Love and the Internet
Because of the internet, I fell in love.
I am quickly becoming an expert in long distance relationships, (referred hereafter as LDR’s,) for otherwise I would lose my beautiful baby. I will attempt, in this post, to pass on some of what I learned.
If you are in a LDR, you must have a consistent and reliable internet. Between writing in my blog and communicating with my lovely lady, I can tell you within five minutes if I have had my internet cut off. If you rely on some travesty of a shared internet that constantly breaks down, don’t. Even though I am limited by living in america to having DSL or cable, and both are overpriced and crappy unreliable services, I chose DSL for its solidity and stable bandwidth. Remember that you will ultimately be communicating via satellite, for if you are a long distance away, like me being in Denver and she being in Sydney, the signals would never transmit by land lines quick enough to actually be able to hold a conversation. This means being aware of electrical sun storms, yes, it did affect us a little bit.
Use as many communications as you can for free. Yes I know skype was bought out by microsoft, yes I know they tell the government everything now, but this is about the love you share, and the current best free internet messenger is skype. If you can, send each other an email now and again, talk about new things you discover this way, then you can discuss them on a vocal message. Text message each other, the messenger then is not so important, as the delay between texts is fine. We use yahoo, and I have no other person on my yahoo. Skype is my main communication tool, but I have one messenger with just her, and no one else on it, with unique sounds to alert me if she is trying to get a hold of me.
Use a free virtual world to meet and play in, or if you are both into an MMO, use that world to meet and play in. We use SecondLife, and it is perfect for people to have a space that is disconnected with the real world that they can live and meet each other in. I think this to be crucial, because you can not shut the blinds and lock the door any other way. You have to be careful though, you can get jealous of an avatar. I have played in virtual reality for so long, I automatically say ouch if I bump my head or run into a wall. Make sure it is a place you are both comfortable in, if she like WoW and you despise it, find a second place for free where you can be private and have fun together. There are many choices, and much better reviews than I can list here, just take a look at what is out there.
Use voice communication, often and regularly. Video, especially over long distances and with limited bandwidths can be difficult, but most any home service can use voice with some stability. The human voice is the way we communicate best, you can hear stress, love, anger, laughter, you can evolve your relationship with voice. When the phone finally took over the telegraph, people could handle long distance relations much better, and it was not unusual, nor is it still, to evolve a complex relationship just based on voice.
That being said, however, use file sharing for photos and videos of each other. We share a Dropbox, and it is a great way to give over a lot of photos or a mp4 video off of your phone or camera to each other. I have made two videos for her so far, and she loves both of them. I just rode around on my bike exercising and showed her parts of Denver I liked. It motivates me to get out and exercise more, and provides us a nice little movie to watch together. While she was in Paris, she would upload all her photos from the day, and we would go over each one, as if we were sitting on the couch looking at a photo album together, just using skype and dropbox.
STAY OFF OF FACEBOOK. I can not express this in other way. One of the most important things to a young couple (young as in the age of the relationship,) is privacy. I have watched a lot of friends lose their real life partners who live together, not even in a LDR, because they could not stay, either one of them, off of the troll haven called facebook. It is fine if you met there, but take your commentary to each other somewhere very private and protected. Yes, the government and microsoft can see us talking, but far worse is all the “friends” of facebook, baiting and trolling each other with such verve, the head spins to even imagine it. She is an atheist and you are a catholic and you work things out, well that should be your own damned business. I understand a lot of people use it to communicate, that’s fine, but take your love into a special place, so no one but your SO and you can hear and see each other when you talk regularly.
Finally, and I think this to be the most important, set up a regular schedule to meet and talk. Whatever voice you use, make it so that there is at least an hour or two everyday that you talk and relate to each other. Sporadic conversations promoted by love are great at the start, but having something to rely upon, it’s much more important. When we first met, it was mostly in SecondLife, but as we grew to love each other, we eventually moved onto skype. Now I can skip everything we do in a day, knowing that when the day ends, we will have at least an hour to talk and relax with each other, which is about all a lot of non-LDR’s get as it is. I set specific boundaries on this, nothing but an emergency, a real emergency such as death, fire, or natural disaster, can interrupt this time together. It is our most treasured moments together, even if we don’t have a lot to say, falling asleep with each other’s voice in our ears is just enough of heaven to keep us going the next day.
It is a new world, we often don’t even meet our next door neighbors anymore, so we find love where it finds us. More and more, we are all either looking at starting a relationship as a LDR, or have to maintain a LDR over time due to business or school. These tools are working for us, we are 5 months into our relation, and these are the lessons we have learned together. I hope it helps someone out there now!