I’ve been in several long-distance relationships since January 2009. Hold your judgment, please. This doesn’t mean I’m terribly promiscuous. It just means I live abroad.
Nico and I met in Buenos Aires in August/September of 2008. After going out/dating for ~6 months he came back to Michigan, and I went to Gainesville, FL, for my REU. So our long-distance thing began as a “domestic” one, with both of us living in the same country. It wasn’t easy, but at least we met in Chicago after 2 months. After I went back home, he visited in July (2009), I went to Chicago in January (2010), he visited again in April (2010) and then I moved in July (2010). So we were in a long-distance relationship for a year and a half. Was it hard? Hell, yes it was. But it was totally worth it, and I cherish those times, hard as they were. We did it because we had a plan, we knew that in a not-so-distant future we would be together. The thought of that future carried us through those rough months.
What are my other long-distance relationships, then? Those with my family and friends. Specially with my friends: those are the hardest ones, because there isn’t a solid plan we can hold on to (and just the thought of it makes me cry. It hurts that much).
My mom and I email each other almost on a regular basis, and we talk on the phone (almost) every week. Ours is by far the most stable long-distance relationship I have now. And it’s also true that my mom will always be my mom, despite time and distance.
I have several friends I’m not going to give up on. We chat, we talk on the phone, we text (I’ll be forever grateful to whoever invented WhatsApp). And even though they’re (or I am) far away, they still feel close.
You know, living abroad puts things into perspective. In the 24 years I lived in Argentina I made several friends and acquaintances. Some of them didn’t mean much, some of them were important in one way or another, but most of them weren’t part of my life when I left. And even among those who were, only some of them are still around. Those are the ones that really matter. Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for every friend I’ve made, and I wouldn’t turn my back on them if I were to meet them again. It’s just that some friendships need that daily interaction to survive. Unfortunately, that is very hard to do when you’re in a different country. Those friendships that can survive and thrive despite the distance are the most valuable ones to me, because they are the only ones I can afford. I suck at keeping in touch, I’m a horrible pen-pal, But I love my friends to pieces, and that won’t change just because we go some days (or weeks) without talking. Those who share this feeling are the ones that matter the most. And I’m sure they know who they are.