On Relationships, Uncertainty, and Why Summer Finn is a Genius

I was extremely hesitant to start a long-distance relationship. I’d talked to friends who’d tried it, and it didn’t sound appealing–rarely seeing the S.O. (therefore less frequent sexytime), jealousy, and time differences, just to name a few downsides. From what I also know about myself, it sounded like a poor fit for my lifestyle–I get bored and distracted by cute boys pretty easily, and I couldn’t see myself committing to anyone, and definitely not someone who lived further than an hour away from me.

Obviously, someone convinced me to give it a try, and it’s been one of the healthiest relationships I have been in since who-knows-when. Now, I’m no relationship expert, and I don’t want this blog to be about me specifically so I’m not going to gush about my dating life (le vomit). But I’ve reflected recently about relationships in general, both long-distance and short-distance (regular-distance? normal-distance?), and I’ve actually realized how much work they require to keep them healthy.

Two pieces of pop culture have been on my mind recently that totally tie into this.

The first is the lovely song by Bright Eyes, “First Day of My Life.” The whole song will generate a serious case of waterworks, but pay close attention to the end especially:

So if you wanna be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We’ll just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery

My great friend Dane formally introduced me to this song, and told me that one of the greatest things about these lyrics is that they emphasize uncertainty. No relationship, no matter how in love those two people are, is certain. We all have known, and probably even were in, a long-term relationship that ended after years of dating. (Guilty.) But seriously, even marriage doesn’t guarantee security, and current divorce rates of over 50% prove it.

The second bit awesomeness is one of my favorite films, (500) Days of Summer, which I re-watch more often than I’d like to say. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, swoon) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) have a fight, after which Summer returns to Tom’s apartment to apologize (and of course it’s raining so she’s sopping wet and it’s quite romantic, but focus!). Tom says he just wants to know that she won’t just change her mind one day about them, and after a short pause, Summer says, “I can’t give you that. Nobody can.” *THE FEELS* But it’s true. Just because you’re with someone doesn’t make them yours forever or vice versa (or really, truly, ever).

So, yes, a long-distance relationship is hard, and not entirely for the reasons that I would have thought originally. But a short-distance relationship is seriously just as difficult. But no matter how near or far you are to your boothang, relationships take constant work. Like, a lot of work all the time. It’s not, “Oh, I’m dating him now, so I don’t have to text as often,” or “I’m engaged to her so of course our relationship is fine.” It’s something you have to constantly try to make better and to keep good, otherwise it just goes terribly bad. If it matters, both people will work to make it work, and to keep it workin’.

I’d love to hear other thoughts on the matter, so don’t be hesitant to share!

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