This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Before I left Montreal, I remember speaking to some one about my intention to move to New Zealand. The point was brought up that my sweetheart planned to remain in Montreal for the time being. The person’s response was “Wow. A long distance relationship. I tried doing that once. It’s really hard.” In my mind, it was as if this person was saying “Yeah right! You actually think that’s going to work out?”.
That was by far the most negative response I had received, whereas on the other hand, most of my friends said things along the lines of “Well, don’t worry! Things will work out! You guys love each other!”; which was how I felt.
Since that initial negative response, I have encountered other equally negative comments, more than I would have expected. However, in the time that has passed that I have been involved in the aforementioned long distance relationship (LDR), I am becoming aware of the simple fact that being in a LDR is indeed very hard.
I think we’ve probably all met people who have had significant others in a distant locale. I remember when I was in the Peace Corps several of the volunteers had girlfriends or boyfriends back home that they were waiting for, despite a 2+ year service commitment. Some of them had open-relationship agreements, others didn’t explicitly, but wound up seeing other people. I’ve met tons of people who have had partners far away, some have seemed able to cope with it no problem, others have said how hard it was.
My entire concept of LDR’s, having never been in real long-term relationship in the first place, much less a long-distance one, really came from my knowledge of 2 of my male friend’s experiences, though I don’t know if either is typical. My friend Harry – he had been dating a girl back home in Ohio, and they had promised to stay together, but be in an open relationship for the duration of his 2 year service in West Africa. She even came to visit him, and declared her desire to be with him for the rest of her life. About a year and half into his service however, she met another guy, and told him it was over. He was heart broken. A different good friend of mine was in a long distance relationship for years and kept it a secret from everyone. Once they moved in together, things didn’t work out and they eventually parted ways. It seems like some relationships actually work better long-distance than in close proximity. LDR’s seems to have the potential to make or break a relationship.
As for me, I’m struggling with being so far away from my beloved. I miss him so much. It is really hard. Technology makes it easier, being able to chat on Skype for a couple of hours a day, e-mails when the time difference makes it impossible, etc. I can barely imagine what it would have been like to try to send a letter, not even knowing if it would arrive to my darling, and waiting months for his response. Oh, the agony!
There are a surprising number of long-distance relationship advice websites and whatnot. One of which is http://www.missyourmate.com/, and this one: http://www.lovingfromadistance.com/ – written by a girl & her boyfriend separated by a measly 250 miles!!! There are others, and Ticker has read me responses from the advice columnist in the Montreal Mirror regarding long distance relationships. Long-distance romances have inspired literature, film, music, art, poetry, etc. etc. etc. Pining for some one you love really gets your emotional and creative juices flowing.
Being away from one’s sweetie also has its surprising benefits. You know how they say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” It’s like I can’t even remember all those things about Ticker that used to drive me crazy. I’ve even started romanticizing his t-shirts that I formerly despised. Taking this big (15,000 km) step back from him has actually strengthened our relationship in some ways… and helped me realise just how much I’m madly in love with him, and need him in my life forever. But yeah, it’s hard too. However, I’m lucky I have the sweetest, cutest, awesomest boyfriend in the entire world.