The year is 2018, my ex and I are both about to start new adventures in life. I’m moving to Honolulu for college, and they’re going on a gap year abroad in Europe. What qualifies as long distance to some, would’ve been nothing for us. We had friends who complained about a two-hour commute by car, while we had oceans, continents, and thirteen time zones between us. Now fast forward to this year, 2021, I’m in a new relationship with someone I have an even harder time thinking about separating from and we’re looking at the same thing. They’re moving to the mainland for work. I have a full ride scholarship to study abroad for a year in Taiwan, something I’ve been working for over the last eight years now. As you can imagine, lots of things have been going through my head as I dive head-first into a long distance relationship across oceans, continents, and thirteen time zones (again).
Because of modern technology, long distance relationships have become much more attainable than they were in the days of letter-writing. Apps like Skype and FaceTime can make it feel like your loved ones are right next to you, but yet they’re too far away to touch. Despite the difficulty, so many young people I know are going long distance. Maybe COVID has given couples more confidence about having partially virtual lives, or maybe it’s because women today are less likely to drop their academic and career goals for a relationship. Whatever it is, young people are going long distance more and more, and making it work. But that doesn’t make it easy.
At first, I didn’t know how to feel about what I wanted to do. I always thought that distance wasn’t the thing that ended my first LDR. In fact, we were simply incompatible people, and the distance amplified that. Eventually, we’d have broken up anyway and it would’ve been much messier. It wasn’t fear or skepticism over long distance relationships that made me feel scared. I believe they can work, and for many months my last one did, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hard work. Truthfully, my biggest fear with long distance is that it leaves each partner living somewhere in the middle, in the sky floating between two distant points on the map. After working so hard to achieve my goals and being thwarted so many times by COVID in my attempts to go to Asia for immersive language learning, I’m scared of getting lost in the in-between.
I’m so thankful for my S.O. and the determination they have to make this work, and their respect for my needs and my goals. It’s impossible to compare two relationships that are completely different, even if circumstance puts them in similar positions. As much as I want to use my past experience with LDR as a gauge for my future, I know that we’re starting from different points, different levels of maturity, and different levels of commitment. All this is to say, of course I’m still scared, just like anyone is when they feel young love, but it’s pointless to compare. Extreme LDR has so much potential to make a relationship that much stronger, and whatever happens, it’ll be the thing that’s meant to happen, and it’ll be worth the wait.