Neal and I from the day that we met in September 2010 to when we were married on May 26, 2012 were in a long distance relationship spanning 5,000 miles. Yeah, that’s pretty long distance. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pretty, but you know what sometimes you have to make lemontini’s from lemons. (Who drinks lemonade anyway?)
There were some things that I loved about being in a long distance relationship (or LDR), and many of which I have now been able to our not-so-long distance relationship now.
With that away we go….
We Got to Know Each Other
You know when you start dating someone and you have all the butterflies, and you just want to be next to their side where a bit of snuggling and smooching can happen? (Yeah you know what I mean, let’s just leave it at that.) Well, in a 5,000 mile long distance relationship, you don’t have the tension of the first few date. You aren’t asking yourself, “Can I kiss him now? Or will he kiss me?” Instead, you talk. You send e-mails. You enter into a modern version of an old-fashioned courtship.
In the two months before Neal’s first visit to America, we talked about everything from childhood to work, dreams and day-to-day life. By the time I saw him, I felt that I had known Neal for years.
I Learned How to Listen Better
When talking on the phone is your primary form of communication, I learned how to really listen. I removed the distractions and I was focused on the conversation that we were having. During our long distance part of our relationship, Neal and I talked everyday. I would call him about 9:30 or 10 pm PST which was 5:30-6 am his time in Wales. We were on different clocks, me finishing my day and Neal just waking up. To make these calls worthwhile, we had to listen.
During our time apart, Neal was able to visit 8 times while I made it to the UK once. From door to door, it took about 24 hours in total. Needless to say, when we were finally in the same time zone, we were beyond happy and content. We soaked up being by each other’s side in normal daily tasks, like shopping at Target or havign beers with friends.
I can honestly say, that since we had time apart from each other, I feel so appreciative that I get to now have every single day with Neal. That was our motto: Think Everyday. That was what we were working towards, what our final goal was always meant to be. And now that we do that the everyday, I appreciated it wholly and humbly. Saying that he is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to bed makes me wonderfully happy.
Many times, when I would explain the situation to a friend, co-worker of family member the response would be, “Oh. I could never do that. Being apart like that must be tough.” Of course it’s tough. Of course it’s not ideal. But I took it all in perspective. I thought of the military wives and families who send their loved ones away without constant communication or knowing if they would come home safe.
Our long distance relationship seemed manageable compared to what they had to handle.
Again, it’s all about perspective. I knew that Neal as “The One”, so I had to pull up my boot straps and make it work, but I also knew that there were much more stressful situations we could be in.
On a daily basis, I apply these lessons of my long distance relationship. I listen better, I try not to let the little things stress me out (but they do…every once in a while), I appreciate each day and I love just sitting and talking to my beloved husband. But trust me, making it through a long distance relationship wasn’t easy and there were moments when it was such a pain in the ass. (Don’t worry, that post is coming around the corner!)
What about you? Were you ever in a long distance relationship? What lessons did you gain from it?