It was the Tumblr days, it’s still going sure, but these were the days when people would openly say “oh yeah I saw that on Tumblr”. I was about 16; also the time I started to transition from female to male socially.
I came across the blog of a girl who’d caught my eye, she had the same emo-style as me, liked exciting music, and she posted some pretty funny stuff in between her dark personal posts. She was an enigma to me. When we started talking, like actually messaging directly instead of using that old ask-box system, it didn’t take long for us to fall pretty hard for each other, the only problem? She was over 10,500 miles away from me.
We would message each other every. Single. Day. I kid you not; we once had a 14-hour long Skype video call. If we didn’t message, something was terribly wrong, like a suicide attempt. That’s to say, we both had our issues.
There’s a quote from a book-adapted movie I love that sums up how we both approached the relationship:
“You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love.” — Stephen Chbosky
What can I say, we were young. However, that tempestuous relationship lasted for two years before we eventually met in person for the first time. The years of Skyping, letter sending and messaging lead up to my 24-hour journey to the other side of the planet to meet her. I was 18 and travelling alone.
The moment we first touched each other was electrifying; we held on like it was the end of the world and nothing else mattered except her and me, together. I spent three intense months there with her. We were wildly passionate, and I did everything I could to make her happy, but the beautiful tapestry we wove started unravelling the closer we got to my departure. We fought a lot about the littlest things, and no matter how well we thought we assembled, the cracks were getting wider, getting deeper.
She was scared of being seen with me by people she knew because I didn’t ‘pass’ as well as maybe she thought I did and that meant people could be questioning her sexuality, not an easy thing in that part of the world. I struggled to deal with her constant mood swings that were a symptom of some serious mental health problems left unaddressed because her family couldn’t afford the care.
By the time I left, we both understood what it meant.
So ended our long-distance relationship.
I’ve had other romantic relationships since this, even another long-distance one that was similarly intense but didn’t last quite as long and I’m still friends with that person. I also have a long-distance best friend (with whom I have a marriage pact, you never know) and that relationship has lasted since I was 16 too.
The thing about long-distance relationships, platonic or otherwise, is that perhaps they are incredibly intense because emotion is all we’ve got to give in that situation. We can’t gift our bodies, only our hearts and minds. Love is more than just sweaty bodies in the darkness; our souls can connect with the words we choose to give each other and what more accessible way for that to happen than in perfectly wrapped parcels of digital letters.
Being in a long-distance relationship is like nothing else. You’ll feel your heart swell with yearning, you’ll ache over the oceans setting you apart, and you might even find that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. It didn’t work for me, but if you can make it work, it’d be a relationship you’d never forget.
Alexander Boswell is an aspiring transgender writer that just wants to help make the world a better place. He has a Master’s Degree in Marketing that specialised in Consumer Behaviour but writes about a range of topics with personal perspectives.