If you know me, or follow my blog at all, you know I have not been particularly lucky in love. My heart has been mishandled and smashed more than a few times and, despite my best, most optimistic efforts, after years of dating I very nearly gave up on the idea of finding a person who excites me. Who I crave and craves me in return. Who makes me believe that falling in love isn’t the craziest thing in the world. But then a few months ago, right when I was on the verge of accepting permanent singleness, I met a guy. (Score one for all the people out there who told me time and time again I’d meet someone when I stopped looking!)
While I hate to admit this, this very well could have been a one night fling. Yes, he was cute and sweet and there was plenty of, ahem, “spark,” but there were a few things that held me back from immediately hoping or wanting it to turn into more. They were all small things like, he’s younger than me, he worked nights, and did I mention he’s MUCH younger than me? Small things for sure, but for a person who has had more than enough pain in the relationship department, even the smallest red flags can seem too big to overcome. I hemmed and hawed for a few days, and I’m not exactly sure what it was that made me get out of my head and forget about all the small stuff (could have something to do with my friends reminding me of the way he spent most of the night looking at me) but I decided to say fuck the red flags and go for it.
And it was the best decision I’ve made in years.
The age thing was easy to get over. Five (okay, five and a half) years doesn’t seem so bad once you realize the person is actually mature in more ways than every guy you’ve dated in the past, but the working nights thing was a bit of a bummer. We made the best of it, weekends and grabbing lunches during my work day and dinners during his, but the opposite schedules definitely did make it harder for us progress as a couple. I loved the time we did get to spend together, but that just made our predicament feel like even more of a red flag to me. I began to want something more “normal” (I know, I know, what’s “normal,” right?). I wanted to come home after work and cook dinners together and cuddle on the couch while catching up on shows. I wanted us to be able to spend nights together without one of us having to stay up late or the other waking up at the crack of dawn to do so. I just wanted all the good stuff that comes along with finally dating a great guy.
As I was busy pouting about all this I was given a good question to consider, “Would you rather have normal, or have him?” This question happened to be posed while he was out of town for a weekend on a float trip and I realized after our first full day of not being able to communicate at all that I missed him a little bit. Okay, fine. A LOT. So of course if I had to choose between him and normal, I’d choose him. And then, as if the gods were finally on my side, when he returned home he found out he was being put on day shifts. HOORAY! All the high fives to his company because now I have this great guy in my life AND I get to do all the fun, normal couple stuff I’ve ever wanted! Immediately I’m planning out dinners I’ll be cooking and TV shows we can start marathoning and trivia nights and happy hours we can meet friends at.
Up to this point, everything has been going great with us. We have a great rapport and have fallen into this easy comfort with each other, but there’s still those crazy butterflies anytime I’m near him. It’s all so good, and now I get more of it. I am finally optimistic that maybe finding someone that excites me and I can crave and craves me too and actually makes me want to fall in love isn’t the craziest thing in the world. Finally, I am really happy about the idea of being in a relationship again.
Naturally, this is right when my heart is about to be crushed.
As quickly as the happiness came, it is taken away when he tells me he is being transferred out of state. (Hey, company I just gave all the high fives to? YOU ARE THE WORST. Please replace all those high fives with middle fingers.) While he is telling me about the transfer I try to remain calm. While our relationship is great, it is still very new. Is it okay for me to break out in tears? Because that’s exactly what I do. I cry very big, fat, selfish tears. WHY? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? I finally get my normal, happy relationship and before I can even enjoy it, it’s being taken away from me. (And then, of course, I cry because I feel like a selfish asshat. Sure, this is sad for me, but can I just be a decent girlfriend and take a minute to consider how badly this sucks for him? Having to move to a small town where he knows no one? Not fun. Not fun at all.) But, it was really, REALLY hard not to feel selfish and hurt and scared. I finally met this great guy, and things were starting to progress with us, and now what? Is this the end? We hadn’t been dating for long, so it would be easier to just end it, right? Would he even want to try long distance? My mind was on overdrive, but as soon as ‘long distance’ came to mind every thought turned to anger. Not at him, just at the situation. The idea of long distance makes me want to run. I want to tell him to leave. I want to forget about how good it feels to be with him because if having opposite schedules was bad, what’s being eight hours away going to be like? In college I was an hour and a half from my boyfriend and it was terrible. Everything about it was bad. Everything about it brought out the worst in each other. From the beginning I was the only one fighting for us and I constantly allowed myself to get less than I gave, and I promised myself I would never go back to that type of relationship. I’ve been through enough romantic struggles, dammit, I don’t deserve this! (I’m telling y’all, the selfishness was real that night. Not my proudest moment.)
Thankfully, my brain finally shuts the fuck up and I just sit and let him hug me while I cry. I stop wondering ‘what if’ and ‘why is this happening’ and just listen to him talk. A lot of my worries are put to ease when I learn that us not seeing each other anymore because of this move was never a thought for him. We spend as much of the next month before he leaves together as possible. And maybe that isn’t the smartest move, because we do get to cook dinners and watch movies and hang out with friends and, of course, I only fall for him more and it makes the day that he finally does have to leave even worse than imagined. But, that month did show me one thing… Even though I knew long distance still wouldn’t be easy, it wouldn’t be the same as last time and the difference is him. Everything about the time we spend together makes me know that missing him will be the best worst feeling in the world.
If you absolutely must be in a long distance relationship, he is the guy to be in it with. He’s let me cry and freak out and be scared and slightly obsessed about how all this is going to work out. He’s understanding of how I’ve been hurt in the past and how a situation like this challenges my need for control in my life and of how our different personalities (him very laid back, me slightly type A) can make this more of a struggle. And, yes, sometimes even that isn’t always enough to stop me from feeling like this is all going to end in many, many tears and more heart smashing. But right now his understanding of everything, his willingness to fight right along side me for this, and the anticipation of seeing him next weekend, and the weekend after, and two weekends after that is enough to give me hope that maybe, just maybe wanting to fall in love again isn’t the craziest thing in the world.