What I've Learned Being In A Long-Distance Relationship

What I’ve Learned Being In A Long-Distance Relationship

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About 5 months ago I got into a long-distance relationship – we’re 9 hours driving/a timezone away from one another.  I’d never before done the long-distance thing, and at the time I said to myself “well this will be mighty convenient! I can travel and it will be fun and we won’t be all up in each other’s business all the time!”. Well. Foolish me. Now at least once a month everything feels hard and sad and I’m way more in touch with my emotions at every moment of the day than I’ve ever been before, mostly because I have to be to stay sane.

But after 5 months I’m totally the expert, right? Right. And because I’m the expert, below is what I’ve learned so far about being in a long-distance relationship. You’re welcome. 

  • Trust is incredibly important - If we didn’t trust each other, we wouldn’t have made it 5 months. We probably wouldn’t have made it 2. It’s probably a pretty obvious point, but my partner and I have worked hard to never give one another reason to not have trust. It goes beyond our own actions, though – I feel like we’ve also both made the conscious decision to trust, and it has been a very, very good decision.
  • Skype is a beautiful and wonderful invention – It is how I conduct a large percentage of my relationship, and thank whatever supernatural being you believe in that it’s free. We usually use the voice call feature, though, because video calls on Skype are “dates” now, dammit.
  • It’s okay to miss someone and sometimes it really hurts a lot and that’s okay, too – If one more person tells me “absence makes the heart grow fonder” I might punch them. I wouldn’t trade the missing I feel for anything, but sometimes I get extra lonely and maybe there are tears and my partner doesn’t judge me because that’s what good partners do.  Then I get through it and everything is happy excitement again.
  • You find out very quickly where your priorities lie – I’ve told friends I’m going out with that I need to be home in time for my Skype date. I’ve completely restructured my budget to include plane tickets (there is no direct flight between our cities, so each trip costs the one of us travelling around $300.00 in airfare alone). And so on. And so on.
  • Only getting to have sex one week/weekend out of the month is difficult – Or I’ve just got issues. Either way, it sucks and I swear to god when we are living in the same city I’m disappearing for a month and no one is allowed to judge me. Or demand that I answer their text messages in anything remotely resembling a timely fashion.
  • 1 hour time difference actually is significant – I really don’t know how people more than one timezone away do it. Honestly. You don’t realize how convenient living in the same timezone with your partner is until you aren’t. My mother always told me it’s rude to call someone before 10am. Sorry, mom.
  • You’re going to get really good at taking selfies – Or just take a lot of really bad ones. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s the case with me. I am so not a photographer. I may sometimes drift into “and here’s me walking down the street!” territory, and I may have an abundance of pictures of my partner with his cat, but that’s so very much better than the alternative.
  • Writing love notes is really fun, even if I’m just saying the same thing over and over – I’m pretty sure my boyfriend has a stack of cards about a foot high that all say a variation on the exact same thing. He’s not complained yet, and rather still gets happy when I send him mail, so I’ll take that as a win.
  • Many public places are totally appropriate for making out – Public spots I’ve been inappropriate in, an incomplete list: 1 train station, multiple airports, countless street corners, coffee shops (exact number unknown), 1 football stadium, 1 distillery, 1 brewery. Got to get it in while I can when we’re together, you know?
  • Getting made up for a Skype date isn’t nearly as lame as it sounds – Or maybe it is. Whatever. Don’t judge me. I’ll just be over here in my pajamas and my meticulously applied eyeliner.
  • Fuck the haters – I’ve gotten a couple of questions like “Why don’t you just date someone in your own city?”. Because, fuck you – I’m in love, that’s why. It’s all totally worth it.

Image: Out of the Box

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Margaret Bashaar’s poetry has been collected in 2 chapbooks – Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press, 2011) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt, 2009) as well as in many literary journals and anthologies. She edits the chapbook micro press Hyacinth Girl Press, attempts to repair antique typewriters, and spends far too much time at haunted hotels in coal mining towns for her own good. She’s only been suspected of being possessed once and hopes to someday become a rogue taxidermist. She misses the Midwest. Follow her on Twitter @myhyacinthgirl