No this isn’t a post of how to get through blubbering moments where you miss your SO. Although I’d be lying to say that hasn’t happened (no thanks to my first experience with absinth in Prague). But no, I’m not writing about missing your boyfriend/girlfriend because moving puts distance between you and a lot of people.
I experienced this when my parents divorced, when my sister went to college, and when I went to college. But we were almost always in the same state and/or timezone. If not, we were pretty close. Last summer, when I lived in Chicago, I got more of a taste of what long distance really meant. Not having a boyfriend at the time, I realized how much friends and family get left out of the conversation when talking about long distance relationships. So I’m tipping my hat to the long distance friendships and families out there. You matter just as much, if not more, than most long distance dating relationships.
Roommates. I just have one and I’ve missed her the most out of anyone. I haven’t lived with my family for a few years now, so I’m used to not seeing them. But I’ve lived with my roomie for two years now, going on three, so I’ve gotten very use to her in my day to day life. I find myself missing the little quirks I used to think odd (like pre-washing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher). I miss our talks and our dinners together and trying to teach our dog new tricks and planning meals together for our friends. It’s hard to go from seeing someone everyday (or at least hearing them bustle around the apartment) to texting them when your time awake overlaps (the seven hour time change has been awful at times). When you get used to seeing someone you look forward to seeing them whether you realize it or not. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a roomie reunion and another great year ahead of us!
Friends. It’s hard not to be around your group. The people you plan dinners with and go out with and play ridiculous card games with become your family. You don’t realize how much those late nights together mean until you’re spending late nights in a new city with new people. Don’t get me wrong! The friends I’ve made here in Paris are amazing and I will definitely be keeping in touch with them when we head back to our own states. It’s just different. No one’s any better or any worse than the other, just different. And maybe it’s the getting used to something new just in time to go back to the old that makes me miss the comfort of my friends back home so much. Or maybe I miss how everyone just walks in the door of the apartment ready for anything from late night study sessions to pregaming during football season. Either way, I miss them all dearly and know that we will all fall back into place when we return to our college town.
Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about those in a long distance relationship. But I’ll just warn you now: it’s the little things that get you. Like when I’m in my room and catch the scent of something that still smells like him I drop everything and search until I’ve found whatever it is. The worst is walking down the street, seeing something they would enjoy, and instinctively reaching for their hand to point it out only to remember they’re seven time zones away, and knowing that picture will have to do for now.
It’s been difficult at times, but for the most part I feel like we’ve found a good balance of talking to each other as well as focusing on what’s around us. I’m not missing out on Paris shut up in my room skyping my boyfriend. And I’m not so engrossed in Paris that I’m missing out completely on what’s going on back home. That’s what I was most worried about. Those two extremes of missing out on one for the other. But with some loose rules on the amount of communication and planning ahead of time we’ve found a good balance of filling each other in on what’s going on. The best part, I think, is how encouraging we’ve been for each other and how positive we’ve been able to stay. I know I’m going home to a stronger relationship than when I left.
And I think it’s safe to say that any relationship (albeit friendly or romantic, long distance or under the same roof, brand new or years old) can work out with enough open communication and flexibility and positivity no matter what the distance. It takes two to tango, so you just have to be willing to put in a little effort there and know when to pull back here.