February 12, 2012

Open Letter to Long Distance Lovers

I have a problem with long distance relationships. They suck. They take away my friends, my time, my energy, and my mental health. I don't see anything really positive about these relationships. Now don't get me wrong, it's awesome that you're together. Please beat the odds and make it all "work out in the end." But I do have some reservations about you trying to work it out being thousands of miles apart. Especially if I'm your friend.

You see, with long distance relationships, it's always about the "next time." The next time you will see each other. The next time you can talk on the phone. The next time you can video chat. The next time you can visit. Whatever. So you spend whatever precious time you may have on the phone or Skype planning out the next time you can be together. Because being together means fun right?

But what about when you're together?

Now, let's say you finished the planning. You bought the tickets. You planned the events. You know where you're going to go. Then the day finally comes when you are reunited. It's awesome, right? Well, for starters, you have to burn a few hours getting over that initial awkward "I haven't seen you in a long time" feeling. Then you can start doing coupley-things again until the "We're going to have to say goodbye again" feeling kicks in. So essentially, the amount of true fun you can have even while together is severely limited. That sucks.

But what about when you're not together?

But that's just the one time you meet. What about the times when you aren't together? What then? Is that considered fun? Does the idea of planning a date sound more appealing than actually going on a date? Sure it could, but generally speaking, I'd take the physical and actual date over the planning any day. Let me get this straight. You spend time trying to spend time together? Are you sure that being "together" is what truly makes you happy?

But what about when
you're not together?

Do you just carry on with your life as if you are single? Are you allowed to steal glances at attractive potential mates? What if it's just a "friendly conversation?" Oh my significant other will never find out, he/she is not here. You worry that you are drifting apart from your boyfriend/girlfriend. So you start acting cold towards the new people you meet. They then think that you're a socially dead block of ice. Slowly but surely, nobody really wants to talk to you anymore. Do you disagree with me? Oh no, I still go out to parties and still hang out with friends, I most definitely don't wall myself off. Really? I'd have a hard time believing that. Even if you may consciously say that you're still very sociable, if I am talking to you, I can tell that you're not 100% here--a portion of your brain is with your significant other. And that's disrespectful to me, not to mention annoying.

But what about if you're not together?

Now try thinking about a world where you are free to spend your time as you wish. You're no longer bound by mandatory (or what feels like mandatory) Skype dates. You don't have to explain acronyms or local vernacular to your distance lover. Sure there may be some lonely downtime when you wish the other was here. But you can get used to that. Turn that negative energy into a positive driving force. Find that thing that truly makes you happy. Be yourself, don't report to anybody.

As your friend or potential friend. I implore you to rethink your current position. Are you truly better off in this long distance torment relationship? Are there other (even better) opportunities staring at you in the face? Do you aspire to do great things? Meet great people? If so, then why are you going at it with anything less than a 100% of your willpower? Why sacrifice a portion to someone who is such a great burden on your life?

When you're with them, blissful happiness. But when you're without, absolute despair. Tell me, are you with them more than you're without them?

On a side note, of course this is just one very cynical viewpoint. I'm sure that you'll somehow beat the odds and make it work, right?
On a side side note, I once read an interesting analogy about how to deal with suicidal partners. It goes something like this:
Let's say that you're walking on a bridge and some stranger runs up to you, tosses you one end of a rope with the other end tied to their legs and jumps off the bridge. You hold on, of course, because you don't want the person to die. That's a natural reaction. But how long are you going to hold on? You have your own life, your own friends and family, your own loved ones on the other side of the bridge. They are all wondering where you are. Can you hang on to this rope forever?