Ghanaians love to travel abroad. We are everywhere on the globe, including countries you may never have heard of; Transnistria Tuvalu, Kyrgyzstan and Bhutan.
It is even said that the chief vulcaniser in Iceland is a Ghanaian! And everywhere it is easy to identify Ghanaians by their accent and language, warmth and friendliness, strong adherence to culture and tradition, music and dance and the national colours.
We are everywhere because many have the myth that life anywhere will be better than Ghana. Many think life abroad (aburokyire) is an easy place to make cheap money and get an easy life.
It is, therefore, not surprising that a recent survey showed that 75 per cent of Ghanaians will migrate abroad if given the chance.
Today, there are over three million Ghanaians living legally outside the country and many more illegally.
Many go abroad to seek greener pastures.
Some go for studies and skills improvement.
Some are in national or business assignment.
In most cases due to financial and immigrations difficulties, many leave their lovers behind.
There are also arranged relationships in which they have never met their lovers but are planning a future together.
Some marriage experts believe that staying together always as a couple is not the best thing for a relationship.
Time away from each other will enable you to show your love in many other ways apart from physical contact.
It also makes you appreciate the benefits you enjoy with proximity and the many things you do for each other as you share activities which you normally would have taken for granted.
In many instances, the quality of relationships increase when lovers get together again.
It is a fact that nothing challenges a relationship more than a long distance between lovers.
A lover is thousands of miles away. You don’t know what he is doing or the people he or she is staying or moving with.
The tendency to lose interest in the relationship is high, especially if you keep thinking about many of such failed relationships.
Sometimes lovers marry abroad or are financially incapable of inviting their lovers but lack the courage to say so. Many lovers in Ghana are left stranded with an uncertain future.
Long distance relationships brings about loneliness.
A recent study showed that 31 per cent of Ghanaians living alone are depressed due to sexual dysfunction.
They try to make up by visiting friends but when lovers in Ghana socialise to reduce their anxieties, friends and relatives sometimes send messages of unfaithfulness to partners abroad.
If lovers are apart, because they do not see each other physically, any small difficulty gets exaggerated. Long distance relationship, therefore, requires a special willingness and understanding that tests love like no other relationship does.
Commitment out of sight can be tempting.
Are you in long distance relationship?
All relationships are like flowers. They need to be nourished constantly to bring joy and fulfilment.
You have to use words, the most effective tool you have.
You need to openly communicate constantly. Send e-mails, tape messages, CD and indigenous gifts from home. Call as often as you can.
Happily a study showed 41 per cent of Ghanaian spouses abroad admitting that the first person they call each day are their spouses.
Do all to learn more about each other and bridge the distance between you by sharing lots of ideas.
Make every event count, be honest and realistic.
Be yourself but appreciate the difficulties and the possibility that like any other relationship, it may fail.
Watch out for warning signs. Sometimes a lover may be no longer interested in a relationship but may just drift along.
He calls less often and his answers are short and unromantic. He may even reduce or cut his remittances.
He then starts finding excuses and may criticise or accuse you unjustifiably. If you do see the relationship going apart, say it and demand honest answers.
Then make an informed decision. There is no point wasting time on a relationship that has no future.
It is uncertain if a long distance relationship is worse than couples in physically close relationship. In fact research shows that long distance relationships have no greater risks of breaking apart than other relationships.
Unfortunately, we tend to remember those that fail more than those that work. Many long distance relationships have worked very well.
It is also known that when long distance relationships fail, women generally blame it on difficulties within the relationship while men blame it on difficulties outside it like too much time apart.
At the same time, both men and women tend to believe that a long distance relationship would work better if lovers had spent time together physically.
Long distance relationships are not easy but neither are other forms of relationships.
True love is not about distance but about mutual respect, commitment and unconditional love.
Distance will not last forever. Do not focus on your loneliness. Be strong and keep busy.
All relationships have their challenges.
With determination and a positive mental attitude, you can make your long distance relationship work.
After darkness there can only be light.
One day and sooner than you think, you will be reunited for golden days ahead.