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Obianuju Ndaguba: 5 Things I Have Learned From My Long Distance Relationship



dreamstime_s_37945321I recently started a long-distance relationship. Although, we have been together over a year, I am overwhelmed at how much goes into long-distance relationships and relationships in general. Do not get me wrong, it’s not like we didn’t know or ‘I’ believed it could be easy, but it’s one thing to be aware of something and another to experience it firsthand.
Still, there are lessons I have learnt and would keep learning and even though we hear the same rules over and over again. It would make sense to tell you things that I think we know but still fall short of.

Let me also say at this point, that my partner and I began this ‘distance thing’ three months ago. While many might argue that I should wait a little longer before sharing my experience, others (me inclusive) believe that you can learn a lot in such a period of time. You will fail most times, but the process really isn’t dependent on how long you guys have been together but the quality of time.

Without further delay, I have highlighted 5 lessons I have learnt from being in a long distance relationship.

Out of Sight is Not Necessarily Out of Mind
The mind is a very powerful tool for remembrance, even though we can decided or drill our mind to accept and/or reject some memories whether good or bad. The fact still remains that we can trust our minds to take us back to all the good times. We can also deliberately preserve these memories. These memories often make us appreciate our partners, convince us of the things we miss the most about our partners and even give us more things to look forward to like the next time you would see your partner.

Be Realistic. Talk About it. Decide if You’re Both Prepared for It
It is important to discuss the issue because people have various thoughts about long-distance, while some believe it ‘cannot work’, others might argue to differ.
In talking about it, you both should be realistic and talk about the possible things that can happen. It would even help to discuss how you both would handle this period of your lives. More or less, plan for the best, but also have the worst at mind.

Define How Long You Plan to Be Apart
Although this may be hard to determine because most times things may not go according to plans, but it is better to discuss how long the distance should be for and even the reason for the distance. It is not heathy for either of you to be kept in the dark.

Communication is Very Important
A friend once told me, ‘if you want your partner do something, just say it’. Talk about any and everything, especially if it is important to you. The moment there is a vacuum, either or both of you are likely to bring in someone else to fill up the gap, Still talk about things that interest you, talk about new experiences, how you both are adapting to the new change, what you both should do better, reminisce on things you both enjoy together, appreciate each other, still send those love text messages. Involve your partner in the things that are happening in your life.

Be Understanding
Understand that either of you may be not be able to talk when just one person is available (especially in a time zone situation). Understand that your exposures and experiences are going to be different. Uunderstand that new people may come into your individual lives but don’t let them change who you both are.
Understand that being apart requires even more sacrifices than being together. Understand the new changes that may happen in your partner.
Understand that you would have even tougher arguments, but it is important to settle every dispute so it does not linger and spoil the relationship.
Understand you and your partner may not get it right most times but the determined to learn to grow and be better for each other.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Obianuju has growing experience in Communications and PR. She has worked in communication across different industries. In 2017, Obianuju delivered a TED talk on "how communities can improve through radio". She writes about business, communication and gender-related issues.


  1. kay

    March 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Yaay! so Uju now writes for bella! Lol! Great write up btw!

    • RWW6

      March 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Work obligations, visa issues or other obligations sometimes cause spouses to live away from each other. The RWW6 ladies discuss their experience with long distance relationship/marriage.

  2. lonelyheart

    March 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I am in a long distance relationship and believe me it aint easy.
    The two most important factors to me is ‘trust’ and ‘communication’. Which we are both lacking at this particular time. I noticed for a few mnths now I have been the one doing most of the communication and its raising a few highbrows for me bcos when d relationship was new and he was still chasing me and asking me out, he wld call me almost every day even dou he’s outside the country.
    Now he’s claiming busy busy busy. I did see he was overly busy when he came to visit as he’s planning to move back. But iv been seriously suspecting if this busy is actually another woman.
    Now we fight a lot bcos he feels I nag him day in day out, abeg his being busy. I am just trying to give him space now, hoping that wld help d relationship, instead of wrecking it, as things are slowing becoming tense btw us. He kinda avoids me as he feels im always ready to complain and nag.
    Long distance relationships at easy at all, bcos most times when deres miscommunication and fights, you cant actually see d person to hash out things and it causes fights to linger.
    Plus there is no make up sex. LOL

    • AwkwardFromBirth

      March 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      There is no campaign after election lol 😀

      Anyway, what you guys need is space to enable the fights to calm/cool down. Also, get yourself busy with something better too if not you will always be nagging and nagging till thy kingdom comes.

