I have always said N-O to long-distance relationships, mainly when serving as a counselor to friends because I have never been faced with the dilemma but alas, here we are. New relationships bring new highs and new challenges. In this case, a trial I am still trying to ignore is the long-distance question. When you become quite comfortable seeing some one on a regularly scheduled basis separating the routine with countries and continents does not seem like the best idea. Once a couple has finally found their domestic groove, which takes time within itself, things can get quite stirred up with a move abroad. In postulating, I was directed to four possible outcomes/directions. First, stay together. Next, break up before the impending separation. Third, a hall-pass scenario-which can either funnel into a break up or joyous reunion. Finally, my personal favorite, avoid the issue at all costs up until moving day. Each outcome has positive and negative effects for both parties. The first solution is deceptively harder than it sounds. One can argue that problems of emotional distance have pretty much been solved by the connecting forces of Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. However, physical proximately is not easily achieved through a digital screen and this can have some repercussions. Temptation, wandering gazes are only intensified with distance. With less scrutiny on the relationship, it is easy to lose sight of loyalty. Sometimes we simply develop a strong craving for intimacy and want to be held close, wrapped in the arms of our significant other.
In relationships we learn to grow with another person and constantly seek collaboration and feedback. Physical separateness promotes separate growth and you could turn out to bloom into a completely different person with changing wants and needs. Communicating character evolution is key in long distance relationships so couples stay in tune with each other’s progression. Reevaluation, not constant but occasional, is also a requirement of both parties to make sure that the excitement and enthusiasm is still present. If two choose to remain a pair, another complication that comes up is the question of missing someone too much to stay together. While this seems slightly oxymoronic it has proven very realistic. The pain of being apart can actually be hurtful. Overwhelming sadness sounds like it means two people really deeply care about each other but this can be unhealthy. The idea of being trapped by phone calls, text messages, wedded to Skype dates can be really fearful. Being that person standing in the corner, on the phone with her boyfriend, during the New Years party, does not seem appealing. It’s a shackling sensation, one that chafes the heart and spirit. The fear of missing out is almost as strong as the fear of missing itself.
After several discussions, where suggestions were increasingly jumbled and contradicting I had an amazingly frank friend give me advice. Her brunt quote was thus, “I think you need to get over yourself and get a vibrator.” I don’t mean to be so crass (but what would Carrie do?) and that is not the key focus of her instruction. My best friend emphasized the first clause and I will repeat, “I think you need to get over yourself.” She did not mean this in a hurtful way but as a pointed statement at my narcissism mixed with misguided pride that seemed to be guiding my decision making process and probably the majority of this piece.
I am still going to have to figure out how to “get over myself” as does everyone grappling with similar circumstances. First, reaffirm your love or very strong affection for the person you are with. This feeling, whatever you want to call it, should probably be what’s propelling your discussion, not internal fears. Next, be logical. As analytical as it sounds it is necessary to look at the timeline. This includes duration of separation, availability to visit, and where your own work or studies will place you on a scale from “very occupied” to “lounging around.” A caution with the latter is too much time on your hands can lead to overthinking, oversleeping,… ‘over’ waiting around. The more productive each individual is with their time, the more likely it is that they will become more comfortable and accustomed to the couple void. A final note to “getting over yourself” is remembering that two hearts are beating in this equation. As cheesy as it sounds, relationships are not easy. They are not all drinks and dancing, painting and nesting, and all other things that either causes traditionalists to squeal or hipsters to cry. Contentiousness is critical and sacrifices will be made. A long-distance relationship requires more selflessness than a customary relationship. Failing at a long distance relationship does not doom all future endeavors in one’s romantic life. Letting the fear of failing hold you back is what my friend meant when she said “get over yourself,.” Translation: get over the fear of your destructive, cheating, lying, prideful self and embrace the beautiful, caring, empathic, nurturing side that your partner fell for in the first place.