Digital divides

As I laid in bed, the clock at the top of my phone screen read 00:17. A new text message notification popped over the little numbers. Sean 🌊 R

New iMessage 

it read. It was from the man I’ve been dating for five months or so. 

We met online, like a lot of Millennials these days. We talked for almost a month before actually meeting, and hit it off quickly. 

Almost every weekend for the first two months we spent at least 24 hours together. Our first date alone lasted close to 30 hours. 

Then, he got a job in another state. It was solid money for the summer between school years and he’d be able to save up some money to make his dream of teaching abroad come true – a goal of his I admire. 

That left us in this interesting spot for communication. 

That first month of communication had been spent gazing at backlit telephones and computer screens. Now, with him living four hours away, we were back at it. 

Sean 🌊 R

New iMessage 

is a regular notification on my screens. 

Tonight, our conversation was about dreams. The science behind them, the recurring ones and what pot does to the typical REM cycle people experience. 

Sean told me about what he had learned in classes. I told him my recurring dreams about tornadoes. He told me about how he hasn’t dreamed a lot in the last eight years. 

It was the kind of conversation we would usually have while laying in bed next to one another, getting ready to drift off. 

And yet, we were doing just that, separated by four hours and 250 miles between us, but connected through these incredible backlit screens. 

I can’t wait to have these conversations with him in person again – hopefully in a couple weeks when he comes back to Michigan – but until then, we still have this small digital connection. 

And there’s always dreams. 


My relationship preferences are no less valid than the next person’s

I went on vacation to relax. I went on vacation to interview with a prospective job. I went on vacation to spend time with one of my best friends.

And what have I gotten from it?

A good prospect for the job, but in turn, I’ve been ridiculed for my relationship choices by my so-called best friend.

It hurts. He’s mocked my relationship. He said, “you guys have been dating a month and he was out in California for part of it? And now you’re down here? What kind of a relationship is that?” Umm… An adult one where we still have separate lives and want to be together?

I chose a relationship that is long distance for a reason. I have a sense of independence with it. I know that I can keep being myself while still having someone there for me. We can see each other when we make time, and we still have our own selves intact. I’ve had issues with relationships consuming my life, losing myself to the other person and putting their opinions and values ahead of my own. That isn’t an issue with long distance relationships for me. It helps me maintain who I am.

He ridiculed my choice to have an LDR because I wouldn’t be able to be with the other person all the time. I wouldn’t be able to touch them. However, in the last six months, I’ve come to realize that being comfortable in my own skin means allowing others to touch me on my terms. I don’t want to always have someone coming up to me and touching me whenever. That’s NOT OK. Human contact is nice, but again, it has to be on MY terms, not someone else’s. That’s part of why consent is such a huge deal. If I don’t want you touching me, don’t touch me.

There is no excuse for him to say that my opinions and preferences for a relationship are any less valid than his. Everyone is different, and if I’ve found someone that gets that, then that’s great. He can find his own thing with someone that gets his preferences.

I’m OK with being alone. I’m OK with being surrounded by people. I’m OK with just being me. I’m glad I’ve taken this trip because it’s helping me re-evaluate the relationships in my life and those that may be poisonous to me and my future. It’s just the start, but I think it could really propel me in the right direction.