By Marleigh Belk
An individual once said, “Distance means so little when someone means so much” for my sister Mae and her significant other, Logan this statement couldn’t be truer. Mae and Logan met off of a well-known dating app known as Tinder. While Mae was just on the app for fun, Logan mentions that he was on the app so that he could “have someone to come home too”. He knew that if someone could be apart from him for months on end then he could count on them to stick with him through thick and thin later in the future.
Mae met Logan during her junior year at Wilson College in Chambersburg Pennsylvania. She had no idea that Logan was stationed in Hawaii while they were chatting back and forth. They texted and Facetimed for a month before finally getting a chance to meet each other in person. Mae states, “Our first Facetime lasted for nine hours” and they both felt like they had known each other for years when they Facetimed for the first time. Due to Logan being in the Military it made it a little more difficult for Mae and him to have a typical dating relationship. December 21, 2020 was their first-time having face to face interaction. They met in Gettysburg Pennsylvania at an Irish Pub known as The Garryowen. Mae’s parents joined them on their first date, so it’s safe to say Logan was very nervous. When asked what their first impression was of each other Logan stated, “Mae was so beautiful I was afraid that I would somehow mess up our first date”. Two weeks later they made their relationship official. Mae had one week with Logan before he had to be sent back to Hawaii and they soaked up every moment they had with each other before he left.
Now they have been together for a year and two months and are loving every second of it. Unfortunately, they have not seen each other since December of last year due to the pandemic that has affected all of our lives. When asked how COVID has affected their relationship they both stated that it messed up their plans they had made for the spring. Logan was due to come home for leave in April of 2020 and unfortunately his leave had been canceled due to COVID rates increasing. However, the leave dates got pushed to June which then got canceled and moved to July, which also got canceled due to COVID. As a last resort Logan got offered leave in August and Mae tried to plan a trip out to Hawaii as Logan was not offered leave overseas but only on base. They tried to plan another trip in August where Mae was hoping to visit him in Hawaii however, this also changed because there were traveling restrictions that were put into place. After many months of lining up plane tickets booking hotel reservations, they were both devastated that their trip had been canceled. They both learned how to cope with the distance by learning something new about each other, Facetime movie dates, and through communication. I asked them what the biggest stressors have been on their relationship since they have only been able to communicate online. They said that the biggest stressors have been not being able to see each other in a year and two months. Mae mentioned that “if we would have had that time in April or August it wouldn’t be so hard”. Even in the midst of not being together Logan and Mae still maintain a positive outlook on their situation. They both said, “We’ve learned to accept the fact that nothing is going to change our situation so why be upset about it”. Currently Logan is no longer in Hawaii because he is deployed in Japan and will be there for the next six months. I asked, “If Mae were to try and come visit would you be able to see her?” he said no, because once he is deployed, he is in “active duty” which means he cannot apply for leave.
I asked Mae and Logan “what are some tips that you would give to someone who is not only in a military relationship, but also a long-distance relationship?”. They both mentioned that staying patient and having good communication are two of the biggest things to focus on. For example, they have a 14-hour difference between them, but being able to stay patient and talk to each other allows them to further their relationship. “All we can do is talk so it’s important to maintain communication” says Logan. Another important tip that they mentioned was to ensure that you find ways to make time for each other. This could be done through doing movie dates, making or eating the same food as your significant other, or simply calling them for 5 seconds just to remind them that you love them and hope they have a good day. “The little things go a very long way” states Mae. Doing these small gestures allows you to continue to connect with your significant other and find new things to talk about.
Although they have been apart for a year and two months there is still so much, they have gained from having each other. Logan mentions that he has “gained a best friend, and someone who [he] can have a future and family with”. Mae stated that she gained a best friend also and “someone who actually cares about [her], checks on [her], and asks about [her] day”. Each of these qualities is something that stuck out while interviewing both of them because not everyone can maintain a healthy and loving relationship over the phone and still find ways to love the person more and more each day. Logan hopes to have leave again at the end of June, but if this leave gets canceled, he will not be able to come home until his Expiration of Active Service date which is set in March of 2022. Although long distance relationships are difficult it teaches us to appreciate the days that individuals are able to spend together. Distance is a reminder that every second together should be cherished and every moment together is special.