OpinionQuantum entanglement

Quantum entanglement

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LOUIS, MISSOURI–My husband and I reunited after 11 years on a warm July afternoon in New York.

The first embrace we shared for more than a year before we were physically together again felt like a much-anticipated sigh of relief.

Remember one of many guided meditations where they ask you to fill your lungs with air, hold it for a bit, before finally letting it all go? That’s exactly how that moment felt. Good, reinvigorating, like the whole world made sense again.

My husband and I parted ways briefly after officially becoming a couple in 2012. He had to leave for Barcelona, Spain as a first step to his dream of becoming a neuroscientist, while I was shackled to my corporate job in the Philippines. It was not the most ideal way to jumpstart a new relationship but decisions had to be made and dreams were at stake.

Our twenties were a time for laying the groundwork for the rest of our lives, so there was frankly no debate: our respective careers get the VIP seat, at least for the time being.

On that aspect, we were very much aligned but this didn’t mean it was smooth sailing from the moment his flight landed at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport.

Like all long distance relationships, ours was not spared from its birth and growing pains. Unlike other couples who decide to take a chance on this challenging arrangement, we did not have a chance to properly bid each other farewell.

In other words, we didn’t have an opportunity to sit down and have a serious conversation about how we were going to pull this through–when and how often were we supposed to call, and check in on each other? How do we deal with the seven-hour time difference? How do we do this?

This was also each one’s first serious relationship so we were both navigating unfamiliar territory.

We barely talked to each other in the first few months of our fledgling relationship, which made me sad and furious at the same time. I felt neglected and invisible, as many of my messages were left unanswered for what felt like an eternity.

Our separation amplified the loneliness and alienation I was already grappling with at work, so much so that it blinded me from the reality that thousands of miles away, my boyfriend was also struggling to gain his footing in a new place where he absolutely knew no one.

This was not how I envisioned my first relationship to pan out. I was resentful, and started questioning myself if we were really ready to give this long distance relationship a shot, or if we should have just waited a few more years for him to finish his graduate studies in Spain before committing to a relationship.

Family and friends were not very optimistic, especially those whose own long distance relationships fizzled from the separation.

But swept up in the excitement of young love, and the novelty of being pursued for the first time, I didn’t think much about what lay ahead. So, without really thinking about it, I said yes, not fully grasping what it meant to be in a long-distance relationship.

It was only when I was in the midst of it when I fully understood why so many couples struggled to make it work.

We celebrated milestones via Facebook, and kept in touch through Skype. Our weekly conversations, which often stretched to five hours, felt like mere minutes.

During our first month together, despite being exhausted from a full day of fieldwork in Iloilo, I felt a rush of excitement upon receiving his lengthy love letter, albeit through Facebook Messenger.

Aside from our scheduled Skype dates, the demands of his studies and my job, coupled with the time difference, frequently prevented us from having spontaneous weekday conversations.

The distance between us transformed impromptu chats into a luxury—a stark contrast to our days in the same City, where we would casually meet for jogs and dinners every day.

As we gradually settled into the rhythm of our long-distance relationship, we established new traditions that kept us connected.

Each year, we embarked on an adventure to explore a different Southeast Asian country for a little over a week, before reluctantly parting ways once more, eagerly awaiting our next reunion.

Did we ever grow accustomed to the distance? Did it become any easier? The reality is, there’s no getting used to being separated from someone you love deeply, especially when your souls feel intertwined.

It was a heart-wrenching experience, akin to the cyclical torments depicted in Dante’s Inferno, where we stood across from each other with agonizing proximity, barely touching, only to be torn apart again.

Long-distance relationships are undeniably challenging, yet in a world that encourages us to chase our ambitions across vast expanses, they sometimes become unavoidable.

Our twenties were a pivotal period for pursuing our dreams, and true love often means supporting each other’s aspirations, even if it meant being apart.

For years, our careers led us in divergent paths. I departed from corporate life to pursue diplomacy, adding another layer of uncertainty to our future.

Following his time in Barcelona, my husband embarked on an eight-year journey in Zurich for his doctoral studies.

I would eventually follow a few years later, briefly relocating to Geneva for a short course. Despite the distance, we managed to meet on weekends, making the separation somewhat more bearable.

Though not in the same city, sharing the same time zone allowed us the luxury of spending weekends together—a welcome reprieve.

Upon my return to Manila, our weekly Skype dates dwindled, replaced by more frequent conversations on Facebook Messenger. Sometimes, responses were immediate; other times, days would pass before either of us spoke.

Yet, the silence no longer perturbed us; we had grown comfortable and secure in each other’s presence, irrespective of the physical distance. We ceased to force conversations; instead, we let life and love follow their natural course. Our relationship evolved into a warm, comforting campfire.

Shortly after tying the knot, we parted ways  again, this time with just the English Channel between us. Fridays brimmed with eager anticipation for our weekend reunions, yet the moments leading up to our impending departure were always tinged with a profound ache and yearning.

It meant another five days of solitary strolls around the neighborhood, and solo café visits. If not for the CoViD-19 lockdown that made it impossible for him to return to continental Europe, we wouldn’t have experienced more than fleeting moments together under one roof.

The tight embrace we shared at London Heathrow Airport before parting ways felt like the death of a loved one. I was bound for Manila following the end of my mission in London, while he headed for Zurich.

It would be nearly two years before we saw each other again, until fate intervened, granting me a scholarship to study in the very city where his work would take him next.

Today, we find solace in sharing the same cozy space we call home. After enduring prolonged periods apart, the simple acts of walking together, engaging in mundane conversations, or even running errands together feel like significant milestones. They serve as a poignant reminder that not all couples have the privilege of enjoying each other’s presence without oceans or time zones dividing them.

Ours isn’t a flawless relationship. It’s seen its share of trials and triumphs, highs and lows, moments of exhilaration and disappointment.

Yet, its resilience isn’t attributed to luck or grand romantic gestures; rather, it’s rooted in friendship, respect, adaptability, and our unwavering commitment to weathering challenges together.

We’ve embraced each other’s imperfections, while cherishing the countless qualities that drew us together.

Furthermore, there’s an unspoken acknowledgment that the person we love changes and evolves over time, yet our love and admiration for this person remains the same.

As we strolled through Tisch Park on a crisp winter evening, my husband reached for my hand, and likened our relationship to a quantum entanglement—a phenomenon in quantum science where two sub-atomic particles become linked in a special way, regardless of how far apart they are. Even if one particle moves far away, the other one instantly knows what’s happening to its partner.

In this vast universe, my husband and I are two sub-atomic particles whose hearts remain connected even when we’re far apart. We may be in different cities or even different countries, but we can still feel each other’s presence and support, no matter the distance.

Just as those particles stay entwined, our love remains strong across any mile that separate us. Just because we’re not physically together doesn’t mean our bond weakens.

Instead, it grows even stronger, as we cherish every moment we can share, whether it’s through texts, calls, or video chats.

Like the mysterious entanglement of particles, our connection defies distance, reminding us that true love knows no distance.

___________________________________

Author’s email: [email protected]

 

 

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