Today, Victoria is taking over the blog and writing about her long distance relationship with her boyfriend Stan. You may remember Victoria from her previous guest post, We Know: If It Hurts, It Can Heal…Because We Run.
It was the perfect scenario. I had just moved to Windsor, Ontario to begin law school and an orientation event was being held at a local bar so first year students could have an opportunity to mingle with upper years. While I tend to be naturally introverted, I pulled on my best casual outfit, planted a smile on my face, and begrudgingly headed out the door to meet my classmates. When I arrived at the bar, I expected to make casual conversation with a few people before heading back to my apartment. What I got instead was the very beginning of the biggest emotional rollercoaster of my life: a long distance relationship, stretching across the entire Province of Ontario.
I met Stan that very night and, although I risk being clumped in the category of “cliché relationship comments” with this one, I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him. He was entering his second year of law school, having gone straight into postgraduate studies after graduating from University. I, on the other hand, took a gap year between completing my undergraduate studies and beginning my legal ones. We are nevertheless the same age, and upon discovering all of this information, there was no other person I wanted to be with from that evening on. It was only thirteen days before he asked me out, and as we approach our two-year anniversary, I have never looked back.
From this brief glimpse into my euphoric love story, one might assume that everything looks perfect. All that glitters, however, is not always gold. Stan, you see, was born, raised, educated, and now re-resides and articles in Ottawa since graduating from Windsor Law this June. I, on the other hand, have always had the streets of Toronto running through my veins, and will be returning to Windsor in September to complete my studies. From Windsor to Windsor, to Toronto to Ottawa, it will now become a matter of Ottawa to Windsor. Ontario has never looked so daunting.
Last summer was our first summer as boyfriend and girlfriend and our first real experience with being apart for long periods of time. At the time, we made a much consorted effort to see one another every two or three weeks. Although it was a difficult process, the relationship was still in its relatively premature phase. We were continuing to learn a lot about one another and only beginning to navigate the complexities of living in separate places. While it was difficult at times, the real lessons were yet to come.
This summer is our second summer apart, and the amount that we have grown within the last year both individually and together is of insurmountable proportions. We speak about marriage like it is second nature. We have a well-established plan for the future, personally and professionally. We know each other’s quirks, the good and the bad. We know when to back off, we know when to ask questions, and we know when we do not need to say anything at all. What we also know is the feeling of deep, profound, overwhelming loneliness.
I never would have imagined myself being in the type of relationship I am in. Stan is, quite literally, the perfect guy, and this sentiment is shared by my entire direct and extended family. When we are together, everything is seamless. When we are apart, everything is miserable. Not a moment goes by where I do not think about him, contemplate plans I wish I could make with him in the evenings after work, long to hug him before I go to sleep, or yearn to see him in the morning. Hearing others say “Everything will work out” is easy to preach but I have learned is often impossible to practice. There are days where I wonder whether or not any of this will be OK. When you have one side of a relationship in one city and another side in a completely different one, it is difficult to reconcile how everything will possibly “work out.” Will we truly end up in the same city professionally in the future? Will everything always be as seamless as it has been so far? The ambiguity and the questions that are impossible to answer right now make the process of a long distance relationship that much more emotionally overwhelming.
Our present situation will last – at minimum – the next eleven months, and when I move back to Windsor in September, the distance will be greater, the feelings will be stronger, and I guarantee the sadness will be weightier. What I have come to teach myself, however, is how to soundly cope with the pain of living apart, and this is a lesson I am strengthening every second of every day. I do my absolute best to make plans on weekends that we are not together and keep myself as occupied as I can on weeknights after work. I see my girlfriends when they are available, make plans with my colleagues, and spend a great amount of time with my family (although I credit this to the fact that I still live in Windsor the majority of the year). When I want to cry, I think about the positive possibilities of our relationship instead of making the negative ones into irreparable catastrophes. When I want to scream or get angry, I let my feelings out in more constructive ways than getting heated with the people around me. When I need someone to talk to, I reach out to those that have been in the same situation or those that can best offer me the most constructive, positive advice. I have yet to learn if there is any other way to make the pain stop when it swells, but this is a learning process I am still in the process of accomplishing
Life as it is today is full of unanswered questions. There are no easy fixes for situations like this, and regrettably, there is no magic wand in the world that can ensure everything will work out as it should. The only thing that exists is love, hard work, willpower and the mutual longing to be together in the end. When it comes to me and Stan, we exhibit all of that and more, and while the next year will present unbelievable challenges, it is this reciprocated love, hard work, willpower, and longing that will ensure the end is as bright as we desire it to be.
Editor’s Note: I welcomed Victoria to share this post on the blog because this experience is something I have gone through and I am sure many of you have also gone through. Please take a moment to share your experiences with long distance relationships in the comments below.