As a child and after watching one too Disney Princess movies, I fantasised a lot about love and to be in love. Who would I fall in love with? Would he be tall, dark and handsome and would he come in the form of a Prince? Or would I end up with Quasimodo but he’d be my Quasimodo so all was well?
Thankfully the former happened, although he isn’t quite a prince and lives so many thousands of miles away that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his city from all angles and from 3 different AirBnB’s and two weeks in his flat. But honestly, my love life hasn’t really been so straight forward nor has it been so easy. I’ve had boyfriends before him, none quite as serious and definitely not as committed, I’ve experienced ~heartbreak~ in all of my teenage angst and I have that one ex that my family loves to slag off given the chance, so in essence: my love life has been actually quite normal in the cliche turn of things.
However, even with somebody who I can see myself popping out a baby with and marrying and all those nice things that we daydream about as young women, I’ve had to come to accept that love is no easy force. That it comes with it’s trials and tribulations and that there’s a lot of compromise involved (especially when you’re hopping on a plane every few months to be together).
To be honest though, I never envisioned my love life being this way. As hard as the distance is and as much as I want to rip the band aid off and just skip ahead into time where we’ve finally settled together, it’s been a very exciting relationship for me. It’s been one where I’ve tested myself as a person to the truest extent – I’ve broken out of a shell that I was quite comfortable in, gotten on countless planes and now I can say turn left in Portuguese and that’s about as far as my Portuguese goes, but I learned it?!
But when I say that it’s an exciting relationship, I actually mean it’s because I’ve gone through a lot of personal growth thanks to it. I’ve been supported by him in areas that nobody really seemed to support in the past, so I’ve been able to test myself and see what limits in other areas of my life that I’m willing to break through, I’ve become slightly more confident and I’m not too socially awkward to comment on other peoples Instagram posts anymore – but also, I’ve been able to accept the fact that even though my past loves didn’t quite work out and I made rather questionable choices that I’d liked to have waited on in hindsight, I was being prepared to meet somebody who would absolutely get on my nerves, someone I’d fight with and argue with over silly things but then still love them with my entire heart, still look forward to seeing them, talking to them, someone I love making plans with and when we do get to wake up next to each other in the morning – it’s the happiest I’ve felt in the months we’ve been apart.
I never thought that I’d get a long distance relationship to work, I’m definitely clingy and I love to be around the person that I love at.all.times, but I’ve been coming to realise that the fact that I’ve chosen quite a painful relationship, one that has had me sobbing in airports because saying goodbye is the most excruciating feeling, has actually shown me the most growth and definitely matured me a lot. I think he’s also rubbed off on me a lot as well, he’s a much more logical thinker than I am, he’s more grown up than I am in certain areas and he encourages my hobbies and even though he’ll pull his face, he’s quite happy to take 200+ photos of me in practically the same way but with sliiiight adjustments.
I don’t think I’d ever encourage someone to go out looking for a long distance relationship, I think they’re a lot of hard work and you definitely have to compromise more than you do in a none-LDR, also as I said: leaving each other at the airport is painful, getting on a plane knowing you’re not seeing them when it lands is the most empty, lonely feeling and going back to Skype calling when you’ve had the joy of being able to touch each other, kiss each other and speak to each other face to face is also quite a painful task too. But when you really love somebody, you’re their friend as well as their partner and they bring you the most joy, these are the feelings you’re willing to put up with. I feel like this is where I’ve grown the most – the fact that I’m quite able to sit back and be fine after a few days and swing back into routine.
The last time we left each other was the worst time, I cried and cried and cried, I couldn’t settle on the plane and getting home was a task in itself only made worse by the fact I was on my own. I felt like I’d been stabbed in the throat it was throbbing so hard, I just wanted to turn around and go back – an ask that I didn’t feel was too unreasonable. Lisbon has become my second home after all, and although I don’t miss it as much as I miss him, I want to be there because I want to be with him.
But I see no reason to feel ashamed of my long distance; when we first decided on it I felt a pinch of dread in the pit of my stomach: What would people think? What would my mum think. It took a while for people to get used to it, well, some more than others, but I decided that if this was something that I was going to do with somebody that I really do love – why not be as open with the people around me as possible? When he met my family there was a sense of relief in the air coming from me because of how well he got along with everybody and how relaxed he and everyone else was around each other. I think it was only after he met my family that I realised how normal we are. How normal our relationship is. Even if it does have a big wedge of a distance in the way.