Mar 25, 2018

on long-distance relationships

Meeting up around the world, crossing space and time zones to be together. So romantic. But long distance relationships are paradoxical. They are fired by imagination, because one sees less of the person in the same room, and more in one's head. Proust said “it’s our imagination which is responsible for love, not the other person.” But in more rational moments ardent desire is tempered by the gulf in-between.

 Jess from Sydney dated a Dane, who was based in Copenhagen. They would talk or write every day, and meet up every couple of months. Both of them traveled for work, her to Europe, and him to Asia. Their home and away rendez-vous-es were always exciting. In the beginning of every new meet-up there was a sense of having to start again, as they rediscovered the feeling of being in each others’ presence. These meetings would last a week, and every moment was precious. But as their hours drew to a close, Jess said they might spend the last 48hrs fighting. When they were apart she noticed herself become jealous and anxious, something she’d never been before. A bad day was made worse by not hearing from him.

Jess only recommends long-distance to high-achievers who are Very into the relationship. It is not just for Christmas. The highs are euphoric, but the lows are lonesome. She was always tired from talking on a different timezone. There are cultural differences and communication barriers — the Danes are notoriously reserved, and Jess is Australian and doesn't hold back.

Jess said it worked for so long for them because they both liked their space, and but could afford to jump on a plane to see each other. There was a recurring ‘thrill of the chase’ in their relationship, an addictive quest to see each other again. As the last meeting faded, the anticipation and planning for the next one began.

A word of warning, New Zealand. We're the last stop on the line. It’s not uncommon for long distance relationships to end because one or other found someone closer. Long distance relationships can seem safer than dating someone in your hometown. You can't have fights about why they never do the dishes, when your relationship is over the phone. But ultimately the price is not being able to see if it would work under normal conditions. But that’s a thousand skype calls away. For now, love like you’ll never get hurt.

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