I mentioned in my introductory post that I'm in a long distance relationship. Given the fact that long distance holds a bit of controversy over whether they can last or not, I thought I'd talk about my (and our) experience here.
Martin and I met online. Let's just put that out on the table. So we didn't know each other prior, nor did we have mutual friends. We were complete strangers who began corresponding from 5 states and 1000 miles away. I wouldn't recommend online dating to everyone. And for those to whom I might recommend it, I would still suggest online dating only when you've exhausted all other avenues of finding someone.
Why? Because online dating sucks.
Yes, it sucks.
And I was on the verge of giving up around the time that Martin and I started talking. What led up to that point were several guys who might begin talking to me, then make an excuse to discontinue communication towards a relationship for any reason (or just stop responding altogether). But the real kicker was the guy I had began dating before I had found Martin, who after three dates and many conversations implying a committed, long-term relationship texted me to tell me that he was also seeing a girl from his church, and he felt they were more serious.
Yeah, big ego boost right there. But I stuck it out for a little longer, and here's why:
I had seen a profile for one attractive young professor who lived in Louisiana, who had a very informative profile, including why he chose to pursue online dating to telling of some trends he'd seen while online dating, and finally a word of advice and encouragement to ladies who felt like giving up. He had already had two serious, gospel-centered long distance relationships that went well but had just not worked out. But at the end of his About Me page, still speaking for the encouragement of ladies on the verge of giving up this avenue of meeting someone, he said that a guy worth dating wouldn't hesitate to use his airline miles to come see a woman.
That's what made me stay.
Now, this guy hadn't logged on in months, so he was likely already dating someone else without having deleted his account (And quite honestly, my account is still up, but I haven't logged on since my early correspondence with Martin).
So I expanded my search to anywhere.
And I'm so glad I did. Because two weeks after the two-timer ended things, I found Martin.
Now, before I go into the bliss that is Martin's and my relationship, let me talk about long distance relationships in general, okay? You may or may not feel like they work, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But whether you realize it or not, we all have long distance relationships in our life. They may not be romantic, but 7 out of 10 people will say that they use Facebook to keep up with friends and family. And I would venture to guess that not everyone on your Facebook friends list lives in the same city or state as you.
Now, on top of your maintaining long distance friendships, let's throw into that idea that there are people with whom you want (or have) a deeper, more intimate relationship with. If you can maintain a friendship from a distance, wouldn't it also be logical to maintain a romantic relationship, particularly since it is a deeper, more intimate relationship that you can have with a person?
Now, let's look at long distance from another perspective: Let's say that you work a job that requires you to travel or be away a lot. If you could not maintain any sort of relationship--platonic, familial, or otherwise--wouldn't that result in an immense amount of loneliness in your life? Someone has to do these jobs. And for some perspective, let's list some of these jobs:
- Armed Services (Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) (Which Martin is)
- Merchant Marine Engineers (Which Martin also is)
- Overseas (or even domestic!) missionaries
- Truck drivers
- Flight attendants and pilots
- Peace Corps volunteers
- Cruise line workers
- International aid workers
- Governmental foreign affairs/Diplomats
- Oil field workers
- Professional athletes
- Traveling nurses/teachers
- Au pairs
And that's not an exhaustive list by any means.
Now, as for Martin, he has Naval and Merchant Marine obligations to fulfill as well as our maintaining a long distance relationship. But once we marry (whenever that is!), I will be moving to Michigan (since it's easier for me to relocate, not having service obligations) and thus minimizing our time apart to just when he's at sea, which is every other month, more or less.
(Side Note: Whenever I mention that I'll be moving to Michigan, everyone always states that it's cold. Yes! I realize it's cold! But it is also beautiful, lush green, woodsy, has tons of rivers, hilly, and is, quite honestly, prettier than Texas, even with snow. Plus, if I had to choose between marrying the love of my life verses never having to deal with sub-zero temps, I'll take the love of my life, thanks.)
But enough about the future. Back to our beginning:
He and I hit it off really quickly. In fact, I felt an immense peace about our relationship and thus fell for him after a month of correspondence. No phone calls or skyping had been done yet. Only Facebook and texts.
It took him a bit longer to fall, since he had already had failing long distance relationships where he'd been cheated on, but I was okay with waiting. It was evident in the way he treated me when he did fall for me, though. So I knew that he meant it when we exchanged "I-love-you's" when he called me about a month before he flew down to Texas to meet me for the first time.
That's right. "I-love-you's" came before actually meeting in person.
And did you catch that? He flew down to see me. Just as that random professor's profile said.
We first met when we had been talking for 6 months at that point. He flew down, stayed in our guest room for a week, then he flew both of us up to Michigan, where I occupied his family's guest room and spent 11 days with them. Pure bliss that was! Being together only solidified what we had already concluded: That we had found the one we want to spend the rest of our life with.
Now, he's currently on a two-to-three month deployment in the Great Lakes. He plans to fly back down when he gets off the ship in another month or two. In addition to that, we plan on spending Christmas together, which I am completely stoked about!
I hope this was an encouragement to other long distance couples and/or those who have tried out online dating with no luck.