My significant other (aka Man-Friend) and I have been together (on and off) for over 2 years now with a majority of our time spent on different continents.
Timeline (and so you can see our frequency of face-to-face visits):
December 2017 – Met – California, United States
January 2018 – Started communicating regularly
February 2018 – Started dating
April 2018 – He left and returned to Scotland
July 2018 – Broke up – remained friends/in contact
May 2019 – I visited Scotland – we got back together
December 2019 – Met up in Ireland for a week
March 2020 – Spent 12 days in the United States together
Presently – each living separately in California & Scotland
We will have been face-to-face three times in the past year (March 2019 – March 2020) which is actually quite a lot, and probably more than we will be on a regular annual basis, if we’re being realistic. Honestly trying to take time off from work and still meet the demands of our local friends, family and responsibilities can be very hard to work out. Couple that with the cost of airfare, hotels, and all the things that come along with visits, it can be very trying at times.
Having served in the military for eight years, I am well versed in long distance relationships. I have been in multiple long term relationships that also faced deployments or duty station changes, however those always seemed like there was an end in sight. This is a bit different because it’s not a temporary assignment or time frame, it’s a rather indeterminate span of (possibly) forever. Not the end of the world – but an annoyance for sure. Also – with the state of COVID-19 and the world on lockdown – it’s a bit stressful to think too hard/long about what’s to come at the moment.
This relationship has required a lot more effort/care than a typical, local one. Not getting to spend time together in person puts much more emphasis on the frequency, consistency and thoughtfulness of our communications. We have “whatsapp” texts, Facebook messenger calls/video calls, written mail, email, social media, and still it often doesn’t seem/feel like enough. We have many difficult conversations. We have to try and figure out new and different ways to communicate. We read books and listen to podcasts about relationships and communicating how we feel.
We have met some of each other’s family and friends. We have seen a (surprisingly) lot of places together (Scotland, Ireland, SoCal, Las Vegas, San Francisco) and gotten to experience lots of fun things together. All in all – we’re in a holding pattern and likely will remain so until something gives. Perhaps one of us will eventually decide to move to the other or maybe we will eventually tire of the distance and throw in the towel. Who knows. *shrug* – but for now, we’re trying to make it work as best we can. We are focusing on figuring out what works for us – not what we THINK we should be doing based on any other people/relationships that we might be exposed to.
Are any of my readership in a long distance relationship? Creative or innovative ways to connect and communicate? How do you feel about long distance, yay or nay? Why or why would you not?