Long Distance Relationships: Sylvia's Side of the Story

This is Sylvia's response to Mr. Leigh's take on their Long Distance Relationship. Sylvia departed in August. You may think they're handling this well. Just wait until they reveal how many minutes they spend on the phone per month, or try and calculate how much postage they've used. Currently they are counting the days until they see each other in November. What is the longest amount of time you've gone between seeing your significant other? How long would you be willing to wait? 

I’d like to think that a year from now we will have forgotten what this feels like. All that will remain is the outcome.

Somewhere in the recesses of our minds we will recall all the thousands of tiny tears that joined together to rip at the cloth of our fabricated stability and expose what we weren’t hiding well anyway: our feelings for each other.I never planned it this way.

The very idea of us ever being together seemed so impossible and idealistic even sixty days prior to my departure, and yet weeks before I was set to move, lease papers signed, I found myself falling asleep each night to the rhythm of her breathing and waking up to her smile.

And those days passed perfectly. The only complaint I had is that they came to an end and soon it was August and I felt cheated out of something I had hoped for with such devotion.We joked about our timing. Meeting when deeply entrenched in other relationships. Finally being able to be together only to race against the clock to get in as much time as possible before binding contracts and responsibilities whisked me away.

Reluctantly it was decided that we would part with no labels and no expectations, and I silently told myself I was just grateful for the whirlwind romance, even if it never developed beyond that.

Through tearful goodbyes that exhausted our lungs and reddened our eyes for days, it became evident neither of us had any intention of letting the other go.While driving cross-country I had plenty of time to reflect and remember, her music providing the soundtrack to the thoughts I bounced off the Colorado Mountains and Nebraska plains.

Every night we’d whisper into our phones and each morning I’d drop a letter into the mail heading back to her door.I arrived in Chicago to a mailbox full of letters and postcards, and knew I had fallen even harder in love than before.

At first my roommates didn’t get it. I felt and looked silly walking around with a cell phone attached to my hand at all times. The sharp short tone of an incoming text message elicited a pavlovion response in me. It sill does.
I never meant to have it happen this way. Long distance is never what one dreams of. It is so difficult and can be debilitating in its loneliness. But I look at it this way: The phone calls, the text messages, the letters and e-mails, all of it translates to the amount I’d be communicating with her if I were with her in California.

And I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I live in an amazing city and I’ve experienced concerts in Millennium Park, readings at Women and Children First, strolls on Lake Michigan and evenings at some of the most impressive museums in the world. But mostly I go through those things wishing I was experiencing them with her.

There are those who say I need to experience the single life while young and new in the city. If I wanted to, I could have a few prospects, but I haven’t met anyone that even remotely compares to her, and to be honest, I’m not interested in looking.

There has been an instance or two where I will idly find myself engaging in some innocent flirtation as I go about my day, but the words taste sour as they fall from my mouth and I’m left making quick retractions and awkward exits as I confirm that nothing that cute bartender or very attentive Trader Joe’s check out girl could do or say would have even 1/100th of the impact as the postcard that is waiting for me in my mailbox.


Anonymous said...


Renee Gannon said...

I give you a lot of respect for enduring a long distance relationship... I really don't think I have it in me

Nulaanne said...

I am in a LDR with Honey. She and I have been maintaining one for over a year now. When I can I am going to move to CA to be with her. Our cell phone's are our link. Texting, long calls, mail, and emails. The longest time that we have to be seperated is coming up. We try to see each other every few months, this time we are going to have to wait from now until March or April.

And yes, she is worth it.

pamina said...

i am zu from malaysia, and in an ldr since 2006. i am an engineer working in kuala lumpur and my gf is in kuching (a town in sarawak where she is working as a doctor) so in between us is the south china sea. i guess i too do indulge in multiple phone calls, sms-es, emails, letters, and we make it a point to meet each other monthly. friends have looked down on my relationship saying we are not committed enough but i wouldnt want her to move here unless she's truly ready. and like what sylvia and nulaane have mentioned, she's worth it.

it's not so bad :)

Anonymous said...

i know how you feel. my girlfriend and i met 2 years ago when i was just 16 years old, she was 19 then and stationed on the army base i lived on because my stepfather was in the millitary. we talked for aboiut 5 minutes and i never saw her again. we met almost 2 years later on myspace. she was in iraq. the first time she called my phone and the moment we hung up. i knew i wanted to tell her i loved her. she flew me out to visit her and her family in san diego california when she was on vacation from iraq. and ever since we have been together. we have been together for almost a year in february. we have spent only 16 days out of the whole 10 months together. but i love her and she is worth it to me. long distance can be tough, but when you really love someone. its never impossible.

Anonymous said...

My fiance is in the navy and she signed her papers three days before we met. I decided to be with her knowing she would be leaving and not knowing where she may end up! We have stayed together through bootcamp, and now school. Her orders are now sending her to Italy for two years! This is going to be the hardest test on our relationship. We have found that phone calls and letters keep us strong. I see her whenever she gets leave. We even fall asleep on the phone most nights... Thank goodness for free nights and weekends! But we are so in love the ldr is nothing. The love we have is stronger. She is so worth it. She is serving the country and I just want her to come home safely!

Anonymous said...

My happy ending... We met back in 2002 in Melbourne Australia. Being International students we were only able to stay till our student visas expired. From high school, to college and Uni, almost 7 years together. Then it was time I leave the country, she stayed to gain Permanent Resident status as her course allowed her to. I couldn't. Leaving everthing behind late last ear, she promised that we will be together again as soon as her PR application got thru.

Almost 10 months since I left her, now she's found a man. Everything I dreamed of crashed down like doomsday. Everyday I still cry. I still hurt. Was the past 7 year just a lie? Have I been living a lie?

Anonymous said...

Have I been living a lie? NO!
nothing can take away the time you had together...unless you let it. reflect in the joy, in intimacy, the everyday pleasures that made you what you were, WHILE you were. you will always 'be', just in a different form.
i've been in a ldr for 2 1/2 years and we've never met. talk about HARD! but we've learned things about each other that couple who know each other from the start, can never experience. they both have their positives and negatives... but look what joy you had while you were there! it seems to have made the trip worth it!
i know it hurts. but you also know YOUR heart. if you didn't lie to yourself, then you didn't live a lie. we aren't responsible for other's actions or emotions, only our own. so cling to what is and was in YOUR heart, know YOUR truth, and cherish what you will forever have.
you never know.. she may come back. but if she doesn't, aren't you the better person for having 'loved and lost'? i think so.

Oak said...

My girl friend and I started dating senior year of high school, we are continuing long distance though college. It's been almost a year now. I have those same exact feelings.