If You're Leaving Will You Take Me With You?


Hi my name's Sophia (pictured below), I'm from Manchester, I'm a blogger, I have a dog called Bluebell and a cat called Evie. I have a boyfriend called Joseph (also pictures below) and he's a drummer in a real life band on the run i.e. they've travelled to more countries in the past year alone than you and I have had hot dinners. That last little detail mentioned about my life is always met without fail, by either one of two reactions; "Oh wow, that must be so exciting for you?" or- and this one's the more popular choice- "Oh wow, that must be so hard for you?". Seriously, I kid you not, those two reactions are as regular as clockwork. If I had a pound for every time I'd been asked one of those two questions, well let's just say I'd be the very proud owner of a Chanel 2.55 bag. I've still not quite figured out what the right, socially acceptable response to either reaction is supposed to be. I guess the fact of the matter is, people have no idea but they've unknowingly asked a loaded question with a complicated answer and I'm not about to turn a fleeting conversation with a stranger or a quick catch up with an old friend into my very own therapy session. Just for the record, I normally smile and for an easier life simply reply, "sometimes".

I guess I should explain the reason why I wanted to write this post for starters. I've always been a little cautious about penning down too much about my relationship, maybe it felt a little too close to home to want to share. Instead I've always opted on the subject of relationships to talk in hindsight, mainly because you learn far better lessons from events you can reflect back on, rather than those happening right in front of you. Like they say "hindsight is a wonderful thing". And after all I'm a firm believer in my personal life being just that, personal. But truth be told, I've always felt a twinge of hypocrisy when I try to write about real or honest subjects in order to help or inspire and yet I never really mention what's going on in my "now". I feel like it would be totally disingenuous of me to talk about "everything being ok", when half of the time that's true and the other half I really struggle. Right now felt like a better time than any to come clean and be a little more truthful because right now I'm feeling the burn.

To give you a brief idea, my boyfriend is away more than he's home. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's a 80/20 split. And at the moment he's been away for two weeks, with another two weeks to go. Doesn't sound that bad? Before he'd left on this four week stint, I had him home for approximately 17 hours. Nap and you could have missed him. From the start of our relationship, this has always pretty much been the set up, with the days apart only growing wider and wider. In all honesty, you only know what you know. We've been lucky enough to never have had it any other way or to really grasp what we're missing, but I'd certainly be lying if I said it was a breeze. It's not, it's tough.

When most couples start out, they spend a long time trying to figure out how the other one works, how they can adapt and compromise to fit, swap and jig saw together their two lives. For myself and Joe this simply isn't possible and you're often burdened with this feeling of being left behind. The fear of missing out, is a horrible feeling to have about the one person you want to feel 100% connected to and for a long time I thought this was completely one sided for my part, which made it even more difficult to bear. I would watch Joe go to all these amazing places, experience all these incredible opportunities and I would be in the distance, detached from it all. I felt worlds apart from understanding what he was going through, but with time I learned this just wasn't the case. It sounds so simple and obvious to type back but as Joe was leaving, it never occurred to me that maybe he felt the same. He was leaving behind his home, his friends and his family. He was missing out on just as much as I was and I guess- comforting is the wrong word- but realising I wasn't in this alone made the pill a little easier to swallow.

It wasn't just a sense of being left behind from his world, it was everything that was happening around me. You feel like your whole life is a waiting game revolving around someone else and your needs are forced to take a backseat. Everyone else carries on around you like normal and you're left filling the gaps, counting down the days. Instances like your birthday or a party, a wedding or a seasonal holiday are spent alone and there's nothing wrong with that unless you've got someone, somewhere in the world you'd prefer to be spending it with. We all know the feeling, it's just for me it's a constant. As mentioned above, for the best part of our relationship I only know what I know and therefore the majority of the time it never phases me. Other times, say like when you're fed up, you've had a bad day or you feel isolated and all you want to do is bury you head in your boyfriends chest so he can tell you everything going to be ok, saying goodbye is not so easy. I sound so whiney and that's completely not the point of this post but I guess you can't explain a long distance relationship (can I call it that?) without explaining both sides. With the rough comes the smooth...

