Long Distance Relationships: You, Her and Jack
Let it be known that, at some point during a long distance relationship (LDR), there are three members of the relationship; you, her and Jack.
Before we talk about Jack, let's set the stage; you and your girlfriend have been dating for some time and are cheerfully resident in close proximity, but now she has to relocate to Switzerland because she has been admitted into a graduate program of her dreams. The only thing is you are stuck here, wherever here is, with the rest of us! Hi, neighbor!
So Switzerland; she settles in, you talk often, very often; skype, FaceTime, BB video, letters, letters in bottles, tin phones, the works. There are a few times when you promise to call but you fall asleep with your face in your dinner (the story of my life in grad school). Apart from the macaroni stuck in your left nostril, everything is fine.
Then comes Jackson.
Jackson (or Jack), the guy who lives in the same city as she does. The guy who reminds your girlfriend how far away you are. Jack makes it apparent how often you don't call back. He shows her all the things you do wrong and all the standards you fail to live up to as a boyfriend. He makes a big deal about how you can’t make it for christmas. That’s unforgivable, he’d say, shaking his head. You don’t deserve that. He tells her.
So basically, he makes sure you look like a jerk. This he might do explicitly or implicitly. Explicitly by saying it out loud and implicitly by doing all the things you should be doing. He shows how often you don’t visit her by visiting her, frequently, sometimes he's in the background of your Skype calls!
I don't know from under what rock Jacksons crawl out from but I am certain that there is a Jackson rock where they meet and hand out little booklets because they tend to be consistent in their behavior. He calls coincidentally when your face is stuck in your dinner. He shows up at her door with lunch/Sharwama/coffee/smoothies.....my personal favorite, friendship flowers. He doles out a couple of these famous Jackson quotes:
"You deserve better."
"What does he mean he can't make it for Christmas?"
"How do you know he's not cheating at this very moment?"
"If I was dating someone like you, I'd be here every weekend"
"Why do you have to go and see him, why can't he come here?"
"Wow, that's all he got you for your birthday."
"He mailed your gift?"
"If you were mine....."
The general one-size fits all response to all these statements is, "Do you not have anything better to do, Jack?", said in all sincerity. I don't know where they get the time and energy to chip at someone else's hard work.
However, no need to despair, there maybe some hidden advantages in this Jack matter. First, Jack keeps you on your toes, which is a good thing.
Second,…….there’s no second.
If ever your LDR encounters a Jack, it would be great if her conviction about your love for her is extremely firm. I had some Jacks at different times of my 6-year LDR and of course, the bull-headed side of me met the statements with retorts and general intransigence but still, i always found myself drawn to Ed at those times because i needed to be sure this Jack guy was on crack (I, in fact think one of them might have been) and i needed to know that all he was saying couldn't be validated. It's important to prove all Jack's comments void and to ensure her security in your commitment. Her mind has to be stronger than Jack’s voice in her head. The only thing that makes her mind stronger in an LDR are your words, attention and gestures. Keep the fights to a minimum. Be creative with your gifts. Be consistent with your communication. Beware of the Jacks.
Have you had any Jack experiences? Or Jackie experiences (see below)?! Even more thrilling, are you a Jack?
Note: There are girl-Jacks too, the Jackies. That's another post altogether.