To Date or Not to Date
Long distance is the question
By: Faith Deutschle
There aren’t many things I consider myself really good at. I’m a mediocre soccer player, a terrible cook, and don’t even get me started about my inability to keep anything clean and organized. However, once upon a time, I was a terrific long-distance girlfriend.
My first stab at a long-distance relationship was a total debacle. I was too young- a fact my mother obviously knew and repeatedly reminded me with comments like, “A high school girl doesn’t belong on a college campus, Faith.” But I was 16, he was cute and two years older than me at the time. I thought I was in love with him.
In the end, I broke up with him after one year of living apart, because . . . well, we grew apart.
Long-distance dating is gut wrenching. You want the other person to be happy, but not too happy. You want to know they are having a good time, but not too good of a time.
So how is it that some keep it all together? How do they let themselves grow as individuals and still remain a couple? Luckily, (please hear the sarcasm) I got the chance to do it all over again.
My next boyfriend and I had been dating for about six months when we headed off to separate colleges. There was no way I was going to be one of those girls who goes to a school to be with her boyfriend. I went to school in Pittsburgh, and he went off to Baltimore. Not exactly bi-continental dating, but at the time it might as well have been.
Neither of us had a car our freshman year. In fact, he didn’t even have a cell phone. Our nights were spent on AOL Instant Messenger, which I recognize is totally archaic, with BlackBerrys and text messaging taking relationships by storm.
The only way to actually see each other was by Greyhound Bus. I swear I now know what hell is like. After five and a half hours on the bus I was able to see him for about 36 hours before I would make the trip back to Pittsburgh.
I remember crying my eyes out numerous times on those bus trips. One time a large man even offered me a bite of his Snickers bar to console me. By the looks of this man, I can assure you it was quite a sacrifice.
Another time a woman showed me pictures of her man, but explained that she was waiting for him to get out of jail so she knew exactly how I felt being separated and all. I like to think that those bus rides built character and ultimately proved just how much I loved my boyfriend.
We stuck together through all four years of college. And it did get easier. We both got cars and cell phones, and our class schedules became more flexible. Along the way there were a lot of tears, many missed parties, and more fights than I care to mention, but we were together.
A girlfriend once asked me how I did it. The answer was simple–communication. A phone call, a text message, an e-mail, a letter, a card, or even a cookie, makes all the difference. As long as you are willing to be brutally honest with each other and make time for that extremely inconvenient phone call, you can make it.
I would be a liar if I said everything was perfect between us right now. For the first time in five years we are in the same city. In fact, we live less than a mile from one another. Ultimately, we have decided to give each other some space to find out who we are without all the distance between us. The whole experience has me wondering if the true test of our relationship is yet to come.
There is no simple ending to a long-distance relationship. No trite sentence to make it all better or undo the years we spent trying to keep it all together. In this case, what remains are two people that would do anything for each other-even if that means letting go of the very thing we strived to hold on to.
Tell us: Have you made a long-distance relationship work?