Here’s a newsflash: Relationships take work. Though they shouldn’t be looked upon as a job, the work and effort that must be put into making one work is much like trying to establish a successful career. You need to pay attention at LEAST 8 hours every day. You must keep up appearances and the look the part if you really want to keep it. It is important to keep nosy co-workers at bay ( this could be friends, family, and side chicks). And if you are looking for a promotion ( i.e. boyfriend title, promise ring, apartment key, or certificate of marriage), you need to put forth your best performance and DO WORK. And this is all for a good old-fashioned relationship. Relationships, like jobs, come in many forms and require various amounts of effort. The hardest relationship out there to keep is one of the long-distance variety ( also known as LDRs). I compare it to the job that you have that you don’t necessarily want, but it’s better to have a steady paycheck than being unemployed. I’m also saying this because none of my long-distance relationships have ever worked and I am extremely bitter.
You know your track record is bad when you announce to your girlfriends that you met a guy and the first thing someone usually says is “Where does he live?”. I’m not sure if it is my fear of commitment or that I repel guys who are in my vicinity, but when I try to get serious, it always ends up being with someone in a different area code ( and I’m not talking the distance between Miami and Fort Lauderdale). It’s as if Cupid is lounging amongst the clouds in the sky and when he sees me he declares “By the power vested in me by the states of Michigan AND Florida, I now pronounce you the owner of a long-distance relationship. May you both be awkwardly in love, fight via Smartphones, and break up in the near future. You may now send a kissy-face emoticon to your soon to be ex-boyfriend”.
I’ve been there and done that one too many times. I dated a guy for a few months, and then he was shipped off to North Dakota with the military, and we swore we were going to try to make it work. One purchase of a webcam and 30 missed phone calls later, I threw in the towel. I jumped into another LDR a few years back with someone I never even held hands with ( what am I, in summer camp?). We became close on the relationship murderer known as Facebook, and had a Skype-ship. That did not work for me, as I did not find it romantic or exciting to try to watch the same movie on Netflix and have another conversation about the weather. The last time I put my foot in it ( and not the good way), I wasn’t even in a relationship. It was more of a “situationship”, which is apparently a song made famous by Fabolous:
Though distance was not our only dilemma, it was one of the biggest factors. I say all this admitting one thing: long-distance relationships have not worked out for ME. Not saying they never will, but it just ain’t in my cards. They can be successful, however, with the right WORK and DEDICATION. Being in love and dating someone is hard enough in itself, but adding the fact that your significant other is hundreds, even thousands of miles away, makes love that much more difficult. I have several friends who are currently in LDRs that are working. They work because they put IN the work. Without it, you might as well call this person a “friend with NO benefits”, because you’re not getting much out of the deal- and neither is your significant other. There are three necessary components to a successful long-distance relationship which will keep hope alive and keep you from a wasted situation full of texts messages you cannot truly interpret and arguments over last nights Instagram party photos (“WHO IS THAT?!?!):
1. COMMUNICATION: If you or your significant other is in the same city or town, you may not deem it essential to call or text each other all the time. Some people do, but they’re crazy. Mostly because you will see them on a regular basis, and you may even live under the same roof. But if you’re in Atlanta and your boo is in New York, calling and texting each other several times throughout the day is essential. This all appears to be common sense, but if there is no form of electronic communication, you will never know what’s going on. Since I have don’t have the luxury of seeing you every day, if you don’t return my calls for a few days with no explanation, there’s a problem. On the flip side, if you text me 20 times and I am not responding with any smiley faces, I might not be so into you. No talk, no relationship.
2. VISUAL STIMULATION: I need to see your face. In a LDR, this is usually accomplished on a regular basis by Facetime, Tango, Skype, or similar webcam forms of visual stimulation. This allows those in a long-distance love to feel connected to their significant other, as if they’re actually there every day. This is nice and all, but we still need to touch each other. Not exactly in THAT way all the time, but I do need to hold your hand once in a while. This is my way of saying that even people in long distance relationships need to see each other in person. If there is no effort into making the trip from LA to Mobile, Alabama every once in a while, I think you’re doomed. Trust me, I know how hard it is to make travel plans and the costs involved to do so. However, if you want to make it work, you will find a way. I have a friend whose husband lives in SOUTH AFRICA. And she lives in Miami. They’ve been doing the LDR thing for over 3 years now, making it a point to save up for trips around the world where they can meet in the middle to keep this love thang going. So if they can make it work, surely you can get your ass on plane from Toledo to come and see me.
3. TRUST IN YOUR SITUATION: “You need to trust me”. It’s a simple phrase, but shouldn’t be uttered in my opinion. I don’t need to do anything, I should just do it if I truly want this LDR or any other type of relationship to work. And so should you. Trust is the most important aspect of any relationship, and this is no secret. When people are miles away from each other, this component of love can be the most difficult one to deal with. Your boyfriend is on the other side of the country and you see he posts a photo on Facebook from a party he attended last night. Are you automatically worried about the lady next to him? She could be a co-worker, boss, or part of a larger group of friends. Are you texting him constantly, letting the rage build after every keystroke? If the answer is “yes”, you may have trust issues. And if he can’t trust you either, then what are you doing? No reason for heartache a million miles away if you cannot be trusted to live a faithful life from afar. If you are going to engage in a LDR, you need to be confident in yourself, your partner, your relationship, and resist the urge to ride out on someone from miles away.
Read more of my hot mess at Hot Mess Life