She Wanted A Long Distance Relationship And This is Why I Said No
Recently, I spent some time with a girl I used to date and when we dated it was picture perfect. Every moment we spent, we thought, if life found a way to put us in the same place at the same time, we could be in a relationship. I would actually make a commitment to her, but it had to be under the condition of us living in the same city. I wasn’t about to do long distance, which is something she was willing to do.
Every time she brought it up I told her I couldn’t and every time she wanted a reason I would tell her things like how long distance didn’t work. I tried it before. I was 29 and too old for that type of situation. Eventually, she relented, and stopped asking me. Eventually she went on her way. And though the two of us will still talk even as she settles down halfway across the country, I hope she understands why her and I at a distance won’t work for me. When a friend of mine asked me last night why I chose to not do a long distance relationship, this is what I told her.
It’s not because of the bad times. Bad times are bad times. No matter the distance, bad times suck and they suck badly. For me, long distance relationships truly show their limitations during the moments of happiness.
I can remember the times when I was younger and thought the distance was nothing. Long hours on the phone, some lengthy email and iChat conversations, frequent visits, and that’s all there was to it. Communication was the key to our survival, long as we had that, I thought, we would be okay. But sometimes, it was to our own demise.
When I’m having a conversation with a woman and we’re laughing, and we’re connecting on nearly every talking point, I don’t want her to disappear after her phone clicks. I want to lay next to her and let the silence of our words be replaced by simple sleep in the same bed together at the same time. What do I look like holding my phone all close waiting for it to ring or vibrate so I can talk to her again on the other end?
It’s the good times by yourself that wake you up to the cold reality the person with whom you would most like to share the moment, isn’t there. Calling your person up to tell them good news about the promotion or the raise or the great day is what any of us would do. But why put myself in a situation where I know the person I’m calling isn’t going to be home waiting for me to celebrate further?
The good times are the hardest times in a long distance relationship. When I was most happy in the long distance relationships I did attempt, I remember how bittersweet every one of those moments were. They were so drastically different than the good times I had with the women who were close. They couldn’t even compare, and to me, that’s what hurt me the most.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, sometimes you don’t want to go out simply to avoid the risk of meeting someone who is close. I remember times I would rush home after a long day of work, excited to get on the phone and talk to someone for hours on end. It all seemed so great, but in retrospect, it was what we were forced to do. Even the best conversation in the world can’t compare to the feeling of coming home to someone and without having to say so much as a word, receiving a hug or a kiss from them.
Then there’s the visits, which always hurt more at departure than feel good at arrival. To those who have never given this long distance thing a try, trust me when I say, the smile we wear for the length of the visit is never on our face for a greater amount of time than the frown we wear when we leave.
The way I see it, if long distance relationships were really so great, then why don’t people just stay in them? The answer is simple. Those people who are great in long distance relationships, don’t stay in them because they know like I know, the better it gets, the worse it feels. And the only way to change that is to pack some bags and say hello, with no thoughts of ever saying goodbye.