On a chilly September morning, the Anderson Hall elevator opened to take me to the 11th floor. To my pleasant surprise, I stumbled right into a guy – cuter than I remembered him being – who just so happened to be in two of my classes. With a brown beard, light brown eyes and thin-framed body, we spoke about our grades from a previous exam the week before. The most simple and basic interaction turned into something magical. It formed a relationship that I never saw coming. I wasn’t looking, wishing or dreaming of dating a guy at the start of my senior year, but it began faster than I could say “halt.” Our rom-com run-in led to a “study date” that had me exiting the elevator as a much happier gal than I’d been 11 floors down.
I had no clue what was in store for me.
When we next met, we began to disclose some information about each other – age included. I discovered that he was 27. I convinced myself that he was engaged and we were only getting together to talk about the paper topic I was having difficulty with because that way it wouldn’t hurt as much when he uttered those words. However, this was so not the case because, well, he never uttered those words. In fact, he was single and ready to mingle. Those weren’t his exact words, of course, but I knew it. There was something there.
Then, during our first one-on-one encounter, we learned of “the distance.” After he graduated, it would get harder, because we made a discovery that we lived an hour away from each other. Every chance we got to spend with each other was always special. We made the most of our time. We used to discuss what would happen after school was over. Would we stay together or would the distance break us apart? Time would tell.
We would see one another every single day and each time we would learn a new tidbit about one another. All of it was so fun and exciting as we shared dinners and lunches engaged in conversations. He would stay after for me and I would do the same for him. It was a trade-off.
When October hit and we went on our first date – on his birthday, funnily enough – I had a feeling that he would ask me that question. You know, the one question every girl dreams of after having consecutive days with a guy she has feelings for: the relationship question. Of course my reply was a huge “yes.” However, at the same time, there were several obstacles to face—primarily the distance, of course, but also the amount of homework we both had, setting aside time to hang out between exams, work and the online magazine I contributed to.
The next few months seemed to whip by. It was easy because we had school, so that’s how we’d see each other. We only needed the phone on weekends because we talked every day. The distance was always in the back of my mind. I never forgot about it for one second. I knew it was haunting me and hanging there waiting for us. After that, I knew it would get progressively harder. It wasn’t like we were in two separate states, but an hour drive would certainly be something compared to having classes together. The days that he couldn’t come to class due to train difficulties were hard for me. I had to adjust to this new lifestyle because after December, that was it.
I spent a greater deal of time mulling over the distance dilemma than I care to admit. I enjoyed the moments that we had and soaked up the last few months until he would receive that diploma. I might have sounded like an annoyed brat, but this was certainly a change of scenery for me. I’m terrified when it comes to change. I run and hide from it like a scared child. I can’t handle it, but I would have to face the facts. And when December came, I did.
We promised to see each other three days a week. He would drive to my house and I would drive to his. On my first drive, I was nervous and scared, because admittedly, I’ve never been on the turnpike alone. I would have no one to turn to if I went the wrong way. I was out of my element and I didn’t like it. I was frustrated and annoyed. However, this was part of us now. This was the only way we’d see each other, to take these long, obnoxious drives.
When you imagine a long-distance relationship, you think of the pair being in two different states. However, in our case, it was more of two broke college students trying to locate the funds to see each other on a three-days-a-week basis. He needed to reassure me that we would be OK, we would get through this and we would learn to cope with only seeing each other three times a week.
Along with the amount of gas, we had to pay tolls as well. He started to work almost every day and I didn’t work much the month of December because they hardly scheduled me at my place of employment. I had more time than him and he had more money coming in. I went crazy not being able to physically interact with him. The telephone was utilized more often than before and so was Skype. I was upset and I needed him more than before. I felt vulnerable.
On the days when he’d drive down, I would think about how I’d feel when he left. That was the worst feeling in the world, when he had to leave. I swear I was going to cry, because we’d just had a great night and now it was over. When was the next time that I’d see him?
Then, at the end of January, I began an internship, which is three days a week and has since taken more of a toll on our relationship. Going from seeing one another every day, to three times a week to once every week was weighing on me. There were nights when I’d cry myself to sleep due to the pain I felt. I was a cry baby and he stood strong, continuously reminding me that our relationship could withstand this distance. I grappled with the questions, “Can I do this? Is it worth it? Can I handle this?” on a regular basis.
There are days when I still have to remind myself, “I won’t see Matt today.” It’s rather hard to see couples hand in hand and giggling while my boyfriend isn’t even on the premises. It’s so easy for some guys and gals who live practically next door.
Not seeing each other more often has since affected our relationship by not being able to physically and emotionally grow as a couple. Some days it doesn’t even feel like we’re dating because the two of us are so busy. Even though we’re not like most “long-distance couples,” we still have difficulty planning days to see each other and time to speak, and we debate our money issues and how to keep this relationship going.
There was even a point where I began to develop serious doubts about our relationship. With my busy schedule, did I have time for this “kind of” long-distance relationship? Could I continue paying to fill my gas tank and paying tolls to commute to New York? I sometimes wish for the early days when it was so simple to just see each other in class. But, if you truly believe someone is worth it, you will hold on tight – despite the emotional — and literal — tolls necessary to do so.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll make it work, or surrender and crumble under the pressure of having a “kind of” long-distance relationship like mine.
Hope Kumor is a senior English major and contributor to Her Campus Temple. Hope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.