[Essay] I questioned my self-worth as our relationship dragged on.
My name is Bilgin. I am a digital artist and caricaturist living in Marmaris, Turkey. I had a long distance relationship 8 years ago. It's been a long time but I still remember the details because of its long lasting effects.
It was 2012. I quit my job in Izmir working as a broadcast designer. I was making logo animations for a TV station. I was so bored of making digital stuff and wanted to make some traditional art. I decided to make live cartoon portraits of people in Marmaris, a touristic town, mostly visited by British and Dutch tourists. I did not have any experience before on caricaturing, although I have cartooning skills. I decided to buy some books on how to draw caricatures and trained myself 6 months till the April of 2013. I rented a stand on Art Street and started my own little business as a street artist. I was focused and busy with sketching and practicing on cartoon faces that I did not have time to have a relationship those days.
Live cartooning started well and I was making lots of clients. Business was growing. Although it was the first time, I was gaining experience really fast. I was working at night time, and stopped cartooning around 1 am. It was in the middle of April I guess, I was surfing on Facebook late at night posting popular animated shorts. She liked my post. Oh! I said. She was on my friends list for a long time but never got likes from her before. I knew her from university days but was not close.
Anyway, we started to chat and remembered the old days. She was living in Istanbul 500 miles from where I live. The conversation between us felt close/familiar and sincere. Something was sparked at that moment. But I did not take it seriously and considered it as an ordinary chat which may happen with some other women. We continued chatting several times as friends. Then we suddenly made a decision to date. After that we made phone calls for about two weeks. I was still working in the middle of May, and she suddenly visited my town to meet me for a weekend which made me so happy. She was working in a bank as a computer engineer. We had a lovely breakfast and after that we went to the beach. We had long conversations and we felt the chemistry between us and decided to have a relationship.
"We had long conversations and we felt the chemistry between us and decided to have a relationship."
Because I worked 7 days a week at night, I didn't have free time to leave my Art Street stand. I mentioned that situation to her that I wouldn't be able to visit her city during the summer season. Therefore I invited her to come over on the weekends. She agreed with that at first. It was going on for about a month. Texting, calling, video chatting-- but she wanted me to visit her as well.
500 miles is a long distance. I was really busy with cartooning tourists. It was a high season and my town was crowded with tourists, making good money. She insisted so much that I finally decided to visit her. It was ok in the beginning but things had started to change. She didn't want me to do my job, and wanted me to settle down in Istanbul. I said after the summer season finished, I might consider moving there to live around October. She tried to push me to find another job and quit cartooning. She stated that she did not want me to be involved with the art business.
"She tried to push me to find another job and quit cartooning. She stated that she did not want me to be involved with the art business..."
My previous degree was in banking and business administration. She wanted me to pursue a banking career again. I didn't like that job at all and wanted to achieve my dreams by making art. The distance between me and her prevented us from getting to know each other better.
The relationship was not as sincere as it was the day it started. We had too many fights on the phone. Sometimes she, sometimes I visited each other on weekends but as time passed by, we had lots of arguments about settling in Istanbul. It is a huge city and I had to consider my financial situation. Although she lived on her own, she wanted me to rent another apartment. That was unacceptable for me-- there is no point in moving to a big city unless we live together.
Finally the season is over. I visited her and searched for stable jobs in the entertainment industry. She still insisted on me to get a real baking or finance job. During my stay in her apartment we were fighting a lot. She began to humiliate and insult me about my art skills.
In the beginning, when we first connected online she was supportive and her encouragement made me feel elevated, like being above the clouds and then as our relationship evolved she would smash me to the ground with her insults. When she hit me (with her words), it hurt so bad!
"She began to humiliate and insult me about my art skills."
After a 1 week stay, we had a serious fight with each other. Whatever I say, behave, she finds excuses to create dramatic scenes. She claims she is always the victim. I began to feel insufficient and inadequate for her, and began to judge and blame myself. I was always the one in the wrong. So it did not work living with her and I came back to my town without completing my job search. Since there was no free state of mind and depression was everywhere, I was constantly anxious, and couldn't think straight.
We still did not break up at that time. We continued keeping touch via phone, texting... But the ties of the relationship were weakening. We visited each other on weekends but not often. We couldn't solve the main problem of settling down. Our relationship turned into a loop; kinda like a vicious circle depreciating both parts. Then it finished gradually.
"Our relationship turned into a loop; kinda like a vicious circle depreciating both parts. Then it finished gradually."
If it was not a long distance relationship it wouldn't last either because the real problem was our personalities. As we got to know each other, problems began to emerge. Long distance relationships extend the duration of knowing each other.
In my opinion, long distance relationships are not healthy if partners will not get together soon. This kind of relationship should be temporary and in the short run. The lack of physical existence causes you to idealize your relationship in your mind but when you meet her or him in person, you face the reality. Causes a huge disappointment.
"I don't suggest anyone to have a long distance relationship unless you have to."
Guest Profile Bilgin quit his Banking job to pursue a career as an Artist. He believes people should 'Do what you love because life is too short.' He is currently working as a freelance doodle artist in the fields of cartoon and illustration, and has Published 4 Coloring Books. He loves nature, going to the beach, and spending time with his family on their family farm. He hopes to meet a woman that is kind and appreciates a creative mind.
Blog Photo Credits: Pexels.com & Pixabay.com (Creative Commons). Contributors Disclaimer: Submissions are memoir. It reflects the author/guests present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated. Personal stories are not intended to hurt others-- the intention of this blog is to inspire and entertain.