Friday, March 7, 2014

Long Distance Love

It's been a while since I've gotten personal on the blog, hasn't it? I figure there's no time quite like the present to return to my cozy little corner where I shared a bit more about my life, so here goes nothing!

I recently read The Geography of You and Me, Jennifer E. Smith's 2014 YA release. (It was wonderfully written, and my review goes up next month!) In case you had no idea, the basic premise is that the two main characters meet, forge a connection and wind up in an unexpected long-distance relationship. They communicate through post cards, with an occasional email and a couple of personal encounters. 

Reading about their experience had me thinking about my own romance. As of this month, I've officially been 1/2 of a couple in an LDR for 3 years and 3 months, give or take a few days.


Yes, you read that right -- I'm in the middle of an LDR. But Alexa, you might ask, aren't you married? Why yes, I am. But my husband and I are currently apart, and have been since October 2013 (me in New York, him in the Philippines). It's not the best situation, but there's nothing else to be done while we wait for his visa application to go through.


Having been in an LDR for so long, Macky and I have finally reached a comfortable place. We know how to manage the physical distance and crazy time differences fairly well. Our relationship still feels as solid as ever, in spite of everything, and it's mostly because of our determination to make it work. 

I sound so optimistic and positive, don't I? Well, I have to be honest with you guys: IT SUCKS. It's really hard to feel good about being separated from the love of your life. Some days wind up consumed with sadness, fear and anger. Sad, because it sucks to be apart; fear, because you never know what could happen; anger, because it just doesn't seem fair.

Honestly, I would be the first person to advise against an LDR. Even with the foundation of 5 years we had before I left for the US in 2010, Macky and I still had a hard time adjusting to an LDR (even until now!). We had to learn what to do, which involved making mistakes and trying lots of things out. Heck, we even went through a horrible patch where we broke up for 6 months! It's no joke not being able to see each other, share the same life and friends and living space. It definitely, unavoidably affects the relationship.


Thankfully, we managed to overcome all these crazy hurdles! And you know why? Sheer determination to choose each other again and again and again and always. 

When you commit to an LDR, it's a committed relationship. There are a few things, however, that might make the experience a bit more tolerable. Here are my suggestions for what might help make the LDR a bit easier:

(1) Constant communication - Macky and I always communicate however we can, whether it's Viber, WhatsApp, email, Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or snail mail. It is certainly wonderful that we live in a day and age where the Internet is so readily accessible, and there are so many apps that can make it easier to stay in touch.

(2) Date night - Even though you're apart and living on entirely different schedules, it's definitely possible to set up "date night". Macky and I often wind up just chatting for hours during our dates. I know of other people who watch movies together via Skype, or even take their dates out to eat (with Facetime). With all the technology (again), you can make it happen! 

(3) Visits - Seeing each other in person is still definitely the best balm to an LDR. If your financial situation and schedule can manage it, visit as often as you can! It's always best to at least be able to be together for some actual face time. Sadly, our situation is a little extreme so this doesn't happen too often for me and Macky (though I have been home 3 times since 2012).

(4) Photos and videos - I have lots of photos of me and Macky scattered everywhere - on my cork board, in a journal, on my phone, on my computer. Ditto for videos. When I'm really feeling sad or missing him too much, it's nice to have these reminders around to make me smile. It might not be as good as having him here, but it reminds me that he's part of my life.

(5) Strong support systems - Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without my family and friends. They manage to cheer me up when I'm sad about the distance, remain positive and encouraging and hopeful for us to finally be together in one place this year. It really gives me that extra strength I need to go on, to persist, and I am so grateful that Macky and I both have it in spades.


It's no easier being apart now (and some days are worse than others), but at least Macky & I know how to manage it a little better. Hopefully, in a few months, our LDR will be a thing of the past and we can finally be together, living under one roof and all couple-y together. 

YOUR TURN - What do you think of long distance relationships? Any stories or tips to share?

17 comments:

  1. Girl, this post SPEAKS to me. As you know, my husband and I were in a LDR for over a year before we got married - pretty much the entire time we dated, too. It was not easy, but if anything, it made our relationship so much stronger now. I'm so excited for the day you and your hubs can end the LDR, too!

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  2. Oh wow...that truly is an LDR! I give HUGE props to you for making it work. Just goes to show how stong the power of love really is! Hang in there...it will ALL be worth it someday!

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  3. This post makes me love you a little bit more - mostly because of how strong of a person you are! LDRs are tough, there's no doubting that, but the fact that you and Macky manage it in separate countries and for 5 years speaks volumes about your love for each other! Definitely praying that his visa goes through so you can finally be in the same place!

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  4. Here's to a new Visa this spring, and ending the LDR! I'm in awe of your ability to maintain a marriage for so long apart- it really is a statement about your commitment to one another.

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  5. Wow, your LDR definitely beats mine! Two and a half years ago I started dating a guy who lived 45 minutes away at the time and then when I went to grad school, he transferred jobs as well so now we're two hours away. We see each other on the weekends and I live with him during the summer since I don't have classes, but we only lived in the same town for a couple of months even though we've been dating almost three years, haha. It works for us though, I think we both have such workaholic personalities that we don't mind the distance since we both work 12+ hours a day sometimes. We talk every night on the phone though and that is definitely vital to our happiness!

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  6. I was in a LDR with my now husband for a year and half (he was in Washington state and I was in Illinois). It SUCKED! It's so hard being so far apart. My husband and I used to do lots of Skype dates. We would watch movies together, play computer games together or just talk for hours on end. I used to bake him cookies or other things and send him care packages or love letters. It's just all about communication. I hope that your husband is able to get here soon!

