Kyle was home recently for about two weeks, just a quick vacation before setting out for the next/final (hopefully?) 100 days of his deployment. I really wanted to maximize our time together — meaning I didn’t want to sit around the apartment doing nothing like we’re prone to do — and I think we did a good job of that. We ran a 5K and went to Kentucky Derby get-together (no hat for me). We went hiking. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (****). We made filet mignon (future post because OMG is that good shit).
I’ve written about our LDR before, but when he was home, I got to thinking about some of the things I’ve learned during the times we’ve been long-distance. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had to adapt A LOT from starting our relationship long-distance to living together to going back to long-distance again. There have been plenty of lessons I’ve had to learn, but I want to talk about the five biggest ones.
Things You Learn From A Long-Distance Relationship
1. The importance of communication: This is pretty simple, but being a) in regular contact and b) open about your thoughts and feelings is key to getting through a long-distance relationship. We text every day and FaceTime almost every day. We say good morning and good night. Ask after each other’s sleep, how we’re feeling, what happened in our days. It may seem little, but it adds up and means a lot in the long run. A relationship where you only check in once in a while is not set up for success. But beyond the everyday minutiae and the physical act of communication, it’s important to be open and communicating about what’s going on in your relationship. Do you feel distant? Is there something wrong? Are you particularly sad or happy or angry one day? What does the future look like? You need to talk about those things to ensure a healthy, open, honest relationship can flourish. Those are the ones that survive.
2. How to entertain yourself: I’ll be honest, when Kyle is home and I know he’s only going to be home for a limited amount of time, I get a little one-minded. I tend to put all of my attention on spending time together. Put another way, I don’t do a lot of me-time when we’re together. As an INFP, it’s kind of interesting because I typically really need that me-time to recharge, but Kyle is the only one I don’t feel like an introvert around; he might be the only human on the planet I don’t need to retreat from. Still, that’s created its own kind of dependence, so when he’s gone, I have to find other ways to entertain myself. This isn’t too hard for me because I have no problem being alone, but it can be tough when you’re used to having someone around. I typically spend more time reading, working out and writing, which are all good things.
3. Something about independence: Piggy-backing off No. 2, LDRs force you to be independent. I’ve always been an SIW (c) (strong, independent woman), but even the most independent people are allowed to let themselves be cared for by their significant others. But when your SO lives 700 miles away, that can be hard. I make sure the rent is paid and buy the groceries. The few (lol) social functions I go to, I go to alone (and I tend to use him as a crutch when he’s home). And those habits I talked about above? I get myself into a rhythm with them, which actually makes them easier to maintain when he’s at home, adding another layer of independence. Two winters ago, Kyle came to stay with me for three weeks before we moved in together and I didn’t work out at all during that time. It was no bueno, and not the kind of habit I want to cultivate.
4. How precious your time together really is: Kyle was home for 11 full days, two of which I actually had to leave the state for for work. So we had nine days we had to make count. Being apart most of the year is hard when he’s deployed, so I try to make a point of trying to do things we like to do, cook the kinds of foods we like to eat and just generally enjoy each other’s company. He’s been deployed for about 200 days now, and I estimate that we’ve had about 30 days together in that span. That’s 15 percent. Looking at those numbers, I’ve really come to appreciate the time we do have together. It won’t be like this forever, I know, but I also know that we’re getting stronger because of it.
5. To appreciate the effort it takes to see one another: I went to visit once at the beginning of his deployment and I will tell you — it was a JOURNEY. Two hours to the airport, a two-hour flight, then three hours from the airport. Yeesh. It was a long day. Kyle’s got it a little easier because when he travels home, the government pays for it, and he gets to fly out of his local airport because of it. But it's still a hike. But the hike is worth it because we just genuinely enjoy being together and spending time with each other. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing this, right?
Questions for you!
Are you in a long-distance relationship? What have you learned from it?
What's your favorite thing to do when you're together?