An uncomfortable silence lingers over the FaceTime call. The couple looks at each other through the blue screen, trying to express what was plaguing their relationship but no words escaped. Until, finally, the deafening quiet is interrupted and they sigh a breath of relief.
Sophomore My Phan met her current boyfriend, Terenz Buquis through Yubo, an app for finding friends and building connections based on one’s interests. They began as friends and soon evolved into a romantic relationship on Sept. 27. Since Buquis is enrolled in another school, distrust arose and their struggles did not cease there. These issues intensified as Buquis was still coping with the effects of years of verbal and physical abuse.
[When I was harrassed] I felt as if I couldn’t do anything,” Buquis said. I felt guilty for hurting our relationship. It really seemed like my insecurities were the root of our problems. And I felt that I was going to lose the one good thing I had going for me and it’d be my fault.”
The distance between Phan and Buquis put a strain on their already fragile relationship. With 40 miles separating them, it was becoming a hassle to spend physical quality time. Eventually, Buquis’ self-doubt surfaced. This constantly troubled Phan and planted a seed of miscommunication, making it hard for her to support him through his trauma.
“Since we are in a long-distance relationship, I felt like my words weren’t enough to make him feel comfortable,” Phan said. “I never did anything to make him doubt my faith, but it frustrated me to know that he didn’t trust me as much as I trusted him. However, I earned his trust by opening up about my feelings and making him secure in the relationship.”
During this journey, communication and reassurance played critical roles in Phan and Buquis’ relationship. Working on those skills encouraged the couple to strengthen their relationship by addressing the distrust and self-doubt. They had active online communication to replace the loss of physical quality time. Naturally, they began to call daily once their relationship blossomed.
“We call every day,” Phan said. “I call him once when I wake up and we stay on call when we go to sleep. Being able to talk about anything makes us really comfortable with each other. Communication helped us understand each other’s perspective on different situations.”
Despite this rocky start, the aftermath was a positive one as they are on track to a five-month relationship on Feb. 27. In fact, their bond has become stronger than ever after the two months they took to get past this rough patch.
“The result was very positive, as we realized that everything can be worked out through time and communication,” Phan said. “We now have the patience to fix problems and comfort each other in times of need.”