No one has ever said that loving and nurturing one’s relationship could be plain sailing, let alone a long-distance one. Explicitly, during this time of our unprecedented history where a face-to-face communication, for some couples, can perhaps only be a manifestation in the poetic literature of their dreams.
In our first series of love in the age of social distancing in February 2021, Prestige talks with Namtip Thaugsuban, the youngest daughter of politician and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, a beloved wife to a Hong Kong entrepreneur, Nicholas Ho and a mother of two to the most lovable babies, Anya and Theo, on how her romance is centred around consistent communications, being realistically honest with your own feelings and how there’s a gracious beauty in taking things in a slow-moving, gradual manner.
Could you share with us about how your relationship began?
It actually began the day after I went to a friend’s exhibition on Valentine’s day. My friend, Alex, reached out to me the next day via Facebook saying he wanted to introduce me to his friend in Hong Kong whom he thought might share a common interest. It was quite random but in a good way. My husband, Nick, and I were connected and we started texting and chatting regularly for months before we had a chance to meet. We had interesting conversations right from the very beginning. One topic led to another, it felt very natural. We weren’t trying to impress one another, but genuinely wanting to know about each other and our differences. Our first date was after his trip to Samui with his friends, which was actually planned a long time ago. After that trip, he decided to stay on in Bangkok and arrange to have lunch with me. We both felt very comfortable with each other as we have exchanged a lot of stories for months prior to that date. It was a very good day, and that was the beginning of our story.
What were the challenges you experienced being in a long-distance relationship? And how did you manage to overcome these challenges?
We’d been talking for a while so we got to know each other quite a lot. But the more we talked, the more I realised that in every relationship, whether it’s a long-distance relationship or not, communication is always the key. It is even more important with long-distance relationships because sometimes the messages can be lost in translation. Like when we were texting, short answering can be interpreted into many different meanings, especially if you’re an overthinking person, this could possibly lead to a serious misunderstanding. Luckily, Nick has no problem when it comes to communication as he is a very open and honest person.
Another factor was the time difference. But luckily, Hong Kong and Thailand is only one hour apart which doesn’t have a huge impact, but it could still lead to a problem. So, you should plan the time when you want to talk to each other. You have to put in time and effort. Sometimes, it made us feel like we really had to pay attention in planning it all out which I found to be fairly challenging.
Earlier on in our relationship, Nick brought up his concern right away. He explained to me that he wouldn’t be able to move to Thailand anytime soon because of his family business. If the idea of settling down in Hong Kong was a problem for me then our relationship wouldn’t be possible to move forward. It may sound sort of harsh and abrupt, but I was very glad to hear this as this meant he was serious about our relationship considering him contemplating about planning a future together, as well as how sincere he was towards me. I think it was a good thing he did that as it helped me make a decision easier. I also had to discuss with my family as they were concerning about whether we’d known each other well enough to the point where we could talk about moving issues. This is the challenge that I’d been facing with since the beginning of the relationship.
When the moving issue was the most challenging one we then focused on that the most, we looked into the options we had and how we were going to handle things in the most possible, smoothest way for our families. At first, I was flying back and forth, but later on we then agreed that it was about time I moved to Hong Kong permanently. As Hong Kong and Thailand are very close to each other, meaning we don’t have any specific problem towards the matter. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, we have to remain in Hong Kong for a while.
Was there any certain time in the relationship that you felt like it wouldn’t work out anymore? Was it when he brought up about moving abroad?
Honestly, I never doubt our love, at all. We are quite similar, we’ve set goals and worked towards them. Both of us will look into a big picture, and won’t let little things worry us. We love each other and we want to see our future this way so we try to think how we’re going to reach that goal. For instance, going back to the moving issues, we explored a variety of options. If I have to move to Hong Kong, what can we do? What kind of alternatives do we have? How are our lives going to be? What could possibly be the things we have to give up? Nick was well aware of the comfortable life I had back in Thailand. So, he was worrying that this might be a big deal for me to leave all that behind – my friends, family and work. He wanted me to ponder by myself if I was okay with moving abroad. He didn’t pressure me at all. He wanted me to think about what I genuinely wanted and how I wanted to live my own life. We tried to talk to each other as much as we could, and find solutions to all our problems together. No fantasy, just reality. We listed out the options that were available for me in Hong Kong. We both were being honest with our feelings and were brave to speak it out to one another. Communication and honesty are extremely significant, especially for long-distance relationships.
Last but not least, the Do’s and Don’ts we must bear in mind if we want to make long-distance relationships work?
Do communicate – Talk about your future together like your goals and life mottos. If you can think and work towards your goals together, everything will be easier and you won’t hesitate. The sooner you both figure out your goals and milestones, the better. So, the two of you won’t worry about little problems along the way. Do act and think realistically and honestly. Especially for a long distance, you have to try to communicate as much as you can and be honest with your own feelings. Don’t pretend to be whatever you think would impress the other. If we communicate with each other and be honest with ourselves, trust will follow, for sure.
Don’t assume that your partner will always understand how you feel. The most common mistake for long-distance relationships that seems to happen from the female side is when you’re trying to keep the feeling to yourself. For some magical reason, you think that your partner will, out of the blue, understand how you feel. That is the biggest “don’t”. Don’t do it. If you don’t speak it out, there’s no way they would know. Don’t rush into making decisions. Rushing the relationship might never be the best action when you are miles away. I think most of us are trying to settle in or label down the relationship as quickly as possible that we sometimes overlook some good qualities of taking things slowly.
Besides, the good thing about a long-distance relationship is you can take time and there’s no need to rush into anything. You both have time to talk. For both of us, we didn’t feel like we were in a rush to meet with each other. We started off as friends. Our intention of the communications wasn’t even for dating. We were just sharing so many common interests and getting along so well. Plus, it also provided us with more personal time in which we got to enjoy in what we loved. As a result, time spent together would then be quite of great quality because, at the time, it was utterly rare. You wouldn’t waste it on the phone calls or chatting with friends because the other person just flew for many hours to just be with us. And when feelings are progressing in a more organic way, there’s less inhibition and pressure formed.
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