I can’t tell you how many times I am asked this when I foolishly reveal that I’m married to a Scot who still lives in Scotland. Virtually every person asks how on earth I can handle an entire ocean separating us.
The short answer: We have to! Seeing as his country won’t let me in (yet) and he’s still in university, we make do with the hand we’ve been dealt.
I was thinking about this the other day at work, when I was asked for the umpteen millionth time about how I can deal with it. And I remembered the drunken Scot that Rambo and I met in the Caledonia in Budapest who was considering a long distance relationship with some lassie.
C has been my solid rock in my long distance relationship – she seems to keep getting into those. First, there was the Belorussian who joined the army and went off to war, then there was mr. all-american who was living in Tucson for a hot minute (like 2 years). Having your best friend know exactly what you’re feeling definitely helps matters. But it isn’t necessary.
Now, are you ready for the long answer?
Here it is: It’s not as hard as you think. Yes, it is hard. There are plenty of times that I wish Rambo and I were able to be together. Sometimes I want someone that I can force to do weird things with me. Sometimes I want a lunch date. And sometimes I want someone to go to the pub with me. But you learn, very quickly, to deal with it. It also makes the time you have together very special.
Personally, I think I was a bit preprogrammed to have a long distance relationship. My dad spent a great number of years (34, to be exact) working for an oil company. Before I was born, he worked 2 weeks on the rig, 2 weeks at home. After I was born, he went to a 30-days working, 30-days at home schedule. After we moved to Texas, he eventually got to the point that he was working away 3 weeks out of the month. And then there was the time that he was “temporarily” relocated to Mississippi for work and only got to come home every other weekend. Given all of that, I’m not entirely sure how to have a relationship with someone that is home for supper every night. Once my visa gets sorted, that will be a challenge all on its own!
I have a couple of tips for anyone considering a long distance:
1. Don’t be afraid. Long distance relationships are just as likely to succeed.
2. Make your own rules. There are no hard and fast rules for any relationships, so be free to make your own. For instance, Rambo and I don’t check with each other for “permission” to do anything, we’ve just agreed not to do anything that we wouldn’t want to tell the other or that would hurt them to know.
3.Take advantage of technology. The world is a much smaller place nowadays. There is Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc. There are so many ways to simulate actually being together.
4. Take full advantage of the time you spend together. A) you don’t know when it will happen again and B) you’ve been waiting for (insert number of days/weeks/months) to see this person. Don’t spend your time fighting about nothing.
5. Enroll in airline rewards program. You’ll be spending enough time in airports and on planes that you’ll eventually get a few free flights! My trip to Austria and Budapest was purchased by pooling mine and Rambo’s air miles.
6. On the subject of airplanes, you will most assuredly be “that girl” bawling her eyes out at the airport at some point. Accept it and try to learn to deal. At some point, for me and C it was after many flights, you’ll stop being “that girl” and be able to walk out of the airport and drive home without breaking down.
7. Make the best of whatever your situation is. There’s no point in dwelling and being a Debbie Downer. It will just stress you and your partner out. Remember that this is no walk in the park for them either.
8. Have a game plan. It doesn’t necessarily have to be moving to the same city or moving in together, but try to plan visits before one ends. It’s immensely helpful to know that Rambo will be here in about a month. No, he doesn’t have a plane ticket yet, but that’s what we have planned. The date may seem far away, but it will be here before you even realize it.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What do you think?