Little did I know that our love story would start unfolding while I was still a high schooler. As a senior in high school, the last thing I intended to do was get into a relationship. High school graduation and a move across the world were fast approaching. It was safe to say that my priorities laid elsewhere.
Then I met Jonathan in December 2012. He walked into my life at the most random time, but it was perfect. We met through a friend at the local community college. Friend requests, follows, and phone numbers were exchanged and we quickly became good friends.
Relationships at this age were very fragile, whether friendly or romantic. I never had a best friend growing up or a consistent friend group that I spent time with. I never quite seemed to fit in. I explicitly remember promising myself that I was not going to put any extra effort into any types of relationships my senior year, since everyone would be moving on to college and making new friends. I also knew that saying “I am moving to Germany” was basically a bomb shattering any remnants of relationship potential. I really was not feeling it, but Jonathan changed it all.
I told him about my upcoming move and he was like “ok” and onward we marched. He by no means ignored it, but instead we made the best out of the time we spent together. For the next six months we had a blast. It quickly became evident that we had something special. Nonetheless, when the day came where we had to say goodbye it was still scary as sh*t, pardon my French. I was moving to a place I considered a vacation spot. I had no friends there. No concrete plans of the future there. Just my mom, dad, Tobi and family.
The following 3ish years were insane. I came home and visited a few times. Jonathan supported me while I struggled to find my path and I did the same for him. He helped me get through grieving a few deaths. I helped him navigate the waters of his parents divorce and his fathers cancer diagnosis. He insisted I was not a failure even though there were numerous times that proved I was. I pushed him to work hard and do well in school. It was a consistent balancing act all while mainly using 21st century technology to communicate.
Enter summer 2016, 8 short months ago. I returned home for my second internship at a wonderful local company. At this point were had entered our 4th year of dating and we know what our intentions for the future of this relationship are. But these past months just hammered a lot in for us. We learned how to be a couple under the stresses of 2 full time jobs. For me, I learned how to deal with the schedule of a farmer (haha what schedule?!). We learned how to spend free-time together, face-to-face. We learned how to drive each other NUTS! We learned how to balance time with my family and time with his family. We learned how to do each others laundry so no one would be sock-less or underwear-less midweek.
We solidified our love for each other even more.
The crazy thing to me is that we could be selfish, but we are not. Long distance relationships stink and it would be so easy for me to say, “sure honey, I will move back to Michigan if that makes you happy.” But I don’t! Instead I am following the path that I have found for myself. The path that I think is right. And Jonathan lets me. Jonathan could say, “sure love, I will drop everything here and adventure with you in Germany for a while.” But he doesn’t! He is following the path he thinks is right for him. And I let him.
We both have hopes and dreams for ourselves and we are putting those at the forefront. Throughout it all we are offering up all of the support and motivation that we can for one another. And we make it work. It is no longer uncommon for the conversation starter to be “so, when are you guys going to get married?” and while I wish I could say “yesterday”, I know the answer is in a little while. Because right now is the time we will NEVER get back again. The time to find ourselves, the time to learn what we love, the time to chase our young dreams.
We genuinely love one another more than can be put into words. Surely we have disagreements, but we can work past them. It stinks that my path can currently only be followed in Germany, but what a cool excuse for Jonathan to travel to Europe!
From my side of the relationship I could not ask for a more calm, patient, understanding and compassionate partner. His goofiness makes me laugh and roll my eyes on the regular (I have never heard the words “wieners and gonads” come out of someones mouth so often, thats also why I always have a big smile on my face in photos FYI). It also drives me nuts when I am trying to have a serious moment and he’s giggling his panties off. Or when I am crying at the airport and he’s just laughing away.
He also knows what to say at the right moment. He knows I am quite body conscious and he’ll find a way to reassure me that I look great. He knows that planning ahead for our next adventure keeps my hopes up. He knows that chocolate and ice cream solve all of my problems. He just knows.
While our love story is by no means straight out of a fairytale, it is our fairytale. I would not have wanted to spend these last 4 years with anyone other than him. As we enter the 5th year of our relationship we both have new adventures calling our names, but we could not be more excited. Not only will we grow as individuals, but also as a couple.
Long distance may not be for everyone, but if you find the right person, do not let distance get in the way. It is so worth it. I promise.
What are things crucial to the success of your relationships?