Reach Out and Touch Someone...If You Can!

I rarely spent summers at home growing up. My family had a cottage in the same campground as my grandparents lived, so I often spent most, if not all of my vacation up north. When my parents were there, I stayed with them. When they weren’t, I stayed with my grandparents. Considering we were right near a lake and I had a number of good friends who did pretty much the same thing, it was great. I had a lot of fun.

As I head up there this weekend, I remember that fun got even better when I became a teenager. Because it was a relatively safe area, I was pretty much allowed to come and go when I wanted. My friends and I were pretty good kids, so it wasn’t like we were getting into trouble (well, not too often). However, we were certainly getting up to some sexual shenanigans, that progressed with each passing year. By the time we were 15 or 16 we were passing each other around with great frequency. Maybe it was because we all knew it would all end in September.

Long-distance relationships, whether for teenagers or adults, are a significant challenge. Is it possible to truly maintain intimacy and connection with someone you can’t see in person? Can’t touch? Can’t have sex with?

Currently airing on The Brand New ONE, eLove chronicles the various ways couples meet, establish a bond and then commit to a relationship while separated by great distance. Through the various episodes, we meet people—some with an ocean between them—who talk on the phone, email, text and video chat to make things work. Many stories show what happens when those people meet in person, sometimes for the first time.

The results? Well, they do vary. Some people truly find happiness when they get together. Others…don’t.

During those summers, we all hooked up and by the end of August everyone had a special person. After Labour Day, tearful pledges of undying love were made, phone numbers and addresses exchanged (this was the late 80s, no email, no skype, no cellphones). After the first summer I was involved in this, I stayed true and faithful and often spoke of my Mississauga girlfriend. She didn’t quite maintain that feeling.

We had kept in touch a bit, spoke on the phone some (expensive back then!) and wrote some letters. Could we have made it work for the whole winter had we had better communication tools that are so available now? Possibly. But considering that we both went up north and repeated the patterns of the previous summer (much more involved this time) and I ended up with a different long-distance girlfriend, I don’t think it would have mattered.

We were kids, full of teenage bluster and hormones. But we had already established in-person intimacy before we failed at long-distance love. While it certainly can and does happen, establishing a connection via electronic means is a challenge. Are you able to be plugged in without a connection?