I started watching the current season of New Girl and have hit the episode where Winston tries to teach Nick how to be in a long distance relationship. In an early scene in the episode, they're at the bar and Winston keeps calling long distance "the long d." Many sexual puns ensue. Nick tries to get Winston to see that "the long d" sounds like he's referring to a dick. Winston doesn't get it. And I sit on my couch watching this, laughing at the dick jokes.
But underneath the laughter at the easy puns, I am unsettled. Not because of the dick jokes--dick jokes are almost a guaranteed giggle for me--but because I am in a long distance relationship. And Winston is right--the long d is hard.
I don't quite know how I ended up here. I'm in a relationship with a man I met when I was 21. We met in a city that neither of us currently live in. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other in 6 years before we reconnected as friends, and then started dating. One of the last times I saw him before our 6 years of silence, he discouraged me from dating anyone outside of the city where I lived. He had been adamantly against long distance relationships due to some bad past experiences. He doesn't quite know how he ended up here either.
It's strange carrying out a relationship in text messages, phone calls, and video chats. I find myself envious of friends who see their partners on a regular basis. I find myself envious of the people in my boyfriend's life who get to see him on a regular basis. I question why I pursued this man, knowing full well that he lived another state away, in a different time zone, in what sometimes feels like a different world.
And then we talk. We spend hours discussing our days, our thoughts, our feelings, our future. We connect through talking because it's all that we have most days. And then we see each other. He slips his fingers between mine and holds our clasped hands to his heart and I can't imagine being with anyone else. He pulls me into his arms and my doubts disintegrate. He insists we sleep with at least one part of our bodies touching, our skin making up for lost time. Waking up to him is magic. Rare and lovely magic.
As hard as the long d can be, I'm getting used to it. And I guess it's better to have the long d than no d at all.