So a couple of people that I talk to in this wonderful Twitter world that have crept over into the real one, have spoken to me about an issue they have had with their long distance relationship.
It’s one I also experienced with the little bird.
And that is, when the other person disappears.
From the screen. From social media. From seemingly the world.
It’s radio silence. It’s blank screen. It’s no notifications. It’s no tweets. No posts.
And here you are, often on the other side of the world, in a different time zone, a different continent. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Hours seem like days.
What has happened? Where are they? Are they OK?
Wait, are they shitty with me? What did we say last?
And you check and recheck everything that you said and you can’t imagine that you’ve said anything particularly offensive.
You get cranky.
Like, WTF? Is it not that hard to send a 6 second voice message or a 15 second text to say you are OK?
You start thinking, what if they met someone else?
What if they had a car crash?
What if… x 37429821934297.
The longer the time in silence, the more this cycle happens. Over and over.
Eventually I (and I can’t speak for the others but probably) just want to know that the person that I loved on the other side of the world was actually OK. Alive. The rest could be worked out later.
I wasn’t alone in these ministrations. My friends were similarly perplexed, distressed, angry, hurt, confused, worried.
Never in any other circumstance are they more about clear communication than a long distance one. And the channel/medium of long distance is counter intuitive to good communication because a lot of it is written.
There are side tracks. Typos. Disruptions. Dead batteries. Internet drop outs. And that’s just when everything is going well!
Radio silence is a cruel torture, even if it’s not deliberate. It’s worse if you’ve recently fought or things are a little shaky.
Eventually my friends rediscovered their errant partners. Sleep, dead phones, no internet. All is well and everything restarts.
However, what is the backup plan if something really does happen? Is there someone else there on the ground who is going to let you know about the car crash? Or the sudden illness? Or more terribly, the death? Just because you’ve loved them for months or longer, know them, had sex with them, fought with them, laughed with them, been in a relationship with them, spoken to them every day, doesn’t mean that anyone in their real life is going to think of you if something bad happens. You’ll just be sitting on the other side of the world not knowing.
Even worse is if people do know about your relationship but don’t approve. Or don’t believe in its value, and therefore you aren’t given a second thought.
YOU MAY NEVER KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
This is the curse of relationships over distance.
I read an ‘8 tips for long distance relationships’ article that I didn’t repost because it never mentioned once what to do in this situation. Didn’t even acknowledge it, but clearly it’s common.
So if you are going to chance your trust and love on someone over the internet (and that’s after you’ve established that you are not being catfished), then trust that person needs to know if something happens to you. Trust that person needs proper communication, even if it is, ‘we are done’ or ‘I’m home but I’m going to sleep’.
Entrust a friend with how to contact that special long distance person should anything untoward happen to you.
In the meantime, if you are the one waiting, I can only commiserate with you because it is frustrating as hell – nothing is more frustrating – not knowing what is going on.
Try some star jumps. Or vodka.
Wishing you all the happiness (and patience) the Universe can bring