My Long-Distance Relationship: Not a Beautiful Love Story

My Long-Distance Relationship: Not a Beautiful Love Story

This is not a beautiful love story where I live happily ever after with the guy I met abroad. However, it is a true love story with life lessons, and a happy ending.

In the summer of 2011, I met a guy while I was studying abroad in Australia. It was your typical meet cue at a hostel bar. I went up to him and his friends, said hello, and the night went from there talking, dancing and even a kiss or two. We shared a terribly romantic day walking around Sydney, lunch at the opera house, and a night filled with panoramic views of the city from thirty floors high at the Shangri La.

Flash forward through a year of keeping in touch via Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp, and getting to know the ins and outs of one another through the magic of modern technology and the Internet. He and his friends came to travel around the States with a long stop in Arizona to see me. From there, I ended up traveling with them for a few weeks and during that time we grew more and more in love.

My Long-Distance Relationship: Not a Beautiful Love Story
Anna in Australia

As we said goodbye at the airport, I cried but I knew we’d be reunited soon enough. But soon wasn’t enough, and he immediately booked a flight to come back to the States.

Meanwhile, I applied to graduate programs in Australia, and received my acceptance letter to the University of Sydney the day he arrived in Phoenix. We decided we would try to make a relationship work even though I wouldn’t be moving there for another 6 months.

We talked every night despite the 17-hour time difference and I felt exceedingly happy. We realized that we couldn’t bear being apart any longer so I flew to Sydney to be with him for a month. As we said goodbye at the airport, I cried but I knew we’d be reunited soon enough. But soon wasn’t enough, and he immediately booked a flight to come back to the States.

The plan was that he would stay with me for a month and a half and then we would fly to Sydney together when I started school.

All was well except for the considerable amounts of money we were spending on traveling to see one another. One night I realized I didn’t particularly want to talk, and I found myself making excuses not to. That pattern continued for weeks as his arrival date quickly approached. I felt confused because I had been so sure of my love for him just weeks before.

For a year he had been this exciting foreign guy with a sexy accent that I could never actually have because there was a world separating us.

The more I analyzed the situation, the more that I convinced myself everything was fine and that when he arrived it would be perfect again. After all, I had drastically altered my life plans to make this work, and I would be damned if it wasn’t going to because of my doubts.

As I saw him from a distance at the airport, I felt a knot in my stomach, and instantly knew that everything wasn’t perfect. We spent the next month traveling and spending time with my family. I spent many hours contemplating the validity of my feelings and the decisions that had stemmed from them.

I realized that the wonderful romance that we had experienced was more of an illusion than a reality. For a year he had been this exciting foreign guy with a sexy accent that I could never actually have because there was a world separating us. Then when it began to become a possibility, I was too wrapped up in the excitement to notice anything else. He was always a safe and comfortable friend, someone to flirt with, and fantasize about. He was someone who I could vent to and share my day with, someone to have all the wonderful parts of a relationship with but without any of the hardships.

All was well except for the considerable amounts of money we were spending on traveling to see one another.

Then it all became a reality, I moved to Sydney, lived with him until I found my own place and we continued to work at being us for eight more months. I made wonderful friends, traveled around Australia, found a good internship, and received my masters degree. Meanwhile we went through a rollercoaster of emotions together. I fell in and out of love with him several times and never stopped doubting myself. The problem, though, was never him.

The problem was always with me and my unreasonable expectations. They were the same expectations that I had from day one, the night I met him in that hostel bar, and that I chose to ignore until I couldn’t suppress them anymore.

When I finally decided to be honest with myself, I realized he was a wonderful person, with wonderful qualities, and amazing potential, but that wasn’t enough for me. I knew that we had made incredible memories together and even managed to build a life around a fantasy, but it couldn’t last. Our goals did not align, and we didn’t share the same passions.

Ultimately, it was not the right time for us romantically, but we managed to salvage a strong friendship from everything and we remain close. But the wonderful thing about life is that you can’t possibly predict what the future will bring and none of our stories are over yet.

 

About Anna French

Anna FrenchAnna has obtained a master’s degree in International Development, which she utilizes to promote human rights while she backpacks, hikes, volunteers, blogs and explores cultures around the world. You can follow her journey at, Spin the Globe Project.

4 thoughts on “My Long-Distance Relationship: Not a Beautiful Love Story

  1. Avatar
    Janet
    December 28, 2015
    Reply

    I also appreciate the honesty of your story. I recently ended a two year long-distance relationship and like you I realized I was mourning the fantasy relationship I had conjured up more than the actual relationship. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jill Douglas
    April 9, 2015
    Reply

    Thanks for your honesty, Anna! When you´ve put so much time, money, and energy into a relationship, it takes real guts to admit that it might not be what you really want. Good for you! Way to be honest with yourself (and with us).

  3. Avatar
    June 17, 2014
    Reply

    I think long distance love works if both people share the same goal. I met my partner in Rome and over the next 2-3 years we were never in the same city for more than 6 months at a time – London, New York, Sydney – the romance of foreign countries and flying transcontinent for dates sometimes seemed to overwhelm me – was it him I loved, or just the romance of it all? It took us both some time to figure it out properly and it was tough staying together but we both had shared dreams and knew what we wanted. We are now living together in Sydney and engaged so in my case, it worked – but only because we fought hard for it.

  4. Alex
    June 17, 2014
    Reply

    I appreciate the honesty of this post! I think so many times people who are in relationships abroad don’t understand their feelings as much as you do. Great post.

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