    • Babe

      March 10, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      He is in another relationship…….when you are in love you are never too busy….I was in a long distance relationship for 3 years and he never slowed down till we got married……fast forward 10 years after and we are kinda struggling to stay together…..why you may ask? Another thing to note, long distance relationships never give u the chance to get to truly know anyone’s true character in the light of different scenarios….this puts a strain on the marriage…u have to start adjusting when you both finally get to live together 24/7…. We still love each other and trying to adjust….yes u never know anyone fully till u get married but u need to spend quality time together to at least know or get used to some stuff… will take serious determination to make it work…….wil I try it in my next life? NO

    • Mely

      March 11, 2016 at 12:30 am

      From my personal experience, the outcome of the long distance relationship ship is a reflection of how it actually was when you were physically together. The relationship is even more transparent and vulnerable when distance is thrown in the mix because the one remaining good thing about the relationship “sex” is taken away. Whereas a relationship built on friendship, trust and that is emotionally solid, distance doesn’t really affect that because you can easily maintain a friendship by communication alone.

    • biols

      March 11, 2016 at 9:06 am

      you are so right….. its not easy at all…. just know this is a challenging moment for you and if he is someone you want to spend your life with the best way to fight this is going down on your knees and pray….. it might sound spiricoco but you should pray…… go watch war room… our battles are not physical remember and the lord controls the heart of the king…… ask God to teach you how to go about it. while giving him space pray…

    • JenO

      March 14, 2016 at 2:15 am

      Thanks for this I feel the same way, When I bring these topics up to him he doesn’t seem to understand.

  3. Ami

    March 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    3 months is not enough to write these things. Come back and write when you have been in it for 4 years. #talkingfromexperience

    • DeeCee

      March 10, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Actually I think her observation at this point still matters. Remember your experience how was it 3 months in and then a couple of years down? It would be nice to get someone’s view every step of the way

    • Ms Lily

      March 10, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I agree with you @Ami. #beenthere

  4. Jade

    March 10, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I am in a long distance relationship and i think i am beginning to get fed up, although my boyfriend is always in communication i just miss being able to do stuff that normal couples do together. If he doesnt get his shit together and move back by this year i am soo ready to leave him. I DON TIRE

  5. Olu

    March 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    IF you can avoid one, pls do.

  6. glow

    March 10, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    ….you forgot to add EXPENSIVE! …the calls, the flight tickets, ..the timing of your calls
    2. Not for people who love sex, yeah phone sex is cool..blah blah…but ain’t nothing like the real pounding….it’s so hard to be faithful.
    3. It may slow down your life; if not for the long distance thing..i would have been married now with 2kids.
    4. Either of you may develop some new traits in the new environment with which the other party may not be comfortable
    5. Lemme stop here make I no write pass the writer…will be seeing my bobo in a few days…yess!!!

    • berger n akara

      March 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      you are so right!. I’m in grad school while bf is away job hunting.. I do love him but at the same time I wonder if i should just move on..we’ve been dating for 4 years. I do not have time to socialize so haven’t met anyone interesting..sometimes I feel i could do better..he’s alright but not as exposed as I would want him to be (current affairs etc)..and this job thing, i feel he might not be putting in enough effort. i am going to give him a few months to get it together if not we might have the talk

    • AguBabe

      March 11, 2016 at 6:32 am

      Hey babydoll, he hasn’t gotten it together in 4 years; its in your few months unaware (to him) ultimatum that he will get it? Nne, biko, you, yourself, need to get serious.

    • Berger n akara

      March 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      We finished college 1.5 years ago..

  7. Mamita

    March 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Trust and communication is key. It’s not easy though. I mean, you love that person and always want to feel that person close to you but you can’t. Been there, done that. One thing I like about long distance ish is that there is always a spark when you guys meet. I dunno about you but I used to have those spark when my ex and I meet. It would be so refreshing and we’d have those crazy-stupid love moments. I used to cry whenever we were to path again. Lol. Those years was hot for me mehn. Don’t think I can try that now though

  8. Oyindamola

    March 10, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Good write up!

  9. Abi

    March 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Easiest way to develop a high blood pressure.. In my opinion., though.. Tried it severally.. Never worked for me.. Especially with today’s lagos base girls..

  10. nene

    March 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    i can’t do long distance. whenever any of my ex boyfriends told me they were travelling, i would request a break up cuz I’ve tried lond distance in the past and i only lasted 2 months, after which i grew bored and lost o=interest in my man. i don’t understand people who do it. it opens room for cheating and all sorts. why not date those u can see and touch with ur hands? face to face communication is always the best.

