We started off long distance and we finished off long distance.
Take it from someone whose relationship once consisted of mainly of FaceTime calls, snapchats, and instant messaging: long distance relationships suck.
All this fancy technology is supposed to be great for keeping in touch and being able to stay connected, but it certainly has its limits. At times it would be difficult to appreciate the romance as we gazed lovingly at a pixelated image that is supposed to be representative of each other, and cuddling with our cell phones and laptops as I fall asleep each night left something to be desired.
Long-distance relationships have a long list of challenges, the least of which is technical difficulties. The whole point of having a relationship with someone is that you want to be together. In a long-distance relationship you can only be together when you visit each other, and we all know that’s not always easy. Being a student made it even more difficult; we have class during the week, homework on weekends and not very much money to spend on traveling half way across the world making it hard to find time to see one another.
I loved him though, and I still do and there will probably always be apart of me that does. It hurts going through a break up. The pain and emotion is raw. I never wanted things to be this way. Seeing all our future dreams and plans crumbling before my eyes has been incredibly difficult. We had dreams to get engaged, dreams to get our pet dog Ruffles (a french bulldog/ or german shepherd lab), dreams to maybe move up north so he could work for the government as a biologist, dreams to travel, but the one we talked about most was getting out first place together when I came home. Something that meant so much to us because we had always had some form of distance between us. I saw him as the one and I know for a time he saw me as the one too. We would talk about how I would take his last name and I would jokingly decline saying I liked mine better. The promise ring he put on my finger to let me know that one day this ring would turn into an engagement ring. The beautiful ring he gave me before I left for England letting me know he would always be there to support me, how proud he was of me, and that he would be there waiting for me upon my return even though I knew he was worried about the distance.
For nights I would lay awake in bed, thinking about the day I would get to see him standing there for me at the airport, holding the flowers he promised he would bring me. How I imagined dropping all my luggage at the sight of him because I wanted to jump into his arms so bad and feel him surround me, welcoming me back into a loving embrace. How I dreamt of being able to lay next to him in bed as we finished off our day and went to rest for the next after being apart for so many weeks. For weeks leading up to the break up we had been making plans, a trip on the Christmas break, going for sushi, or even taking a trip to the Christmas market.
For the longest time he would bring up the issue of trust, how he doesn’t trust me and never had. For me that was hard. I won’t lie I made some mistakes in our relationship, I talked to someone I had previously dated behind his back, not to be malicious or cheat on him, but because I was once friends with the person and didn’t think it would be relevant to give up that distant friendship, until he asked that I stopped which I did. But it always came back to haunt him that I would for some reason cheat on him, regardless of how many times I told him I was happy with what I had. He would always bring up the question that “you know you don’t have to stay with me, you can leave now. There are so many other guys out there and you deserve better.”, but I would always smile and say no, that I loved what we had. I know there was apart of him that was always happy to hear me stand up for our relationship.
I knew of his past and I accepted it even if his confession made me a bit uneasy. I get that loneliness makes people do stupid things and I wish that over the summer that we didn’t have to spend weeks apart, but it happened again. He confessed to me that something had happened and that he was talking to other girls (nothing inappropriate) but the fact that it was still behind my back made me uneasy. We moved past it though because I still trusted him on some level and he promised that it was a onetime thing. I get what people tell me that you can’t trust someone else if you don’t even know how to trust yourself. Having someone tell you that they think they don’t deserve and you that you can no better is a sign of insecurity. I was MORE than happy with what I had and I never felt at all that I was settling for someone. I loved him to the moon and back just as much as he loved me. But it happened again, the idea that he would go out of his way to meet another girl for coffee and hide it while we were still together still hurts. I bawled my eyes out the he told me because I knew my gut instinct had been right the past couple of days. But yet we promised to make it work.
It hurts. No one tells you how to deal with a break up, there is no magic pill that you can swallow to make the pain go away the yearning to see that person again and hear their voice, seeing their smile, and feel their loving gaze, to know what they’re doing, where they’re going and how they are feeling. To see someone you spent over a year with start to move on so quickly is awful, particularly with the same person was “no one to worry about”. It feels like a betrayal. How badly I wanted to go back in time and have it go away.
