On Long Distance Relationships (but not the kind you’re thinking of…)

12 08 2014

A couple weeks ago, I spent most of my time running the Washington, D.C. streets with my oldest niece and the only relative I have who lives anywhere near me (one of my sisters/her aunt). And while we had a blast, we also spent so much of our time catching up on life. You see my niece, along with my brother, sister-in-law, and other niece and nephew live in California, so while we Skype and talk on the phone, it’s not quite the same as her being here. Which, of course got me thinking about how most of the people I count as essential in my life do not live near me.

I mean we talk about long distance relationships in terms of lovers all the time and how a majority of us don’t want to participate in them, but it hit me that I’ve been engaging in long distance relationships for quite some time now. My parents are long distance. So are my bestest friends. Same thing with my nieces and nephew, my godchildren, my siblings with the exception of my one sister, etc…

And maybe that’s why I know just how hard they can be when you try to have one with someone you want to be with — because long distance relationships are hard as hell with the people already in my life.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could see my godchildren more… that I don’t wonder if my being so far away is a disservice to them. And I can’t even count all the times something has happened to a close friend that’s made me just want to hold him or her, but of course my arms don’t stretch states away. Or just even wanting to be there more times to celebrate the good in their lives. Sure I make it work — we have a lot of technology available these days — but there’s nothing quite like being in front of the person you love, you know?

It’s an interesting aspect of life these days, really, when you think about it. Because while my case might be extreme (and really, I don’t think that’s all that true either), I think most of us experience this in some way. I don’t know anyone in my generation who has all their close friends and family in the same place as them. Do you? Probably not.

Instead, I believe we’ve all been living life, carrying on long distance relationships for some time now, failing at some, succeeding somewhat at others — but never really flourishing. Because again, Skype and Facetime can’t replace the simple effectiveness of a hug or laying your head on someone or laughing with them in person. Technology can and will never be enough.

So what do you do? We can’t all make pacts to go back to where we’re from. Even if we could, it wouldn’t help matters. Sure I’d be around more of my family then, but I met some of my closest friends in college. They’re not going back to my hometown! And our parents (for the most part) didn’t experience this spreading out of relationships to the extent that we have, so as much as we love them, it would probably be the blind leading the blind if we asked them for help.

Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but mine would just say come home as if that was the cure to all problems lol.

I’m actually not quite sure that we can do anything except continue to cultivate those long distance relationships in ways that sort of make sense for each one. Some friends, I know email works better for them. Others, it’s texting. Some family members I know I need to schedule phone dates with, and some people I have to just schedule weekends and trips with. But I do those things because as much as I (and we all) hate long distance relationships of any kind, those people are important to me, and I need them in my life in anyway possible. Distance be damned.

That doesn’t make it any easier though, especially during times when they need me and I can’t get there.

What about you? Do you find yourself trying to juggle long distance relationships in your life as well? And what are some ways you think work better than others?

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10 09 2014
The Dash In Between | Choices, Voices, and Sole

[…] I even mentioned to a good friend one day that I was beginning to worry that every time a friend or family member called me at an odd hour, someone had died. And that I would go through the pain of wanting to be there for them, but not being able to physically be there for them. It’s what spawned my post about long distance relationships. […]

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