If it wasn't for Joe and the relationship we have, I would without a doubt not even come close to being the person I am today. Time apart allows you the chance to become sure of yourself, learn who you are and put your priorities in gear. I've been there before where by you're so reliant on someone else for your happiness and it's such a toxic place to be. Having Joe away as much as he is, has forced me to well and truly break out of that habit and learnt to make me happy for me. I often wonder, if Joe gave it all up tomorrow and started your standard Monday to Friday job, would it work? I've become so self reliant and I've learned to monopolise my time alone, would I even have the room to see him more than I do? I quickly learnt our relationship didn't mean I had to consume my life waiting around, instead I had the ability to be completely selfish where necessary. I had a clear opportunity to work on other aspects of my life I just wasn't quite satisfied in. I want to make in abundantly clear that this rule doesn't just apply to "Long distance" relationships (more that, being in one is how I've discovered the rule), it's applicable to everyone. Your own sense of "me" time, is so incredibly important. Learn to be self-sufficient.

Moreover I found that not only am I now more sure of myself, our absence from each other's day to day life subsequently meant we had absolutely no choice but to be sure in one another. A long distance relationship can simply not work if you have any form of doubt in the other person. It's kind of ironic but being away from Joe as much as I am, has only shown just how much faith and trust we hold in one another. Why wouldn't we trust one another? What would be the point in any of this if we couldn't? Being apart gives you a serious appreciation of the other person. What others take for granted, is a complete novelty for you. Over Christmas we had a whole week together, yup that's right, ONE WHOLE WEEK and it actually felt like we had to adjust. Don't get me wrong, I adored every minute of us being together but we're so used to our time being limited, normality felt abnormal.
 

I guess you quickly weed out the trivialities when you're pressed for time. When you haven't seen each other in four weeks and you've got two days together, the last thing you want to do is argue. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. You find yourself questioning the little things, that ordinarily- if over thought- could turn into the big things. There simply just isn't time for that. I've done it before, we've argued, he's gone and I'm left to sit back, think about it and regret. The little things which matter so much in the present, really don't matter at all when in the past. You have to learn to let them pass by that's all. Don't get me wrong, myself and Joe bicker with the best of them. The boy knows exactly how to wind me up. I'll argue with him over the phone for the most ridiculous reasons. Then I'll sit and stew over it. I'll think to myself, "God, I can't stand that little shit. I'm not backing down"... I'll think this up until the very second I'm about to see him for the first time in forever... Do you know what actually happens? I spot him and whatever trivial problem was on my mind will instantly disappear and we laugh. Because time is extremely valuable so why waste it sweating on the minor stuff?

Long distance isn't for everyone and I'm not going to argue it is, but what I will say is that absolutely anything is possible if you're doing it with the right person. I wouldn't change my relationship for the world because it's the person I'm sharing it with, not the set up. Another popular reaction I receive goes along the lines of, "you're so good to put up with him being away"... Am I putting up? That makes my relationship sound like a sacrifice and what am I sacrificing? I share my life with my best friend, my number one biggest fan and never ending support. I'm proud to be witness to everything he has achieved and equally I know he is proud of me. There is absolutely zero sacrifice in my life and zero reasons to ever truly feel alone. I'm not a bloody martyr let's be real, I'm kind of lucky.

True love is alive and well and it's located in Stockport, Greater Manchester or half way across the world (tour bus dependent).

Sophia x

Photographs by Joseph Donovan.

5 comments:

  1. Sophia! Stop it, my heart! Such a beautiful read! As are all your posts, you've become one of my faves to read on an evening when I'm having my alone time! (SO important for all relationships I hear ya!) Thanks for sharing honey x

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  2. Aw I loved this post Sophia! <3

    Samio xx

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  3. Thank you so much for writing this! ♥️ Xx

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  4. You've written such a relatable post. My boyfriend and I were in a long distant relationship for 18 months whilst I was away working in Paris and everything you've said rings so true. We have now been living together for around the same time, it did take some serious adjusting seeing each other all time time but time apart taught us to continue to be self reliant (important for a healthy relationship in my opinion) and I think it makes us even more appreciative of each other. You've explained both sides so well x

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  5. Awww baby g I love this !! So balanced and you sound like you really are handling it amazingly :-) I am about to spend 15 weeks away from my love and the boys perhaps we get 5 days together after the first 4 weeks then 10/11 apart �� I'm going to do what you are saying already planning on self love / me time and swallowing loads when those panicky feelings come over me ... �������� big kisses baby g xxx

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