanted you to leave but he didn’t want to get in the way of your family’s plan for you. Unfortunately, your vacation turned out to be an indefinite stay and time and distance suddenly turned against your blossoming relationship.

It is lonely in your new world. You may have your folks around but it will always take time for you to get used to the life in the states and the people other than the ones that you grew up with.

In a distant relationship, loneliness will be our biggest enemy. In our effort to reach out, we would find a friend who would be willing to help us and make adjusting a lot easier. A friend who would fill in the gap and the emptiness we feel. A friend who we would spend more time with. Soon, our loneliness fades away and we begin to enjoy that persons’ company. This constant togetherness becomes the bridge to unexpected closeness and intimacy.

Now, you have allowed yourself to fall into the trap that most long distance couples get into. You have been unfair to Raffie but you cannot blame yourself either. We are just human and prone to making mistakes. We want to be happy but sometimes we seen not to realize that somebody else is paying for it.

Jermaine, the only way this long distance relationship would succeed is if both you and Raffie would find a way to be together again. If that is far from being practical then Raffie was just being sensible when he said you can have a boyfriend so someone can take care of you. It isn’t closure but it is probably his subtle way of saying that your lives have to go on even without each other. Believe me, it is as hard for him as it is for you to be beyond reach but that is life’s verdict. You cannot question it. You can only accept it and try to live by it.

Jermaine you have done all this because you missed Raffie but you are still continuing it because you have already fallen for Junjie. You just have to realize that you cannot have them both at the same time. Be true to yourself and be honest with Raffie. He may find it painful to accept but I’m sure he has prepared himself for the worst the day you left him. If he is really meant for you then destiny will take it’s path ,in time , and bring him back.

Your heart is speaking to you right now. Listen to what it is saying. It could be Raffie, Junjie or someone else . Just remember that it is where you will find peace, joy and happiness that your heart will find its rest. And it is where your heart rests that destiny will finally plant its seed. This is where love will finally grow and blossom to a beautiful forever.