The Long-Distance Couples’ Tips for Being Apart
We’ve been done long distance for a while now, sitting in front of screens on opposite ends of New Zealand. We could be together for a whole month during summer holidays, but instead, I’m heading to Bali for a month to study writing, and he’s visiting his dad in Dubai. Long distance is tough, so here are some tips for being apart.
Find the humour in sharing the most complex human connection through a screen. Buy blue-light glasses to ease your red eyes during the long hours of Facetiming. Use the ‘share your screen’ feature to watch movies together. Laugh and find solace in the pathetic act of holding your own hands at night.
You want them here because you’re forgetting their voice, only familiar with the sound of a text notification.
Acknowledge that doubt is normal. Take a deep breath when you see the “Going to town tonight!” notification appear on your lock screen. It sits against a photo taken of you guys at the airport. Your face is covered by the message and you wonder if it’d be that easy to forget after a couple drinks.
You want them here because you’re sick of days coming to an end, only to look forward to seeing them in your dreams.
It’s okay to feel sad. The decision you’ve made isn’t the smartest for your relationship, but it had just felt right. Remember that you both constantly hide in the creases of your own smiles, only finding courage to come out when the other shows that frowning invites support, not neglect. Learn to unapologetically frown.
You want them here because the ground is sharp, messages in glass bottles shattered beneath your feet that didn’t reach their intended receivers.
The path is rocky. Your video connection keeps cutting out. You get frustrated and complacent realising your most intimate method of communication is being stripped from you too. Nonetheless, you continue to electronically hold each other’s hands until your skin becomes raw, your callouses are bleeding, your fingers are cramping, and you know all the pain will stop if you just let go; but you keep holding on.
You want them here because tattoos scare you, but their permanence makes you feel safe.
Maybe long-distance isn’t for you. You’ve reached tip number 5 of the third ‘How to Survive Long Distance’ article you’ve read. You’re angry that you’ve wasted your time reading tips that offered absolutely nothing towards your failing relationship, so you’ve decided to write your own. You get overwhelmed having acknowledged you are perpetually counting down days, missing anniversaries, glancing one-too-many times at a cute boy named Guilt and realising you’re unfulfilled. You admit that maybe long distance isn’t for you. You come to an understanding that they’re no longer just physically apart, but emotionally apart.
Yet no matter how much you want, want that has now aged into need, they’re still not here.