I'm not going to get into my personal life very much, but there are a few facts that I simply cannot get away with not telling. His name is Jan (pronounced yahn) and he is German. Though we have known each other for a few months, we did not start dating until five days before he left Hays to go back home.
It has quickly become apparent that this relationship has the potential to be something long-term despite the distance, so we are giving this a go, and we are not alone in this. I'm meeting more and more people my age who are doing similar things -- a girl I know has a boyfriend in Washington and one of this semester's German exchange students has spent the majority of his relationship in a different country than his Denver-based girlfriend. Both of these couples seem to do well and are content with the current situation.
I believe this is because they realize they cannot physically be with each other and they accept that. Jan and I are the same way. We keep each other in check, taking turns being the strong, level headed one. The more we try fighting it and wishing we could be near each other, the harder it will be for us. Acceptance is the key to finding happiness in any situation.
I was fortunate enough to spend a day and a half with Jan right before he flew to Germany and see him off at the airport. Both of us were surprising calm during that time. Since the beginning of our relationship we have known that we would have to part, and I am proud of how we handled it. Although all of our interactions were colored with his impending departure, we did not let it get us down and behaved almost as if it was not happening. This wasn't a form of denial, it was simply acceptance of what was to come.
The morning Jan left, he told me that something I said a couple of weeks before had impressed him. He had asked me how I was so calm about this all and I told him that it was life--things like this happen and fighting it or getting worked up about it wasn't going to change any thing. It would just make it harder.
Both of us had that attitude at the airport and it made saying goodbye much easier than expected. It felt more like a "See you later. I'll miss you until then." Yes, I did let myself get a bit worked up in the last few moments before he left and shed a few tears, but they were not accompanied by any sniffling or sobbing. He pushed me toward the elevator and then he was gone.
I walked out of the elevator to the garage and it was done, no need to dwell on it. My life kept moving and so did I (literally -- I had no idea where I had parked so I wandered the parking garages for at least half an hour.)
When I woke up in the morning I felt a sense of peace. He was back in Germany with his old life and I had mine. It was just like before, except I was seeing it with a slightly different filter. We exchanged a few texts, but there is now a seven hour time difference, so there are limits to the times at which we can communicate, but right now that feels okay because we spent a wonderful weekend together. It's as if that time gave us fuel to last us until the next time we interact. Neither of us are tethered to our phones or asking to Skype (for now), we have things to do. (Note: I wrote this a while ago and I am on my phone and Skype much more often than before, but it's still healthy.)
Jan had said that we will have to learn how to be okay when the other person doesn't respond for long periods of time. In essence, we must acknowledge that we both need to live our lives, not live for this relationship. The relationship is a wonderful bonus that should not interfere with everything else.
That is why our relationship might survive and why I believe it is worth pursuing.
See you later,