Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Distant and disconnected

There are 1631 miles between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

That was the difference between my girlfriend and me during spring break last week.

However, I discovered during this time apart from her that the physical distance wasn’t what sucked the most, and the things I stressed about completely surprised me.

I’m not a jealous person. I never have been. I just don’t have it in me to freak out over something that 99 percent of the time turns out to be nothing. Also, if you truly trust someone, which you should if you are in a relationship with them, you shouldn’t have anything to be jealous about.

With this being said, I wasn’t nervous about being cheated on, or about random drunken meatheads ogling at her on the beach, but I as the time for her trip grew closer, I found myself becoming nervous about not being able to text, call and facetime her on a daily basis. She wasn’t going to have cell phone service being that she was outside the United States, and she was limited to less than an hour of WiFi a day. I brushed this idea off and figured my premature-concern was an overreaction. I mean, it was only six days. We aren’t talking about a trip to the International Space Station or deployment overseas, and I was going to spend most of the break working and hanging out with my friends from home anyway. I doubt I’d even notice my phone buzzing a few less times a day.


Just in this handful of days, I discovered the world of constant communication that I have often criticized and considered myself removed from completely surrounded me.
I found myself beginning to be curious about things that could not matter less, and then in turn stressing over it.

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Why the hell was I slightly worried over not knowing what my girlfriend had for lunch that day, or what her and her friends exact plans were for that evening?

I knew she was fine, and her and her friends’ plans had absolutely no bearing on me, and I certainly knew she was still alive, but I have become so used to actually hearing about things that are beyond obvious, such as check-ins throughout the day and little details of what she was doing, that not actually seeing them written out in a text or on social media left me uneasy.

This is a scary thought, and I felt like a total idiot because of it. There are married couples who are separated for years at a time and can barely contact one another, if at all, when one of them gets deployed overseas and individuals who join the Peace Corps and have zero contact for months at a time.

So, there I was, only six days removed from my girlfriend, who was in a safe, closed resort for a week, and I’m sat looking at my phone every few minutes as if I may never hear from her again. Insanity.

Being that I came to this revelation on day three or four of her trip, I made sure that for the last few days I would make a point of leaving my phone at home when I went out, or in my room charging when I was somewhere else watching TV, and guess what? I lived. To be more specific, I was happier.

My girlfriend came home a few days later and I was able to talk to her as much as I pleased, but I will still try to limit my time spent texting when apart. By doing this, I hope to enjoy every moment a little bit more by focusing on what is happening in front of me, not in my pocket.

Email Bailey Carlin at

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