In my opinion, I think few things are as misunderstood as long-distance relationships. Throw in some extreme distances into the equation, and people just don’t know what to think.
So I thought I’d give my readers a little look into this mystery of mysteries. A bit of a primer for those who have not been through it. Because honestly, unless you’ve been through the experience, you really have no clue.
Some of the most frequent comments one gets when in a LDR (that’s so I don’t have to keep typing out “Long-Distance Relationship”)………
“Oh wow, you guys are still together?” (said with some kind of shock or disbelief.)
“I could never do that.”
“Aren’t you worried he’ll do something when you guys are apart?”
“How often do you guys get to talk to each other?”
As you can see, some questions carry more weight than others. And don’t get me wrong, close friends and family aren’t usually the culprits. They know when things are great. It’s the random acquaintances that perhaps mean well, but don’t quite know how to broach the subject, who tend to be the worst offenders.
I thought I’d take a few minutes to address some of the above statements so I can give some clarity to the long-distance relationship anomaly.
First, a relationship is a relationship. Each one is unique. Not a single one is exempt from challenges. But if two people want to be together, they will find a way. Period.
So if a couple has been together for quite some time, it’s rather irrelevant if they live in the same town, in the same house, or in different countries. They will make plans just like any other couple. They will have serious conversations, and at other times they will have silly conversations. They will talk about how their day was, and they will talk about their life goals together. For couples in a LDR, they just aren’t physically together all the time. That’s the only difference. And in almost all cases, they are working to end the long distance part of the situation.
So yup – still together! I think sometimes people who haven’t been in this kind of situation just don’t take it as seriously – like it’s not as serious as other relationships? I’m honestly not sure. Does everyone else occasionally get asked if they’re still together with their significant other? (Especially when together for a considerable amount of time? Just curious.)
Now, that leads me to my response to the people who say they just couldn’t be in a LDR…
You either love someone and want to have a relationship with them, or you don’t. I personally don’t see how someone can completely give up on someone they love, when otherwise both parties are willing to try to make it work. What would be the internal rationalization? I love you and you love me, but we can’t see each other everyday so why bother? Ummm… Excuse me? I don’t know about other people’s hearts and emotions, but mine don’t work that way.
Okay, I guess I could maybe understand that way of thinking if it’s the very beginning, and you don’t even want to start. That’s a personal decision based on if you have the courage to take a chance or not. (I was scared out of my freakin’ mind after Miloš spent that week with me in Vienna over two years ago. In such a short amount of time (literally a few days), my entire world – my entire existence – was rocked to the core. Things would never be the same. We knew we needed to be in each other’s lives.)
But by taking that chance (despite all those fears), I came to realize that I had found my soul mate, and I can’t imagine my world without him in it. I took the scary path into the unknown and, HOT DAMN! I’m so incredibly glad that I did. I hit the jackpot! It was truly a risk worth taking.
As for the whole issue of fidelity, as a couple we have one very basic philosophy. I’m not going to mince words…
When you find the best thing that ever happened to you, you don’t fuck it up by doing something as stupid as cheating. We love each other and we would never hurt each other in that way. Boom. Done. Super simple: loyalty, trust, honor, respect.
As someone who got cheated on a LOT by my first serious boyfriend back in my teenage years, I can tell you that geographic location does not effect someone who is going to mess around with other people. That high school boyfriend fooled around with tons of girls, all in our very own town. (At least the ones that I knew about.) He was a cheater. Geography was irrelevant.
You see, there will always be opportunities. But if you truly love someone, you make the right decision. You don’t hurt them. And then you trust in the other person. This loyalty and trust is what makes for a strong and secure relationship.
As to how often we talk when we’re apart? Pretty much every day. Some days it’s twice a day or more. Although it really depends on internet signals. We use online calling apps to connect. Usually Tango, because it’s a video chat app that we both have on our smartphones. But sometimes we’ll use Viber if Tango isn’t working. (Viber is an app just for calling and texting, although it does allow for 30 second voice messages back and forth too.) Regular phone calls and texts are not an option when you are across international borders – too cost prohibitive.
While Miloš is working this season, part of his route will take him all the way down to the Black Sea – through some more remote areas. I’m thinking the signals won’t be so strong in some of those regions. It’s gonna suck. But the fact that he sails through Vienna every few weeks and I get him IN PERSON is worth having a day here and there where we can’t talk. The most important part: no more three month stretches apart!
I won’t lie – being in a LDR is hard. Duh. Being apart from the one you love is always hard. There’s no way around it. It’s especially difficult at night when you lie in bed wishing the other person was there. But since there’s ALWAYS a countdown, each night alone is another night crossed off the calendar, making the countdown smaller. Soon you’re into the next day – another day closer to seeing each other.
And (I’ve mentioned this before), when you DO get to see your love, you never take it for granted. It’s truly wonderful. You appreciate the other person’s physical presence at such a high level. Plus, it gives you something to always be looking forward to.
Just yesterday, Miloš was in Vienna for the day. (Like I’ve mentioned previously, his ship is on the Danube most of this season, so it’ll be stopping through every few weeks.) He doesn’t get days off, but he gets blocks of hours off during the day. (We had two and a half hours in the afternoon, and then the whole evening when he finished his final shift.) In the afternoon, when I was walking from the UBahn stop to the area of the river where the ships dock, I could feel my excitement growing. I was almost there. And then when I turned the corner and saw his ship, I could feel my heart fluttering in my chest and I got the biggest smile. When he came out and lifted me off the ground when he hugged me, it was like floating in the clouds. Every minute we had together yesterday was perfect, just for the simple fact that we got to be together. From walking around the city, to grabbing dinner in the first district, to cuddling while looking at old pics of ourselves. All of it.
As time goes by, we know that we are working hard to create a future together where the whole long-distance thing will be a thing of the past. Years from now, I know our future selves will be looking back at the pics we’re taking now on these visits. We’ll smile and reminisce, knowing that every moment together was another building block on the journey to being together all the time.
Then and now…..