To be honest it hurts. It hurts to know that even though I wasn’t “physically” cheated on, I was emotionally cheated on. The fact that he would go out on a date with another girl while we were still together killed me inside. It hurts to know that we may never have a part in one another’s lives anymore. How much I miss waking up next to him in bed, how much I miss having him around my family just as much as I miss being around his, how much I miss waking up to his good morning texts and falling asleep to our FacetTime calls, how I would do anything to see him smile at me again with the way his eyes light up and crinkle when I sees me pop up. I know he loved me though and I know when we broke up he still had strong feelings for me. I don’t blame him for what happened, but i’m hurt for how things went about. Distance is a bitch.
To hear that he broke up with me because he didn’t want to be with me anymore hurt the most. I knew distance would be hard and that at times it would be lonely for the both of us but I never would have hoped that this day would come. There are so many thoughts that run through my mind. Maybe if I had stayed in Canada we would still be together. For him to tell me that I made his so happy and that i’m beautiful, smart, funny, from a good family, and so on and let me go kills inside. To hear him tell me that he missed me so much that it hurt him rips my heart in half. For him to say that he still has strong feelings for me but that he wants to break up feels like having my heart stabbed. Distance makes even the strongest relationships fumble. It causes people to question things, to lose sight of the end goal, and to lose a sense of self knowing both you and your partner are alone. How I would yearn to be there to hug him on his worst days and laugh with him on his best days. But sometimes you can’t help but understand why distance destroys people, it’s hard feeling like your support network is so far away. Why so many people turn to find someone closer in an effort to close that void and just have someone next to them thinking it would solve their loneliness. It won’t, at least in the long term.
It didn’t feel like our story was quite done and it still doesn’t. We were never supposed to meet one another, it was a fluke in the sense that it was my sister who picked him out, and that he wasn’t even within my radius. How similar our families were, working for the public service, how ironic it was that if i was a boy I would have been called his name, how similar our parents names were, the number of children, our two dogs that we had each, the easy going-ness of our families, our similar personalities and humour, our similar tastes in friends, food, and music, let alone our similar academic pasts and paths. I’ve never met someone I felt so connected with. Someone who loved the same as me, and someone who hurt as bad as me when we broke up. The person who called me that night because he wanted to make sure I was okay, the confession that he wished he could take everything back and stay but he couldn’t. The man who wished so badly he could protect me from the pain but he couldn’t because he was the one doing this.
I’m scared for what the future holds. I’m scared because I loved someone so much and now they’re gone. It sucks to know that on some level while he tried to give me some closure, that I will never have the full thing. How I yearn to hear an apology for what happened, how I wish so badly to feel his arms around me hug me on last time. How I want to sit there even as a friend and listen to him talk and laugh at each other’s jokes and to know it may or may not happen.
I don’t regret anything we did with one another. We have so many memories that will last a life time. Celebrating 4 months in Paris, driving 22 hours every three weeks to see me during the summer, flying up to see him when he was sick at the last minute, buying expensive watches with money he didn’t have, all the drives to see each other each week, taking me to the hospital on multiple occasions, our trip to New York and how our plane got cancelled so we got an extra night for free to explore and have a romantic date, selling textbooks to see me in England even though we were both poor, me showing up a week later on a spontaneous trip and him trying to surprise me at the airport with flowers but ending up late because of traffic and having to spoil it. There as so many good memories and I never want to see that spoiled. I look back and I have no regrets. I loved him whole heartedly and despite our mistakes, I know he loved me whole heartedly too.Loving each other to the moon and back was our saying, to the point that being apart when I was in school hurt. Love so painful that it physically hurt to be away from one another.
There’s apart of me that regrets leaving home ad him behind, even though I know I should never feel that way. It hurts because I want to so bad to be here to comfort me and kiss my forehead and tell me everything will be okay like how he comforted me the first few weeks I was away. But I know that the past few weeks had been tough on him and I wasn’t “there for him” as he put it and that he needed “change” and “someone to be there for him” helping him decide he didn’t want to be with me anymore and that he didn’t see the future with me anymore. But everyone I come across keeps asking me this question. What about me? Did he ever think about what I was going through? What I am going through? How I was across the world far from my family and friends and I felt lonely when he had everyone else around him? Where was he for you? That he would expect me to stay in Canada and sacrifice my dream to “keep him company?”. Yet, while I have nothing bad to say about what happened because he treated me like a princess for the most past, it keeps coming up how quickly his mind turned, especially when he was stressed and lonely. How within six weeks he could turn around and say “i don’t want you anymore”. “What about all the times he broke up with me because he was scared, how was that fair to you?””Why couldn’t he make up his mind?” “How could he give you that excuse about being lonely?””How many times has he done this to you?””Why is he always changing his mind about everything?”.
