In these times of technological advances and worldwide communication being easily accessible, it’s not difficult to stumble upon a long distance relationship. While there are many hurdles for long distance couples, I’ve found that my biggest challenge was my own body.
After getting together with someone who lived 1000 miles away from me, we had to find creative ways to connect with each other. Dinner dates are held over FaceTime, outfits of the day are sent to keep our streak on Snapchat, and every night we fall asleep talking. We do everything we can to make our relationship feel as normal as possible, but an issue that has repeatedly popped up was how much I had to see myself during all of these activities. When you’re with someone in person, you don’t have to see yourself interact with them, but with all of the pictures and videos, that was all I saw. I began critiquing every photo, hiding my face on FaceTime, and getting emotional over matters that should’ve been small but got blown up in my insecure mind. I thought that since I saw how I looked in every one of our interactions, I knew how I looked in his mind, and I hated the image.
Eventually, these emotions became too much for me to handle, and we had to sit down and talk through them. I ranted about my appearance, how I kept track of all the fights I started and how guilty I felt for them, how I hated seeing my body so much. No matter how many times he reassured me, it was my own dysmorphia that was keeping me unhappy, and in the end it was my problem to deal with.
Being in a long distance relationship didn’t create any body issues, but forced me to recognize problems that I still had from the past, ones that I thought I had gotten over already. It was a painful realization, but it was something I could target and learn from. It also made me realize that emotional disorders, be it anxiety, dysmorphia, or any other number of things one may be suffering from, don’t just heal in one fell swoop. It is a constant back and forth of self-love and relapse. However, my boyfriend loves my body, I am remembering how to love my body, and my body is remembering that it is pretty dang cool, even if it’s the star of some pretty unflattering photos.