Skype, email, text, IM, cell phone call, face time, gchat, Tweet, Facebook message…we have so many means of communication now that we didn’t have even a few years ago. And yet, communicating with our partners, especially when we’re at a long distance, has never been so challenging.
Deciding whether or not to pursue or stay in a long distance relationship has only become more and more complex. Many of you have been pondering whether or not to stay in your relationship over the summer. You’ve also wondered whether or not to go abroad or stay at school and be with your significant other.
These are not easy decisions. After all, true love, and/or a great relationship, can be hard to come by and build.
Yet, some of us still have so many adventures ahead of us!
This past year I left my boyfriend of a couple of years so that I could spend four months in Peru doing an internship to finish my final graduate school requirements. We had just moved in together only a few months before I left. And we’d gotten used to spending (and enjoying, might I add!) copious amounts of time together.
Don’t get me wrong. We both had jobs, co-workers, friends and family we enjoyed spending time with, as well as our own interests. But coming home to one another and going to sleep at night next to one another, making and eating dinner together and catching up on our days became daily rituals we came to know and to love and to anticipate eagerly…
So when I told my boyfriend that I’d be bopping down to South America for a few months, he was supportive but not exactly enthusiastic. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be with a partner who is this supportive and who wants me to seek and take on experiences that will leave me fulfilled and joyful. But still, it is understanding that he was a bit dreadful at the prospect of four months away from each other. So was I.
I tried to convince him of how magical it would be if we could weave the intimate nuances of our longings for and memories of one another into the lost art of writing and sending love letters, to no avail. Needless to say, he was less than thrilled (still) with this prospect. I’m pretty sure he shot down the snail mail idea right away. This means of communication would be too slow for us.
We’d barely get a few letters written, mailed, received, read, and aptly digested and responded to before I’d be back home again…besides, who can wait long enough to get through that process and then wait for a response? We’re used to immediacy in so many things, but especially in our forms of modern day communication.
Pretty sure his response was simply, “Hunny, can’t we just Skype each other?”
And we did. But I still sent him a homemade snail mail Valentine’s Day card. It took days, weeks, to collect paper scraps that I would then use to intricately cut out various hearts and form them into a collage, and then write a hand written note on the inside of the card, sparing no details of my longings and adorations for him…I’m pretty sure it made it to him by March. Not bad.
Mainly we relied on Skype. And that was fine. And he was selfless, so I felt as though we stayed connected while I didn’t miss out on the experience I so desired during my time in Peru. We also had something to look forward to because he met me there for two weeks at the end of my trip so that we could return home together. That helped a lot because it was something we could share, in terms of the planning and anticipation, while we waited to be reunited.
But it’s hard to be away from your love. And when you’re young, and unsure of what you want just yet, or don’t know when you will be together again, things are even more complicated. It worked out for me – I trusted myself, went and had this experience, and my boyfriend became my fiancée. But it doesn’t always work out this way. I consider myself lucky but also the timing was right, and I happened to have met the right person for me…
Either way, I wouldn’t have traded the experience. So take your time, think it through, and try to do what’s best for you, whether it’s staying or going.
Door handle photo available from Shutterstock.