Stresses of long-distance relationships

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 27 2022

by Tom Blake

The stresses of long-distance relationships

(Note from Tom: Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length, clarity, and controversial material)

The pandemic has been hard on senior long-distance relationships. Travel restrictions made face-to-face meetings difficult. And when the partners lived in different countries, getting together was almost impossible.

I heard of relationships where one person lived in Canada and the person lived across the border in the USA and were unable to see each other for one to two years, due to border-crossing restrictions.

Did the long-distance relationships within the USA survive the test of time being away from each other? Recently, we wrote about the frustration a woman in Illinois expressed about not being able to see her California man friend more often. She wondered if she was wasting her time. They had seen each other only a couple of times in the last year.

And now that restrictions are easing, what’s happening to international long-distance relationships? Larry, a Champ, a friend, and a former Dana Point neighbor of mine from 30 years ago—he’s now 82– emailed last week regarding the status of his international long-distance relationship.

I mentioned his situation in previous eNewsletters when he said nine of his scheduled trips to the Philippines to see Emy, his woman friend, had been canceled.

Larry wrote last week: “Many men have been interested in the lure of Asian women. I started an online investigation of these women and their countries a dozen years ago. I discovered there are two common denominators. They all want love and financial security.

“I chatted with many women online throughout the entire world. Many come from countries with different religions than mine. One country stood out above all others (The Philippines) for Catholicism and an English-speaking populace.

“At first glance, it was obvious that Philippine dating sites were not the way to go! Full of money scammers and women desperate to escape the poverty of The Philippines. So, I looked at other non-dating social sites. This is how I met Emy. We are now in our 7th happy year together.”

A few years ago, Larry went to the Philippines to be with Emy. Just before the pandemic arrived, he returned to the USA to attend to some personal matters. Then, after the pandemic spread, his return flight to Manila was canceled.

During 2000 and 2001, he had eight more reservations to fly to Manilla canceled. The Philippine government was strict about allowing people into the country. Larry expressed his frustration to me with both the Philippine government and the U.S. government and their travel restrictions. However, I understood those restrictive actions, which nearly every country instituted, in an attempt to protect the health of its residents.

Larry wrote: “Since March 2020 until recently, the Philippines and the USA governments have kept me from returning to The Philippines. The stress has been close to unbearable. It has taken a toll on my life, and I am now in a recuperative stage. It is going to take days, weeks, and perhaps longer to recover.

Love rekindles in PV

“To get Emy and I back together, I investigated 35-45 countries where Emy might be able to get a visa. I found only two—Ecuador and Mexico.  Ecuador seemed too far away in South America. And Mexico, which she chose, turned out to be difficult for her to enter. They required many documents and other severe travel restrictions for Filipinos! She endured a 3-day delay in Manila, but with help from friends plus 34 hours of travel time, we have been together again in Puerto Vallarta Mexico (PV) for over two weeks.”

When I read “Puerto Vallarta,” I was shocked. I had no idea that Larry and Emy had “PV” on their radar. However, that’s not so bad, in fact, it’s darned good. “PV” is a great city. Greta and I have visited and stayed there five times. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Emy and Larry (photo by Larry McCook)

Larry said, “What is it like here in Mexico with Emy? Life is better than good. She is the same lady who loved me in 2019: Sweet, kind, and caring. She never misses Mass, and it is great to hold hands together in Mass. She cooks three meals a day made from fresh food from the local market. Our apartment is so clean that a person could eat off the floor. She gives me a strong full back massage every day, and we take long walks every day.

“We live in a nice updated fully furnished 1 BR apartment including A/C and electricity for under $500 per month, which helps us save for rainy days.  Buses run every 5-10 minutes and it costs 50 US Cents to anywhere in the city. Supermarket pricing is close to the same in the US. The locals are friendly. We live across from a large sports park.”

Tom’s comment: I wonder what they will do? Will they remain in Mexico or return to the USA or the Philippines? I know he will let us know.

Their story is an example of how determination and true grit can keep love alive. More power to them.

I’d like to hear from other couples who are involved in long-distance relationships and how they made it through the pandemic and what obstacles they had to overcome.

Author: tpblake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published four books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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