  11. PREC

    March 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    5 things I learnt from being in a Long Distance Relationship.
    – Don’t do it again
    – Don’t ever do this again
    -If you dare do this again thunder will fire your yansh
    – Do this again? Never
    – Oh yeah, and finally DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN!!!

    • Fashionista

      March 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm


  12. ObiUto

    March 10, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve been in one for 2.5 years, now engaged and le boo is moving to my side of the pond few months before the wedding and my advise is this:
    1/ Don’t do it if you’re paranoid/suspicious/distrusting. if you already don’t trust this person, don’t even bother.
    2/ It will not save your relationship if you already have issues. that is not the kind of space a relationship needs.
    3/ know what you’re getting into – if you’re an attention seeker and need regular affection and physical contact – refrain from it.
    4/ keep in regular contact – as much as is reasonably possible (This is possible, commitment is key – e.g. with 3,000 miles and 5 hours time difference we still make it work – we are both financial services professionals)
    5/ have a time set aside each day that is conducive for both parties BUT be understanding if that time cannot be met due to unforeseen circumstances (we have a 10pm set time, it’s nearly bedtime for me but he’s still at work, sometimes he has a meeting that comes up last minute or overruns, this is where understanding comes in)
    6/ know that it will cost you – emotionally and financially – flights, data, etc
    7/ you will miss important events – our birthdays are 3 days apart and two weeks after valentine’s day – we pick one each year as both isn’t feasible. this year i missed his 30th *sob*
    8/ keep each other in the loop and be honest – again as much as is reasonably possible, send pictures – if i’m at dinner with friends i send a picture of my meal for instance. he’s rubbish at ordering food so he’ll send me a picture of his menu and I’ll suggest what I know he’ll like.
    9/ it’s not for everybody and definitely not the best way to start a relationship. but if you both know what you want then you can make it work.

    This list is by no means exhaustive (apologies for the length), i agree with an earlier comment – dear poster, give it some more time 😉

    We did have the foundation of one year together before parting ways geographically so we knew each other enough to know we wanted to take things down this road.

    Good luck and all the best.

    • Bide

      March 10, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Thank You.

    • Tamales

      March 10, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      Memories!!!!! Just like you said, you can’t be in a LDR if you have trust issues.
      My husband and I lived on two different continents when we dated.We have been married for 7 years now after 1.5 years of long distance relationship. Luckily for me, it was the most stress free relationship I’d ever had. The ones right under my nose drove me crazy. I guess it was just meant to be.
      LDR is expensive o. BA and Verizon wireless chopped my money. Well my investment paid off at the end.

    • Sheun

      March 11, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      I like you sha! Very reasonable way of thinking. You actually gave me some nice ideas and a different perspective! 🙂

  13. kwaray

    March 10, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Yayy! Long distance relationships are fun if you both communicate and believe in marriage. You both have to be sure of yourselves and trust the journey. It is suitable for couples who wish to refrain from sex. You both should have a good foundation like staying together for four to six months before the distance. I have been in a long distance relationship for six years currently engaged. It’s bn challenging and rewarding. I would never advice that you transition from a long distance relationship to a long distance marriage. Have a plan to be together. Been in a long distance relationship should be circumstantial not deliberate. And to the ladies if he wants the relationship to work he eould always make it clear to you.

  14. Hanee

    March 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    My own is shine your eyes (in toke’s voice) I was dating this cute guy we met few days to passing out (NYSC) he leaves in abj/kd while I was leaving in lag. Everything was ok until I travelled. I can count the number times the dude called. I didn’t mind calling because I was in love until the dude became so busy to pick calls. Thanks to intagram I saw proposal pictures of this idiot with the girl he claimed they were exes. I was a side chick for 3 years???

  15. Hanee

    March 10, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Please pardon my bullet? Na autocorrect cause am *lives*

    • AguBabe

      March 11, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Try again.

  16. jide

    March 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    One thing I have learned from Long Distance relationship – you can never compete against local options. Distance puts you at a disadvantage the moment he meets a local chic. She will always come out a winner and you a loser.

