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Transatlanticism: The Challenges of Being in a Long Distance Relationship

By Chelsea Carroll, Writer

Chelsea Carroll, Writer

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“The Atlantic was born today, and I’ll tell you how.” The lyrics in Death Cab for Cutie’s song “Transatlanticism” manages to perfectly describe the feeling of being in a long distance relationship.

It’s very difficult to be so far from someone you love. Whether it’s cities, states, or even countries apart, it begins to feel like there are oceans keeping the two of you apart.  

Nobody plans on being in a long distance relationship. Most people expect to meet their one true soulmate within their own community, like in most of the romantic comedies with a cliché ending. While some people are actually successful at meeting their soulmate in person like in the movies, there are those who find themselves ending up in a long distance relationship by chance.

Long distance relationships typically start off online as a casual friendship with a few messages a day and then unexpectedly turn into staying up past 3 am just talking to the person who begins to become more than just a friend. They can also happen when a couple is unexpectedly separated due to college, work, moving, etc.

There are many challenges that come with being in a long distance relationship, which is why so many people never want to be involved in one. One of the most obvious difficulties is the distance.

It’s hard to be so far away from someone you love. You can’t do the things that typical couples do, which makes it hard to see happy couples that have the ability to be together. Instead, couples in long distance relationships have to settle for talking to their significant other through a computer screen.

“It was hard to not be able to make physical contact. I would see other couples in public and wish I could be them,” confessed my mom, Rhonda Leite, who was in an online long distance relationship for almost three years.

Video calls typically have their own problems, either the audio works and the video is freezing or vice versa, especially if you use Skype. Another problem with video chatting is finding a time when you’re both available. This becomes quite a challenge, especially if there is a time zone difference. There might even be some days when you can’t talk because the other person is busy and neither of you are available at the same time. “Sometimes I had no idea when he was going to call me so I always had to be ready to talk to him,” claimed Leite.

When it comes to being in a long distance relationship that starts online, your family can be quite stubborn about accepting it. Their disapproval is likely only because they care about your safety and they are aware that the Internet has several “catfish” that are looking for money or other things that don’t involve the intentions of being in an actual relationship.

Some family members might even be convinced that the person isn’t even real. “It took a while for my mother to believe he was actually real. After she realized he was real, she finally approved of our relationship, however, a few of my family members weren’t as accepting of our relationship, especially since he was Brazilian,” said Leite.

Despite all of the difficulties that come with being in a long distance relationship, long distance relationships are definitely worth it. My mom managed to overcome all of these challenges.

After three years of being almost 5,000 miles apart, several technical difficulties, timezone differences and the disapproval of most of her family members, my mom finally met and married my step dad from Brazil.

“There were days when I didn’t know if our relationship was ever going to be successful because of the distance,” Leite admitted, “ but after we could finally be together  it was a dream come true. All of the waiting and obstacles that kept us apart were worth it.”

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Transatlanticism: The Challenges of Being in a Long Distance Relationship