I never gave the idea of a long distance relationship much thought; because honestly it was never something I could realistically entertain. Living most of my adult life in NYC, I’ve dated a fair amount. Many of those men have been foreigners. I never once thought of prolonging a relationship once they moved back to their native countries. I guess I believed the ocean between us would put a damper on things. After years of New York’s fun, but often exhausting dating scene, I stopped looking around corners for Mr. Right. It was at this time I went to celebrate my 25th birthday with my best friends in LA, where my sister lives. She threw me a surprise party, which was very effective, catching me quite off guard. The bigger surprise however, would materialize in the days and weeks that followed. That surprise was meeting an incredible guy, who of course lives in LA, beginning an unexpected long distance relationship.
He had me at hello…let me rephrase. He made himself memorable when he asked me (the birthday girl), ‘whose birthday is it?’ I would have felt insulted except that I was too busy thinking, ‘Moron.’ Later that day, after myriad drinks, we ran into each other again and somehow started singing love songs from Moulin Rouge. That randomly led to a conversation about expectations of men and women in the dating world and by the end of the night I had a little crush on him. The next day I sent him, and everyone else who attended my birthday party, a thank you text. And thus began, what I am sure, is the longest text messaging conversation in history.
We spent a month texting everyday, all day. We were equally curious and found it very easy to share with each other. It was a completely new way of getting to know someone. For me the physical component in relationships is very important, but I often find it can get me confused and make me feel inhibited, especially in the beginning. Simply communicating verbally helped me let my guard down and trust him, both emotionally and intellectually. When he came to visit for the first time we had to adjust to being in each other’s physical presence, which was both nerve wracking and fun. Though I would prefer to be in closer proximity, I can also appreciate how being long distance has developed our communication as a couple. We have learned to express our feelings more directly and tell each other what we need. Also, issues are not as easily swept under the rug. We can’t just kiss our problems away. In this way, I am very grateful for the way our relationship has originated.
I quickly realized that having an end goal was necessary. At first it was just making sure we always knew the next time we were going to see each other. Now it’s progressed to making a plan to finally live in the same city. Luckily, we have similar career interests and I have always been interested in living in L.A.
Austin and I are pretty fortunate in the sense that we get to see each other at least once a month. We are equally committed to our relationship and are excited about our future. I know numerous other couples that go months without seeing each other and don’t address the future. Where I would find this unbearable, they seem totally content. Which goes to show long distance can work for some, others may rule it out completely, while a few might fall into it by accident and find the love of their lives.