My standard advice to friends of mine who have to make the decision to embark on a long distance relationship is not to, whenever possible. I cynically have never really believed that they could work. Up until fairly recently that is. I am a big fan of the quote “my opinions change with new information” and in this case it is true. I feared the lonely, and unhappy feeling of being away from my partner for such a long time, that I failed to consider any wonderful things that could result. I was focused on the physical aspect, the loss of intimacy, and the lack of a real connection with my partner. I had anxiety the weeks leading up to his departure, and I cried, a lot, at the mere mention of him leaving. I convinced myself that missing him would be one of the worst feelings, and that it would be likened to having a mini breakup.
I am so happy that the reality is far from that expectation. I was surprised to discover, that when you are apart from your lover, as soon as you get the chance to talk it is anything but superficial. There is sincere effort made to truly communicate, to share your day, and to listen to the others words. The communication goes from passive to active. Because of the lack of physical contact, there is real effort in explanation and discussion as to what is going on in the others life. If let’s say for example I am having a bad day, he cannot just hug me and hold me. Instead he has to be a much more active player in helping me work through it. On the other hand, if he has achieved a goal of his, I cannot just take him out for celebratory beers. Instead I have to really think, and come up with creative ways to celebrate, for example, taking sexy pictures.
I had anxiety about feeling separation, and when I got my first message that his plane had landed those feelings just melted away. I mentioned that I felt lazy in monogamy in a previous post, and that I have really worked on becoming more assertive and direct in what I want and need. There is nothing like being in different countries to really put that work to the test. It is amazing to discover that all the hard work, and the foundation building really was worthwhile. That in fact we have a solid foundation and are able to help each other through loss, injury and more importantly celebrate each others accomplishments in a way that is meaningful to both of us.
I feared long distances separating us, and I feared that because I did not understand. I did not appreciate that there is value in being apart, that you learn to crave the other person. That you rekindle the desire and the void gets filled with this intense excitement for when you get to see each other again. I fully understand now “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. It is simple, in hindsight of course, that you can easily take advantage of something that is always there. That stable force that is unchanging and constantly available loses its challenge, and appeal after time. I guess the next step is to find an artificial way to achieve this feeling without having to be separated by a border for an extended period of time. And I think I know just how to do it…