Dear Thelma: Our long-distance relationship is tested during MCO


Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email lifestyle@thestar.com.my or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11,46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name, address and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained

The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column.

The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

Are you suffering from mental health issues or contemplating suicide? Contact the Befrienders service nearest to you. For a full list of numbers and operating hours, go to befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia.

Dear Thelma,

I feel lonely. I miss someone but I don't think he misses me. We are unstable now, since we have been in an on-off, on-off relationship since early 2020. We met online in July 2019, to be exact. So I've known him for more than a year now. We dated twice.

The truth is, it is a hardgoing relationship. At first, he was always available, always called me and we always talked; it was all sweet. Even my friends said I was glowing during that time. Everything was smooth until he finally got laid off after MCO last March.

That was when he got grumpy and avoidant. Maybe he was stressed. I felt so frustrated because I didn't get to spend more time with him. We are in a long-distance relationship. It's exhausting, really.

I don't know whether I should break it or not. If I break it, I'll be lonely. But if we resume, we'll be feeling awful. We still love each other but we are always apart. What am I supposed to do?

I'm also pursuing my PhD, which is so hard amid the pandemic. The pandemic separated me from my family and my partner, and caused my studies to be bumpier than ever. I've never been lonelier.

Jenny


Dear Jenny,

There's a pandemic raging and on top of that, you are away from home and immersed in a course of study that is nicknamed Permanent Head Damage. Under these conditions, it's no wonder you are stressed.

You don't know if you should stay with this man or not. At the start, the online dating was fun and you had two good dates. For the rest, it's been difficult. He's grumpy, he doesn't want to talk and you are exhausted.

What I see is an awful lot of pain for just two dates. Is this agony worth it, or would you be better off saying goodbye and looking for a partner who lives near you? Or, seeing you're deep in study, dating lightly and leaving Love and Romance for when you're a Dr?

I suspect that you're hanging on to this relationship although it only causes you pain, because you've had too much upheaval in your life recently. Frankly, I'd say drop this one and move on. However, you need not do this alone.

As you are at university, you will have access to free counselling. This situation is ideally suited for that. Contact the department, and have a nice, long, confidential conversation that focusses on your needs and wishes. Talk through your fears, your options, and come to a decision that works for you.

In addition, I suggest you focus on destressing as well. A PhD is intense, and the pandemic will be creating extra hurdles. Thankfully, I see schools making all kinds of accommodations.

Do your best work. However, remind yourself daily that this last year and the one to come, are wild and weird. They cannot be compared to life as normal. Be sensible and create workable goals and standards.

In addition, guard your health. That means eating properly (at least one plate heaped with veg and fruit, in addition to your proteins and starches), sleeping 7 to 8 hours at night and going for a daily 15 to 20 minute walk. Also, make regular time for activities that make you happy: drawing, dancing, praying - whatever gives you joy.

Does that look a lot? If you tell yourself you are too busy, consider how much you spend on scrolling social media and worrying about your relationship. If you could take that time and invest it in your health, you'll feel better and give your energy levels a boost.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

92% readers found this article insightful

Next In Living

Are face masks here to stay permanently?
Are your trees are strong enough to withstand storms? Here's how to find out
From Seoul to Dubai, some of the world's initiatives for cutting food waste
Sunny Side Up: No, you're unmotivated and lazy
Beekeeping makes a buzz in cocoa country
Contradictheory: A sad Covid-19 birthday (let's hope it’s the last)
Dear Thelma: An older man is enticing my 65-year-old youthful-looking wife
Curious Cook: We don’t know enough about what is in the food we eat
Katz Tales: When a neighbour has a ratty problem, the cats leap into action
Norway recreates winter wonderlands to let people enjoy skiing

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers