Last month, we asked readers to share their personal stories of love on Valentine’s Day. One submission was from 22-year-old Eleanor Chua, a Year 3 student pursuing Traditional Chinese Medicine. Eleanor shared an interesting, yet heartwarming tale

of how she met her 26-year-old boyfriend, Amit, in the northern Indian city of Rishikesh — situated in the Himalayan foothills besides the Ganges River — last December. Eleanor had set out on a month-long journey to study yoga, which Rishikesh is famous for, but a weekend rafting trip led her to the love of her life instead. We publish Eleanor’s submission in full below, and she also offers tips on coping in a long-distance relationship

#foreveralone. Valentine’s Day always seems to be that time of the year when not only love fills the air but complaints about singlehood get tossed about. And it doesn’t help that Chinese New Year is just around the corner, when relatives get to shamelessly hound you about your relationship status.

This year I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day alone, yet again. Not because I’m single, but because this year, my significant other lives in India. I’ve never really thought about how people in my position felt during Valentine’s till this year.

How do people with their significant other not being physically around — whether they are nobly serving the country like United States soldiers, busy working hard in another country, or simply not being around anymore — overcome this day of extreme longing for their loved ones to be in their arms once again?

He constantly reminds me he is here with me, but sometimes thinking that makes it even worse. How am I to imagine him being here when I obviously can’t feel him? What makes things even more miserable is that I don’t even know when the next time I can see him will be.

It might be four months, six months, or a year later. I don’t know. Sometimes, I wonder what made me head-dive into something like this when I knew so clearly it would be a long-distance relationship.

I miss so dearly the Silk Cadbury chocolates he used to give me when I would sneak out in the evenings after dinner to meet him. My mum would just be clueless, busy playing Candy Crush in her own room in our yoga school. I miss the scooter rides in the Himalayas (pronounced as HE-MAH-LEE-YAHS, not HE-MA-LAYERS), along the Holy Ganges. I miss his hiccups and the sweet smell of his jacket. I miss him demanding the noisy stray dogs to chup. Yes, I’m feeling the love; so much this year and it hurts pretty bad.

But maybe things happen for a reason and God is telling me something. Maybe he is telling me to do something about this situation, to choose what I really want, to work for what I really want, to be patient, to be stronger, to be trusting, to communicate better. Or maybe he just wants me to focus on my studies first.

Whatever the reason, love seems to be teaching me a lot of things this year. So thank you love, thank you Saint Valentine.

ELEANOR’S TIPS ON SURVIVING A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

• “The most helpful thing for me is to talk to my friends, because when we quarrel, it helps me see things from a third person’s viewpoint … But of course, I talk to the people who are positive. Some encourage me to stay angry, but I realised it doesn’t help.”

• “Keeping myself busy helps. When he’s working, he can’t reply for extended periods, and sometimes he’s also tired so he won’t feel like talking that much.”

• “I think, for our relationship, it’s also easier because the time difference is only 2.5 hours, unlike some of my friends whose partners are in the United Kingdom.”