Hundreds of thousands of Dubai residents are currently in long distance relationships. We ask if they really work
Roy Corda, guitarist in the Rockspiders, Filipino
‘My wife lives in the Philippines while I live here. It’s very difficult. I never stop missing her; never. I miss her and I miss my kid. The last time I saw her was over Ramadan. That’s the only time I had a vacation and I went home to see her. I was there for three weeks. I won’t get to see her until next Ramadan. We talk on the phone every day, in the morning and after work. It doesn’t make it easier, but it helps me get through the day.’
Julianne Gager, writer, British
‘My partner and I met while he was on holiday in Dubai nearly two years ago. I wasn’t at all keen on starting something serious with someone who lived a seven-hour flight away. But he was just a bit too special to pass up. And, as luck would have it, his company is finally relocating him here in April.
Of course, the reunions are intense, romantic, exciting. But then the highs are levelled out by the ache of absence: when life revolves around work, the ticking off of days and months and, of course, the phone calls. After seeing how different life could be you promptly find yourself on your own, again.
Luckily, I have lots of mates here who can empathise. Of my social circle, around 50 per cent are single, 25 per cent are in short-distance relationships, and 25 per cent in long distance relationships (LDRs). There are also those whose relationships don’t start off long distance, but become so. They come here, meet someone from across the world, enjoy a few years together – then realise neither wants to stay here, or move to their other half’s home country. The result? A painful break-up, seeing each of them eventually catapulted back to their respective origins.
Recently, I told a fellow journalist I was in an LDR, only to be told I was ‘in denial’. ‘You just want to sign yourself off the market, without having to give up your independence,’ he decided. But, as Greg Guldner, director of the US Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships (it exists), stated in a recent report British newspaper The Times: ‘The struggle is between intimacy and autonomy. And most eventually choose the former.’ Roll on April.