Long Distance Love
Keywords: Relationships, Long Distance Relationship, Soul Mates, Follow your Dreams, Travel
If you stumbled on this page, it's possible you follow me on social media and know about my long distance relationship situation, or perhaps you are in a similar situation looking for answers about navigating a long distance relationship in your own life. If the later is the case, you undoubtedly know as well as I do, that of course this isn't an easy situation, and as I write this I am still in a long distance relationship (me in Canada, him in Spain). Our hope is to bridge that gap as soon as we can. I will share my story. Maybe it will help you navigate your situation, sometimes it just helps knowing we aren't alone in our human experiences. Writing is cathartic for me, I feel called to write about my life & learning experiences as authentically as possible, and enjoy
How Jose and I met
Jose and I met online on a dating app. I had been on dating sites plenty before, but had been on a bit of a hiatus. It can be an exhausting activity talking to multiple men who aren't a good fit for your life. Dating burnout if you will...
Anyhow, I had a moment in my living room where I was done meeting the wrong people, and a fleeting thought entered into my head "I'm going to meet someone far away." The thought came and went and I didn't really *think* much about it. Whether this was intuition, some deep innate knowing, or just me creating my own reality, I am not sure....but I joined a dating app I hadn't used before, Badoo. The settings on this app do make it so you can see people in practically any city in the world. I guess if you choose to put your dating app settings to meet people all over, that is creating your reality in a sense, but it's quite uncanny that Jose was the 2nd man to message me on the app within one day. The first was like hi, ohhhh you're in Canada, smiley face. As in, that could never work. Jose's first message to me was an emoji of a smiley face. He later told me he didn't know what to say haha, and my reply to his first smiley face is something he remembers well and still quotes when we are hanging out together. "Hello from across the ocean" I replied.
The first few weeks chatting
Our first several conversations were just nice. Sharing little bits of our respective lives...nothing too personal at first (so many dating conversations go sexual so fast and that gets so gross and so old), me sharing food things, him sharing his love for geography and travel. I said "I'm going to make Paella!" and sent him some videos of me basically ruining Spanish Paella because I never follow the "rules". I think our initial connection was definitely centered around a mutual love and curiosity for everything far away and unique. We are both Leo's, both big dreamers, and both completely bored with the daily grind that typical life entails. He has always loved and wanted to go to Canada, and I fell in love and felt at home in Europe during my first trip there at 20 years old, and many subsequent trips there after.
It wasn't until a few weeks into chatting when he told me about his children. He said he had something to tell me and hoped that it wouldn't mean we would stop talking. It was obviously a big deal for him and not something he wanted to lead with when we met in case we only spoke for a couple of days and then it ended. He is a fairly private person until he gets to know someone. He sent me a few photos and said "soy el papa de tres niños". His youngest was not even 1 years old at this time. I just kind of processed the info and was like "OK". Not sure how most people would react, but I don't have kids, and him having them just seemed like a bonus to me. We had plenty of conversation about his situation with his ex, and his kids, and we just navigated it together....and honestly we continue to navigate plenty of difficult things together even though we are far apart geographically, which I know will only strengthen our bond.
Anyhow, our relationship definitely progressed online before we even met. I think that unless you have had an experience getting to know someone online, it might not make sense that you could know and feel close to someone only in this context, but we definitely got to that point. I've talked to enough people online that were the wrong people, my intuition and red flag radar were pretty fine tuned at this point. I think this could be an important factor in distance relationships. Ask yourself and answer honestly where you are at mentally and emotionally. Do you attach to men/women/people easily, the wrong people perhaps? I had spent years working on attachment issues and healing my shit by the time I met Jose. I'm far from perfect and healing is a life long journey, but the connection with Jose wasn't about loneliness or either of us trying to escape our lives.
Meeting face to face for the first time.
We met in October 2021, and by February 5th 2022, Jose arrived to Canada for our first meeting, and to stay with me for an entire month. I know some people probably thought I was nuts to let a man I had never met stay with me for one month, but we already felt so close, and we both had a knowing about our relationship. I think we also had a healthy amount of understanding that it could go either way, but not enough worry to not give it a shot and try. When you have an opportunity to take a chance in life....and everything inside you feels like a resounding "yes...absolutely yes"...I think it would be crazy NOT to take that chance. You live once. Be brave, take some chances....that's where the magic is.