  17. Story of my life

    March 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Me and long distance relationship… Lmaoo…my only experience was very temporalll…met this dude in NYSC…never actually dated…next thing I was out of the country for my MSC….we kept in touch and all…came back 4 Xmas only to realize all the infatuation had gone…I tried to make it work….but then we did not even have the same moral convictions…. I believe in abstinence he doesn’t…. Started talking plenty in my ear….am like dude am naive not stupid…in fact I already knew it had ended for me… see this broke manchi reasoning making me his hustle ride or die chick till thy kingdom come…. Including bedroom riding when am reasoning marriage….o well long story short….we kissed it was even bad…a bit of touching nope I no take out my clothes #nothingserious….i was fully clothed…..just was looking for a little connection…..couldnt understand how i was just over him….lmaooo but yeaaa it was boring the shit out of me….I just said this isn’t how it happened in the Notebook movie lmaoooo…..I just quietly carry myself home. After that as I came back the bae! Now texted me during valentine Text not even call…..kaiiiii I just quietly deleted him right their and then and blocked him from FB etc….no time for rubbish biko……o I also quit watching Notebook movie…..lmaoooo…..and began to seek Jesus fully to right my love story…..lmaoooo…..patiently waiting for wedding night…..Yes its a personal choice to keep myself fully till marriage….. I consider that experience my temporal case of insanity….. Lmaoooooo…..#storyofmylife

  18. Funky

    March 10, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    ‘ raise eyebrows’ not ‘highbrows’
    ‘Whenever we were to part’ not ‘path’
    ‘Being in a long distant relationship’ not ‘been in a long distant relationship’

    • aurora

      March 11, 2016 at 12:21 am

      LIKE!!!!! the grammar on this page is appalling

    • Grammar Police

      March 11, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Shut your holes mr and mrs grammar police! Let people express themselves! I speak very good english and trust me you don’t have enough words in your dictionary like some of my friends and myself dont be condescending! I have come to believe that not everybody writes well and even it they don’t speak well, you do NOT have to look down on them or marry them, they did not ask you! MSheeeewwww LEt people just express themselves. If you dont have anything useful to say about the article biko bugger off! #I’mangry

      Oh and I stay on the island, boo on the mainland, he’s a benker, its can even be more stressful than when i was dating mr. soulja boy that was travelling all over the country! Spoke with ex sometimes 5 times in a day, that’s minus chats. Current boo is being sucked dry by the benk… Distance is a thing of the mind.

  19. abraham

    March 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    There’s nothing wrong in long distance relationship if you’re STRONG enough to make it work. For it to work both of you must determine to make it work. I was involved in long distance relationship for 7 years and we didn’t break uo once till we got married this year. The only important thing there is communication. We were always on the phone to breach the distance. Anyway don’t forget to visit my blog to knkw more on how to have a good relationship and improve your marriage.

  20. Cub

    March 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Long distance relationships not recommended by me. I was in one and I believe in abstinence. Bae made me believe we were on the same page while he was pounding a top female boss in his office. God and time revealed it. Caught him and saw all their chats for well planned sexcapades. As much as possible please stay away from long distance relationships. My two cents….

  21. Faith

    March 11, 2016 at 4:39 am

    I won’t do LDR, got my fingers burnt. I remember some months to me leaving naija, I stopped even going on dates because I knew I wouldn’t do LDR. Fast forward some months after I got here I am engaged to a wonderful man and all them people saying I had my plans to always live here that’s why I didn’t date back home. Not my fault, I couldn’t settle for what I saw when in Nigeria and I knew it would be better to leave the country with no attachment of a relationship to keep me sane and concentrate on my books. Totally my opinion!

  22. AsaBabe

    March 11, 2016 at 6:51 am


  23. Miss

    March 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

    From experience I know LDR works, I have been in it for 3 years. But it has to be between strong willing and determined couple that have a common goal (marriage). Constant Communication, understanding and trust is the key. Both parties have to be on the same frequency always and be ready to sppeeeennnnddddd (money,time,emotions). The moment one person starts to feel differently for too long then it might be over. The mistake people make is that when it starts feeling different they fail to admit and start making excuses for their partner ( he’s busy, he’s hustling, she’s a doctor and doctors dont have time and bla bla bla). Another thing is to try to put a time frame on the LDR and work towards it: you cant go into it without knowing when or if you’re ever gonna come out of it ( that’s too hopeless… so right now, as much as I hate how difficult and challenging it is, I love the person I’m in it with and I know very much the feeling is mutual.

  24. Ope

    March 11, 2016 at 10:16 am

    One thing I know is,if he/she is destined for you,There’s nothing you can do about it if the one destined for you is in Japan or Australia,while You’re in a relationship with someone who lives next door,You’re only adding to the number of EXs,plus body counts. . Q for BNers, is it really that difficult for a lady who is single to abstinene and not keep a fb? Almost all the single ladies I know and I see keeps one close.

    • mememe

      March 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      ope what is fb

    • Berger n akara

      March 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      F**ck buddy maybe ? ?

    • Ope

      March 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      F***k buddy

  25. Ope

    March 11, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    @Berger n akara,yes.

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