Maintaining a long-distance relationship is agonizing in the sweetest sense

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BY FRANCAIS OWEN HEALY — THE CAMPUS LEDGER

09/25/2014 3:30 p.m.


fhealy@jccc.edu

For the past three years, I have been a massive hypocrite. Whenever the topic of long distance, intimate relationships pop up, I immediately inform anyone asking not to bother with it. I would say it isn’t worth your time, that it’s hopeless, and that it’ll just get you hurt.

I feel those statements are generally true, but despite those feelings, I’ve been involved in a long distance relationship of my own.

My significant other and I went to prom together in a duct tape gown and suit. To see each other, we buy $11 round trip tickets and take 12-hour “megabus” rides back and forth between Chicago and Kansas City. These excursions hap­pen a few times every year.

When we’re together, the trivial things in life that usually make me sad or an­gry roll off like water. When I tell people about my relationship, the reaction is al­ways affectionate. They comment on how admirable and cute it is that our relation­ship has worked out despite the distance.

If anyone asks me if my relationship is “worth it,” I don’t even blink before I say yes. When I’m asked why, I tell them the truth: because at this point in my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way unless it was right beside her.

Even though I feel my advice is solid and something to be followed, I don’t fol­low it myself. It’s a “do as I say, not as I do” type situation. I wouldn’t doom anyone else to a long distance relation­ship because of the sinking feeling that surfaces anytime I go to a place they like without them, or when I hang out with friends of theirs and they speak as if they are a long gone part of their lives.

It’s hard to remember to respond to texts sometimes, and down right impos­sible to determine the tone of a text. Find­ing time for our “quick” chats that evolve into four-hour long discussions about anything and everything can be like a blast from a railfun for my sleep schedule. Simple misunderstandings can stem from a poorly worded message and sometimes need to be ironed out later on. Even if ev­erything between us is great, and things are slowly progressing towards the life you want to have together, there is pain in little things as days go by.

My best friend once told me some­thing that stuck to me. An elderly man said to him that the long distance rela­tionship is the curse of the modern age. A sort of awful state of relationship that can only exist due to the increased avail­ability of inexpensive travel and easy to use video chatting and texting. In the past, if your significant other was mov­ing away or you were moving away from them, the polite and forward thing to do was it break it off. Don’t beat around the bush. It wasn’t worth the heartache of expensive, long distance phone calls and letters to keep the embers alive. That has all changed, for better or for worse.

Despite the life I live, when I say don’t have a long distance relationship, I still mean it. If you don’t know whether or not you can do it; if even a tiny part of you doesn’t feel right, just don’t. Never stay in a relationship you’re not happy with, especially a long distance one.

But I will say this: if you do think it’s worth it, if you do think you have what it takes to make it work, don’t shy away from it. Ride that train for all it’s worth. If you and your significant other want to make it work, there will always be ways to come out on the other side triumphant­ly. I too hope to be able to be on the other side celebrating soon.

 

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