today's post is probably going to be really angst-ridden, and i'm just going to allow that to happen because it's just kind of been an angsty day.
i fell asleep trying to accomplish my homework, so it didn't get done, which is unfortunate. i also went to the orthopaedist and found out that i likely tore my meniscus in my right knee, so that's two for two on that front.
but that's not the point.
this post is about long distance relationships and how they aren't romantic or sweet or good plot devices.
when my man friend, adam, and i started dating in december of 2013, we knew realistically that i would be moving back to indiana in late april and that he still had two years left of school in michigan. and when he wasn't at school, he would be at home.
when he's at alma, he's three hours away.
when he's at home, he's three hours away.
we started officially dating at eleven o'clock at night on my bunk bed while i drank half a bottle of wine to deal with my emotions and a long choir rehearsal. when he went back to his room, i went to brush my teeth and i could not stop smiling because we were dating and i was so happy.
then i looked at myself in the mirror and said out loud, "i'm graduating. what the fuck am i doing?"
and i didn't worry about it because i was happy now and we would cross that bridge when we got to it.
we have certainly gotten to that bridge.
adam and i have been dating for a year and six months and we have spent a year and two of those months in a long distance relationship.
three hours is not that far. but adam doesn't have a car, which means that i have to do all of the driving. even with working two part time jobs, i can't always afford the gas. my van doesn't get the greatest gas mileage and going to alma and back or detroit and back is a full tank.
this allows me to see adam once a month if it works in our schedules while he's at school.
but as of late, it's been closer to every two months, and often, all we get is a weekend.
some people think that this is romantic and cute. they say, "oh, it must be so great when you get to see him!"
yeah, it's excellent when i get to see him after two months. but three days later i'm saying goodbye and it's like the weekend didn't even happen. and it sucks.
a lot of people tell me that it's a good thing that we live in the era of technology. we can skype and talk on the phone and text.
all of that is great. adam and i talk on the phone about once a week. we skype about once a month. we text every single day.
but that does not replace a person.
there are things called love languages: how we like to give and receive love. there are five of them. my primary is physical touch, followed closely by quality time.
as i often tell people, i like to spend quality time touching people.
for my emotional wellbeing and to feel loved, i need to be cuddled. i need people to hold my hand. hannah and i cuddle together when we watch movies and we hold hands when we go shopping. i need lots of hugs from family members.
i also give love this way, which is sometimes problematic because some people don't like to be touched. i'm a hugger. i want to hug everyone and not everyone likes to be hugged. i hug my parents constantly. i come up behind my mom and scratch her back. i pat people on the back. i touch people to show affection.
i need to touch people to show that i love them and to know that they love me.
this is very difficult when the person that you're in a long term relationship with is three hours away and you can't see them for two months.
a week after i graduated and moved back to indiana, adam went to scotland to tour with the choir. something him about being in scotland absolutely killed me. i think it was the idea that i couldn't drop whatever i was doing and irresponsibly go see him. we were able to talk on the phone through the messenger app (and because of that i don't badmouth it) and we were able to send each other pictures of what we were up to. i wrote a really angsty poem called "how to love someone far away". i read it to him over the phone.
i missed him so much that i took a day off of work to drive to detroit and pick him up from the airport. when he came through customs i dropped what i was holding and cried. in front of the whole choir.
most people thought it was cute. it was mostly embarrassing.
all of this stuff can be kind of sweet. the whole running into each other's arms when you haven't seen each other in so long. lying awake at night dreaming about them cuddling with you.
but there's other stuff that's not as sweet.
there's the ruined plans where you had planned a weekend to see each other and it falls through.
there's everyone around you that has their significant other with them and available.
when i have panic attacks that i can't get through myself, i have to call adam and pray that he's available to talk me down. sometimes he can't help over the phone.
there are the late night conversations that go like this.
me: i miss you.
adam: i miss you too.
me: only a few more weeks.
adam: why can't it be now?
me: because that's not how this works.
when you are actually are together, you try to cram in everything you want to do in a short period of time. adam was here for five days for my birthday and i hadn't seen him in two months. i still had to go to work and class. i had other obligations that i needed to attend to. we did a lot of running around and doing other things than just being with each other.
when we just want to lay around and not do anything but just be together, it's not us being lazy. it's us finally being able to be together and feel each other and just be with each other.
i get bitter about people that live with their significant others or live close to them. at people who see them every day or even just every weekend. i try not to let it happen, but it does. it happens a lot.
the question i get asked the most is, "how do you do it? i could never do it."
you do it because there's no other choice. because you love a person that lives far away and you're not going to let distance stop you.
in my initial plans, i was going to be going to grad school in england starting this fall. adam and i were talking on the phone the other night and he told me that if i left for england this fall, that probably would've been it, we would've been through. he told me that he can deal with having me be in a different state and the seeing me every two months.
he didn't think he could handle me being halfway around the world.
one of my friends met her boyfriend in scotland. she finished up her year at alma while her boyfriend lived in edinburgh. after she graduated, she moved to edinburgh with him.
that is comitment. maybe adam and i could've done that, maybe we couldn't have. i don't know.
after i get my master's degree, i'm moving out of the country for a while. asking him to move out of the country with me is a lot to ask of someone. he told me that we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
we've crossed the first bridge. maybe we can cross the second one without falling in the water.
i believe in us. i do. we make it work because we have to if we want to be together, and we do. we want to be together because we love each other.
it sucks. but we do it.
long distance relationships aren't cute. they are late nights spent crying. they are phone conversations when you never want to hang up. they're long drives and bad poetry and a deep sadness that never really goes away.
it sucks. but we do it.