In defence of long distance relationships

I’ve been wanting to write this post all year. Even more so recently when I was feeling at my loneliest and woke up to the cutest and sweetest and dumbest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. I wanted to write this because it’s something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest on the internet too. I’m just writing it out in a different way, that’s all.

I’m sure we could all write a whole dissertation on how How I Met Your Mother is a TV show that treats women like shit and promotes toxic relationships, but there is one particular scene that really grinds my gears.

When Victoria goes to the airport to go to Germany and pursue her dreams (yassss Victoria, you do you gurl) she agrees with Ted that they’re going to “try long distance” and then the annoying Bob Saget voiceover is like “it didn’t work. Long distance never works” as if they should have known better all along. But that’s so not true! Long distance can work and I’m totally in defence of it.

Picture it. Sicily 1934. Lol jk. No, but seriously, picture it. I’m home alone apart from my best friend who is asleep next to me in my bed. We’ve been drinking wine to celebrate my birthday which is tomorrow. I’m on my phone browsing through Twitter while Disney movies play on my laptop next to me. Everything is quiet and then the clock hits midnight. It’s now officially my birthday. A WhatsApp message pops up on my phone. 

“Go over to the chest of drawers in the corner of your bedroom and look underneath it.”

And so I do. It’s honestly a place I’ve never looked in my life because I’m not the kind of person who hoovers underneath their furniture. But there’s an envelope under there which contains Polaroids I didn’t know had been taken, postcards, a birthday card, drawings, a letter. They’re from a boy. A boy I like. A boy I like very much. And the letter goes something like this*

Dear Bee,

If you haven’t found this early and opened it, it should be your birthday. So happy birthday! I wonder if you are now taller than me like you said you would be.

I am either still in America or on my way back home. I have missed you so much but hopefully, I will see you in the next couple of days and it will be OK. This will be the longest we have gone without seeing each other and I already know I will miss you lots.

You should also have a lot of exciting things to do at home! Make sure to see your friends lots while I’m away so you can see me when I get back.

By the time you read this we will be leaving Los Angeles and slowly making our way up to San Francisco and then flying back over to Washington DC. Hopefully by now I would have bought you a birthday present. Don’t worry, I’m sure I will have.

I haven’t written this much in ages and my hand hurts. Well Bee, I’d better get to bed now because I’m writing this at 11pm on 8th July, the day before I come and see you for the last time in a while.

Bye for now, all my love.

P.s. I have enclosed some cute photos and a smoothie voucher 🙂

And it’s like he’s here with me in my bedroom. And his friend has taken the picture of him holding up a sign that says those words “I love you.” Someone has helped him do this, to do this for me. I think back to when he was last here. It was weeks, maybe months ago. He’s planned this for months. He must have had so much faith in me. And me in him. 

Then my phone rings and I answer it. 

Happy birthday,” he whispers, “I’m at Washington DC airport. I’m coming home to you as soon as I can. Did you like your present? It’s not your only one.”

Yes,” I say, “of course I like it. I love it.”

And I still like it now. It lives in the little cupboard hole in my bedroom wall (I live in the attic) and I take it out and look it at when I feel alone. I look at it when I need inspiration. I look at it when I need some storybook material for a storybook life. And the reason why it didn’t work out between Ted and Victoria was that HE CHEATED ON HER. Not because long distance doesn’t work. If you’re sensible mature adults who both know what they want and put in the time and effort to make it work then there’s no reason why it can’t. Just like anything, if something is worth it personally to you, you WILL put the time and the effort in.

And if you date someone who lives close to home, you miss out on a lot. You miss out on birthday letters and surprises and setting your alarm for 5am to speak on the phone. You miss running out of backdoors for one last kiss, you miss trying to stay awake until the last stop on the tube, you miss seeing them being the highlight of your week, your month, your year. You miss them sending you love songs from halfway across the planet. You miss the good morning and the goodnight texts. You miss the dumb souvenir key chains and the exciting plans and getting to see them thrive doing something that they love somewhere that they love being. You miss missing them.

So I don’t think long distance is a lost cause at all. I think it can be great. And after all, if they love you, they’ll come back for you. Every single time.

*edited for clarity and to remove personal information

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