Is it the waiting that makes someone so desirable when things become long distance? Or is it simply that you now have more space and time to dedicate to yourself, so then you’re genuinely more happy when you interact with your love interest? I mean, being around anyone too often drives me crazy. I don’t know about you. And it’s not that I’m even really happy to get a break from them… but, if I do get a break from them, then I appreciate them a lot more (and I’m just generally more content with myself and my life). “Too much of a good thing can be bad for you,” as the old saying goes. Have just one drink out at dinner every night, or go out drinking once in a while, but if you’re drinking all day long every day of the week…it’s bound to disagree with you. As I put it in a letter to one of my partners, “I like bonfires, but I don’t feel the need to do one every single night.” Some things are better when they are somewhat more rare.
Long distance is a funny concept. It’s both romantic, and annoying. You can correspond with letters, and you get space to breathe, time to think about how much you miss them, etc. However, the person can’t be there for you when it comes to any sort of real physical support, and they’re really limited in their emotional support due to their lack of physical ability. Or maybe I’m the only one who feels like emotional support is lacking if the person isn’t there to physically give me a hug. Who knows? But I do know it’s somewhat frustrating when you’re like “Yeah, I love this person so much” but then you can’t actually go and do anything with them.
Of course, some long distance relationships are different than others. For some long distance is just an hour drive away (“I’m in the country, he’s in the city” kind of thing), opposed to dating someone who lives across the country (or heck, maybe even in another country completely). For others, long distance can even be a more situational thing – meaning physically they aren’t really that far away, it isn’t a long distance between you two. That’s how it was for my husband and I when he was in jail for 8 or so months while I was pregnant.
It was horrid! Having to try and deal with a 4 year old AND a pregnancy. I felt so fucking fatigued, ALL the time. I was nauseous just for like 3 months straight in the beginning too. Ugh! All day and all night. Then there’s the fact that, besides all the physical help I needed with moving stuff around, and just generally living life, I am a super emotional person and that shit peaked when I was pregnant. Hearing his voice on the phone was soothing though. But it costs money for someone from the jail to call you. We wasted a LOT of money just chatting away every night. But I needed it. I also went to see him during visitation every week, which was great. I couldn’t kiss him or hug him, but I could see him and talk to him. After he got on huber (which is when they let inmates out for work) he was able to talk to me on his phone all day long at work, and sometimes I snuck over to see him (even though I wasn’t supposed to). Every time I talked to him, and every time I saw him, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was magical and wonderful and amazing. I loved it!
After our daughter was born he was able to get put on the bracelet so he could stay at home with us – what a friggin’ miracle! I was so relieved! Now he was there to be with me, comfort me, and help me with everything. Yay, I thought. But to be completely honest, after a short while the excitement wore off and it was back to arguing over dishes and having pointless fights. Being in a relationship is such bullshit sometimes. Still, I love him with all my heart. But…damn. These are the types of things that make me think I want to be solo poly. That I want to live alone. I need my space. I need my home to be like a sanctuary I can run back to when the day is rough. For some reason, with my husband home, it just isn’t like that.
Now, my other partner is in jail (go figure – this town is literally full of people who just go to jail all the damn time over stupid shit). He’s looking at a more significant amount of time. Probably a couple years, which means he won’t be here at the jail, he’ll be shipped out to one of the prisons. This both frightens me, and kind of makes me feel relieved. Space, my mind says. But my heart keeps saying, too far, too long. I don’t know. It’s a weird concept…long distance. Perhaps if I had a long distance relationship that was long distance by choice (for once) I’d feel differently. I mean, when my husband and I first got together we lived at opposite ends of the country. It was tough, but the late night phone calls that lasted until we both fell asleep were amazing. That time it was somewhat more by choice because I didn’t want to move until I finished up my degree.
Still, though… we started out long distance. It wasn’t what we wanted. I have absolutely no experience starting out close and then deciding to move far apart. I wonder what that is like? I almost want to try it. Perhaps some day I will. But until then I’ll just be sitting here staring at my computer screen, wondering – what makes long distance so appealing? Maybe it’s because it’s so terrifying. (I do love a good adrenaline rush.)