November 21, 2010 by 8junebugs
At an event last week, a grad school friend (who is not a dummeh) asked for advice about long-distance relationships. She’s in one, see, and knows I’m in one, so she thought maybe I could share something more insightful than, “Yeah, sucks, doesn’t it?”
It’s not on our resumes or anything, but G and I really are champs at this. I mean, I don’t want to brag or anything, but we’ve got a long, strong history of being AWESOME at a distance equal to or greater than 2,000 miles.
One could argue that our relationship falters when we’re only a couple hundred miles apart and then disintegrates entirely when we’re only separated by three stops on the red line. But one could also argue that living with my mother for 10 months in my early 20s drove me to the brink of a breakdown. So it wasn’t geography’s fault AT ALL. (We hope.)
(No, really. Because that would totally suck, wouldn’t it? Thankfully, we really do like being in the same place…certainly more than we like buoying Delta’s stock price.)
You know, I don’t feel old because I learned the Dewey decimal system or because I had a rotary phone until my teens. I don’t even feel old because I remember when seatbelts were optional. I feel old because I know what long-distance relationships used to cost.
In fact, I think I just figured out where my UPS salary went. No wonder I didn’t have any savings…
We make this work with much more robust versions of what we had in the 90s:
- Email (more accounts, easier access)
- Trillian (uberchat)
- Smartphones with unlimited minutes and texting
- Facebook (and/or Twitter)
- A decent income to afford flights, which are not necessarily cheaper than they were before, but are WAY easier to price and schedule
- Practice — we’ve done this…(P-town/NYC; Cornwall/NYC; DC/Nevada)…three times, NOT TO MENTION the summers apart while he toured with the Blue Devils, back when regular people didn’t have cell phones
- Deeply held, frequently discussed, fervent belief in the rightness of us. It’s not that it wasn’t there before — we’re just better at talking about it now.
- Certainty that we’re temporarily apart for acceptable reasons and are not content to live this way forever. Put another way: I’m never putting my kid(s) through what I went through, wondering why Vermont was more important to my mom than her husband and kid(s).**
- The knowledge that this used to be a lot harder (which will sound trite to a baby boomer to whom love letters became lifelines)
I’m not saying it’s for everyone or even that I would recommend it, but… About once every month or two, someone says, “OMG, that sucks! How do you manage it?” and I have to stop myself from shrugging my shoulders and saying, “It’s not that bad,” because that’s akin to saying, “Please judge the strength of our relationship.” In the grand scheme of things, though? It ain’t that bad, it’s easier than it used to be, and it’s a short-term situation in a long-term plan.
Plus, I’ve got plenty of stuff I could complain about, if anyone’s interested. My boyfriend’s nowhere near the top of that list.
* If there’s actually a Dummies text out there for this, I apologize. Sincerely. And if not, there’s always wikiHow.
** This is not entirely accurate. I know why she did it, and it’s an example I simply refuse to follow. Frankly, though, it’s a lot easier for me than it was for her.