Thursday, April 9, 2009

Does Long Distance Ever Make Sense?

via captivate me
I used to be a serial long distance dater and I think the world has changed so much (thanks internets) that we know people we've never met in person, travel all the time, job hop, and change cities more than generations before us. This means a lot of really great things for networking and making friends until you meet someone you like. Like really like.
I don't necessarily think I was dating long distance because of how wonderful my travel life has been. It's more likely that because if you date someone far away, you can do whatever you want and the other person isn't there to piss you off. I know, mature right?
So here's what I've learned after 3 serious long distance relationships:
There Has To Be An End Date. You can't just be dating someone that lives potentially forever in another state. It works if you know it's going to end at some point and you actually know when that point is. It might be a tiny little light at the end of the tunnel, but at least it's there.
I Miss You Doesn't Mean I Love you. I realized that I spent a lot of evenings pining away for a faraway boyfriend and making up in my head what we "would be doing together if he were here". In all likelihood, we wouldn't be doing those things. We'd be doing some of the boring stuff that couples do but courtesy of my wild imagination we'd be doing these amazing, exiting things every second. Strangely enough, this didn't set me up for relationships with people in the same city that well.
Distance Can Create... Surprise, Distance. Expect that you will not know most of his or her friends. They will not know yours. He won't know how you like your coffee or what TV shows you like. On the positive side, he will know some of the things you are only comfortable saying in the middle of the night to a phone receiver so it's possible to have a really rewarding level of intimacy with someone who doesn't live near you.
Visits Are Just Vacation. It's not real life. You don't fight because you only have 4 days. If you are in a long distance relationship, you must visit at least once a month. Make it happen because if you don't you'll have to spend the first day or so getting to know each other again.


Blogger Grace Boyle said...

Caitlin, I couldn't agree more. I've been in a long distance relationship (for a year) and it is so challenging. The distance (whether its 5 hours away or 2000 miles, like mine was) is always hard.

I like to think of myself as a strong, independent woman so moving "for someone" has always been hard for me. The biggest part that led my last boyfriend and I to recently end things, was that we didn't or couldn't find light at the end of the tunnel. Because of our career, we both felt it irrational to pick up and move suddenly. I'm not one to choose career over love or my personal life, but in this case, I thought waiting it out a little longer would help us. It didn't and it's painful and you always think of the things you could have done but there are certain things you have to accept if you're going to be long distance. I also think that those weekend trips aren't real-life and they're definitely a "vacation" making for unrealistic expectations sometimes.

It's good to hear others have been or are in the same boat. I'm not sure if I would do another LDR, but who knows, we live in a digital age and with the frequency of career changes, it makes it more viable. Thanks for sharing (wow, did I just vent?) ;)

April 9, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger JR Moreau said...

I've been in a long distance relationship for over two years now and it's one of the harder things I've had to do in life. The pressure of being apart weighed heavily on me and I forced a break up late last year until we formulated a strategy to get at least within the same city at some point.

I think if the long distance goes for too long, it's a question of whether both are committed to making the relationship come to fruition sooner than later.

I love my girlfriend dearly, but I wouldn't recommend a long distance relationship to anyone who could avoid it.

April 9, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Grace and JR - I'm so glad to hear that other people feel this way too. I kind of felt like I had failed those relationships in some ways by not being tough enough to "stick with it".
However, I don't think it' a natural way to have a relationship (totally makes you crazy every time you see a cute couple at a coffee shop too doesn't it?)
I would agree with you JR, avoid at all costs!

April 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the ultimatum... move here or move on...

- Monster

April 17, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

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