Long distance relationships don’t come with many benefits. It’s like my work offering a one-percent 401K match. It’s a kind gesture, but would take a couple thousand years to earn anything substantial in the retirement fund.
One benefit in a long distance relationship that’s undeniably true is how much control you have. Jenny and I are sometimes control freaks so I suppose we liked keeping our relationship a secret for two years.
We didn’t hide completely from the world. It was fairly obvious we were more than just pals who happened to share a love of writing. However, we didn’t go spilling the beans about the relationship publicly until we had endured 24 months apart. We were only obligated to do so because I was about to travel to the other side of the world for a week and people would have noticed after about five days. I like to think I’m one of those people who can get away with going missing for longer than average.
Nothing specifically compelled us to refrain from gushing in public. It’s not really in our nature anyway. Once we had settled on meeting in person, our Facebook relationship status had to change if only to protect us. In case something went wrong on Beecation number, everyone would know who to blame.
Looking back, it’s unbelievable to realize how quiet we kept things. Even those who knew barely had enough details. To her mom, I was just the white American she Skyped with and would get teased about. Since English is the secondary language in her home there, it was clear Jenny was interacting with someone outside of the Philippines.
In some ways we just never got around to revealing it to the world until we were practically engaged. I met my dad one day for dinner after a job interview (apparently they weren’t looking for 60+ year old dancers) and revealed the shocking news that not only was I about to take a 24-hour flight to meet a girl, I was ready to propose to her.
I like it though. I like that our relationship was all about us. It made things stronger between Jenny and I. We were each other’s escape from the dreariness of the world.
We still are most days. The only difference is everyone knows it.