It has been 2 months since I met my Colombian man, as I now to refer to him to most of my friends. We talk everyday, we say loving things to each other and we miss each other like crazy. I recently went to Florida to visit him for a few days and am hosting him in Chicago next week. While I realize all dating is still somewhat foreign to me, dating someone half across the country has shown to be a completely different experience. I know that plenty of couples in this world at one time or another are forced to do the long distance thing. However I imagine that typically the distance comes after the relationship is already established. The X and I were never apart more than a few months during my study abroad program in Italy when I was in college. Even that seemed hard and I was having the experience of a lifetime. You miss each other, you try to make time to talk, but life is busy. You already know that person and have confidence that they are with you and no one else. There is no guessing or reading between the lines. Learning about someone is particularly tricky when the relationship starts off several thousand miles away. I have laid out the pros and cons of dating long distance from the beginning:
PRO – I still have my freedom – The beginning of a relationship is always filled with the crazy obsession phase where you literally cannot stop thinking about the other person. You want to be with them all the time, and when you don’t absolutely have to be somewhere else, you are together. It’s an incredible feeling – but it’s incredibly draining. Your friends start wondering where you’ve been, your mother calls you wondering if you’re still alive, and your work begins to suffer because you start to leave the office at 4:59pm to rush back into bed with your new beau. Dating from a distance, I don’t have to sacrifice any other aspect of my life. I see my friends, I have plenty of time with my family, and work resumes as usual (with the exception of a few long conversations over text).
CON – I miss him – On the flip of this, I don’t get to enjoy those beginning moments! I still have the feelings of needing to see him. I think about him constantly and I am still excited about the fact that I found someone to be excited about. It’s that same feeling you have when you’re a kid and you have to leave all of your brand new toys you just opened from Santa at home and go to your grandmother’s house for dinner. You have all of this fun just waiting for you and it feels agonizingly long before you can return to it.
PRO – Plenty of mini-vacations – I am dating a man who lives in Florida…in the middle of a cold Chicago winter. Total perk. I think I need to book another flight back in February now that I think about it…Beautiful sunsets, romantic talks on the beach, views of the harbor, a girl could get used to that.
CON – You get to know each other too well too soon – Because we have to have long visits when we actually see each other, we get to know EVERYTHING. Typical couples only see each other for a few hours at a time. In a few hours, a person can appear perfect. When you spend every second together for several days, it is impossible to keep up the perfect persona. This means I already know all of the gross things about him that would be more forgiving if we were already dating for several months. AND VICE VERSA! ugh! He does not need to know that much about me just yet. But it goes beyond bathroom habits, snoring and grooming routines. I learned a lot about our differences as people in general. I am a very anxious person that constantly looks at the time and wants to make the most out of that time. He isn’t exactly a relaxed person, but he has no sense of urgency. It could kill me.
PRO – Making up for lost time – One thing that Mr. Colombia and I have is chemistry. A ton of it. Like out of a movie, incredible chemistry. Basically the only time I wasn’t thinking “hurry up get to the beach!” was when we were in bed. Which was all the time. Even when we were at the beach, or in the car, or at the restaurant – we were that couple you hate.
CON – Going cold turkey once it’s over – It has been a long 4 weeks without him.
PRO – Time to myself – This goes along with the first point above but it’s worth mentioning again. I never had time to myself with the X and with 2 children time alone is pretty rare. So when the girls are with their dad, I am happy to be by myself in my new apartment and enjoy being alone. Yes – alone as I have mentioned before – but if you recall being alone WITH someone is much different than being alone WITHOUT.
CON – Alone time makes me crazy – When I have time alone and all I am thinking about his my new love interest and how I crave his attention and he seems to be busy that day – my mind goes crazy. I immediately think he is done, uninterested and has met someone else. Now some of this crazy comes from the experience the X has left me with. I may never trust again thanks to him, but some of it also comes from the fact that we haven’t established a strong base and I don’t really know him that well to trust him. So I am left with crazy thoughts that make me want to call the whole thing off and swear off men or even update the tinder profile. And then he texts me and says sweet things and I am back.
The dynamic of dating across states changes the whole game completely, but I am not sure yet that that is a bad thing. The verdict is still out. On one hand, I get all the perks of being single, without actually being single. On the other hand, how long can this long distance thing go on? Could I be missing out on someone great who lives here? Or maybe I shouldn’t be involved with anyone at all – because let’s face it – it has been about a second since I was married to someone. Or is it the perfect transition from married to life to single life and then into a relationship again? I know I am getting ahead of myself completely and literally everyone tells me I should have fun with whatever this is, but that’s not me. I analyze. So here I am. Next week he will be here for 3 nights to celebrate my birthday. I will enjoy all of the above points and see where it takes me. But I know will also have my answer one way or another.