“You’ve been in a long distance relationship right?” She asked. How did she know I thought to myself.
She asked me what it was like, what happened and what the challenges were. I thought for a moment about replying even though the answer would be excessively long. Then I typed out something else.
“What would you want me to say that would help?”
I’m not sure what she wanted me to say. Was she seeking support that the relationship can work out? Was she wanting justification for breaking it off?
I told her it was tough but I was also a kid back then. I often refer to anything prior to 21 as my kid days. I thought I understood love and what it takes to make a long distance relationship work. Walking down memory lane reminds me of some of the lessons I learned about myself and others.
I started dating my first girlfriend in grade 10. By the end of high school, we were approaching 3 years together and there was some major changes on the horizon. She was planning to move to the east coast to study and I was planning on staying here. As we went about applying for our universities, we didn’t talk too much about what was going to happen. It was inevitable and we were just going to tough it out. I told her I was okay with it. At least that was what I told her.
Inside, I knew I wanted to tell her I wanted her to stay. But I didn’t want to sway her decision. I knew it was her dream to go off and study elsewhere. She had been planning this for so long. I would have felt guilty to be the only reason she stayed behind. In the end, I never told her while she was weighing her choices. Heading into University, it turns out I wasn’t ready for all the changes that were about to happen. I learned a lot about myself during those years and we eventually went our separate ways after 5 years together.
It’s the only time I’ve really loved someone. It was back then, I learned that loving someone means putting their needs in front of yours, regardless of how you feel. Knowing what I know now, things might’ve turned out differently, but we all need tough lessons to help us learn and grow.
In the end, I told her that my experiences weren’t very representative of a long distance relationship. They are tough but they can work if both people are in the right frame of mind and committed to the relationship. I didn’t want it seem hopeless like so many people make it sound. Years after the failed relationship, I’ve still thought, “If you love each other enough, you will find a way”.