Absence Doesn’t Actually Make The Heart Grow Fonder

Flickr / Jonathan Grado
Flickr / Jonathan Grado

All relationships have their ups and downs, right? This is a clichéd phrase we’ve heard over and over. Healthy, normal relationships aren’t perfect. But what if you aren’t able to experience those ups and downs? What if your relationship is so sickeningly perfect all because you’re not together long enough to make it anything but? Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Wrong. When you can’t be with someone – your someone – for an extended amount of time, how are you supposed to trek through those challenges and allow the relationship to grow?

This is quite a complicated concept that I’ve been dealing with for some time now. Of course my specific long-distance relationship isn’t going to be the same as anyone else’s. My significant other and I see each other once a month maybe if we’re lucky. Sometimes more often and sometimes much, much less. Over the course of a year we’ve seen one another roughly nine or ten times anywhere from a couple days to almost a week at a time. Long-distance relationships do have one thing going for them – the amount of time it takes you to truly connect with a person is drastically less than dating someone face-to-face, everyday, all the time. I found myself falling in love way sooner than I would’ve let myself in normal circumstances.

What makes things hard is what I’ve come to call “the Skype barrier.” This is the separation that always exists between two people in this situation no matter how close they may actually feel. There’s always something missing. After two months at a time of separation I find myself seeing him as a different person than who I’ve been talking to through text, or Skype, or Facetime, etc. It’s not like he’s a bad person, in fact, he’s still the amazing person I know and love. The problem is we interact in a different way face-to-face than we do over the phone.

I find myself being frustrated at the fact that I have to reconnect with him every time we’re finally together. Then by the time I feel reconnected and completely happy, it’s time to leave again and the cycle starts over. Awhile ago I was upset with him for pretty much the first time in six months. I told him that I wanted to just fight with him. I wanted to get fired up and just go at it. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever been upset about. I realize now that it isn’t completely silly. We’re never together long enough to annoy each other or to experience anything that gives us that challenge of overcoming it. I felt like we weren’t growing because of that. We were staying in the same place we’ve always been in. Realizing this was the greatest thing that could’ve happened.

I push the relationship more everyday because of this and I am so much happier. I hated that the relationship was so perfect all the time. Nothing is perfect all the time! In order to get past this you have to come up with new ways of communicating so you don’t get stuck in a rut of boring, routine conversations that sometimes make it seem not worth it to pick up the phone that day and talk. Long-distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes you annoyed and frustrated. That’s the truth. You have to work so much harder to make the relationship exciting and spontaneous. But, hey, that’s how you really know it’s worth keeping. TC mark

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