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Three weeks after returning from his trip to Frankfurt, Okeke had an accreditation to cover a conference organized by a psychologist on long distance relationship. Dr. Merlissa Musoso was born in France and graduated from La Sorbonne University in Paris where she earned a doctorate degree in psychology and psychotherapy. Many of her colleagues called her the “Diaspora doctor” because she was very familiar with the mental health of Africans living in France. Her own father served her as a case study. Monsieur Jean Musoso got married to her mother and they were separated just immediately after the marriage. Mama Patience had to wait for five years in Kinshasa, Democratic republic of Congo, before she was able to get visa to enter France. Her father Monsieur Jean Musoso had to wait for her too.  He sent her money every month and each letter that he received from her was a moment of celebration of their love.

Dr. Melissa started the conference with the quotation of Thomas Moore which states: “Relationship at a distance can do things for the heart that a closer, day-to-day companionship cannot”. Then she went on to say that there is nothing bad in having a long distance relationship depending on the things that surround it. There were many people in the hall to listen to her and Okeke was taking notes and recording the conference at the same time.

Dr. Merlissa continued: “Yes, like I said there many angles to long distance relationship. You don’t have to pay attention to what your love is doing on the other side of the ocean. The man may be cheating on the lover.  The female might be messing around too. You can’t see it. You can only try to imagine the situation. The man can be thinking, ‘Oh my God who is she really with right now. Why is she not picking my calls’ Then she will call you to tell you that she had a hectic day at work. It’s more like a psychological relationship. It is in the mind. It’s a mental thing. So they communicate based on mindset. On the contrary, you can still have relationship with people close to you and still get nothing out of it. Everything in life is complicated. When it comes to a long distance relationship where you are unable to see the person for a long time, you are wasting your time. There are circumstances where some men date females in abroad for about three years because of immigration and other reasons. After three years, they can’t hold no more because this girl has been waiting for a long time for her to become the French wife and see Paris.  Another situation is that she wedded and at the end of the day nothing comes out of it. The man went off and married a white woman. The wife at home ends up with a heart broken and she becomes three years older. Then she has to face the reality and go to somebody else. So, long distance relationship can be extremely complex. What you can’t see, what you can’t get, what you can’t feel at that moment that you are experiencing it is not real.

For a long relationship to be successful you must need a lot of cash. Yes. You must have money so that you can be paying for tickets and flying to see one another. It’s very important. If you can’t do that you might just become friends with the person and continue to live your life but don’t make any empty promises so you don’t end up breaking other people’s heart”. Merlissa paused for few seconds as she raised the glass of water in front of her. She had a sip of the water to cool off her vocal cords. She has been taking for the past thirty minutes. Okeke raised his hand to ask questions but she declined his demand announcing to her audience that question time will be at the end of the conference.

Then she continued: “I like to say something on a personal level as a woman. I can guarantee our relationship based on friendship but I can’t guarantee it based on real love. Long distance relationship like I said has many aspects to it. It’s good if you have money. It’s bad if you are just a struggling guy in one European country or elsewhere trying to survive with no cash. It’s just pure fantasy for you. It’s not reality. Reality is when you see two people together face to face and they study each other, paying attention to each other, paying attention to different things, different behaviors, personality and their life styles. But if your long distance relationship is based only on phone calls, speaking on Skype or Whatsapp, the chance of it working is extremely slim. To conclude this conference, I would say that life is all about risk and the reality seems to be that long distance relationship depends on individual relationships and how they value their relationship”. There was a long standing ovation for Dr. Merlissa while some journalists in the hall wanted to ask her questions. But she refused to take any question.

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