Long distance sucks. I’m not the first one to have said it and I sure as hell won’t be the last.
For many couples, long distance can be make or break. I know this because it broke us before we began. But there’s a happy ending, just wait…
Before I begin properly the title of this blog is kind of deceptive because it’s not really an advice blog about how to cope with long distance. It’s more of the story of my long distance relationship.
Last year, I found myself in a happy, content relationship. But my relationship, alas, had a hamartia (thanks for helping me discover that word John Green). A fatal flaw.
What was the hamatia?
I was accepted to study abroad for six months and had decided to take another six months off to travel Europe while I was away. For a relationship barely over six months old…this was huge.
I agonised over what to do. We agonised over what to do. I’ll skip out all of the agonising details, but eventually we decided that it would best to “break up but stay friends”.
I bet you’re laughing. How many couples say that and how many does it actually work out for? I don’t have statistics and I don’t have numbers but my guess would be: Not many.
Neither of us wanted to do long distance, and we decided it would be safer to try to stay friends than end up hating each other from far away. Confusing, I know.
A few days before I left, when I drove away from his place for the last time, I cried. I cried the whole way down the highway to my house, and luckily for me, seemingly every radio station had picked that exact time on that exact day to blast soppy love songs about breaking up.
We weren’t in love. But it still hurt.
And so on December 22nd last year, I left Australia with a whole year of exciting memories and moments to come. But I always wondered what would have happened if I had stayed or if we had stayed together.
We kept talking, and at times it was strained and at times it was perfect. I kept wondering and I know he did too. We talked about getting back together when I got back, but I know that neither of us wanted to get too invested in case the other met someone else and it hurt all over again.
He told me he wanted to come over and visit, only to tell me a week later that he couldn’t get time off work.
Then in May, I went away for the weekend to complete a 42 kilometre, 3 mountain hike in the Yorkshire Dales. The Friday before I left, I jokingly replied “Ily” to a Facebook message. He replied “Ily2” and I wasn’t sure what it meant. When I got back from the weekend, he got up at 6am his time to Skype me.
Then he told me that he loved me.
I couldn’t say it then, which I know hurt a lot, but two days later I realised that I did aswell.
We officially had the conversation about getting “back together” in June but in all honesty we were together long before that.
Then in July he messaged me one day.
“Where will you be in November/December?”
Me: “I don’t know, probably Germany or Prague or somewhere”
Him: “How about the Cotswolds?”
Me: (really stupid, bad at geography, thought Cotswolds were in Italy) “Yeah maybe”
Him: “What about the Cotswolds with me?”
I asked him what he meant. He said that he could get time off work and that he had been trying to surprise me, however due to my lack of solid plans, he was having trouble with the “surprise” aspect.
And so for the past few months, we’ve Skyped or Whatsapped or just chatted on Facebook when I woke up (and he was going to sleep) and when I was going to sleep (and when he woke up).
It’s like the Simple Plan song Jet Lag. “You say good morning, when it’s midnight. It’s driving me mad, I miss you so bad”.
It has been so hard. I knew that it was never going to be easy, but the closer it gets, the hard it gets. We’ve battled through timezones and bad wifi and misunderstandings due to lack of tone on Facebook. We’ve chatted as I wandered and meandered through Italy and countless other countries, with him often hearing my camera click as we were on the phone (#multitasking). We’ve sent letters and postcards and wine and Vegemite. Even flowers. But we’ve done something that I never thought was possible at the end of last year. Something I never wanted to do at the end of last year.
And just like that it’s almost time. On November 27th he will arrive in London. We will finally get our big reunion; our reward for coping with the constant difficult that is long distance. I can’t wait to step off the train and into his arms. I know already that this whole blog is probably super cliche and you’ve probably given up reading before this point, but long distance is worth it. You’ve got to be prepared to deal with the highs and lows which are often impossible to foresee, but it’s worth it. Completely.