“Wow, I could never do that! It must be so hard”
I had been talking to a new acquaintance when the topic of relationships had come up. The second I told her that my boyfriend lived in New York, hundreds of miles away from me, her eyebrows had shot up. I sighed internally, already anticipating the myriad of questions she would pelt me with, peppered with a good dose of incredulity and pity.
I was used to it by now, this was the typical reaction extracted from people by my long distance relationship. I had grown to accept it, monotonously offering my answers to the same tired questions.
No, I wasn’t scared that he’d cheat on me.
No, it wasn’t harder than a real relationship.
And yes, I had met him in person. That’s how we started dating in the first place.
Explaining the details of our intercontinental love story is tiresome. Especially because both of us travel so much, setting up shop in different corners of the globe, constantly shifting between places and cultures. Between us, we’ve lived in over six different countries. People tend to pry more than they would about in-person relationships, they demand details of how and where we met, they want to know how often we get to visit one another and how we keep the flame alive if we can’t see each other (conveniently forgetting the wonderful invention of facetime).
The most frequent question I get though? It’s definitely — “How do you stay committed?”.
But what they are really asking is — “How do you stay committed when you can’t be around your loved one in person?”. They always want to know how can I stay in a relationship when I can’t touch the person. And if maybe I have considered looking for someone who is near me instead.
People think that commitment is measured by how many hours you spend in a person’s presence. That it needs to be fueled by extravagant dates, goodbye kisses and breakfast in bed. That it’s the decision to finally move in together, adopt a plant or maybe even a pet. People feel like it needs to…