Sunday, April 11, 2010
On Long Distance Relationships and Naked Lady Parties
Yesterday I went to a BBQ hosted by one of my book club friends. The first half of the get-together was a Naked Lady party wherein you take clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry and the like that you no longer want and offer them up for exchange. Whatever is left goes to the Goodwill, a womens shelter or some sort of charity. It was pretty cool. I only took a few things but I think next time I will really dig in my closet and drawers and take more things. If you ever get invited to one, go and take lots of things. You'd be surprised the little treasures you can find. Many of my friends wear really cute clothes and when I ask where they got them, they almost always answer Goodwill or at a Naked Lady party. Fun!
As those of you that read my blog know, the Italian and I have been at this long distance relationship for 4 years. We were hoping for him to be here by last year but what with the global economical meltdown, we had to put that on hold. We are hoping he can be here by the summer or at least the end of the summer. To be completely honest, I've sort of put a dead line on it. This type of relationship never gets easier. I'm sure the odds of a relationship like ours actually standing the test of time aren't very good. Our relationship, thus far, has survived the time and distance but it has not been easy. People tell me all the time that they don't know how we do it. I'm not one to give advice. I can only speak from my own experience but this sort of relationship is not for the faint of heart or weak-minded people. You have to really want it to work and you have to really trust the other person. If you are the jealous type, forget about it. You will not be able to sleep at night. Speaking on the phone can be a challenge due to the time difference, schedules, work and even just the tone of voice you hear on the other end.
If the other person has had a bad day but doesn't want to spend their limited time on the phone with you talking about it, it can create a misunderstanding. You can hear it in their voice and naturally, you ask if all is well. They say no, but you know there is etc, etc. These, are some of the challenges the Italian and I have come up against but nothing serious enough to create a rift because we are both very dedicated to each other and to making this work.
Ultimately though, we are both humans with feelings and it is hard, extremely hard to be away from one another. In social situations, my friends always ask, when is the Italian coming back? Those that haven't met him, ask when he is coming and are anxious to meet him, as am I for him to meet them. Last night was one of those nights. My friends were at the BBQ with their husbands and kids and they all asked when he is coming and that they look forward to meeting him. It should be easy right? I mean, he should just be able to hop on a plane and make his way here or vice versa for me. But really, it's not. There are legal fees to be paid for immigrating, one would have to financially support the other until such time as a work permit can be obtained, etc etc. I'm way more spontaneous than he is. I can be a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of person, but the Italian is so not like that. He is way more conservative in that respect. He believes these sorts of things take careful planning and a lot of consideration, he's definitely old school. I mean, I just met his family after 3 years because he wouldn't take anyone home unless he was sure to marry them. This is another difficulty of LDR's. Cultural or religious differences can break relationships. Our cultures are not so different that this would be the case for us, but it can happen. Ultimately, our cultures, fundamentally speaking, are quite similar. Mine has just been Americanized a bit but essentially we have the same morals and values. We are both Catholic so this hasn't been a problem for us either. He has expressed to me though that he wouldn't marry someone who was not Catholic.
What it boils down to is that we are best friends. We trust and respect each other and that's why this has worked for us. Again, I will say that it has not been without effort. When we are physically together, we are a team. We work so well together and are so supportive of each other. We like to joke with each other, cook together, read together, watch movies, go for passegiate, concerts, etc etc. Politically, we tend to disagree but it makes for interesting conversation.
He helps me clean and do laundry. I love that he is always ready and willing to help me. Not all men are that way, unfortunately. I've known from the beginning that he is the man I will spend the rest of my life with and I can no longer imagine life without him. The attraction was instant. This fall our LDR will culminate in marriage and these last 4 years of phone calls, flights, emails, texts, tears and laughter will come to an end and our life together will finally begin.
Trust and tenacity are what it takes to survive the test of distance and time. Without these two, fuggetaboutit!