The time is 11.44pm on a Sunday night. My boyfriend is sitting just a few feet away from me building the lego set that I got him for Christmas, I’m watching my favourite ASMRist on tv. A night like this might seem mundane, or pretty regular for most people in long term relationships, but I have a very different reality. Gil and I have been in a relationship for nearly 6 years, and it has been a tough 6 years at that. Everything we experience is made that much harder because of one major factor; we live in different countries. On a regular, everyday night I might overlook this moment as just any other but the reality has begun to set in. In a few short days, I’ll be making a 1.5hr trek back to my first home in Toronto, Ontario. With the politic climate changing in the US, our lives being so drastically different outside of these moments together, and the short winter days bringing me down, its hard to remain high spirited about us. So I thought, as I often do, that writing down my feelings about one of the biggest factors of my life could not only be beneficial to me, but to you as well.
I can recall the excitement, and fear, that I felt when Gil texted me to say he was waiting for me in my lobby. I had the most intense case of belly butterflies that I’ve ever experienced in my life. There was no turning back, I was about to meet the man who drove 10hrs from another country to come see me in Canada. I sat on my bed, took a deep & prolonged breath, and sent my roommate down to greet him. When he walked through my door, I was still holed up in my bedroom, trying to calm the butterflies that were still fluttering away. I heard his voice, his laugh, muffled through my bedroom walls and I worked up the courage to go face someone who was about to change my life forever. I saw him, and in that moment I just knew I was in for one hell of a ride.
It has been 6 long, happy, painful, exciting and hard years since that day. We’ve figured out our long distance routine, as people in our situation often do. Facetime calls before bed, Snapchat throughout the day, constant facebook messages back and forth, endless memes to each other as a way to remind our inside jokes and so much more. We’ve learned the ways to make it work, and to help navigate us back to each other when working out seems pretty damn near impossible.
Apple packing – one of our traditions!
A major side effect to being in a long distance relationship has been transitioning, which often doesn’t get talked about. Transitioning is the weird, often disorienting first few days of being between homes. Whether its arriving to Boston after being away for 2 months, or returning to Toronto after visiting my favourite second home. I can only describe this feeling as missing a step you thought was there, your foundation gets ripped out from underneath you and somehow you’re expected to find solid ground again without falling on your face. Spoiler, I often fall face first every single time. It doesn’t get easier, but you do find a way to get used to the process. Right now, I’m dreading but mentally prepping the looming transition period that I’m about to embark on. It’ll be made even worse and that much harder by the fact that I have recently moved to a new space which doesn’t quite feel like home yet. Whether I can handle the transition or not, I have made the choice to endure it anyway. I guess thats why they call us fools in love.
Long distance lovers often get asked, and sometimes interrogated about their reasoning for staying in a long distance affair. A typical “Well, I love them” can often suffice but for the extra curious type, I’ll break it down. We live in an incredibly interlocked society, where you can be part of the crowd by simply scrolling through your phone. We have people at our finger tips instantly. What we don’t have as easily, or in my experience, is finding connection. Finding someone, no matter where they are in the world, who gets your world or simply wants to, can be absolutely priceless. For me, thats Gilbert. Thats the way I know i can talk to him about absolutely anything, no matter how serious or silly it is. It’s knowing that I’ve built up 6 years worth of comfort, security and love that can’t be replaced. That’s feeling joy in my heart whenever I know that whenever I’m in his arms, I’m safe. You can’t decide where you’ll end up finding that, and when that comes along, you take it. You grab so tight and in my case, travel the distance to make sure it stays alive and well.
Our first weekend together
On March 3rd, 2019 will be our 6 year anniversary. It’s strange to even really grasp that the last six years of our lives have been this constant cycle of excitement about seeing each other, and sadness about the looming leave date. While some might consider it too hard, and simply not worth it, we stay in every single time we’re faced with that question. For anyone who has ever been in this long term, very tough relationship, they’ll understand just why we continue to do it over and over again.
To close, I’ll say this to whoever is reading this. Whether you’re in your own long distance relationship, or you’ve had one in the past, we can all understand what it feels like to love someone. Love is powerful, and whether we last the long haul or not, I cannot regret following my heart.