What I Learned From Girls I Met Online And Had Long Distance Relationships With

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The first girl I met through a mutual friend in a band. She lived two states over from me, but we hit it off immediately after she took the initiative to message me and introduce herself. For the first month we talked for probably eight hours a day, getting out all of our stories and family quirks so the other could process them. We talked on the phone. We Skyped for hours overnight. Everything was great. So great, in fact, that after we made a date for me to make my way over to her for a week and spend some time together, she was already talking about decorating an apartment together.

The date was two months away, in order to get around our work schedules, and in that time I started to see some things I didn’t notice before. She would tell me that she had to work and wouldn’t be able to talk for a while, but then she would Snapchat pictures of her and her friends on the way to the beach. She would say she was going to call, and I wouldn’t hear from her until late the next day. After a while, I confronted her about it, and she finally admitted to me that she had a drinking problem. Anyone that’s ever dealt with someone with an addiction, you know that the addiction and lying going hand-in-hand.

She once told me that she felt like her soul had finally found what it was looking for, and the unrest in her bones was quieted by my reassurance.

She said she was going to get help, but it eventually got worse. She lost her job and her apartment. I spoke to her mom about everything, and she exploded on me. She crashed her car and claimed incessantly that it wasn’t her fault, that she had sobered up from the night/early morning before. No matter her excuses, I kept trying. I helped her with personal accountability. I kept her motivated to find a new job and hang out with new people that didn’t bring out her addictive side. And eventually, it started working. She began smiling again in pictures, but she didn’t send them to me. She posted on social media about how she was going to the gym again and it felt good getting healthy, but she had stopped saying she loved me. I knew what was happening.

Eventually her Snapchats started featuring a new guy. They went to baseball games together. Movies. Festivals. Our meeting time had come and gone in her downward spiral, but I didn’t say anything about it. She claimed that the guy was just a friend, but I knew what was happening. They made it ‘Facebook official’ about a month later.

She told me that she would sleep on a park bench in the middle of winter if it meant we could be together, but I was just a checkpoint on the road to a better place.

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The second girl I met through Tumblr. I talked to her when I realized she only lived about two hours south of me, and we had a lot in common. She took to me pretty quickly, much to my surprise since I thought she was way out of my league, and we talked all the time. She would text me at two in the morning just to say hi and that she missed my voice, but didn’t want to wake me up. I remembered the first girl and was scared at first, but I also remembered that the only way to move forward is to actually move forward, so I jumped in head first.
Neither one of us had a car at the time, so that two hours might as well have been thirty. She would send me pictures of herself making goofy faces at random times, in hopes of making me smile. And it always worked. I would write freeform prose inspired by her and text it to her while she was at work. We seemed to mesh on every level. She even got brave enough to ask me about phone sex once, and that went so well it became a regular thing. For a while.

She once told me that she was giving me her heart, and she didn’t want it back.

She told me about an ex-boyfriend that had done some real damage to her. She didn’t feel worthy of me or anyone else, and even though she said she ‘knew’ that I loved her, something inside her wouldn’t let it settle in. There would be long spaces of time where she would just disappear and not answer me. I figured it was just bouts of depression, and I went throught the same thing myself, so I would give her her space and let her come to me when she was ready. If I ever said the word ‘girlfriend’ she would get really uneasy. It finally got to a point where all the little things added up and I asked her to declare what she wanted, since it wasn’t really fair to me to keep backing up and disappearing, then coming back and saying ‘I love you’ like nothing happened. After that, she just didn’t come back.

I tried the hardest I ever had to fix that rift and figure out what went wrong. She had cut me out and stopped responding to me. Every once in a while she would give in and send me a small message saying she was sorry for hurting me, but I felt like a text message with a meager apology didn’t really bandage the gaping hole created by someone telling you you’re the love of their life, before they promptly disappear. She eventually started dating someone new. It took over six months for me to realize that I didn’t do anything wrong, but that she just needed help pulling herself out of the darkness created by the previous guy.

She sent me a text one night around three in the morning before she fell asleep that said, ‘I’m so in love. Fuck.’ We even talked about adopting a child once because she isn’t able to have any, but I was just a checkpoint on the road to a better place.

Finally, the third girl was someone that I actually went to high school with. I saw her in the hallways quite a bit and we knew who the other was, but we didn’t really know each other. I always thought she was cute, but I skipped school most of the time and was too busy getting high with my friends to worry about girls. After Freshman year, I didn’t see her again until about fourteen years later, since I moved out of state for that time. We reconnected via the magic of Facebook.
I was hoping that the old saying of the third time’s the charm would come in handy, especially since we lived in the same city. She told me that she enjoyed reading what I wrote/shared because we had similar views, not just on Politics but a lot of other things as well. So with that, we talked about a bunch of stuff to see where we stood, and we both ended up smiling.
She came over a few times to hang out and just talk. She has two little girls from her ‘current’ ‘marriage,’ so she said she was glad for some adult time and conversation. She told me all about her husband and how his newfound drug addiction had split their family apart. She told me about arguments that ended up with broken things and broken spirits. I told her I would be there for her if she needed it, and that had me neck deep in text message rants in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t mind.

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

She once told me that in spite of everything bad that had happened lately she was really glad for me, and that she thought what we had could develop into something great.

I didn’t ask much about her ‘husband,’ cause I didn’t really care for the guy from what I had heard, but she told me a lot about her girls. We agreed that I wouldn’t meet them since it was too early and they were dealing with enough already, so in order to make things easier on her I would schedule stuff around times she could easily get a babysitter. One time she ended up being late picking the girls up and I was still with her, so I had her drop me off on the side of the road and walked home a few blocks in the dark so she wouldn’t have to come up with some kind of excuse. I thought I was doing everything right.
Only about two months into it, she stopped talking as much. From my previous experience, I knew that wasn’t a good thing, and I was tired of beating around the bush all the time, so I asked her to just be straight with me. She told me that she was giving her ‘husband’ a certain amount of time to stay clean and prove to her that he could be a good man again. Understandably, I wasn’t very happy. but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

I once told her that it was really shitty of her to rope someone else into her situation if she wasn’t sure, and she seemed pretty damn sure with handfuls of my hair while I went down on her in my bed.

Some people have all the luck with the opposite sex, some don’t. There’s a chance that you might get lucky and be the one to help pick someone up and they actually choose you. There’s always that chance that your ability to go out on a limb will pay off and the person who tells you that they would do anything for you actually means it. But for people like me, we’re only checkpoints on the road to a better place.

Submitted to ArtParasites by Roy Miller