One thing I discussed a few posts back was the unsettling feeling that something major changes when someone returns to their hometown after being away at college. The change can be internal or external (or, in some cases, both), existent or nonexistent, but regardless, there is a feeling that something is different. Personally, I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I think maybe just the experience of going away to school, meeting people from all over, and becoming more myself has made being back home feel a little… off, like something is missing.
Something that is physically missing from my life at the moment is my boyfriend, Mitchell. He lives in Hawaii, and he’s spending the summer there, which is difficult. I will admit: I’m absolutely terrible with long distance anything. I don’t usually believe in long distance relationships, and I personally have never really seen the point of them if they are going to last more than a few months. However, I have a friend who is currently doing long-distance with her boyfriend, who she met in Germany, and they’re making long-distance seem like a breeze (which it probably isn’t a breeze everyday, but they give me hope that it can work). I also recently realized that my two best friends are currently in long distance relationships, and are both really happy. Apparently, distance isn’t so bad!
But anyway, when I first got home, I ran into the friend dating a German, and she asked me how Mitchell and I were doing and if I missed him, the usual questions. I told her I missed him, and she replied with something like, “I wouldn’t recommend the distance thing, but we do things for the people we love.” I figured this summed it up better than I currently can. The thing is, once in college, people have to remember you spend nine months on campus and three at home, working somewhere, interning, etc. So, while summers apart may be less than ideal, I have to remind myself daily that it’s only three months before I get to spend another nine with Mitchell. I also have to remind myself that confidence in the relationship makes the distance easier to handle. People who are doing long distance cannot have lukewarm feelings; otherwise it’ll basically implode before either person makes a trip to visit the other.
Long-distance, in my opinion, can only work if both people are really committed to one another, and have expressed that neither person is going anywhere. If you’re confident in the relationship, it’s much more likely that you won’t be calling the person 24/7 to make sure they’re not cheating, make sure they still love you, etc. While I may joke about Mitchell falling in love with an island girl while he’s home, I know that he’s loyal and trustworthy, and that at the end of the day, he’ll be getting off a plane in Sacramento August 10th to spend a week with me before we head back to Saint Mary’s.
Even relationships where both people are in the same city at all times require effort, care, and a little something extra. But the difference with these relationships and those that have distance (and I mean literal distance) between two people is that the people in the same city can walk down a street holding hands, go on a date whenever they want, and hug or kiss goodnight, while people who are long distance can only express these gestures in words. One of the first movies Mitchell and I ever watched was Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. Haven’t seen it? You should! It’s about two people who meet in a common city and end up one opposite ends of the country, but attempt to maintain their relationship. So, while Mitchell and I have only 3 months apart, maybe that movie foreshadowed what we would go through during those months apart. And while it may be hard, if two people truly care for one another, they’ll make distance work somehow, some way.