Long Distance Relationships Are Challenging And Doomed From The Start


In theory it was a summertime romance, but in actually it was a challenging long distance relationship. The relationship had all the components of a summer romance, and it had the potential to grow into more. But it was doomed from the start.

Two lifeguards were working together at a pretentious beach club in New England, each who spent more time looking into the other’s eyes rather than the pool. She captivated him with her intelligence and caring nature. He lured her in with compliments, his passion for politics, and especially his problems. Bipolar disorder, depression, back pains, the list was endless. For each and every problem, new and old, he explained to her, she listened and responded. She sat there with open ears and a gradually opening heart ready to fix this scarred boy.

It is not to say that she did not have her own personal problems as well. She had trust issues— particularly a fear of opening up—and avoided commitment at all costs. However, her concealment of personal problems balanced his overcompensation. Yet she was not passive in nature, for even he called her “a little too opinionated”, in subjects that were comfortable to her she was the fiercest of advocates. He liked this about her half the time, for he was also very opinionated, which led to many disagreements. Yet, this was not the catalyst to the downfall.

It was late August; with her departure for college approaching, both were becoming more candid with each other. Though neither would bluntly state their feelings toward the other, they were implied. However, always the clear thinker, she tried to be rational; every time he instigated a date she turned him down. She would become attached if they spent increased time together and this was a fearful thought. In a mere few days she would be starting a new chapter in her life, thus the old feelings must draw to a close. He was afraid to tell how her he felt, just as she was afraid of what she was feeling. So she left, only giving him a hug goodbye.

On her way to the airport, he texted her telling of a dream he had. The two of them had been dancing and full of life, until she left, after that her roommates came and killed him. Through his revelation she clearly saw his fears, what he thought would happen to their connection when she left, cessation.

Upon arriving at school, she continued to talk to him; neither was able or willing to let go. Talking to him did not hinder her new experience; instead, it was enhanced. She loved having a piece of home always with her. Finally, both admitted their feelings towards each other. The question of starting a relationship was disclosed, yet a definitive answer was not to be found. He eventually became a source of comfort and security, until he abruptly stopped answering her texts.

Her friends urged her to move on with her life. She was in college, young, motivated and had the world at her feet. He was back in New England, often unmotivated, flawed, and scarred. He needed her more than she needed him. She deserved better according to everyone but her. She sympathized with his flaws, wanted to fix them, and wanted to be his muse. So one night in a drunken frenzy, discouraged by his failure to ever respond, she texted him “I like you but I can’t”. He responded saying he felt the same exact way. Finally all cards were on the table. The two spent the night explaining and figuring out a solution, which came to be a long distance relationship.

This was the worst solution. She began to grow anxious about being tied down and no longer independent. For independence was a mantra in her life, it was how she was raised. She stopped eating, nights became longer, as well as the hours stressing over the relationship. So she cheated. One night, in the woods with some random guy, she thought of him the whole time. That night, she did not sleep, she stayed up all night tossing and turning about her infidelity. The next morning she texted him, and ended the relationship. But still, neither was able to let go.

This relationship had all the components of a summer romance. The passion, the captivation with the other, the aching needs to touch and to feel. Both idealized each other. He was wounded in so many ways, but she was there to fix him, to make him love again. But they were in a poisonous cycle of fighting and hopelessness shifting to desire and care. This cycle led her to see that this could not work. He had so many problems, too many to fix. Every day he unleashed a new difficulty; she was running out of answers and words to say. But whatever the issue or fight, he always came back to her, saying how much he missed her, how special she was, and this drew her in deeper.

He was supposed to fly down and visit, a week before, he broke up with her. He needed her to be just a friend; the relationship was too taxing on him. Two days later they got back together. Then he told her he could no longer come down, and she knew it had to end. She wanted to break up with him, but he had just gotten bad news about needing a bad surgery. Like a nurse drawn to a wounded soldier, she felt compelled to stay.

The relationship started like a glass of water before putting lemonade mix in. It started pure, clear, and crisp, just as most summer romances do. When the mix is poured in the water it becomes convoluted, everything is foggy and unclear. Similar to the girl and boy’s emotions over the summer, both were unsure about the connection. Then the mix is poured in, everything is cohesive at that point. The drink, like the bond between the two, is sickeningly sweet. Like the mixed drink, the two seemed to mesh well together and the relationship works. However, as the time passes, and the mix begins to drift to the bottom of the glass, the taste turns bad. No longer is the combination of the two beneficial, it is tainted. Yet though the relationship is marred, the two are stuck together, trapped in the glass—in the poisonous cycle—at least until summer returns.

image – Gianni Cumbo