Being Queer also means being alone; or, at least, this is what it means for many of us who were born in rural areas and lacked access to diverse peers. One way we managed to surmount this loneliness was through long distance relationships—we found a nice guy online and took things from there, substituting communication for physical presence.
The issue which came, however, was the difficulty in maintaining these relationships. Many people find that these relationships eventually break down. Why? For several reasons, reasons which I will talk about while giving my own thoughts and experiences; although I am far from an expert in this area, I have had my own long distance relationships and have had substantial time to muse on them. So I share my musings with you in the hope that you will take something out of it.
Jealousy and Romance
A long distance relationship is essentially a compact, an agreement between two people outlining their desire to be with one another despite vast distances. However, part of this agreement is the human factor: eventually, one person or the other may meet another person whom they see a romantic future. One of the first details hammered out when discussing the details of the long distance relationship with your partner should be how dating is handled, whether the long distance relationship is a de facto relationship and all newcomers are shunned, or if the long distance relationship is more of a ‘forcing,’ something which acts as a substitute until either the two of you meet, or you find a local guy.
Sex is much the same way; early on fidelity should be established. Meaning, whether it is okay for each member in the partnership to have sexual encounters in the flesh: is your long distance relationship going to be comprised of emotional and sexual monogamy where hookups with strangers is not allowed—i.e., considered cheating—or is the relationships one which allows for hookups with the understanding that as long as an emotional factor doesn’t develop, it is an acceptable substitute for sexual activity with your partner?
In this sense, time plays an important role because even the fiercest romances can burn their selves out if left at the long distance angle. I would strongly advise planning a meet up during the trial period of being together; you should discuss with your partner how and when you two will meet and perhaps even consider calling the long distance relationship off if you find that you two are repeatedly unable to meet (since this would mean that something is likely profoundly wrong with the relationship). How the dynamics of breaking up or remaining together are to be handled is of paramount importance.
Trust and Suspicion
I am going to be direct here: unless you and your long distance partner trust one another, it is just not going to work out. If one of you is constantly looking over your shoulder and suspecting the other of cheating on you with somebody local to them, or filtering online, or what-have-you, the entire relationship is just not going to work out. Being suspicious of the other is going to produce drama and conflicts which do not need to exist; it is going to rip you two apart (hence the need for there to be a frank discussion on what is acceptable and what it not acceptable when it comes to sexual activities). Each of you should be more than ready to have a frank discussion on limitations but more than even that, be prepared to trust that the affection which exists between you two and trust in what you have; after all, there is no use in fretting over your partner cheating on you if you have no way of either controlling him/her or even knowing—assume he is loyal and if everything works out, then the mutually trust built by each of you will persevere.
Obviously, you and your partner cannot physically get together for romance. However, there are one or two widely known ways to stimulate that erotic appetite. One manner is sexting—both with pictures of genitals as well as with sexual instant messages being sent back and forth between you and your partner (usually these messages describe a fantasy scenario which you and your partner build, but can also directly pertain to sexual intercourse). The second option you have is to go onto Skype, or a similar webcam mode of communication, and, well, sexually stimulate yourself on camera for one another. I’ve done both in my time with my own long-distance partners and each session was, from what I remembered, always the highlight of the day. With proper communication, long distance loving can be a decent substitute for the real deal.
Talking, when and how often, is going to be extremely important in a long distance relationship; it will be up to you and your partner to figure out how much you need to communicate and through what medium. For instance, it should be delineated when, and if, texting, Skype, Facebook, calling, or other social networking is a mode of communication; do you want a form of communication which resembles a ‘string,’ where you each simply respond to messages when you have the time and there is a constant stream of information to chat about, or would you prefer several protracted periods of communication where several times during the week you call one another on the phone, while during those space of time which are not reserved for communication, you have to yourself without the expectation of communicating? Figuring out and maintaining, and adjusting as needed, how and when you communicate is going to be the cornerstone of your relationship.
When to Break it Off
A vital component of any long distance relationship is knowing when you need to break it off. As I said earlier, defining the parameters of your relationship will be vital for a healthy long distance bond, but part of this understanding also means knowing when ending the relationship is better for you then continuing to participate. As a general rule of thumb, I would say that prime examples of when to break it off are when either (1) your partner has been repeatedly, and without care, breaking the established rules of your relationship, and appears to have little interest in altering his/her behavior, or (2) when you find yourself apathetic to the relationship itself, and feel that the relationship simply isn’t going anywhere, like you two will never meet despite being together for a long time, or when you find yourself presented with new possibilities for personal relationships and simply feel that it would be better for you to explore in order to fully realize yourself. You should talk with your partner about these feelings and your relationship. A long distance romance, emotional, sexual, or otherwise, is a hard effort to keep together. You can be rest assured that if one of you is suffering then it will not endure; at the end of the day, it is better to be happy then it is to remain in a loveless bond with someone whom who only share shadows with.
(Okay, that is all I have for the moment; if you have your own experiences with long distance relationships, then please share– I may edit this post to better reflect the actual experiences of those and where mistakes could interrupt the flow of love, so if you want to share your own time in these relationships, feel free to post below. You never know if your engagements will help!)