Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What they don't tell you about being long distance

Pat just visited for a week++ and it was awesome. In the five birthdays I've had since we've been dating, this was the first one we were in the same state! I decided all I wanted was to eat all the things, so that's what we did.

Anyway, his visit made me think about this whole long distance thing (again). We are in the final countdown of being long distance -- May 1 I fly to Lawrence for my friend Jac's wedding and when I come back, Pat will be with me, moving to Colorado. No mo long distance.

So. Here are some things I didn't expect going into this whole shenanigan. (Is there such a thing as a singular shenanigan? I always hear it pluralized.)

ONE. Skyping can be so much better
The single best thing Pat and I have done to survive being long distance is playing online games while we Skype. About once a week, we Skype and play Dominion with our friend Sam. If Sam can't play, we'll still play Dominion or Cribbage online. We are not very chatty people. If we were straight up skyping or talking on the phone, we would run out of things to say. Sharing an activity while we talk feels so much more normal. 10/10, highly recommend.

TWO. Every visit will seem like a vacation
Meaning you will want to shirk all responsibilities and routine. Meaning you may not work out for a whole week if he visits you over his spring break. Meaning you may gain weight every time you're together because you feel like you're on vacation and can eat all the things and drink a whole bottle of wine. Doesn't work out if you're doing this once a month or more. Not good.

THREE. You may gain weight anyway
Because long distance life is hard, you'll give yourself permission to eat your feelings. Or do whatever unhealthy habit YOU have that you use to cope. Oops.

This is actually a scientific-y thing related to self-regulation. If you're regulating your emotions a lot -- say, missing your partner, working in a job where you can't be yourself, doing a lot of something you don't like -- you use up all your willpower doing that thing you don't like doing. Leaving you no willpower to not eat Nutella straight from the jar. Self-regulation is limited in quantity. Positive psychology, yo.

FOUR. You'll never do the things you plan
Every time we visit each other, I plan a billion things I want to do. And even if it's not a billion, I plan a lot of things I want to do, and my plans usually seem reasonable for the amount of time that we have. Nope. You won't do all the things. Because all you'll want to do is be together in a way that feels normal. Because while you might miss having a partner for adventures (I do), what you'll probably miss even more is having a partner for the every day stuff -- like cooking dinner, watching that movie you've been waiting to watch together, and playing Yahtzee. Pat was just here for a week, and we did not manage to go hiking or to the Celestial Seasonings tour I want to go on. But we did cook together almost every night, watch at least seven movies, and play a million games of Yahtzee. We can adventure later.

FIVE. You will get used to sleeping alone
If you and your partner are the type that share a bed, you will eventually get used to sleeping alone. Which is, you know, good, because you can't spend all your nights alone struggling to fall asleep. However, when they visit -- sleep becomes a struggle bus again until you remember how sharing a bed with a full sized human works.

EDITED BECAUSE I FORGOT ONE -- SIX. You'll probably get each other sick.
One of us aaaalways gets the other sick when we visit. Every. Freaking. Time. It's stupid and awful. We end up being sick the whole time we're together and when the visitor leaves, all you're left with is snot and tissues and cough drops. My mom says we're just not used to each others germs anymore. Stuuupid.

Anyone out there who has been long distance -- anything that surprised you?


Genna said...

First, HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY!!! How exciting to finally spend one with Pat and SUPER exciting that next time he'll be with you for good. I can't even imagine that excitement you must be feeling for that and the wedding! I'm glad I only had to do long distance (only about 3 hours apart) for one summer while I interned away from home. It was tough, but fun. I love the idea of playing games on Skype too. It seems like better quality time than just talking, which can probably get boring after a while :)

Meghan said...

Happy belated Birthday :)

Holly said...

In the last (and only good) long distance relationship I had, we Skyped a lot and played games so I totally agree with that one! I think this is a pretty good list. But I'm happy for you that it will be done after May!! :)

Also, happy belated birthday :)

Cassy said...

Very insightful! My hubs and I did the long distance thing for a summer (so I'm not saying I relate to how long you've done it, but I've had a taste) and I wish I had seen the Skype & play games tip during that time. It would have been super helpful! I'm glad you're in the final countdown of your long-distance experience though :)

And happy belated birthday! I hope it was wonderful.

Ech and Will said...

I was nodding my head and saying, "Yep" to every single one of your points. Cass and I play Trivia Crack together when we get tired of talking. The bed thing kills me every single time. It usually takes me a week and a half, both when he leaves and when he comes back, to get used to sleeping alone or with him. I'm so excited for the final countdown for you!!!

Kate said...

LOVE that you got to see Pat on your birthday. Love love love it. My only "long distance" relationship was with Michael when he lived about 70 miles away from me. It felt longer though because there was a time difference between the two places. But I still go to see him several times a month, sooooo... yeah.

The crazy thing about using up all of your self-regulation is something I even do NOW. Sure, I see Michael every weekend, but rarely through the week. So when the weekend hits, I'm like, LET'S EAT ALL OF THE THINGS. Maybe I should figure out a way to stop that. :P

Amy said...

yes to the sick thing
and skying
and games
and spending NORMAL activities together and not really "doing things"....
the countdown is SO CLOSE!

Tamara said...

Yay for birthdays spent together!

I love your list. I've been very fortunate in not having to be away from husband for longer than a couple of days. When we were first dating (like high school years!) I attended a college about 2 hours away but that feels so long ago at this point (10ish years) it's like it never even happened! Eventually it'll just be a part of yours & Pat story when you share things with others and you wont' even remember what it's like to not be together.

May is almost here!

Christy Ashley said...

These are all SO true! My husband and I were long distance for our entire relationship...until about 6 months before we got engaged! It was tough, but so worth it!


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