B E E N   T H E R E:  R E L A T I O N S H I P S

Vicky Mersereau

"One long distance relationship that's working."

Teen Editorial Board member interviews herself.

May 1999

Long distance relationships are usually very difficult to maintain. Without regular contact with your love, it's challenging to share the day to day stuff that brings people closer emotionally, (and of course you're going to miss being able to touch your bf/gf!) Lots of people don't understand why you're even bothering to have a relationship with someone so far away. But according to Vicky Mersereau, long distance relationships can work out. She shares her experience with this kind of relationship, and what she's done to make it work. Hopefully it will give you ideas about how to survive and even thrive, in a long distance relationship.

The InSite: What made you believe long distance/Internet relationships can work?

Vicky: I've met a lot of people over the years who are skeptical about them. This is usually because they don't really understand how close you can get to a person that you've never met. I've been in a few long distance relationships, and I understand how special this kind of relationship can be. Often you get closer to the person you are involved with than any person you have met [in the "real" world.]

TI: Are you in a long distance / Internet relationship right now?

Vicky: Yes. For nine months now and I can honestly say it is the most positive and loving experience with another human being I've ever had. This is not to say that it has been easy. It hasn't! I've had lot of struggles just like you would in any other kind of relationship. Before this one, I had several long distance relationships which failed horribly.

TI: Why did those other ones fail?

Vicky: I was always willing to make it work, but the guys just thought of it as a game. [That's why] you have to be very careful and make sure you know and trust the person before you get to serious with them.

How can you really "make sure" of someone you meet online...?

TI: How can you really "make sure" of someone you meet online when s/he could be posing as anyone s/he wants? I mean, if you can't see the way the person relates to other people, know nothing about their reputation, and can't even look them in the eye when you talk to them, how can you "trust" them?"

Vicky: There is no definite way, but if you talk to the person every night, and he is open with you with his life, trust is something [that] develops. If he goes out of his way for you, there is very little chance that he's hiding his true intentions. Also, it would also be good to get to know his friends online as well. [That gives you a more complete picture of the person.] If the person is lying about who he is, he cannot keep it up forever. He will eventually get caught. [Things don't always work out. ] You can be really hurt. I learned that the hard way.

There is no definite way...

TI: What happened?

Vicky: First of all, I was very young and he was even younger then me. It was my first relationship. I really just wanted to be accepted. We really had no idea what we were doing. The guy lived in another part of the country, and I kept calling and calling him even after my parents told me they couldn't afford it anymore.

TI: How come you kept doing it after they told you to stop?

Vicky: At that time in my life, I was starving for love, of any kind. I had never really been popular with boys, was VERY overweight, and this guy just said wonderful things about me, and kept telling me he loved me. I could not get this anywhere else. So you could say, I was a kind of "addicted" to him. The final phone bills were over $3000!

At that time in my life, I was starving
for love, of any kind.

TI: $3,000!? Over how long a time period was that?

Vicky: About 5 months. Then my parents blocked off the long distance [service] on the phone. but I found other ways to call him.

TI: Aside from that, were there any other consequences or punishments your parents gave you for disobeying them?

Vicky: Yes, there were many grave consequences. At first my parents tried to be understanding, they really were. Eventually I had to be punished though. Around Christmas time I was send to a group home. It was for my "compulsive" calling, as they liked to think of it. I knew at the time that it was not the calling that I was addicted to, it was the guy. [Even though] I had to stay in the group home for eight weeks, it never helped me with my "addiction" but it did help me in other areas, and eventually it was the reason for my weight loss. After I got out of the home, I was still calling him. (My parents made me work at a pet store as a volunteer, to pay off the bill.) But soon after that he lost interest and kept hurting me.

TI: In what way did he do this?

Vicky: He was emotionally very abusive towards me. I'm not sure if this was because of his young age....or it was just his nature, but he was. He called me names all the time. Hung up on me if I said the slightest thing wrong, and lied to me many times. I told him all the time he [was] hurting me, and we did resolve it, but never for long, it kept happening over and over. I still don't know why I put up with it. I just wanted the love he gave me in between the times he hurt me. I finally realized this was a one-sided relationship and stopped calling.

TI: Didn't that change your mind about long distance relationships?

