Even in my limbo state of separation, I’m still part of the long distance relationship (LDR) culture. I see my loved one for a weekend every two months… strike that, every month now since we have scheduled visits for September, October, November and December. I tried to put a good spin on this, searching online for reasons why a LDR works for some people – identifying the silver linings of living afar from your loved one. Maybe I was focused too much on my selfish want of togetherness and was missing something?
ThoughtCatalog had a series of LDR articles worthy of a read:
- What It’s Like Being In A Long Distance Relationship speaks of the scarcity of time
- What People Don’t Tell You About Long Distance Relationships talks of loneliness
- The Silver Lining To Being In A Long Distance Relationship points out the benefit of not getting stuck in a rut
- 17 Things You Learn In A Long-Distance Relationship lists a few pros and cons
The articles talk about the greatness of the times together, how there is less fighting, more attention, more love, less monotony, more anticipation, more romance.
Yet in all of these articles, I sensed an underlying current… something akin to an addiction. The short, temporary highs felt during a visit together followed by long lulls of loneliness while apart. Where had I heard this before? Short highs, long lows…
The similarity hit me: hard-core gamblers throw good money after bad, chasing the temporary high (a win) between long bouts of fruitless play (a string of losses). There’s the lure of the long distance relationship. The idea that the slot machine will eventually payoff if you keep pulling the lever.
And I’m pulling that lever. Every month. Hoping that Husband #2 and I resolve our issues and fix our relationship.
When Husband #2 and I get together, we have a great time. We talk, date, snuggle, share, and enjoy each other’s presence. All is good. In fact, it’s GREAT.
Then the weekend ends. I get on a plane. He gets on the highway. We go home. Just not together.
The loneliness sets in.
I don’t believe LDR are any harder than a close distance relationship (CDR). The two are just different. LDRs don’t have the everyday minutiae of life. The effort of doing something nice for your partner from afar is deliberate, planned, and somewhat minimal compared to the effort of doing something nice each day while living together. There are no boring weekends when you get together. Every moment of a visit is a rare commodity. You have sex like bunnies and feed each other pastries from the bakery you visited while driving back from the movies. There are no chores, no kids, no distractions from work. In the background there’s only the endless ticking of the clock as it moves closer to the time when you must separate again. LDRs feel like a fantasy… Almost like an affair…
With CDRs, there’s a level of intimacy that is forged through the daily trials by fire. There are bad hair days, times when you have to sit down together to figure out your household goals, and you have to deal with the reality that you do have time together… lots of it. But then there’s more opportunity for sharing. I want to be able to hear about my partner’s day, to cook dinner together, to sit across from the table and laugh about stupid stuff, to run to the window when the deer invade the yard, to get a hug when I get bad news, and to have a quiet moment of reflection side by side when the moon is full and especially beautiful. And you can kiss whenever you feel like it.
Now I realize that for me the anticipated romance of a long distance relationship just can’t come close to replacing the wild spontaneity of having a spouse close by. Time to stop pulling that lever.