A world apart



As mentioned in one of my previous articles, time is a resource that we all possess. What we choose to invest that resource in, eventually determines who we become, and how fulfilling our lives turn out. It is difficult to find someone that excels in everything; be it in academics, physical fitness, emotional quotient, or romantic relationships.


This article looks into the idea of time investment into romantic relationships, particularly in the perspective of an overseas student bonded to Singapore.


College is the time where we attempt to reach our peak potential. For most of our first 2 decades of life, we are determined less by our capabilities or achievements, but more by our potential. Tests such as PSLE and the A levels merely serve as a benchmark to determine potential. No one truly cares what you score for PSLE or A levels once you start working, but people do judge you for your work ethics and your capabilities (both of which have a strong correlation(not causation) with your academic results).


With 168 hours every week, and so much we wish to achieve, what will we end up investing our time in? Relationships don’t happen overnight, and those that do probably won’t last longer than a month. In order to have a fulfilling relationship that brings about more development than it does toxicity, it requires understanding on the art of both parties. This understanding takes time, lots of time. Some couples might have it easier than others, starting out on similar footing and eventually reaching a very stable equilibrium in a year or two. Others go through a relationship rollercoaster, going up and down a series of breakups and patch ups, before finally settling down.

The more unfortunate ones don’t make it that far, and both parties eventually become strangers again.


Perhaps the hardest part about finding a relationship as an overseas student, is the unbelievable probability that it would not last. For those that get into a relationship whilst in Singapore, the prospect of a long-distance relationship is exceptionally daunting. Promises might be made before one flies, but being 9 months away from one another, for 3-4 years in a row, is a herculean feat, and many succumb to the inevitable. In fact, it actually is much harder than relationships that have to last through NS (which by itself ends 80-90% of all relationships). You get to see each other at least once a week when a guy goes through NS, but when it’s a LDR, you won’t be able to experience the warmth like you used to.


On the other hand, finding a relationship here with a non-Singaporean brings about the prospect that it WILL eventually become a LDR, especially if you are bonded to Singapore (be it scholarship or family). This by itself is daunting enough to deter many potential relationships from happening. Its not because of what it could be, but what it will most likely be.


Being in a foreign environment, many people seek companionship and attention. This in turn leads to many immature acts, and all it takes is one mistake for word to spread and for one’s reputation to be affected. One major drawback is the fact that the Singaporean community overseas is small, and everyone more or less knows each other. With such a small pool of people, lots of drama is bound to happen, and people are going to get hurt.


When one takes a step back to look at the statistics/probability of a relationship lasting through a world apart, past, present, or future, one might rethink their options, and reconsider spending their 168 hours a week on something more productive. Then again, just because the odds are stacked against you, it does not mean that one should not try. With each fall comes experience. As long as one stays honourable in pursuit and in rejection, there will always be more opportunities to try again, preparing for the next one, and hopefully the last one.

Will the distance part, or will you part with the distance?

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