The time apart was the hardest. A long distance relationship means you’re lonely a lot of the time. You talk on the phone as much as possible and you try to video chat, but as I’ve said, technology has its shortcomings. After a bad day, sometimes all you need is a hug, and your distant significant other can’t give that to you. Or maybe they had a bad day, and you want to hold them, but you can’t. If they’re happy about something, you want to celebrate with them, but texting them a smiley face just isn’t going to cut it. Internet that is too slow and cell phones with bad reception seem trivial, but it can be the most frustrating thing when you rely on them to keep up your relationship. It was hard to get what each of us needed out of a relationship when we couldn’t be together, so often times we found ourselves lonely and disappointed and questioning why the relationship was worth it when we weren’t even together.
Things were sometimes unhealthy because in some ways I felt an immense pressure to be his world. He confided in me numerous times about his ability to connect with other people, how he didn’t like people and that sometimes he felt that people didn’t like him back. How he didn’t want to connect with his peers because “that’s not what you’re supposed to do”. I loved him though for who he was, I thought he was personable and funny and sometimes I truly felt he sold himself short. It was hard for him living at home for school, seeing all the friends for the most part he started with leave him behind and for most of this term he wallowed solo, sometimes confiding that he wished he was going out on the weekends with people instead of sitting at home. In the six weeks we were apart he felt I wasn’t there for him. Regardless of the number of hours we talked, the time of day, and the day of the week. Regardless of he fact that “i made him so happy and that you know I love you”, wasn’t enough hurts. The fact that in his life he gave up so many of the things that made him happy because he felt like they weren’t good enough. Always on the constant search for something that makes him happy, when we were happy when we were together. Even when he talked about the time he went camping alone searching for something he couldn’t understand and ended up not finding anything. I could see it in his eyes and feel it in his soul when we were together, how crazy in love he was with me. How when he looked in my eyes and sang country songs I could see how much I meant to him and how every once in awhile he would thank me for being such a good girlfriend to him.
How a good friend of his told me that whenever he saw him when I was gone how hurt he looked that I wasn’t there. It killed me inside. It killed me inside the few weeks before everything ended that he looked at me in the eyes and said how badly he missed me. How each night he would look me in the eyes and say that he missed me so much that it hurt. How he wished I was lying beside him at night. What changed?
I loved him for who he was, but the break up has been hard on the both of us. A roller coaster of emotions, I know deep down we do care for one another deeply, for a week after our break up we could still FaceTime and text and be able to joke around. Yet the past few days have dragged on and made things tense. I am guilty, I get anxious and have a tendency to want reassurance that things will be okay that we’re fine and that things can be all dandy and it leads me to frantically text and apologize and over analyze and text like crazy. Maybe it’s my flaw. I don’t like change, it feels like twice the loss because I lost my boyfriend that night, but I also lost my best friend who I would have leaped mountains for and I know he would have done the same for me when we were together.
It’s been hard because I never got a chance to say good bye. We ended things on a computer screen half way across the world from one another. I wanted a chance to receive one last hug, to know that despite what we were going through we respect and care enough about each other to want the best and to see one another reach our full potential. To maybe one day sit together in a coffee shop and look back at how stupid we were and laugh at the memories we made with one another and the stupid things we said in the heat of the moment.
I never wanted it to end this way. I never wanted to imagine what life would be like without having my favourite person by my side. To hear him say that my battle with depression was essentially “fake” and that I was making it up to gather sympathy from him feels like my heart was punched. How every time I confided in him while lying in bed talking about how I felt at times, he said he didn’t believe me, that i’m just “sad” and I need to “get over it” and that i’m being “overly dramatic”. I’m not sad, transitioning to overseas living was hard to be so far from my support network, the break up was the icing on top. The sweet, caring, and loving guy I once knew has turned into a heartless and cruel being. Maybe its a defence mechanism, maybe it’s him trying to push me away, but it hurts.
I never wanted to make things tense, to make him angry and annoyed, to be so depressed. I just want to be civil to know that what we shared we’ll cherish and that we can look back and say we ended things positively because we care about one another. It hasn’t been easy on us as individuals and I know it hasn’t been easy on my family. My family truly did love him like their own and it’s been hard for them to say goodbye.
Love is love. If it’s meant to be with some action it can happen. I don’t think if it’s true love you ever stop loving, worrying, or caring about that person. But you probably won’t know how much that person truly means to you until they’re gone.
They say time heals all wounds and I hope for God sakes that it does. For now i’ll take in this quote: ” Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you”- Maori proverb