I picked Jose up at the Charlottetown Airport in PEI on a blowing, cold, wintery night. It was super dark, and I was waiting in the car because it was Covid times, and I wasn't able to go into the airport. I recognized his clothes from photos he had sent earlier in the day easily enough despite the darkness. He was wearing a face mask. I got out of the car and hugged him. He took his mask off, we held hands, and we kissed. I think we kind of just smiled and laughed for a moment too. What an unbelievable situation. This handsome Spanish man standing in the cold snowy parking lot, surrounded by more winter than he had ever seen....looking at me, the blonde Canadian woman from the internet who ruined paella and laughed about it. To think, only a day before we had been 5300 kilometers apart, and now we were actually standing face to face.
We got back into my car, a 45 min drive back to my apartment with the bad weather that was happening. He had never seen so much snow. I can't exactly remember what we spoke about, but it wasn't awkward, it was just normal, easy, and I felt completely calm.
The reality/difficulty of the situation
I think everyones situation is going to look different, of course. Ours has a lot of complications that in this moment make it essentially impossible to be together. Long distance in the same country would be one thing. Long distance across the ocean, another culture, another language plus our personal complications. We knew when we started this journey being together wasn't going to happen over night. I don't even know if I can put into words all of the things that we have to navigate. He has kids, an ex, a house to sell, we need to buy an apartment or rent but we don't have the funds yet, I have a dog turning 11 in a couple weeks as I write this, if I can't work right away in Spain, can we afford to live? Can I monetize my blog to make some income? How long will it take me to learn Spanish? Can I afford to keep taking lessons if I move there? ( I've been taking lessons for a few months now with an online coach). Anyway...that's just a snapshot of the issues. It's a lot.
The reality for anyone in a long distance relationship is you are still technically, on some level, alone. The person you want to celebrate birthdays, holidays, hell even a chill Sunday with, is far away from you, and it can be really really hard. The thing for me is, I've worked really hard on myself to not build my home in another person. I have worked really hard to find some semblance of peace in my daily life. Even when I have bad days, they are no where near the bad days I used to have. I've realized that peace, or some kind of neutrality is my base. I am an introvert and I spend most of my time alone creating, writing, cooking. I don't ever feel a huge sense of joy or even happiness. More just a sense of being OK. When I'm with Jose, that base level of peace I feel amplifies to just pure happiness and joy. I think he mirrors back to me the energy and love I have always wanted to give, but had never found the right person. Still, it is important to make peace with being alone. It offers an opportunity for so much personal growth and healing, plus, in the end, our relationship with ourselves is the most important. With that being said, we are social creatures and we absolutely are meant to love and be loved. If you are lucky enough to find that in life, even if it is a difficult situation and even seems impossible sometimes...it's 100% worth fighting for.
After 10 months apart, I used my two weeks off at Christmas when the pub I work at was closed to take my first trip to Spain. The smile on our faces in the above photo says it all. Two wonderful weeks together with my best friend in Valencia. I fell in love with Spain, but I fell even more in love with this wonderful man. I've been back in Canada for 6 weeks as I write this, not knowing what the next step is, or when I will see Jose again. Today was one of those "hard days" actually, where I could barely stand this mundane reality, but when that happens I remind myself that nothing stays the same forever, everything changes, and anything is possible. I know that we both are doing everything we can in the meantime. Saving money, working towards our goals, even if it is only a microscopic step each day.
I hope I will be updating this post sooner than later with what comes next.....and if you are on a similar journey, or a completely different journey but feeling the weight of it all, stay strong, do what is best for you, don't give up.
I have a few posts if you want to read more about the food aspect of my trip to Spain.
1. All the restaurants I ate at in Valencia
2. Central Market, Old Town Valencia
& Our memorable first weekend in Morella, with a recipe!
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Hey! I'm Trisha