One Inch Away: A Guide to Long Distance Relationships

A Date With Destiny

I still remember the day I met him like it was yesterday. It’s one of the most pleasurable and dear memories my mind has ever encountered to date. I like to think of it as the day my life began. I know it sounds corny but it’s okay. I am in love.

His debonair demeanor was enough to melt Antarctica into a Jamaican beach resort. Imagine, if he had this much effect on the planet, what effect he had on me. Imitating the Great Houdini he would make his appearance known and then disappear behind a cloud of cigar smoke. He toyed with my emotions in the middle of a dance club and it drove me crazy. That is how he won me over. He would put down his magic wand only once to dance with me. It was all I needed. Any more would have been too much.

After hours of flirtatious disappearing acts I decided that I would put an end to the ever so hesitant vibrations he was sending my way. I invited him and his two friends to indulge in bacon, eggs and orange juice with my girls and I. He agreed. It is amazing how one can have the best conversation of their life with a table full of strangers. We ate, drank and were merry as if we had been life long friends.

At the end of breakfast he made his phone number appear in my cell phone and I returned the favor. Eyeing his name in my phone book I marvel at it. James. He doesn’t resemble a person with a name of benevolent biblical proportions but I like it anyway. Scrolling down to examine his phone number, panic overtakes my senses when I notice his 334 area code. This numerical contradiction to my 601 area code triggers anxiety-induced apprehension. James is from Alabama, while I live in Mississippi, and so a long distance relationship was born.

Doubtfully Confident

Now I would be a complete liar if I said that I didn’t have my doubts about this new relationship. I don’t exactly have a gold medal in long-lasting relationships. Usually within 2 months I grow tired of the arrogant boar I once thought I could love and send him on his pathetic way. With James it was different. I felt it in my bones.

Our very first conversation illustrated the very caution he and I were throwing in the wind to one another. I remember asking him if he thought that we could make it as long distance friends. He assured me that he thought that it was possible and that he was willing to give it a try. Notice the aforementioned statement in which I used the word “friends.” It was done on purpose.

It is very important not to get too involved, too fast. What I mean by this is to not give every thing you have to this relationship of fetal proportions. I am speaking of both mental and physical offerings. You are not defined by your job, possessions or relationships. Therefore, volunteering yourself as a sacrificial lamb seems quite fanatical at this stage in the relationship. No matter how bad you want to talk to him every time his number makes an appearance on your caller id, don’t always answer it. Don’t ignore him, but do not make yourself readily available at his disposal. This is relationship suicide. You don’t want to burn out your relationship before it gets sizzling.

Secondly, there should be absolutely, positively no sex! I know as you are reading this you are thinking me crazy and quite possibly denoting everything I have said thus far. Honestly though, I want you to think about it. Sex complicates relationships more than people realize. It is easier to figure out where a person stands with out the emotional involvement that is inevitable when two people become one. Why would you want to do that to yourself? Isn’t life complicated enough.

You should take pride in getting to know your partner inside out. The trick is to assure your partner that you are thinking of him without raking yourself over the coals. Send a love note/card or plan a surprise virtual rendezvous. There are many ways to keep a long distance relationship fresh.

Be Upfront With Expectations

When we were in the first stages of our relationship we talked a lot about what we wanted, didn’t want and expected from the relationship. James devoured my ears in words describing a harsh break up with a cheating girlfriend. He explained his refusal for engaging in a “friends-with-benefits” relationship. I found this surprising and was relieved because I felt the same. Once again, say it with me, sex complicates a relationship.

I also expressed my concerns on sex as well as with the fact that I wasn’t willing to put up with someone who wasn’t honest with me. You can tell right off the bat how loyal and honest a person is by what he says and does. On our third date while driving to a restaurant, James spoke to me of his friend’s bachelor party he had attended a few days earlier. Honestly, the word stripper never entered my mind and I feel as though he had never broken my trust before so there is no reason I should doubt it. He then caught himself and clarified that it was a beer fest cherry topped with a night full of video games. He clarified all details that could have been misconstrued later on. Instead of hiding it from me he was open and honest and that is what I look for in a man. Of course I believed him, what reason did I have not to?

The Sun Should Never Set Upon An Argument

Communication is the key part in any relationship but even more so in a long distance relationship. If something bothers you then talk about it. There is no need to raise your voice, scold or place blame on your partner but you do need to relay your feelings. Assure your partner that you are not blaming him for the problem but you would like him to help you to resolve the issue. Make it a team effort. I learned this lesson the hard way.

About nine months into our relationship James stopped returning my phone calls and contact became less and less. For a week I tried to call James and for one week he did not call me back. I was furious. I thought that his words of love and devotion were amounting to a big pile of nothing. I finally got in contact with him at the two-week marker of no communication. His conversation to me was as though nothing had happened. I asked him what was wrong and if he were mad at me and he denied both accusations. To my dismay it would be another two weeks before I would hear from him again.

I received his phone call while en route to meet my best friend for dinner. It was received with anger and cold, festering hostility. I went off on him and said some rather hash words to him. James went on pretending that nothing was wrong and after a ten-minute conversation we hung up the phone line on our communication. I refused to call him. I assumed he didn’t love me anymore and this was his way of showing his lack of interest. I was so heart broken. It would be two months until he would contact me on a whim. He thought I didn’t love him and vice versa. Two months of our relationship was wasted because I didn’t communicate correctly what anger I felt and what he could do to resolve it. How stupid!

Go For It

Though James and I have hit some hard bumps along the way I have learned that, though they are hard, long distance relationships are doable. Keeping communication as open and as honest as two people possibly can is essential. Remembering to love your partner with out neglecting yourself is an essential component of this arrangement. The best benefit of being in a long distance relationship is the realization that you don’t “need’ your partner, you “want” him in your life. What a blessing to know that you both can co-exist in love and still maintain your identity. It is just a matter of two people who refuse to let one inch on a map destroy what could be the love of their lives.

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