Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crossing the Great Divide

The long distance relationship is an interesting one. I guess now is as good a time as any to talk about the great love of my young adult life. I met my ex boyfriend at the ripe age of seventeen. We were seniors at rivaled high schools and met through mutual friends. We fell into that kind of love that you can only have at the age of seventeen when your biggest problems involve coordinating your prom outfits and deciding on a movie or bowling on Saturday nights. And when college knocked at our front door, we ended up on different sides of the country, promising to visit each other as much as possible and spending every school break together. Well, as I'm sure you've guessed, our lives grew apart and after making it a commendable 2 years, we broke up. College continued and eventually we graduated and moved back to the same coast where we somehow reconvened much older and wiser by this point. This is where I think we entered into a more grown up relationship. We were in for real love this time and planned to spend our lives together. Our families were friends, he had keys to my parent's house and fed the cat whenever they needed him. Holidays were already divided amongst our families and my gifts usually included diamonds. We were firmly ensconced in each others lives. But there was a giant unmentioned factor in our union-he lived in Boston while I lived in Miami (before I moved to the great Manhattan). We were 'grown ups' though and flew to each other at least every weekend, but it took it's toll. We got sick of having a weekend relationship and not being able to see each other on a regular Wednesday night of must see TV. It became trying and eventually the conversation came: we were going to move in together. Since I was moving to New York City, we would find an apartment together, which immediately made me nervous. We'd been apart for so long, how would we live together? Would it drive me crazy seeing his clippers and toothbrush in my bathroom? Would I go insane picking up his dirty clothes that never seemed to make their way to the hamper? What it came down to was this: did I love him enough to seal the vast space between us, leaving all his 'isms' on the shelf and loving him despite them? My answer was, maybe, which was a problem in itself. On some days I'd be super excited about the move...on others, not so much. The move started off relatively okay and then we started to realize just how different we were. We'd spent so much time apart, we barely knew who we were beyond the confines of a weekend. I started to imagine spending my life with him and I got completely freaked out. He asked my father for my hand in marriage, despite our constant arguing, at least in my opinion, and retracting into separate parts of our two bedroom apartment. He felt as though we were simply getting used to coexisting inside the same four walls. But one day, after a huge fight about my ability to clean up after myself and his inability to so, we sat on the couch and had the conversation that I needed desperately. Were we going to make it? Maybe it was time to cut our losses, move out and move on. After much hemming and hawing, it became clear that we were on two different pages and there was someone better out there for both of us. And even now, with him in Boston, and me in NYC, we're able to talk occasionally and it feels fine-like we were meant to be in each other's lives-just in separate cities.

I have tons of friend embarking on long distance unions, seeking advice on how to make it work. Well, I'll tell you this: communication is everything. You only have limited amounts of face time, so you are depending on phone calls, emails, and text messages to do the job of a good ol' conversation. It becomes taxing, but what it comes down to is the very same bottom line that it comes down to in a regular relationship-if you believe in your heart, at the end of the day, that you want nothing more than that person and will cross the firey pits of hell to bring happiness their way, than you do it. You do whatever you have to do. Men find themselves in the supermarket check out armed with tampons or putting up with the crazy mood swings of their girlfriend once a month. Women discover that they love their man despite the fact that he seems to walk out of his clothes the moment he walks in the door, leaving them wherever or not cringing when, while doing his laundry, you come across a pair of skid marks in his boxers. You find yourselves swallowing your pride, humoring your loved one or allowing them to drool all over you while they cry it out. You do what you have to do because you love them unconditionally and while distance is perhaps the biggest condition, it can become quite small when you're with that someone who makes it all worth it. And no land or sea will keep you from enjoying its value.

That bitch stole my line,

Blackie Collins

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