Not Going the Distance: How My Summer Love Failed

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This is a story for all the hopeless summer lovers. No, not the kind you picture in the perfect romantic comedy and definitely not the Grease summer fling when you drive off into the sunset together. This is a summer love story that doesn’t contain Noah’s love letters to Allie explaining how much he misses her. I mean, can a girl even get a text back anymore? My love story stopped cold in its tracks when he couldn’t handle the distance.

We had the quintessential summer romance. Late nights at the baseball field, concerts, trips to the drive-in, roller coaster rides, concerts and more. We accomplished so much during the few weeks we had that every night seemed endless. There’s something about summer that makes you feel brave and invincible. Whatever happens happens, at least we had this wonderful time together…right? Not exactly. He lived across the country–when would I see him again? I knew it was worth it; if he ever asked me to hop on a plane and visit him, I would’ve in a heartbeat. Well…he never asked.

Slowly as the school year rolled by, we fell further into what I call “the gray area.” The area between being in a relationship and not talking at all. He didn’t want to commit, but he didn’t want to lose me. I was willing to try anything to not lose him either. I never asked for an all-or-nothing relationship, just enough to stay in touch and hope to see each other soon.

I constantly changed myself for him, even though he wouldn’t do the same for me. He would never free his time to talk to me, instead he only talked to me in the very little free time he had. It was a shock going from talking every day for months to not even getting a simple text from him in weeks. The only reasonable explanation I could think of? There had to be something wrong with me.

I tried every trick in the book to get his attention: tweeting sad song lyrics, snap chats to make him jealous, acting like I didn’t care even when I cried the entire night before. I even tried ignoring him to see if he would miss me and try harder. None of it worked. The only result was a roller coaster of emotions similar to the roller coasters we went on that summer. Little did I know that they were foreshadowing what would happen when those happy memories faded.

My summer romance happened two summers ago, but I still think about it to this day. Because of the gray area he came in and out of my life whenever he pleased, occasionally throwing me the “I miss you” or the “Wish you were here” lines.

We would talk again and he’d promise to do better. I believed every sweet nothing he said and his promises that he hadn’t met anyone else. He always seemed genuine and I welcomed him back every time with open arms, hopeful he would simply text or call me when he had a quick second. Every time it happened, I was just disappointed more than the time before. Weeks and months would go by without a single word, bringing me down the roller coaster all over again.

I learned a lot after being stuck in the gray area; it’s not a place you want be for a long time. Eventually someone will want more or less and one of you is bound to get hurt. I was the person who wanted a little bit more, but he was never willing to budge at all.

I wish I could give you a magical, happy ending to this story. One that ends with a big romantic gesture and a car flying into the sunset. Instead of flying, the car broke down as soon as the summer ended. I may not realize it now, but getting out of the gray area was the smartest decision I’ve made. Sometimes we have to find a different version of a happy ending; after all, you never know what cutie will come to fix that car.

Alaina is a junior at Saint Mary's College studying English Writing and Communication Studies. From the warm and exotic state of Wisconsin, she is a professional shower singer, an ambassador for The Elephant Pants, and enjoys playing her ukulele.

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