Sex and Relationships

Learn From My Long Distance Relationship Mistakes

How You Can Be Better Than Me: A Memoir of a Digital Kind Of Love

The same rules of love apply, no matter the distance. Photo Credit: nsempii.com

By: Salvatore Cento

About a year ago, my first foray into the world of long distance relationships came to a close.

After time to myself to reevaluate the past, it became a shock how much someone almost a thousand miles away affected my day-to-day life.

Simple things, such as the alarm clock on my phone, was no longer followed by a good morning.

Videos accompanied by the sweetest voice in the world letting me know how she slept last night, how the weather was that day in Florida, or random “I love you” texts and debates quickly became remnants of the past.

I had seen and heard the quote “you never know what you have until it’s gone” many times throughout my life, but never had I actually felt it’s meaning until now.

I remember looking at my phone many times after we broke up, desperately wanting a notification from any of the apps that we ever communicated on, letting me know that there was still hope. But it never arrived.

After some time of digesting that it was actually over, something grew in the place of my emptiness: a stronger sense of who I was, how I should have been, and what actually went wrong.

One could tell that I blame myself for things going south. And I do.

In the first couple of weeks, we couldn’t stop talking to each other. Telling each other about our friends, talking about each other’s family issues, and how no matter what I said, DC was always better than Marvel.

But we never established with each other that we were exclusive.

Do what I didn’t: bring this up once feelings start to form. The fact that she began by saying “Maybe I’m old fashioned but…” is enough to recognize that something should’ve been said by me before she did.

That was not the only creature that sat in the shadows of our relationship. It was only through constant wondering if the other was okay since we were often unable to respond to each other’s messages.

That’s another thing- our vastly different work and school schedules were not sought out until later on during our relationship.

Thus, be considerate of your partner and find out when he or she is free from their prior engagements to have those deep, meaningful conversations.

Especially being in a virtual relationship, discussing your feelings helps to build the foundation of your bond.

However, being considerate of your significant other’s feelings is difficult when you do not see the sadness in their eyes as one would in person.  

I remember the first time she cried because of something I said. Just a heads up- responding with a witty remark only helps to dig your own grave.

My foolish statement was quickly followed by the words “…well then, the door’s over there.”

Given that we had an emotional conversation the previous night, combined with the fact that I had not eased her into my sarcastic side, she took the comment at face value.

When the relationship is fresh and you’re still on the path of getting to know each other, do not put up defensive walls.

They’ll turn into spikes that will only create a detour on the road of creating something special. Try to turn a blind eye to your past. The person on the other end is risking everything as well.

Just as importantly, do not relish too long in the honeymoon phase. That is, the lovely beginning stage of a relationship when a couple feels blinded each other’s love.

We talked day and night for months on end. As a couple, we never got used to having a long period of solitude.

When the time came to give her space to experience life beyond her phone, I didn’t know how to deal with that.

So, if breathing room is neglected, the relationship at times will feel forced and your partner may even begin to feel trapped.

As a result, the best thing to do in a virtual long distance relationship is to get to know your partner, but not at the expense of every waking moment.

On my end, revealing the past helps with letting go of all of the mistakes.

And on your end, to those who are also in a long distance relationship, let this memoir teach you the lessons that I wish I had known.

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