Hong Kong is a vibrant and stimulating city. There is no lack of people to meet every day. The dating scene is exciting but relationships can be pretty transient for expats because people come and go all the time. I also often hear that living in Hong Kong makes or breaks a couple because there are so many distractions, temptations and opportunities here.
Today, my partner, Joanne, and I celebrate our 2 years and 10 months together (yes, 2 more months to our 3rd Anniversary!). We’re still at the beginning of our life journey – learning and always will – and I’m going to share with you why living in Hong Kong strengthens our relationship through our own experiences as a couple.
We’re used to growing up in big spaces in Singapore but Joanne had a headstart living in small spaces since she was already based in Hong Kong for 3 years prior to me moving over.
We started our relationship on a long distance basis for 6 months before we decided to live in the same country, under the same roof (Yup, a massive leap of faith). I didn’t like living in small apartments at all. It’s the biggest turn-off for me. But living in small space has also subconsciously made me more expressive and thoughtful in my communication.
With lesser physical space comes lesser emotional space for bottled up feelings too.
Fight or flight? We choose to fight and our fight doesn’t last longer than an hour. We aren’t confrontational by nature but we learn to face and talk about difficult topics together. It beats flight anytime because overcoming issues together makes our relationship stronger.
Changes in life are always uncomfortable and we also recognise that discomfort is the catalyst for growth. Either we sulk and whine or suck it up and grow. We chose the latter. No matter what, we’re a team. We’re each other’s cheerleader, we’re each other’s safety net, and we’re in this together.
Never Run Out Of Things To Do
There is always something to do for everyone in Hong Kong. Wanna go back to nature? The nearest hike is just 10-20 minutes away from the city. Wanna party hard? Lan Kwai Fong has one of the best nightlife in Asia. Have an insatiable palate for food? You can find all kinds of street food and high-quality international cuisines in Hong Kong. That’s not it, there are more than 101 activities to do in Hong Kong with new establishments and events popping up every month to interest you.
We love the wide range of activities that we can do in Hong Kong during each season. Whether it’s doing something we’re familiar with or something completely new, we keep an open mind. It not only strengthens our bond but it also gives us new memories together. There is always something to look forward to in Hong Kong. It’s so convenient here!
Time Is Precious (So Is Our Energy)
Time waits for no man, especially in Hong Kong. We don’t waste time complaining to each other. When we make a mistake, we admit it, get up, learn our lesson, let go and move on quickly. When we don’t feel right about something, we talk about it, resolve it and move on. We treasure our time and energy and we have no patience for bullshit, drama, excuses and unappreciative/toxic/ambivalent behaviours. We recognise what we value together. We fight for it and we protect it.
Over time, this habit also creates a very positive outlook on life for us. I’m not saying we don’t have our grouchy days, but it makes us more aware of what we value in our life.
We’re both extroverts (though it took me a while to realise that I’m actually one!). We enjoy socialising, hosting, meeting new people while growing our existing friendships not just together but also individually.
Being able to meet interesting people from all walks of life excites us. We are also incredibly lucky and grateful to have met so many inspiring and successful people and friends who broaden our horizons and are so generous to share their great energy, knowledge, support and way of life with us. Through meeting/knowing these people and friends, we also thrive to better ourselves which brings us to the next point.
It’s highly competitive in Hong Kong. Someone, somewhere, is always hustling. Being competitive ourselves, we thrive in such environment. We enjoy a dose of healthy competition from each other and our highly successful peers. Learning, improving and sharing is part and parcel of growing and getting closer to our goals. After having each other in our life, we are even more motivated to be the best version of ourselves.
We’ve got each other’s back and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to raise the bar while growing together and having the utmost patience for each other. Being boring and stagnant is clearly not our style.
If the hectic lifestyle gets too monotonous, a beautiful beach getaway or a trip back home is just a couple of hours away to recharge ourselves. We’re always amazed how a trip away from Hong Kong does wonders to refresh ourselves whether we’re doing it together or alone.
Afterall, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s a fine balance!
Never Take Each Other For Granted
At the end of the day, we’re both in a foreign country together. We made this decision and we stick to it every day.
Even though we see each other under the same roof every day, we’ll still have our daily routines – like me sending Joanne to the door every morning, no matter how late I sleep and how ridiculously early she has to get up for work, sharing with each other what we’re grateful of, saying “thank you” at the smallest gesture, caring about each other’s appetite and feelings, making each other laugh with our silliest antics (best way to relieve stress after a long day, I swear!), staying in sync with each other and most importantly, we never go to bed angry at each other.
We’re very grateful to have each other and for all the experiences and people we get to meet in Hong Kong.
Work in Progress
Let’s keep it real. Temptations and distractions of all kinds are everywhere, especially in this internet era. Not everyone believes in a happy ending. Some people just want to take you for a ride.
If you keep yourself busy watering and cultivating your grass instead of envying other’s lawn, be clear about what you want and not want in your life, you’ll definitely reap what you sow. That’s what we believe in. It’s a daily conscious effort and decision. It’s always a work in progress.
What about you? If you’re in a relationship, how do you find living in Hong Kong or whatever you are strengthens your relationship? It doesn’t matter if you guys are a new couple, married, or have been together for many decades, I’d love to hear from you. Please share with me.