Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship?
Long-distance relationships are hard. Nobody says they’re easy, but it’s shocking how hard they can be, especially when – as in my case – the relationship is your marriage.
This marriage isn’t hard. In fact, it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Trusting this man with my heart and sharing our lives and making plans together and each trying our absolute hardest every single day to be the best teammate we can be? Not hard at all. Not with him.
It’s not even that hard from a logistical sense. While tearing up I-95 isn’t my idea of a great time, driving for a few hours each week to be the with the one you love is 100% worth it, every time. Every early morning alarm. Every traffic delay, every 6 a.m. McDonald’s coffee so you can keep your eyes open for the long drive just to head straight into the office. All worth it.
There’s absolutely no part of this that isn’t worth it. But I can’t say it’s easy.
The Hard Parts
Coming home to an empty house is hard.
Not getting to hug my husband is hard.
Sharing big moments over FaceTime instead of face-to-face is hard.
Waking up morning after morning with an empty spot where he should be is hard.
Knowing that if he needs me or if I need him, there are two very long hours between us is hard.
Watching TV with an empty seat next to me (except for Paul Simon, of course) is hard.
Not getting to do life every day with the one person you want to do life with more than anyone else…is hard.
The Good Parts
We’ve never lived in the same spot. It’s not like we dated, got married, then life happened and we had to live in separate locations for a while. We’ve never lived in the same place for even a minute. (What can I say? When you know, you know, and sometimes that means you don’t feel like waiting on logistics to catch up before you put a (wedding) ring on it.)
Sure, our belongings have become enmeshed over time, but we still very much live in two different locations. As a result, we’ve gotten very, VERY good at not taking our time together for granted.
Every weekend feels like a vacation with my best friend.
Two towns = two sets of loving, supportive friends to spend time with.
We’ve become experts at squeezing every last drop of time out of our weekends together.
Naps at 2 in the afternoon? Absolutely.
Every. night. is date night.
We spend hours happily planning our (hopefully not too distant) future – everything from careers and the idea of children, to how we’re going to combine his geek-chic and my grandma-chic styles when we finally (FINALLY) find ourselves under one roof.
We never miss an opportunity to hold hands, say “I love you” in person, see who can make the weirdest face in the mirror, dance up and down the aisles at Target, and do quite literally anything to make the other laugh, because there is nothing sweeter than getting an in-person laugh from the one you love so much.
So we keep doing the hard parts, grateful that we have the opportunity. We cherish the miles between us because they’re only miles, and we can travel them with ease. We live for the FaceTimes and the calls just to hear the other’s voice, and we count down the days to the weekend every single week, like kids waiting for Christmas, because our time together is something so worth celebrating.
While we’re together we love to the absolute max. When we’re apart we love even more than that. We’ve developed a knack for showing such absolute, pure, undiluted affection that it can make it all the way across the Lowcountry up to the Pee Dee without losing momentum in order for the person on the receiving end to get the full impact of just how loved they are.
Yes, long distance is hard. But in all of this, I’ve learned that the saying is true. Absence makes the heart grow absolutely, unequivocally, the fondest.