The perils of non-distance relationships

By Jacqueline Applebee

I’ve heard quite a few people talk about long-distance relationships with the sort of resigned sadness and frustration that is usually reserved for being one number short of winning the lottery.  Sure you’re glad for the money, but it’s not the jackpot.  You can’t ditch your old life to live like a rock-star, can you?  Well, I’m quite a fan of long-distance relationships.  I don’t drive, but I do have a railcard, plus some very organised lovers who let me know of their availability so far in advance that travelling across the United Kingdom isn’t any more trouble than travelling across my home city.

I’m far more wary of the opposite of long-distance relationships; something I’ve come to call, ‘non-distance relationships.’  The first thing that comes to my mind is the lack of personal space.  Living with people you are romantically involved with can be quite scary.  They get to experience you at six o’clock in the morning, sleep-mussed, bleary-eyed and with stale-breath.  You can’t hide the bargain-basement pack of knickers when someone shares your space, pretending that you wear lacy undies all the time.  You also can’t hide the fact that you are a messy, grouchy, annoying-yet loveable individual when they’re around you all the bloody time.

This leads me onto my second point: the lack of space is not just a physical thing.  Non-distance means that your partner/s can spot you making eyes at the gorgeous creature in the queue at the cinema, they’ll know you’re lying through your teeth before you even open your mouth to protest, and they’ll see you slipping said gorgeous creature a note with your contact details on it, when you just happen to ‘bump’ into them.  Non-distance relationships mean a certain level of honesty and integrity that is great in theory, but difficult when that gorgeous creature smiles at you just so…

All of my previous points may lead you to think of me as being a heartless slut (instead of an ethical one), who is concerned with appearances and sex.  Hear me out — there’s one more thing about non-distance relationships that I have to warn you about: the terror that is known as, being taken for granted.

When your lover/s see you all the time, it seems that much harder for them to make an effort to keep things fresh.  I have never had to try to put the ‘spark’ into long-distance relationships, because that passion never has an opportunity to be smothered by everyday life.  I’m guilty of it too.  I can’t remember the last time I organised a romantic dinner with my live-in partner that wasn’t beans on toast.

I suppose that non-distant relationships take just as much work as the long-distant ones – it’s just a different kind of work.  Neither flavour of relationship is better than the other.  However, when events like BiCon insist on attracting people from all over the world, long-distance relationships will crop up a lot more often than usual.  Now if you’ll excuse me, the gorgeous creature from the cinema lives just down the road.  I think I’ll stay the night too, because there’s none of that travel malarkey to negotiate.  I’ll just make sure to serve up breakfast in bed, because, it’s romantic and all…