When You’re in a Long Distance Relationship, It’s Easy to Get Addicted to Waiting and Forget to Live

black and white photo of a train station
Image by Erik / CC BY

There are moments, such as the one that oppresses me now, when I feel my own self far more than I feel external things, and everything transforms into a night of rain and mud where, lost in the solitude of an out-of-the-way station, I wait interminably for the next third-class train.

-Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

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I miss you most at night.

That’s when the loneliness becomes unbearable. When I miss you so much I physically start to hurt.

It’s reliable. It happens every night now. Whether I was social all day or saw no one. When it gets dark, and I crawl into bed, everything starts to hurt. A familiar weight enters my chest.

And as it does, I find myself wondering, Isn’t it funny how an absence can feel heavy? How missing someone can make you feel overloaded? It’s paradoxical.

*

I’ve had a fair number of long-distance relationships. In some ways, I’m better at them than I used to be. It helps that technology has come a long way since the 90s and is much better at bridging the gap.

Where I once needed a phone card to call long distance and quickly ran out of minutes, I can now voice chat for free with  anyone in the world, provided I have the right app and we both have wifi.

The other night, we gave each other live video tours of where we’re staying, what we’re doing, what we’re working on. You asked me what I thought of your new organizers. I asked you what you thought of the new paint in the dining room.

And there’s tons of passive communication, via social media. Well from me to you, anyway. You don’t have much of an online presence. You’re more of a lurker. It’s something I’ve always liked about you. That you listen more than you talk. Remember more than most people ever actually hear.

You’re the real deal. You’re busy doing and being rather than convincing other people you’re living.

The strong silent type.

*

I still have some things to work on when it comes to long-distance relationships. I need to learn not to center my life around them, around you. Spending all of my waking hours waiting for the next time I talk to you or you text back.

Feeling like I’m just doing time until I see you again.

Waiting for a train that might take weeks — or months — to come.

Because when you’re in a long distance relationship, it’s far too easy to get addicted to waiting and forget to live.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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