Vicky: For a while it did. Then I pretty much forgot about the whole thing, went about my life. About four years passed and my mother got a computer, and an Internet hookup. I was really excited and went crazy. I did not take [online relationships] seriously anymore and flirted with everyone. I did not realize it back then, but I guess the whole thing with that first guy had more of an effect on me then was noticeable at the time. Eventually I met my boyfriend, and that changed my whole perspective. He stirred feelings in me I had never felt before, and I knew he would not be a repeat of [the other one].

I did not take [online relationships] seriously
anymore and flirted with everyone.

Eventually I met my boyfriend, and that changed
my whole perspective.

TI: How did you know that for sure?

Vicky: Well, my bf is just the kind of person you knew you could trust right away. Plus, I met him through somebody I had known online for quite awhile. It was just the comfortable type of feeling you get when you know that you want to be with a person, as more then a friend.

TI: Is that who you are with now?

Vicky: Yeah, I can proudly say we are still together. It's been nine months, but it's been the most difficult relationship I've ever been in.

TI: Aside from the obvious "I miss you and want to be with you" what else has made it so difficult?

Vicky: Me and my bf went through a lot of rough times. At the beginning of our relationship we felt we could not be committed. We had to look for something better....So, both of us kept trying to find people that lived near us. We were both emotionally confused about this, and it drew us apart many times. Then he told me he could not be with me, he was not ready for [this kind of intense relationship.] His computer broke .. at the same time, so I did not talk to him for over a month. That must of been the most depressing and confusing month of my life, I was very suicidal. Also my bf was really jaded. He did not know at the time that it was because he missed me. When he got back online [and] we reunited, our relationship became even more powerful. We both agree now that it was better for us in the long run, that we had that separation.

Yeah, I can proudly say we are still together.

TI: What is different in this relationship that makes it work?

Vicky: The most important thing is that we love each other. The other guy did not care about me at all. My bf loves me as much as I love him. There is also complete trust and honesty in our relationship. I always tell him my problems and concerns, and all about my day. He always respects and understands me, and it makes our relationship sacred. Everyone always says to me "What if he is with other girls behind your back??" I just know he is not. He would never lie to me. Another commonly asked question is "How do you know he is really who he says he is?" The answer is trust and honesty. It also helps that I know a lot of his friends, seen many pictures [of him], and talked to him and his parents on the phone several times. :-)

TI: How do your parents feel about this relationship?

Vicky: At first we had a hard time because nobody, especially our parents would accept our relationship. I know that is definitely the case for a lot of relationships like ours. People never want to tell anyone, because they are either ashamed or afraid they will be cut off from the person they are with. You can't be afraid. What we did, was bit by bit, was got our parents adjusted to the idea, and made sure they knew about our relationship. Eventually we presented to our parents the idea of us meeting. They were quite opposed to it, but as soon as our parents talked with each other they felt a lot better about the idea. Now we are meeting in a few months!

At first we had a hard time because nobody,
especially our parents would accept our relationship.

TI: When you are going out with someone who lives far away, how does that impact your "local" relationships? In other words, how do you keep involved with your life at school when your heart is far away?

Vicky: I've never been much of a social person in the first place, but there has been a negative effect recently. It is in no way because of my relationship with my bf, however. It was because of my depression. I'm recovering nicely now, and I'm getting back on track. In fact, I have more friends then ever now! All of them understand my relationship with my bf now, and they accept it fine. My bf has actually encouraged me to go out more and do things. I'd just rather sit and home and write though. :-) So it really has had no major effect, it is no different then if I had a boyfriend here.

TI: What advice for other people in long distance relationships?

Vicky: Most important of all, don't sit back and expect it to work. You have to MAKE it work. It can be very hard, but this is the same for any other relationship. Never give up on it, even if it seems impossible at first. Here are some tips for making long distance relationships work:

1. Give yourself time to know and trust each other before you start planning anything to serious.

2. Keep the relationship healthy. Excessive jealousy, mistrust, and trying to control your bf/gf is not healthy.

3. Communicate with your bf/gf at least once a day. Without communication there is no relationship. If your bf/gf is online, TALK to them! If something is bothering you, talk about it to them. Even if it is just a little nagging feeling, it is better in the long run.

4. If you love each other, and are meant to be together, [things] will work out!

. . . don't sit back and expect it [the relationship]
to work. You have to make it work . . .
Communicate. Without communication there is no

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