Is it on or is it off? I mean I know it’s on. But is it? And no, having signed a paper contract doesn’t make it any different.

I’m not able to reconcile knowing that “I have someone in my life” with that someone not being there at the same time. It fucking hurts. I mean I have a great life – I’m not starving, I have a roof over my head, I can afford rent in what is supposed to be one of the most developed cities in India ( HAH! ), my parents are both still alive, my health is mostly intact, I do the work that I love, etc. It’s all good. Even the partner I’m in a long-distance relationship with is great. The best guy I’ve ever been with.

The long-distance relationship is not good for my mental health. He’s there for me, but he isn’t really here. He’s on a boat somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. ( You’d be surprised how that is probably the most accurate location of his boat more than 50% of the time. )

Do I love him? Yes of course. As much as I’m able to understand what “love” means. Does he love me? I have no doubt. But I am alone when he is not here. And I am not. You see what I mean? It’s like I’m being torn into two.

When he’s here it take about 30 days for him to start getting on my nerves. When he leaves, it takes me about 30 days to stop moping and throw myself back into work. If he makes even two trips in the year, that’s four months of serious mental health imbalances. Everything changes.

When he’s here, I use my words. I have some one to talk with pretty much whenever I want. I can just walk up to him in his room and we have a conversation. Sometimes I’ll stand in the doorway for the good part of an hour, while he sits in his chair, and we animatedly discuss anything under the Sun. Sometimes I barge in, straight into his lap, interrupting whatever he was doing a this desk, slump my head over his shoulder and cuddle till he complains I’ve cut off blood into one of his legs. Sometimes I’ll sit in the beanbag and just watch him doing whatever he’s doing.

When he’s not here, I keep the door to this room closed for most of the time he’s away. I air it out once or twice a month. The room smells of him. I sit in his chair sometimes. Stare at the walls. I use less words. I literally don’t talk as much as I would if he’d been around. I have other people to talk to, but it’s not the same. He does call me up on Skype but it’s not the same.

I spend 30 days, trying to decide whether I’m alone or whether I’m not. I know I’m not. But I feel otherwise. I can’t see someone else. It’s not that I don’t want to – sometimes all I want is another warm body to cuddle with. Any body will do. But I just can’t. I’ve thought about it. It’s not that it’s “complicated”. It’s quite simple – I can’t. It would be the most futile thing ever and the suffering from existential angst is already too much to bear.

I frustrate him with soppy, unending messages on WhatsApp sometimes. On our next phone call, he irritably asks me, “What do you want Naina?!” and all I want is to have him back, in his room, so I can go stand in the doorway and talk to him like I’m out with him on our first date. That’s all I want. We go quiet for a few seconds. And then we continue the conversation, discussing mundane daily things about his boat and about my latest photo gig.

It feels like there’s something stuck in my throat. Sometimes, I try everything to make myself weep. The frustration multiples because my brain doesn’t allow that kind of ridiculousness.

“Why the fuck would you want to cry for no reason?”
But it’s not NO reason. He’s not here and I miss him!
“It’s not the first time Naina. Deal with it. Adulting remember?”
Fuck adulting. I can’t breathe. I need to cry. Anything on Netflix?
“Crying doesn’t solve anything.”
I’m not looking for a solution. Just a respite. Old photos maybe?
“Have you considered that it might just be indigestion? Go for a walk.”
I need ice-cream. Four liters of it. And Netflix.

Nothing works. Till, suddenly, a photo of a cute puppy on Twitter makes me bawl like a baby. And then I am able to get through about another month of his absence.

Am I alone? I am. But I am not.




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  1. Hopefully this quote would make sense 🙂

    I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. — C.S. Lewis

    Nothing in this realm can satisfy our hearts even if we have with us all that we desire.

  2. Aw man, I’ve been in one for about a month now [not the first long distance relationship I’ve been in, but the first with this person]. Our biggest issue so far has been figuring out a communication pattern-how often and for how long, figuring out time slots when 12 hour time difference, busy schedules, energy and interest levels align. Strangely enough, I don’t miss his physical presence at all nor have I had lingering doubts about whether its on or off [I have certainly had them but they have been dispelled by talking about it].

    We had an argument the other day, over Whatsapp, about talking and he said, “this isn’t working”. I was typing out a reply saying, “FINE. BYE FOREVER”, when he sent a second text saying, “you tell me what you need and I’ll try to do it”. Naina, you know, I have had many “this isn’t working” conversations and NONE have taken THIS route.

    I guess that’s what keeps me going despite my many insecurities and reassures me that we’re in this together. I guess marriage makes that a basic assumption, but as someone who hasn’t ever been in a relationship longer than two years I’m grateful to be with someone who puts that trust in me- that they want to be with me, and can plan a future with me. I guess relationships evolve and when you’ve been with your partner longer than I have been with mine, your needs change, so I can’t pretend to understand what you go through.

    Thank you for writing this post, our situations are different and so are our responses but it was somehow reassuring to read your post. Its cruel to be reassured by someone’s pain but I hope that my comment can reassure you in turn, that you are not alone in this.

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