I’ve heard them all! Trust me! As soon as I tell people I’m in a long-distance relationship, the stories start rolling in. And most are really awful!
The truth is that long-distance relationships SUCK! It’s like being stuck in a perpetual state of limbo constantly torn between two different place – the here (occupied by your body) and the there (occupied by your heart). We had been lucky enough to meet in DC while Joe was stationed there, and accepted being apart after his PCS to Norfolk – acceptance is a lesson learned all too often in military relationships. But now that he was honorably discharged and moved back home to work, it’s been tough. At least the Navy (and the system) meant that his life (and therefore mine) was not really our own. Schedules – yeah right! Vacation – suuuuuure!? Duty tonight – oh well. I just rolled with the punches – and as much as canceling flights last Thanksgiving made me mad – I knew there was little Joe could have done.
However, now we are just floating between here and there. I in no way miss the structure of the military – and admire my friends who have married into it for life. I am proud of Joe for his service, and think that it taught us a lot about each other and how we cope with life’s ups and downs in a relationship. However, now it’s up to me to finish my degree and pull us both out of the long-distance limbo.
I think we do a pretty darn good job (especially with all those horror stories out there!). We certainly aren’t perfect and as Joe would tell you, can get “screwy in the head” sometimes. We do fight. We do miss the little things (like grocery shopping together and finding new popsicles to try out). We do have moments of weakness when we let fears get the better of us. And we do have a LOT of trust and faith. This last part is what I think keeps us sane and committed to making it work. Oh and humor. We laugh a lot.
Truth is that as bad as the stories are out there about long-distance relationships, it really depends on the people in the relationships. If you are truly committed to one another, love each other, and have tons of trust in the other person, there is no reason why long-distance can’t work. We are living proof – and I have several friends with relationships that span the globe too (talk about commitment!). And the proof is in the pudding – both of us are not big fans of flying (I would classify it as a phobia for me). Yet we both face our fears just to spend what little time we can with one another. I’ve logged more flights to see Joe (and family/friends) this year than my whole life! It’s the simple fact that when we think about not having each other in our lives (no matter where we are physically), we just can’t fathom it. That’s the difference. Whenever I have a moment where I start to fret, I always return to this thought. I know without a doubt that our lives are both better for having each other a part of them. Joe has been my cheerleader, voice of reassurance, and calm. I have been his steady shoulder, his voice of optimism, and a rudder. We make a good team.
I’m not a relationship expert nor am I planning on focusing on couples therapy as a speciality, but I know how hard it is to feel so stuck – and not have someone to turn to and say, “Doesn’t this stink? Isn’t it hard to think about all the moments they are missing out on!?” I have yet to find a source of support or advice (beyond the blogs about military relationships). But I’ll share some tid bits here over time and hope that it helps – even one person – know that they aren’t alone in their frustrations and feelings of living in limbo.
It’s been two years since we first met. It seems a lot longer than that. I’m excited to spend our anniversary in a few days with him in Chicago. He is planning this trip and I can’t wait to explore (and eat our way through Chi-town)! I love him so much for doing this (seeing as school just started AND he has visited Chicago before)! In fact he is having a lot of fun with this – and knowing that the planner in me is going a bit nuts. It’s these weekend trips that I live for and how I mark my time – not by days or months, but my moments spent with each other. Now if only I could mark each day with a moment together. A girl can dream.