People ask me what the hardest part about living apart from my partner is. It’s difficult to explain and in many ways I think even more difficult to understand. But I’ll try anyways. So, here are a few things that we’ve found help us when things are really getting tough.
Decision. When A and I first met, there was no choice – it was a decision. We decided to try to make it work and so we did and learned along the way what worked and what definitely didn’t work. Neither of us have seriously tried long distance before and what meager attempts we have tried have (obviously) failed. So we were in uncharted territory, but we were brave and in love. My point is, we have decided to make this work together over ten years ago and from it our love and respect for each other grew and so did our bravery. We had to learn to let the other navigate and trust in them, we had to learn to care for each other, and to fight for each other in ways that are beyond the physical realm. And despite all difficulties, all heartaches along the way, we still decide every day to go this path together.
Making time. Time difference was the most difficult part, as we tried to figure out pockets of windows to talk to each other and where we actually had the ability to tune out everything else and really talk and listen to what each of us had to say. About everyday things, about work stuff, about relationships with people around us, about lunch, about the weather, about anything and everything really. Honestly, this was one of the hardest lessons we had to learn and we still struggle with this, to actually be present when we talk to each other. But then I do something incredibly silly, something I wouldn’t dare to do in front of anyone else and A would start giggle and laugh tears and we are reminded, that this is why it works, despite distance.
Drop everything – occasionally. While other couples make plans for the weekends or Tuesday night dinner, our plans are typically more elaborate. We look at each other’s calendars and try to figure out weeks, days, hours where we could possibly sneak away from every-day chores and routines to meet up. We plan ahead as much as possible, but sometimes we will be spontaneous and just drop everything because we know that the other one needs a bit of extra TLC. After over a decade together, you learn to read the signs, and within seconds you drop everything to be by each other’s side. While it won’t fix anything, at least it provides comfort and safety, during a time where you may not realize it but you both need it desperately.
Live life to the fullest. This is a tough one. How can you live life to the fullest if your better half is missing? You can’t really and yet you can absolutely. See, both A and I could decide to barely operate while living apart but what good would this be for anyone? So we do the exact opposite, we do everything and anything that we could possibly do, from crazy adventures to unbelievably ridiculous things, we’ll do it all and we’ll love it like nothing else. We’ve experienced some incredible things while apart and while I enjoyed every second of every adventure I’ve been on thus far, one of my favorite things is returning from the adventure and sharing every breathtaking moment with A while we make time for each other.
Before you go. Finally, and probably one of the most important things and the easiest thing thanks to internet, smart phones, and constant ability to take photos/voice mails/make videos whatever else: sending each other little multimedia snippets of our everyday. Each night A and I will send each other voice mails, sometimes just a few seconds long, sometimes several minutes long – even if we just got off the phone. It’s a little something before we go to bed or before we get on a plane and can’t send messages in real time, or before we are unavailable for a little while. It’s a small thing really, but it can be everything and it’s all we got.
A has been traveling for the past month and will still be on the road a little bit longer, he has yet another long travel day ahead of him, so before he goes and I have to patiently wait for him to arrive wherever he will be and turn on the internet on his phone so he can receive my billion and seven messages I will have left in his absence, I want to conclude with the last photo we took together earlier this year before A and I had to return to our homes. Also: only 20 more days until we get to take more photos together!!