There are people who go the distance for love, some love each other at a distance. Gelene Peñalosa, currently a Contributing Writer for POP!, currently works as a Language Assistant in a high school in Madrid, Spain. Given her circumstances and this global lockdown, she and her boyfriend are miles apart, ever since she left the Philippines in September 2021. “Technically we only recently became a long-distance relationship but because of the pandemic, we’ve kinda been long distanced since March 2020. So far, we haven’t really encountered any problems, although it’s too early to say since we’re early into this LDR stage. We have been communicating every time we can,” 22-year-old Gelene said.
Away from her significant other and her family for the first time, Gelene said Valentine’s Day will just be another ordinary Monday for her, despite all the reds and pinks around, flowers, hearts, and things associated to love. She plans to report to school, do a presentation about St. Valentine’s Day/Valentine’s Day to her students, get a little jealous of all the couples she will see because she will be missing her boyfriend, go home, work out, plan her week/make presentations, play Genshin Impact, watch K-Drama, or essentially her daily routine.
“Valentine’s Day for me, is just another day to show a person love, regardless of if it’s platonic, romantic, familial, or whatever kind of love there is. For my significant other and I, we’ll surely be missing each other all the more, but we’ve got something planned to make up for it: E-Kain through Discord,” she shared.
Gelene also looks forward to finally celebrating the Day of Hearts with her boyfriend, after two or more years, when she decides to go back to the country. She is also hoping to feel a little more love regardless of whether she’s with him or not. “There are numerous ways to show love to your significant other, and it’s obviously bound to change due to circumstances. What people need to understand is that just because you’re not being loved in the way you want; it doesn’t mean you’re not being loved. People have different ways of showing and receiving love, we all just have to learn our significant other’s love languages,” she shared.
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? For Gelene, who confessed that physical touch is their main love language and that it’s been hard to have that reciprocated especially in their long-distanced relationship, it does. However, she and her beau rely on constant communication, being the backbone of LDRs. Thanks to technology, too, couples like them can now utilize the social media, and other apps so they could freely and more frequently express their commitment to one another, for their love to stand the test of space and time. Thus, despite their erratic schedules, different time zones, they always make sure to make time for each other. “We do video calls, and share small updates about our day, and we keep things low maintenance (but not below bare minimum). We’re both waiting for the time we could be together again, and by doing this, it’s all going to be worth it in the end,” she mused.
Gelene’s story is part of “The Different Faces of Valentine’s Day,” a profile series made by POP! to show the different ways people see this event and how they celebrate it. Click on the image below to return to the main article.
Click on any image below to read other Valentine’s Day stories from this seriesOther POP! stories you might like: The eternal flame of Philippine motels The dark origins of Valentine’s Day and how it became the celebration of love we know today 5 YA Romance Novels to read on Valentine’s Day