As a seventeen year old, I am well aware that I have no place in making any valuable claims on love or anything regarding the matter. However, I am also aware of the way most people my age think and act. I consider myself more of an observer and skeptic. I do and speak cautiously. I’m highly empathetic. I like to have complete control of myself at all times, so I’m never under the influence of any illegal substances. I don’t let my hormones mar my thoughts and perception of the world around me. I don’t rush head long into things without considering the results of my actions. I’m not trying to forge maturity; I just highly dislike being the one to put myself into bad situations. And most people my age seem to think that I’ve gotten myself into the worst situation possible (aside from being an icky nail biter, or being socially awkward – both of which, I already am). But despite it’s current limitations, I have absolutely no reason or intent to call my love life a “bad situation”. I say this out of firsthand experience and observation of others. I believe that steadfast, genuine love between two people can sometimes be best presented in long-distance relationships.
There are times when I go out with the promise ring my boyfriend gave me on my ring finger, and I’ll run into people I know. They’ll ask me if I have a boyfriend, and I answer them quite proudly. Because they are so used to seeing pictures of me and my significant other on my social networks, or running into us at the mall, they wonder how they could have overlooked my new boyfriend. Then the conversation really gets going, and eventually I am able to read the disbelief on their faces. I don’t brag about my relationship, nor do I hesitate in letting others know how completely satisfied I am, granted someone brings the topic up first. My boyfriend of seven months lives in Temecula, California. We don’t have pictures or videos together because the last two times he was vacationing here in Hawaii, he was just a friend of a local musician I was promoting at the time; he was an acquaintance. Nothing more. Nothing less. And my friends and family members wonder, with some concern, how this once unimportant acknowledgement of each other’s existence could possibly have blossomed into what we have now – especially being 10, 000 miles apart. More importantly, they wonder how I handle it; that’s exactly how they word their curiosity, too. And I can guess what they mean. How do you go on with lack of physical attention from him? Don’t you get worried sometimes? How do you love someone you can’t even stand next to? All of their questions make me laugh. They look for such complex answers, when mine are simple. I don’t need the physical attention. These days, kids my age are always like, “Dude, you’ve been going out with so and so for two months now – you haven’t boinked her yet??” Love isn’t at all kissing, hugging, or sex. Those are expressions of love, and not love itself – I know because in some form or another, I’ve had most of those in past relationships but it would never feel fullfilling. Now, for me to even express myself in that physical manner, I need to let it grow into a love in which I can connect with the person on deeper levels, when he can draw feelings from me other than those by stimulation of the five senses. When our nightly conversations go beyond “honey, I love you” and “so what did you do today?” In truth, of course it would be nice to be kissed and held by him. The distance between us is nothing but a temporary handicap on our relationship, as most (smart) long-distance couples have a future goal of living together or within drive-able distances. This will happen in a little over a year for us. And just a sidenote – i”m not forming my life around him. I want a long-term relationship, and so I wouldn’t have gotten romantically involved with him if I had no intentions of ever ending up in California. I’d already known I wanted to study Journalism and Media Communications in LA years before I met him.
Meanwhile, it helps his and my personal growth: individually (developing patience, self-control, sacrifice, the ability to carry an in-depth conversation), and together (genuine friendship behind our love, trust and honesty, focus, creativity, variety of self-expression). I know people judge me for choosing to enter a long distance relationship, it’s only natural. I didn’t ask for this to happen, nor did I chose to because no guys were interested in me here. Fact is, I happened across a man whom, based on his moral values and personality, I strongly believe is worth my heart. And having said this, the distance is nothing. In the course of almost one year, I’ve developed a bond with my boyfriend that I have never had with any other human being.
There are several people of all ages that I know who do not currently live or school with their significant other. They’ve apparently also seen distance as a miniscule issue compared to their love for the other person. I’m not preaching, I’m not saying that these kinds of relationships are better than those within close proximity. But I’m just saying that they work out when two good people are involved. My English teacher’s girlfriend lives in Arizona at the moment, and they fly over to visit each other. She came down before Spring Break and spent a couple days in our classroom; they seem like a very happy, comfortable couple. I think they went to school together. And my friend Claudia met her boyfriend of 8 months on Myspace – with no third party connections or friends in between whhatsoever. A riskier predicament than mine. But just before they made 8 months, he flew down from Oklahoma to surprise her. He’d planned it with my help, and this was the first time they saw each other in person. But when I dropped him off at her house on the way home from the airport, it was amazing observing them. It was as though there never was any distance between them at all. They were completely happy and comfortable; nothing was awkward at all when we sat down to eat dinner, thank God. And now that he flew back home, they’re better than ever. He bought her a Jeep, which I’m not supposed to tell her about until he comes down again in June. They too have future plans with each other; I think she’s looking at a college near him.
I honestly believe that the temporary distance between my boyfriend and I brings us closer, in a way. This causes me to believe that sometimes, long-distance loves are stronger than some that are within proximity; we have the patience and willingness to wait faithfully for the person we love to be physically with us because we know it will be worth it. Kids my age think it’s worth it to screw around because they’re so “in love” – in love with his skateboard skills and cool taste in music, or her physical assets. But then they’ll drop them in an instant for someone who has better emo hair, or a cuter face. This is why sometimes I wonder what they perceive love to be. Those relationships seem to be so shallow, in my opinion; the physical connection’s definitely there, but what about taking the time to know each other further than skin-deep? Further than sex, or “things are easier for me now because he has a car” or “he bought me my hello kitty bag – he MUST love me!”. That’s what long distance relationships give people time to do – get to know each other on different levels and develop communication, which is crucial in any type of relationship. And without the physical distractions and temptations that’ll stray us from loving a person for who they really are and not how much of a good kisser they are. It’s real love when your significant other knows to be faithful, even when you are away. Army spouses and girlfriends/ boyfriends do it; before the 1900’s, we had no form of mobile communication, and people still did it when their spouses went on long voyages. So I definitely can. Being in a long distance relationship allows a couple to grow together, even when we are apart.