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My name is Ike. I am a writer. I drink way too much herbal tea and believe in the power of kindness, love and a good book.

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Long Distance Relationships: That Sweet Safe Spot

About 10 minutes into your long distance relationship (LDR), you’d quickly come to realize that your new location seems to be inundated with exceptionally attractive members of the opposite sex! There's one next door, one standing next to you on the bus, one at work, church too, one in class, one at the store, one at someone's 70th birthday celebration (they are everywhere, especially the most unexpected, dull places). Some of these people you probably wouldn’t notice if your significant other (sig-other for short) was near. Well, sig-other is not near and you do notice. 

This sudden awareness of other people, might be just a heightened sensitivity to the void left by sig-other. In other words, you are lonely and probably a little needy……physically, which is totally expected. 

However, let's just put it out there, you are expected to remain within the bounds of honesty, which is required by your relationship and also to remain within the bounds of your clothing, if you know what i mean. It's easy to say and much less easy to achieve. 

So imagine, you are at your friend's aunt's 70th birthday party (beware of those "harmless" parties). You were willing to go because, well, you had absolutely nothing else to do or because you are miserable about your new LDR status and this couldn't be any worse. Anyway, whatever your reason, there you are at this elderly gathering and then you see this really good-looking girl (who we can call I.D). You notice I.D and move on. After the party, your friend tells you he gave I.D your number because she asked for it. 

 You panic a little, being the careful boyfriend that you are. And then you self-pacify and tell yourself I.D won't call. Surprise!

 I.D calls. It's friendly and casual. You tell her you will keep in touch but you tell yourself you won't. You also conveniently forget to tell her you have girlfriend because it's "too much information" for a first "friendly" conversation. You

do

keep in touch with I.D (if you haven't figured it out yet, I.D is short for Inevitable Disaster). 

Something tells you you should tell your sig-other but you consider this trivial. Nothing dramatic ever comes out of casual acquaintanceship. An LDR is not prison, you are allowed to have friends, friends like I.D, you tell yourself.

In our LDR, we did have a sizable number of I.Ds. Aware that we were both human and admitting that promptly, we faced reality squarely. No one is immuned to slip ups, least of all LDRers. Also let me say this now, there will be attractions, like i said, heightened sensitivity to the void and all, and also because you are human and you don't live in a cave as a hermit. I tried living as a hermit once to avoid attractions but that didn't work out. These things have a way of finding you even in hiding. Lol! 

So how did we deal with crushes and attractions in a long distance relationship? One word. 

Transparency; 

the quality of being transparent. 

Transparent

/transˈperənt/ 

adjective

Having thoughts , feelings or motives that are easily perceived.

Being easily perceived is a little difficult in an LDR, so being transparent needs a little bit of effort here. It's more active than passive and it requires a certain amount of vulnerability and honesty.

So here's the fun part.

What we did was to be honest about developing attractions and crushes, if there were any at all. And there might have been one or two.

“Are you crazy?” I hear you saying, “Why would I tell sig-other that I am attracted to someone else? That's LDR suicide.”

And

 you are right! It is suicide if not managed properly. Which brings me to constructive transparency. It's not just ok to be transparent but rather

 to be

constructively transparent.

This would mean being verbally honest with your motives and actions with your sig-other, with the intent of ensuring your relationship is successful both on the long run and short run. Of course, this includes being open to each other about I.Ds and undercover I.Ds (the ones who pose as your friends) and any other new happenings that might impact the relationship  adversely or otherwise. Doing this creates a safe spot in your relationship that fosters honesty and pinches off budding insecurities. 

As you eat your take-away cake from the 70th birthday celebration, you contemplate telling sig-other about I.D. There is  60% chance this would end in a fight, but isn't it worth it on the long run?

 What would you do? Would you tell sig-other?  

Please drop your comments below!

P.s : This is a safe spot! Say it as it is.  x

Disclaimer: not every relationship is nuts enough to do this but every relationship should ensure the purest form of honesty it has the ability to attain.

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