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  7. Ok, your line about choosing each other again and again? TEARS GIRL! You're making me all weepy!

    I've never been in a long-distance relationship, and to be honest, I don't know that I could make it work. Kudos to you and Macky for being so determined to be with each other (I'm tearing up again), and fingers crossed his VISA comes through sooner, rather than later! <3

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  8. I think it's so awesome of you guys and I admire it. This is prove that you two have true love :D I don't think I would be strong enough to handle it. I always hate being away from my boyfriend, even if it's just for a week. I need to be around someone.. I hope that the visa comes through soon <3

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  9. Awe, your such a strong person Alexa! I don't think I could possibly stand it being so far away from Nick. Your relationship is lovely though and I love when you post about you and your husband, so sweet <3 I hope everything works out soon for the both of you and he won't be far away any longer!

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  10. Ugh, I definitely know how hard LDR can be. Although, I think the longest I've gone w/o being physically near the hubbi was like 4-5 months, it still sucks butt. I can't imagine being away from him for years on end! That loneliness does eat at you, but I'm glad you're keeping busy & have friends & family to support you. It kind of sucks for me when I'm away on rotations with no one I'm really close to. That's why I lose myself in books and TV I guess, lol. So glad you and M are making it work though. You're so cute together!

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  11. What a great post! I actually was curious because I've seen you mention a roommate, but then I also remember you getting married so I wondered if you and your husband had a roommate or what. But long distance between NYC and the Philippines is intense! Good for you guys! I love what you said about making the choice to be together and make it work over and over again. I think that's so true of any relationship and that tends to be something people forget. I hope you guys get to be together permanently in the next few months!

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  12. What an awesome post! I work with a military organization, and they use the term geobachelor when you are geographically separated from your spouse due to work and other reasons. It's definitely a tough situation but it can definitely work. Your wedding picture is so pretty! Love the veil!

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  13. Ohhhh I am so inspired by you and Macky! The distance between NYC and the Philippines is just CRAZY and I do hope that your husband's visa gets sorted out sometime soon! You guys really are such strong, amazing people. <3

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  14. OMG so glad that you wrote this post. I am sure that you know since I am pretty open it on Twitter but Stan and I have been living apart for over a year....we lived together for 4 years and then decided that we would move back home (me to my aunts, him to his mom's) so that we could save for a house...well that lasted about 6 months when decided it was too hard to be apart (umm we were only 40 minutes apart at that time) so I moved into his moms. Well, TWO WEEKS later he got a promotion that if he accepted would take him 4 hours away to upstate NY. I was in the middle of the school year and felt like it would be too hard to leave my students (plus, I have a degree and it isn't easy to find a job in my field) so we decided we would wait until the summer (it was only two months) and then I would move there and find a job..Ummm could not find a job. Not even in retail..soo I came back to CT and we have been living four hours apart for a year and it SUCKS. So much. I honestly don't know how you do it when you can't get in the car and take a drive (or even a SHORT plane ride) you are so strong, Alexa!! When you said "Sad, because it sucks to be apart; fear, because you never know what could happen; anger, because it just doesn't seem fair." I got a little teary because it is so true. Most days you are like "Yeah! Just doin' what needs doin' we will be back together in just a few months!" but when it hits you, boy does it HIT you. Also, fear? Like irrational fear that doesn't even make sense really but still makes you wonder if you are doing the wrong thing by being apart from the one you love because every second, minute, hour should be spent to the fullest. Then anger, I feel so irrational sometimes when people complain about things like "Oh I have to go to the store with my boyfriend AHH I need some alone time!" Or "Wahh my boyfriend is working late tonight and I won't see him" UMMM REALLY?! The rational part of me is like "Well, I would feel the same way if my schedule was changed, and I miss Stan even while at work, so okay." but the other part of me is like 'SHUT YOUR FACEEEE!!" LOLLL seriously.

    Like you we Skype, text, tweet, etc. Thank you internet and social media driven society! We also send cards to each other and honestly I think that it has rekindled something that we may have lost or taken advantage of when we had lived together for so many years. You really don't know how to appreciate something fully until it isn't there, you know?

    Anyway, sorry for the book I wrote you LOL this post just really touched me. I can't imagine how you stay so positive day by day but I hope that you and your hubs will be able to be closer to one another as soon as possible. You are clearly a rockstar couple to be able to persevere through it all! <33

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  15. Oh my goodness! Three years...I can't even begin to comprehend how much that may suck...but it seems to me like you both have the willpower and love to withstand anything! It's really great you can still have "date nights" being so many miles from each other; technology truly is fascinating in that aspect.
    Stay strong, hopefully soon you will be reunited! And by the way, the pictures are too cute!

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  16. I've been in multiple long distance relationships (tho, as you know, not as LD as yours) and I think the best thing I could learn from them is balance. The easiest thing to do when you are living with your partner is to make your life all about them. But being apart (should) force you to do things on your own, cultivate your own interests, make deep connections with friends. There's so much more about being together all the time. And I think a lot of people miss the first part -- the balancing act. So I think you two really are ahead of the game. When you are finally reunited, you will be so excited and happy to be with each other day to day but you will also know the importance of space and having your own separate lives. So even though it's hard and it sucks in the long run (and I wish more than anything that you were spending your first year of marriage together), this will only make the two of you stronger and like Alyssa said above... rekindle something you may have lost.

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