Quarantine Reminds Me Why I Love Long-Distance Relationships
All relationships (except those we live with) are long distance right now.
And damn, is this a good lesson in:
“With which people do I have anything real to talk about?”
“Which people will I go out of my way to keep in touch with?”
“Which people have I lost connection with?”
“Where am I going the second I can take a flight?” followed by, “Is this REALLY 6 months away? FUCK.”
I Love Long-Distance Relationships
“I exist in two places, here and where you are” — Margaret Atwood
I’ve had several. Some of them were long-distance for part of the relationship, some for the entire duration.
A few reasons why I love ‘em:
It’s a fuck yes choice. No one can be passive about an LDR. It requires work and commitment. You are either in or out. That clarity is sexy.
If someone chooses an LDR with you, they definitely like you a lot. Sacrificing the physical touch and being together aspect confirms someone’s definitely into you because you are more than your physical.
It ups emotional connection and intimacy. You’d better like talking on the phone for an LDR to work, and if you do, I assume it’s because you like my brain and think I’m smart and funny (I am). Tbh, my brain is what I hope someone likes most about me. “What are you thinking?” Those are the best 4 words to ever come out of your mouth.
They create boundaries between me, you, and us. When we’re apart, I live my life: hobbies, friends, family. ‘Us’ time is ‘us’ time. I know when either is happening. (Read: clarity).
Quality time is valued. “Let’s not take this for granted, it’s all we have.” Weekends or shared time is planned to the brim to maximize fun, adventure, intimacy, love.
It gives me hope that we can handle other challenges together. Having a long-distance aspect to a relationship shows we are willing to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gain. It shows values. It shows intention. Again, sexy!
For someone with any relationship anxiety tendencies, LDRs help by creating clarity and certainty.
Of course, we can never completely have either of these things in life. Especially when another person is involved. But the LDR creates the conditions for parameters, rules, intentionality, etc. And I love that about them.
When I’m dating, one of the things I struggle with most is the question “when am I seeing you again?”. The uncertainty is unsettling for me. I’m still trying to get to the bottom of this in therapy, so for now let’s assume this will not change about me.
Uncertainty for me is ‘hard’ or ‘bad’.
I like to plan out dates, time with friends, dinner, etc. Yes, I see that this about control. As you might guess then, dating, especially the early stages, is a particularly confusing time for me. Often, I wonder whether I really want to see someone again, or I just want the clarity of knowing if we ‘will’ or ‘won’t’.
Quarantine Has Created Some Certainty
Hear me out.
I know this is crazy to say when many people are living in the most uncertain times of their lives. Job losses, kids at home, living with a partner they’d rather not, separated from loved ones, etc, etc.
But in this quarantine time, I can be certain of the uncertainty. I am certain that I don’t know when I can make my next plan. I am certain I will be indoors until further notice.
Here’s what’s certain about quarantine right now:
This is where I live and I cannot move from here.
I will wake up every day (Mon-Fri) and work in my upstairs office. I have no other options from where to work. I won’t consider my co-working space, or that coffee shop down the street, or both in the same day.
I’ll have dinner with my housemates every night.
Everyone I live with will be in the house for the duration of the day. If I need them, they are not far.
If I go for a walk, it will either be alone or with one of the people I live with. I won’t have to talk to anyone outside, because it’s literally not allowed.
Everyone that I know and love is *also* in their home, doing the same thing I am. We are connected by something, even if that shared thing is shitty.
There are days when quarantine is eerily comforting to the anxious person.
Certainty is peaceful.
I feel safe knowing that the next week is going to be the same as the last. I am safe inside. There are no decisions to be made. This is life for the foreseeable future.
This feels like what I love about a long-distance relationship. Oddly, quarantine and the LDR share the same outcome, but in an opposite fashion. The LDR thrives on making planning. Quarantine thrives on the removal of all plans.
Both have the outcome of creating assurance. Read: “This is happening this way. And that’s all there is to it.”
Perhaps the sense of certainty I feel with either are false. Perhaps they are things I cling to in a world that will never be certain.
Perhaps I don’t care.
While either of them last, I take solace.