You me and cities in between

As the sun starts fluttering through my sheer white curtains I feel my eyes begin to creep open. My body starts becoming aware of the objects around me, becoming aware of the person beside me in the most vulnerable state one can be in. With the consistent rise and fall of their chest they lay there adding a new warmth to my bed. Their scent mingling with the fabric of the sheet wrapped around their body. I wipe the sleep from the corner of my eyes and stretch my limbs as gracefully as possible as I try not to wake them. I want to enjoy this moment for as long as I can. I want to bask in their presence. I don’t need to hear their voice, laugh at the witty jokes, or see their electric smile to appreciate this moment. I want to just appreciate the fact that they’re here, because I know that the warm spot left in my bed will disappear just as fast as it came.

University, career paths, and unexpected events are a few reasons we may find ourselves in long distance relationships. The connotations that are associated with these types of relationships are rarely positive. Maybe the only positive thing said about them is the cliché: absence makes the heart grow fonder. With the pro and con list weighing heavy in cons it makes me wonder why we put ourselves through these relationships?

Personally, I can’t say I have had a serious long distance relationship. Some of my Tinder matches have been 238 km away (let me tell you, it wasn’t ideal for our love connection) but that’s about as far as I have let a long distance relationship go. However, I have seen some of my best friends go through the difficulties of having their partner out of reach. As a young girl in a tight knit friend group I almost felt as if I was in the relationship with them.

Ding Ding Ding. It’s Friday evening and my phone is blowing up. Feeling a little popular I fish it out of my back pocket. I see my best friend’s name on the screen. Three unread text messages. Without opening the messages, I know they could hold a number of things. A) she did something embarrassing in public and is sharing the horror with me in hopes that I comfort her but really we just end up laughing together. B) I haven’t texted her in an hour and she is convinced I am dead. Or C) she saw a good looking guy on the street and knew I’d appreciate it. But for some reason I have a gut feeling that this time it’s none of the above and when I slide my phone open I will be presented with screenshots, a small rant and a question on how to proceed. This has become routine with us.

One of my best friends fell in love with a boy. A really great guy. He was funny, friendly, and treated her well. I never saw her act her genuine self around anyone else but me before. I couldn’t have been happier for her – besides the little tinge of jealousy I felt seeing her with someone who complimented her so well. But despite all the great things this guy had going for him he had one big fault, he lived 4000 km away.

The first weekend he moved away I watched their relationship change from a perfectly in sync partnership to a friction filled mess. The feelings they had for each other did not change, but the way their relationship worked did.

The common factor that always seems to create problems in any type of relationship is social outings. The bar, a place you go to have fun and let loose, quickly turns into a breeding ground for couple disputes. This mixed with distance only seems to intensify things. Separated by cities the unknown creates a divide. The unknown of who is there, what your partner is doing, how much they’re drinking, and if they really are loyal is enough to drive you crazy. Now mix this with alcohol and you have the perfect recipe to find yourself ugly crying in a bathroom stall.

Social media enables everyone to be FBI investigators. Being able to keep tabs on someone and stalking their every move makes it easy to overreact. It can be hard seeing your significant other like another person’s picture on Instagram or become friends with an unfamiliar face on Facebook. Or if you are next level crazy enough to track their IPhone and notice they are not where you thought, (I am ashamed to say this is not foreign to me) doubt can easily seep into your relationship.

I understand that many long distance relationships aren’t like this. You often hear of success stories of couples who live across the province, across the country, or even across the world that make their arrangement work. And if you have found that person that you truly believe is your soulmate then don’t let them go! Hold onto them no matter what, because who knows how many soulmates you get in a lifetime. But for every other relationship that isn’t destined in the stars, what do you do? If you truly love this person how do you decide to let that go? The truth is tough: you may love someone with your whole heart but when distance comes into play things will change.

“You are so young; I know you love him but is he the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with? Probably not. It’s your first year of university, your first year in a new city. I don’t want you to hold back and miss out on opportunities because you are sitting at home waiting for him to call. You have so many guys to meet, so many breakups to go through, so many life changes to deal with. Don’t hold yourself back and miss those moments because of one guy. It’s going to hurt now. You’re going to want to call him when you see something that reminds you of him or when something good happens to you because I know you still love him, but life is short. We know that better than anyone. I don’t want you to call crying anymore, you deserve to be happy. You deserve to have the best 4 years of your life here at university. You just need to let him go. I’ll be here.” This is a text I sent to my best friend when it was the fourth weekend in a row she went to bed crying. I think that you know when they’re “the one,” and both of you will do whatever it is you need to do to make it work. But most of us are far from finding the one we’ll grow old with and there is no reason we should be settling for anything less than perfect. Lana Del Rey once sang, “sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough, I don’t know why.” Sometimes even though the love is there, it can’t stop heartbreak. It’s a battle no one wants to fight. No one wants to be separated from the one they love, but in a lot of cases it is inevitable. So if you ever find yourself in that situation I truly wish you the best and if it is meant to be it will be. But if you find yourself on the more unfortunate side of it, it is ok to let that person go and do what’s best for you. Whatever happens, I hope you’re happy.