Virtual Therapy: Thoughts on Long Distance

Before I begin this post, I want to provide my credentials on the topic.

I’ve been in a relationship for the past two years. During the first six months, my boyfriend and I finished highschool in our hometown and spent the summer with our closest friends. Then, we spent the greater part (much greater, some 75%) of the next year and a half 1,500 miles apart. If you do the math- out of a nine month school year, we see each other for a total of three weeks.

Now, there are five specific questions/statements I want to discuss in this post; five questions/statements I feel like I’m constantly hearing, being in a long distance relationship. In the hope of putting a little insight out into the universe, here are the answers that initially come to my mind.

1. How do you do it?

Honestly, I don’t know, so I really hate that you’re asking me this. I’m not sure if you’re expecting something profound or if you want me to break down in front of you, but yes, we’ve done this for a while and yes, one would think we’d be used to it by now, but we’re not. At least, I’m not. I don’t think I ever will be. The point of the matter is, you make do. Whatever you need, you make it happen. You communicate and cry and stress. You deal with extreme emotions on both sides of the spectrum and you hope you can get through it in one piece. A lot of it is taking it as it comes, one day, one week, one month at a time. Distraction is good.

2. You make it seem so easy.

Sadly it’s not, and it doesn’t get easier. My best friend is nine states away and there’s only so much comfort provided by texting, phone calls, and Facetime. If it seems easy to you, it’s because you’re not seeing the bad stuff, because I don’t promote the bad stuff. I try not to think about the bad stuff. Also, depending on when you ask, the answer changes. Ask me right after we’ve finally spent a weekend together, I’ll probably be a mess. Very sad, very cynical. Ask me right before we’re going to finally see each other, I’ll probably be giddy. Anytime in between, I don’t know. There’s this weird state of mind in that middle period there that I experience. It’s almost as if I feel single. Not in a going out, interested in other people kind of way, but in the sense that I’m dating a ghost: loving someone who isn’t really there. That can be the hardest part of all.

3. Don’t you think you’re missing out?

This question makes me nervous, because sometimes I find myself asking the same thing. If things work out, I will never experience any relationships in college other than this one. I will never deal with the “players” or the “cheaters” and never have to stumble my way through the horrendous college dating scene. From what I’ve heard, I’m not really missing out. However, it’s true that I won’t date other people. I won’t ever get to know anyone else on that deep of a level. Sometimes I wonder if this is a bad thing, but I also don’t plan for things to change, so I guess this question is going to remain a mystery to the both of us.

4. I could never do that.

I can’t really agree or disagree here, because no matter the person asking, I’m not them. A long distance relationship is something you really have to put work into, something you really have to commit to. It’s definitely true that you need to be with the right person, but in reality, the majority of time you spend in your long distance relationship is time spent alone. Before taking on something like that, you have to make sure you know whether you’re capable of the hard stuff.

5. Is it worth it?

I have an incredible boyfriend. I have a support system 110% of the time. If I need to talk to someone, I pick up a phone. Yes, it’s not the ideal situation, but that’s okay. There is not a second that goes by that I don’t feel like I am loved and cared for. Plus, I get to have my own life. I get to hangout with my friends and focus on school, not worry about where someone else is every moment of the day, or when I’m going to see them next. The structure of a long distance relationship works for me. The little things end up meaning way more than they would if we were together all the time and seeing each other always confirms that this is the right choice. If you have someone you love, who loves you back unconditionally, why give that up? In those circumstances, what really is distance? To me, it’s nothing but a number. And though 1,500 miles seems like a scary number, right now everything is okay.

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