The Measurement of Love
I’m in a long-distance relationship. We’re both 21 years old. We started talking on Instagram. I used to write and post poetry, he liked it, and we had the most amazing conversation—ranging from philosophy to science to fiction. I will never forget that my heart instantly attracted me to him, and he asked me to consider being with him.
At that time, we both did not bother to even ask where we were from because everything just felt so beyond beautiful. And it still is.
I love my boyfriend. We’ve been texting and video calling every day since the last two years, but we haven’t met yet, despite our love for each other being so strong. It is very difficult for both of us. All we can do is send each other gifts through mail. Many people think it’s crazy when they ask me where he is and I tell them that I haven’t met him yet. He lives in the United States, and I live in South Africa. I’m still studying at university, so that prevents me from meeting him; he doesn’t have a passport since he’s not an American citizen despite having lived in the U.S. for 19 years. He works and supports his family and siblings, so financially, it’s very difficult for him to save money or even invest in me.
Every day feels like a turning point, actually. You never know what’s going to happen or if you are doing something wrong. It’s tough to live in. A lot of changes have been happening between us in terms of our lives. He’s changed jobs a few times and moved houses. The time zone difference is a killer. Sometimes, I don’t know what to do with myself because of all the pressure around me from people I know and my cousins getting married and having partners. It really sucks and is depressing.
There was a time something happened that I feel pushed him away, and I always blame myself for it. At the end of 2016, the year I met my boyfriend online, a friend whom’d I kissed yet never spoke with for that entire year got in contact with me and asked to meet up. I used to chill out with him, and the last time I saw him, I locked his keys in his car and we had to break his window. I felt like meeting with him just to pay him back for the window that I knew was my fault. When I met him, he told me he was getting married and I told him about my boyfriend. He was a bit drunk and he kissed me. He didn’t want to hear me tell him anything. It was really awkward, and when I went home, I didn’t know what to do. I eventually told my boyfriend about it, and it hurt him so badly. I didn’t realize it until afterwards that I was such an idiot for telling him what happened. I wish I hadn’t told him anything! Because after that, the next few months started feeling cold..
After that incident, there’s always been a sharp hurt, but as time goes by, we manage. He told me that he is hurt but healing, and it won’t change his love for me. Since we are so far away from each other, it’s difficult to tell what’s going on.
We’ve been very insecure, and the distance just makes it even more difficult. It has brought us to question each other. From my side, I can say that I’ve been loyal and my love has always been true for him. I trust when he says the same thing.
It’s been about 26 months now. I’ve learned to accept the distance and that nothing will ever be right until we meet in person. The time has been emotional and challenging, and we still have a long way to go. We don’t have a plan, but we do trust our love. But when it comes to trusting someone, you have to trust yourself first.
Love is precious. And truly, it is about the little things. So if you have a partner that you can have a conversation with, without using a phone—one that you can always come home to—appreciate it.