So, it seems I am in a relationship again.
It’s been a different experience this time. We met online, in the fallout from my breakup with Wash. He had some questions about the poly lifestyle; I had answers, and a great big hole in my life. We started chatting through Direct Messages, sending sometimes hundreds of messages a day. He lived several states away, in the southwest. We started chatting by phone, and eventually through Skype. And always through Direct Message, until my day didn’t feel right unless I had heard from him.
I wanted to fly out and meet him, but was unable to do so. The messages flew back and forth, most sexy and playful, but more and more often they were serious. We talked about everything and nothing, often for hours. I opened up to him about my depression and anxiety, and when I was having a bad day, his first response was always to ask if I needed him to call. My girls at work would tease me about my younger man… he’s 11 years younger than I. I realized that I got my first job when he was in preschool.
We finally met in person in July. I was horribly nervous; clinging to my phone and obsessively reading facebook to keep a hold on the panic in my body. This was someone who’d never touched me but had seen me naked; who’d whispered in my ear dozens of times but had never held me close.
I was scared. What if the spark we had online wasn’t there in person?
Even scarier; what if it was?
An online relationship is almost easy. There is a barrier in between you and that other person, a safety net made of the screen and the keyboard. It’s easy to whisper about your terrors and demons to someone who lives a few thousand miles away. You don’t feel as accountable, almost, because that person is so far away they almost don’t seem real.
And suddenly he was real. He was walking past security at PDX and we were getting dinner at New Seasons and we were holding hands and laughing together. He was in my home for a magical week, and then gone again. He held me when we said goodbye at the starbucks near my work, and promised he’d come back. And at the end of August, he did. He found a job and moved up here, to a town 2 hours from Portland.
And I’m learning a few things… long distance relationships are hard but they are worth it. Two hours by car is far better than two hours by plane, and if your lover lives at the other end of a national scenic byway, the drive is quite pleasant. Stocking up kisses to hold you over til the next visit almost works. Snuggling up with your iPad after online sexy times is not nearly as satisfying as snuggling up with your lover after real-life ones. Teaching crochet via Skype is challenging but can be done. Having the house to yourselves because the roommate is gone is pure bliss. And always charge your phone before a phone date, or it may crap out during something important.