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It is true when they say the most unexpected but most amazing things can happen when you least expect it.
Relationships have never been my thing and I have never been in one before, due to my fear of commitment. The thought of being tied down always scared me, so I was in a series of “we-almost-dated-but-didn’t” type of relationships. It would go like this: guy shows interest in me, I show interest in guy, we start talking, guy tries to get serious, I lose interest, become distant and slowly take myself out of the equation altogether. I know, the entire thing sounds super cliché, but that’s how it always went. But as I got to know my current boyfriend even more, everything I thought I believed in completely changed.
We have been friends since freshman year, but neither of us ever thought we would be together four years later. I remember one instance in freshman year when he walked me home and my dad got home at the same time we did. He got out of the car after my boyfriend, who wasn’t my boyfriend at the time, had left. He asked, with a stern face, “Is that boy courting you?” I gave him a weird look and responded, “What? I would never.” This story never fails to make me smile, because who would have thought we would end up together? It was a surprise to everyone, including us.
We were on-and-off friends for years. I say this because we didn’t consistently talk throughout high school. We were close freshman year, because of our class trip to Disney World, fell out during sophomore year, had class junior year, but sat on opposite sides of the classroom, so would only speak every now and then. It wasn’t until senior year when we sat next to each other in AP Lit that we really got to know one another. But even then, nothing happened until five months into high school.
It all started on February 17, when I asked him via text to keep me company until 10 o'clock. I told my parents I had work (ah, I’m a liar), but ended up going thrifting with my friends instead. I was expecting to hang out with them until I had to “go home from work,” but they had prior commitments, so I needed to keep myself occupied ASAP. He was the first one I thought of, and so I asked him if he was busy, and when he told me he was not, I let him know that I just needed to hang out with someone until 10, because I had lied to my parents, and he agreed (best decision ever).
So we went to this park about fifteen minutes from our hometown and we just walked around and talked, and it was one of the best nights, honestly. I didn’t think of him as anything other than a friend at that point, but hanging out on Fridays kind of became our thing. Whether it was to write essays, go with me to my dentist appointments, go to the dog park or talk, there was never a dull moment. Our friendship grew into something more from that point onward and then our relationship sort of just happened.
However, I knew from the get-go that this wasn’t going to be a typical relationship. Why? Since we have been friends for quite some time, he had expressed in the past his desire to join the Marines, but that didn’t really hit me until we got serious. He was set out to leave for boot camp on the July 17, which meant we had really limited time together. Him leaving caused a bit of strain in our relationship, mostly due to my indecisiveness about the entire thing.
Although I really liked him, I felt unsure about how we were going to work out since he was leaving so soon and I never believed in doing long distance.
I would start arguments over the littlest things because of this and constantly brought up reasons as to why we couldn’t possibly work and should just end it. My commitment and trust issues were kicking in and it was evident that it was hurting his feelings. He would tell me that nothing is guaranteed, but that it wouldn’t hurt to try. I told him that I would think on it, but still didn’t believe it could work. He stayed patient and understanding with me throughout my thought process.
It was a hard decision to make, I’m not going to lie, but in the end, I decided to just stop making excuses and just be with him. And no, he wasn’t pushing me or forcing me to be in the relationship. I chose to be in it. For the first time in my life, I was completely and genuinely happy and didn’t want to risk losing it just yet, even if it meant doing long distance.
Fast forward to now. We have been in a long distance relationship for about three months. Not a long time, I know, but as a first timer, it was very difficult for me for the first few weeks, especially because the only source of communication we had were through letters. However, I do believe that it has made us stronger, both as individuals and as a couple. I’ve always been an independent person to begin with, but since I got so used to being with him almost everyday, I had to get used to being on my own once again. Him being away motivated me to do other things and allowed me to work my ass off even more so, since I knew he was doing the same over at boot camp, and it really helped me grow even more as a person.
My coping skills have gotten a lot better since the first few weeks, but I miss him all the time, and saying goodbye never gets easier. There are days when I can literally feel the distance between us and it kills me, but he is worth a little suffering because every reunion feels like the first time, and it’s an amazing and indescribable feeling.
We both know that the future isn’t guaranteed, but if there’s one thing I have learned being in a long distance — as short of a time as it has been — it is to appreciate the now, and cherish the little things and moments, because we don’t know what the future holds.