Dirty Distance

by Jamal

Actions speak louder than words.  I found this to be the case when it came to my experience with a long distance relationship.  Bloomington and Indianapolis are an hour apart, and by the end of our first date back in Indianapolis, I knew I had to see him again; let’s call him S.  Some reservation set in because I had never been in a relationship before, and was not confident with my feelings about dating a guy that was an hour up the interstate.  Long distance is relative to those in a relationship where the majority of time spent is apart; i.e. different towns, hours of driving, or in some cases plane rides away.  Luckily for S and I, we only had an hour separating us, and spent most weekends together.  I considered this hour to be long distance, and a challenge over the nearly twenty-two months we were in different zip codes.

Traveling one hour may not seem like much to most, but there were factors in my life at the time that made the distance between us – 48 miles to be exact – seem greater.  I did not have a car, and I didn’t want him to feel like he had to make the drive for me.  Was I worth it to him? What if he found someone in Indy that he could spend every night with… someone he didn’t have to pick up from the airport because they had to take a shuttle from another town… Insecurity would eat me alive when we were apart. The state of my life – a struggling student who was barely making ends meet working two retail jobs – had me intimidated by the success he had already reached.  This self-induced inadequacy lingered in the early stages of our courtship, and would visit frequently while we remained in two different locales.

Adding to my insecurities was the presence of social media, and its ability to monitor activity.  Grindr is a popular hook-up app that displays guys based on GPS location, and allows you to chat and trade pictures.  I set S’s profile as a favorite early on, and as a result I could now see when he was online; even when he was back in Indy. This would drive me insane because we had talked about the end of our bachelor lifestyles, and being serious about building a future.  Seeing the little green dot in the corner of his Grindr profile picture, after saying goodnight, would cause my blood to boil.  I was more curious than I was jealous, yet I never brought any of this up to him. Something anchored me inside, and told me to ride the wave; see where this thing goes.

Distance has the power to breathe life into any piece of negativity your mind will allow. Each month I would grow more confident with myself; realizing we were both making sacrifices to make this relationship work.  There was strength found in the many grey areas of mixed thoughts and emotions that clouded my mind Monday through Friday.  The biggest lesson from my experience with a long distance relationship was to not over-think little things, and to take one day at a time.  All the dark emotions in the beginning were a result of the new (love) feelings I was experiencing, and trying to apply these updates to oneself absolutely cannot be done over any short period.  It’s a scary thing to let the universe bring what is meant onto oneself. Had I not yielded to this – let go and let love – realization, where would I be?  Where would he be?

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