Sunday, October 25, 2015

Long Distance - How to Make it Work

Part of X's very successful career is travel - he's gone for two weeks, then home for two weeks, then away for two weeks, and repeat. We've been doing this for about seven months now. I won't lie - it's hard. I mean, it's nice to watch all the shows I like to watch that he doesn't and to eat all the food I want that he doesn't like. But I miss my lover in the emotional and the physical ways. When you love someone, they infiltrate your life, like a scent. They follow you wherever you go and you miss it when they're gone.

So how do you keep the romance alive while your partner is gone?

1. Schedule time to talk. For us, this is a little tricky because he travels to the west coast, a three hour time difference for us. By the time he gets home from work, it's time for me to go to bed. But on the weekends, we connect and we chat over gchat for hours. Tell each other about the little things - where you went to eat last night, what book you're reading, what you're watching on TV and what you think of it. And don't be afraid to get a little sexy. I'm not saying you  have to get into phone/chat sex (not everyone is into that). But remind your partner of something he did that was really hot just to remind him that you're thinking of him in that way.

2. Do online shopping together. Through the power of the internet, you can be looking at the same things at the same time. It's magic! So look around for toys or outfits you think your partner would like and email them to him. Say "I was thinking I could order this for when you get back. What do you think?" He'll love that you're thinking of him that way and will definitely want to give helpful input.

3. Email each other on the schedule that works for you. For some people, this is a few times a day. For some people, it's once every few days. But even a quick "I did your laundry and I was thinking of you. Hope you're having a good day." will make your partner smile.

Finally, for those of you who are working with a long-distance loved one, here are a few things to do to pass the time better:

1. Be selfish. While X is gone, I binge watch shows he hates. I order the pizza he doesn't like. I stay up later than he likes and I sleep in later than he can. I indulge in Me Time because I can. If you  think of ways to treat yourself, it isn't as bad.

2. Schedule time to see people. You have friends. Go out and see them. Ask them to come over. If you have friends who aren't in common with your love one's, so much the better. For example, this week, I'm having a big knitting night, where friends are coming over for dinner and knitting together. It's the kind of thing X would get out of the way of. But he's not here. So girls night abounds!

3. Schedule activities. It is far too easy to let inertia take control of you and to sit at home, watching TV, all night, every night, while your loved one is gone. Find activities. Go out to dinner with friends. Go to a movie. Go play on a playground. Go visit the library and read in public. Go to Starbucks and people watch. Find a club of people who like the same things you do and try it out. For me, I'm committing to going to the gym for a couple hours twice a week. It'll keep me active and working towards my health goals while keeping me distracted from my loneliness. It's a win-win!

4. Do something to surprise him when he gets back. For me, that's cleaning. Our house is a pit. But he loves to come home to a clean room. Note I said a clean "room" and not a clean "house." Cleaning a whole house is daunting, but even cleaning just one room can make a huge difference. If you don't live with your loved one, there are still things you can do. Make him cookies. Knit him a hat. Buy him a new movie. And then you can tease him with an "I have a surprise for you" that he can look forward to the whole time he's gone.
And remember, it's okay to be sad that your loved one is away from you. You love him. It makes sense that you miss him. But at least for X, he's away trying to do a job. He doesn't need me pining over him constantly and distracting him from the job he's trying to do. I tell him I miss him in an email once a day or so, then I get on with my life. If I feel the need to dither on, I talk to a friend or a journal. But keep the crazy off of your partner. Remember, it's hard for him too. Make it a little easier by staying upbeat and positive for him so he knows what a joy he's coming back to.

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