When I was a little girl I always said to myself that if I found myself in an unhappy relationship including a friendship, I’d get out of it immediately. My best friend and I have this term that we coined called exilers. We’re the first person to give someone a second chance but there are many people not worth second chances, so we say that we’ll exile them. It’s an aggressive term but it makes sense. That’s what happened with a group of childhood friends I had in my hometown almost 1 year ago now. There are people that will come into your life worth fighting for and there are people worth letting go. That particular group of friends consumed my life for almost all of it, from childhood to my career growing to the highs and lows of being a young person. I’ve gone through deep sessions of therapy for most of this year to try and understand how I could be so close with people to have them disappear faster than air, but what I’ve come to realize is the people worth fighting for are the ones that will fight for you. Most people won’t fight for you. Let those ones fade. I’ll never have the answer on why that terribly traumatic experience happened over something so incredibly small. I no longer wanted to fight to keep people in my life not worth fighting for any longer.
For almost three years I was in a long distance relationship. My podcast producer kept telling me to post a video on my advice for being in a long distance relationship but by the time I felt comfortable about talking about the experience the relationship was over for good. I always feel more comfortable writing anyway.
I compare the relationship I was in to the friendship I was in with those high school friends. Both relationships became too much for me. It was a game of who can spend more time with Alexa when I’m in Connecticut for a day or two and on the other hand how will I as the friend/ girlfriend choose? In the back of my mind I was always thinking I’m too young to have to make this kind of decision especially because both sides didn’t like each other. There was no common ground. I became Hannah Montana. Returning home for both relationships, especially as the friendships ended and I stayed in the relationship, became both painful and slightly nauseating for me. I no longer had to choose who to spend my time with but I was in fear every time I went to dinner or Starbucks that I’d run into that group of people and either scream or freak the fuck out. My home town is so small and everyone knows everyone. I just wanted to be anonymous and he didn’t understand that. He fell in love with the 18-year-old me that was young and naive.
I never had an issue being in a long distance relationship. It was the contrary for me. I love being alone. I freakin’ LOVE my girl friends. I hate sleeping with anyone because I’m a really light sleeper and I’m slightly neurotic (I need to wake up at 6 AM on the weekdays, I need to be at the gym by 7, I need my coffee!) but I loved this person and I sacrificed parts of myself when I was with him because I knew that in 24 hours I’d be back in LA. I could go back to being the Alexa that I feel most confident being. Over the course of time I changed. I changed a lot when that group of friends left my life and he came back into my life after we had broken up for the first time. I eventually grew to feel like a different person, trying to keep someone happy who probably loved the old Alexa a little bit more than the new me. I didn’t change, I grew. I figured out what I wanted in my friends, in my family, and in any relationship I’d go into. My life is unique and the experiences I have in my personal and business life are unique for someone my age. I’ve become an incredibly strong business woman because I’ve dealt with everything someone at 45 deals with, and I’m 22.
There is a key to a strong long distance relationship. My situation was obviously different than most people’s because dating me is not easy. The travel, the events, the exhaustion, the frustration…I loved him most because he was there for me on the days when I didn’t think anyone could get me out of what I was dealing with. And vice versa, but my downs were always way worse. I loved feeling normal and young and fun when I was with him too! My responsibility when I’d leave Connecticut was astronomical and took away from the fun we would have because I had too much to do after our “vacation”.
The key is access. Communication is a big part blah blah, but what makes long distance feasible is the access one part of the relationship has to have to the other. I’m lucky that I get to travel the world and find myself in a new city every week most of the time, and for a long time it was very easy for me to take a train or a plan to Connecticut. If my heart is in something, I’ll do anything to make it work. I made myself very accessible.
Looking back, if I were to ever be in a long distance relationship again it HAS to be 50/50. The relationship became 85/15 towards the end and that’s when we agreed to mutually dissolve what we had gotten back into. The person who is traveling the most shouldn’t be paying for all the airline tickets. If the other person in the relationship doesn’t have the flexibility, you should totally help pay for the plane tickets because they add up, and fast. 50/50.
I never envisioned myself dating an entrepreneur but for me it would make a lot more sense because of schedules. Dating someone across the country who also worked a 9-5 job was impossible. I take weekends off, he works weekends. I have an anxiety attack if I want to take a Wednesday off because he has a Wednesday off and then I’m a bitch all day and it’s not his fault. It’s not my fault either. My career comes first.
I never wanted him to move to LA, but we both knew that eventually someone was going to have to make a decision and that person wasn’t going to be me. I’d never move back to Connecticut. There’s nothing that ties me there besides my parents. Why should he feel forced to move to a city he hates on the contrary?
The minute I found myself at home in Connecticut, completely alone without that group of friends, waiting for my boyfriend to leave work, I knew I had lost myself in the process of trying to make a relationship work that didn’t exist anymore.
Be in a long distance relationship and use the distance to grow closer. Meet halfway on weekends. The minute you lose yourself in the relationship, communicate. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room: communicate. OVER communicate. If you still find no resolution, what’s holding you to being in something you’re going to fully lose yourself in?