It started when my Mom asked me a question that had become a staple of my conversations with her – “Do you like anyone?” With a giddy, slightly embarrassed smile, I sheepishly replied I did. She bounced excitedly in her seat at the Palace Theatre, and I promised her that I would tell her about the guy in question later.
It was over dinner, at a sports bar at about ten at night, where I revealed select details about my first boyfriend – he loves to cook; he’s studious; he’s logical to balance out my emotional; he’s self-conscious about pictures being taken of him; he likes designing stuff. I was understandably excited, it was my first adult relationship (three months strong then), and I was telling the first person in my family I came out to all about it. But my mother, and subsequently my friends, seemed deterred by one detail – he lives in England.
Over time, she, my father, and my friends questioned the legitimacy of the relationship, claiming that long distance isn’t an actual relationship, my mother even suggesting the idea that he was catfishing me.
My mom’s visit ended with her seeing me off at the train station, and suggesting that the relationship would be difficult, or fail, due to lack of physical intimacy. One of my friends questioned how our Skype dates could be considered “dates”, and, later on, was legitimately surprised when I told her we’d been dating for half a year; she ended up basically throwing her hands into the air and admitting she “just couldn’t understand.”
“Why don’t you find someone closer?”
That’s a question that had been posed to me several times. Sure, long distance sucks for when you want to make out with each other, but it’s just something to conquer. All relationships have something like that – something to overcome, like clashing ideologies and morals, differing ideas of the future, even what to eat for dinner. All relationships have them.
But, for some reason, long distance gets the wrap for being a relationship that’s doomed to fail, a weird notion that it’s a “tragic romance”. Nothing about my relationship with my boyfriend is “tragic”; if anything, it’s comfortably anticlimactic. We don’t have day-long fights because we’re able to come to a compromise quickly. We aren’t obsessively jealous of the other’s schedule and who they’re interacting with because we know that we can’t stop the other from living a life.
We’ve reached a level of emotional intimacy that most couples don’t reach for a long while.
When we are physically intimate, we feel safe because we both trust each other. Probably the biggest driving force for our relationship is aspiring to see the other person happy. “So…why don’t you find someone closer?” In the end, it’s all a matter of what works best for you and your partner. Yes, the circumstances surrounding any long-distance sucks, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. For me, by the time it started, I genuinely thought it’d be over within a month, because I believed in the negative wrap LDRs get.
But that whole relationship is a brand new ballpark. So no, I don’t want to find anyone closer, because I don’t want to feel like I’m starting from scratch and building something from the ground up. My boyfriend and I worked hard to get where we are, and we like it.
I’m going to come out of this with someone who’ll stand by my side and make up for what I lack in, and he knows the same for me. We’re both working towards a final goal that’s not within reach, but when it is, it’ll be made all the more satisfying because we’ve made it over all the big hurdles.
Because distance shouldn’t be a defining characteristic of a relationship, the development should be.
Because, despite geographical and WIFI-related setbacks, it’s still a relationship between two people who love and care about each other. Because no matter what, it’s still a relationship between people. That’s why.