In any relationship, whether it's your romantic partner or your closest friends, the longer you know one another, the more both of you will change. Sometimes you're lucky and you grow together, other times you find yourselves growing apart.
My guy and I are from opposite sides of the world. We've been cohabiting for 3 years (in an apartment in Banff, out of our camper-van on the road, travelling through Southeast Asia, our place in Tokyo, etc.) and in these 3 years, we've been apart somewhere between 2-5 weeks a handful of times. Most recently, after our trip to Australia, he went back to Japan and I went to Toronto to wait for a visa. This time we were away from each other for over two months.
It was tough. Long distance is already hard, and the 13 hour time difference did not make it easier. A lot of things happened for/to both of us, life-altering events, really. We experienced some traumas, we achieved some huge life goals, and we could only share these moments with each other via FaceTime and Skype. We're both really good at being alone, and we kind of got used to doing everything for ourselves again. When he met me at the airport in Tokyo after all that time apart, it felt a bit like we were strangers. Familiar, yet unfamiliar, all at once. It quickly became clear that we didn't fit together in the same way we used to.
Full disclosure? We talked about moving on. We considered that perhaps we'd grown too far apart to find our way back to each other again, that maybe it was best to leave this thing now, to not let it get ugly. We didn't want to allow bitterness and resentment to build between us. It's not that we had stopped loving each other; I will always love him. I don't think you ever stop loving someone you've shared so much of your life with. I also don't think love is enough of a reason to stay. It was heart-breaking to admit, but perhaps we'd fulfilled our purpose in each other's lives.
Also though, you probably shouldn't throw away nearly 4 years of your life on a whim. Especially not while you're still jet-lagged.
We agreed that we were not the people we used to be, but that it maybe it was a good thing. The relationship was never going to be what it was, but that didn't mean there was no hope of it becoming something new. It wasn't an impossible idea. Only time would tell if we could find our way back to each other.
I've been back in Japan exactly one month, and yesterday we filled out an application for an apartment just outside the city limits, closer to the beach. My guy likes to surf, and I need a bit more peace and quiet. Tokyo is great, but we've outgrown the small space we have here.
Who knows what the future has in store for us, for any of us, really. But I know that right now I am happy, and I am exactly where I want to be.
He makes me laugh