The Challenges of Distance

There are a hundred jokes about how the best men are either taken or gay, and I tend to agree with this. Availability, or more properly unavailability is very attractive and it shows prospective suitors that a person is mature enough for adult relationships, and able to commit. There's some truth to this, and I want to try and distance myself from this in the rest of the post, but at the same time it's worth mentioning.

In my opinion, the best ones are taken and gay.

Before I dig myself into a really deep hole, I'm going back up and address the real issue: long distance relationships, and my reactions to them.


Ok, so here on the second week of classes at glorious Beloit College, I've noticed that there are a hell of a lot of people, regardless of orientation who are in some sort of committed long distance relationship. I remember reading something on the accepted student boards (people who were going to be attending Beloit in the fall had the option of opening a dialogue on a message board. Anyway, someone said, lots of people come to Beloit and try to have long distance relationships with boy and girlfriends back home, and that college often changes people a lot often bringing about the end of these people's relationships.

Well I haven't seen a relationship end yet, but I would completely agree with all of these statements. There are tons of people who are in long distance relationships, and I suspect that the majority of them won't last. This is kind of frustrating to me, both on one level, as I've been on both ends of the leaving stick, on anther level as there are tons of people that I view are taken: and unnecessarily at that.

Let's start off with my view of the problems with distance relationships.

I have a very strong opinion that, one shouldn't try to sacrifice the present for a hope in the future. Who knows what's going to happen between now and then? People can die, fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat, people turn into assholes, become drug addicts, and develop emotional instabilities without any notice.

I'm also of the opinion that if people are meant to be together, that they will end up together in the end. I trust fate like that, which probably stupid on so many levels, but I'll take that risk.

Given these things, I absolutely refuse to engage in anything that could be considered a long distance relationship. I won't date people who I can't reasonably see on a fairly regular basis.

At the same time there are people, like AW, who lives at least a thousand miles away. To deny that we have some sort of meaningful connection would be foolish and untrue. At the same time, we're individuals, we're living our own lives in the present (more or less) but we're not just friends. Long distance relationship? You tell me. At the same I'd wager that all of my peers here who are have significant others back home are getting no more than I get out of such relationships, and I almost guarantee you that they're putting the same amount of energy and likely into it.

My relationship with sexuality has also changed a little recently. I used to think that exclusivity was not only desirable but also requisite for any kind of relationship, and I suppose I don't feel the same way anymore. This isn't to say that in a stable relationship where two people live with or near each other couldn't be exclusive and I do think that monogamy is desirable. But I also know that it's possible to love more than one person, to be interested in more than one person, and even theoretically to sleep with more than one person, without it being a critique of anyone. That is, one can have a committed relationship with Person A, and still love (or etc) Person B without it being a criticism or a degradation of Person A. I think there's room in a singular human experience to love more than one person, perhaps even at the same time.

How people act out the implications of this, is another issue completely, and one everyone should fully discuss with their partners and blah blah blah, I'm not terribly interested in dispensing advice at the present, just outlining what I believe to be true and possible at the moment.

So why am I writing this? In part to kind of stick my nose in the air, and say, I've reached the perfect compromise for myself at the moment. In part because there's at least one fellow who I'd be all over, if he didn't have a gentleman caller halfway across the country, and also in part because I'm tired of listing to people moan about the (usually) boyfriend that's back home.

Interesting gender point here: I can't think of a guy whose in a distance relationship with a girl at the moment. Ponder away.

But I can be patient, and ultimately I think things will settle down and people will come to their senses, in the mean time I'll just have to make do with what I have. For now. Despite a little frustration, I think I'm pretty happy. So there!

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