When distances don't matter

Managing Relationships

When distances don't matter

Bharatanatyam teacher Minal Prabhu runs the Mudrika Foundation for Indian Performing Arts while her husband Capt. Dayanand Prabhu sails the high seas.
“When we first met I emphasised that dance is something I would never be able to give up.

Although I took a break for a couple of years as we moved around from Cochin to Secunderabad, he respected and supported my decision to become a dance teacher after I stopped performing as an artiste.”

Minal emphasises that trust and honesty are crucial in a long distance marriage where the spouse is away for several weeks or months at a time. “There are also many pros to this way of life. We both get our space, the remuneration is very good and we spend great quality time together when he’s here,” she says.

Of course, the down side is that over the years when their daughter was growing up, Dayanand missed many of her important landmark occasions and there were certain emergencies she had to cope with on her own.

“Technology has made it much easier to keep connected nowadays and he takes much shorter trips so effectively he is away much less,” she says.

Respecting spaces 

Gita Niketh lives in Bangalore while her husband is the global head of HR in an Information Technology Company and is based in Trivandrum. Gita was a hospitality professional, soft skills trainer and now freelances in her spare time. “I don't want to be too tied down so I can travel with my husband or go visit my daughter Vega who is studying in Pune when the need arises,” she says. “Yes, space is something we both get, which is good and the romance is kept alive as you look forward eagerly to your spouse’s visits. You never take each other’s presence for granted.”

Enforced separation

Now a full time aviation consultant with a multinational company, Frank Elias retired from a long career as a pilot with commercial and private airlines.

His wife Jessie after a short stint as an airhostess with Indian Airlines became a  home-maker accompanying her husband with the kids everywhere he went, whether on work assignments or training.  

“We are now living in two different cities because of my job, she in Chennai and I in Bangalore. We have a large home, two dogs and staff that we cannot relocate or leave behind so we are forced to live apart. When the old airport was operational I used to fly down every weekend but now we alternate our visits each month,” he explains.

“It is not easy and I feel I have lost far more than I have gained by the enforced separation. I think men need way less space than women especially as we get older,” he laughs ruefully.

Shared interests

Praveen and Pramila Roberts knew that they were meant for each other but their careers pulled them in two different directions and for three years they managed a long distance romance successfully before finally tying the knot. He is an IT consultant while she is in Human Resources. 

“She lived and worked in Dubai while I stayed put in Bangalore. We have a lot of shared interests, we both love movies passionately, work together in theatrical performances and love dancing. It was very hard when she was away but when one makes an old fashioned commitment like we did there is no compromising. We stayed connected constantly through the telephone and email,  sent regular pictures to keep visually connected.” 

“Absence can make the heart grow fonder when you use the time to show your partner how much they mean to you,” says relationship expert Sheela Farias.

“The one who goes away has the advantages of experiencing a new place, a new job and new people. The disadvantages would be missing home and the company of friends and family and the loneliness of not having your partner 24/7 to share the daily highs and lows with.” 

“The stay at home partner has the benefit of familiar surroundings and the constant support of friends and family. The downside again being loneliness and fewer new experiences,” she adds. 

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