We get a lot of heat whenever anyone hears about our situation, or at least I do.
“Vermont?” “He’s in Vermont?” “How does that work?”
I can understand why this would be the first reaction people have. It’s not often people have their significant other living in another state. As I have mentioned before, I consider us lucky to be such a short distance, even if it is long. A five hour drive is nothing compared to the couples who live across the country from each other, or even in separate countries.
I still consider our story to just be a little different because we did live together for ten months and then mutually decided to go back to being long distance. At the time, our relationship was facing hardships and we got into too many arguments. Now we are in a better place than ever and still choosing long distance. It’s not entirely out of sheer independance. There’s financial restrictions and also, I’m going back to school! But on top of that, we realized that we were not ready to share our spaces and merge lives just yet — and that’s okay.
If you haven’t checked out The Skinny Confidential, um, you should. Anyway, there’s a podcast episode where creator Lauren Evarts and her husband, Michael Bosstick talk about relationships and tips to have successful ones. They mention that they needed to live separately before living together. I think they lived separate for over a year before moving in together?? But they each had their own space and independence before merging lives. I moved in with Connor after four months of dating. It just wasn’t enough time. I wanted my space back, and I think he did, too, and that’s why we kept arguing. I remember listening to that podcast episode and thinking, “I want that.” I wanted us to have our own independent lives before merging, too.
(Unfortunately, I don’t remember which podcast episode it was, but they always title their relationship ones.)
I don’t see this as a setback to our relationship. I think it needed to happen to save it. In this process of going back to a long distance relationship, our priorities, values, and perspectives have changed.
We are both Aquarious… and we are both an only child! I think major independence is just something that we will always have to work with within our relationship. At the same time, we are both hopeless romantics. I would describe our LDR as a weird balanced scale between being widely independent and hopelessly romantic. Perhaps that’s why the idea of a long distance relationship sounded so appealing? (It didn’t at first when I met him-actually, it scared me away).
The important thing to assess is priorities. We know we want to be together, just not right now. He’s got his thing in Vermont and I’ve got my stuff I’ve got to do in New York. We come together when we can and that’s all there is. We discuss future plans alllllll of the time. I think that’s important, otherwise, what is there? What are you working towards?
This long distance relationship has changed our perspective and outlook on relationships in general. I used to think I wanted someone who’d do absolutely anything for me. Connor would, don’t get me wrong, but he also forces me to get out of my comfort zone and gets my head down from the clouds by saying stuff like “you need to drive out to see me, too, if you want this relationship to work.”
It takes two to tango and no matter how bad my car anxiety is with driving long distances… I know I want to see him.
The independence thing is huge. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with modeling because it was really starting to take off. I felt like Vermont was holding me back from pursuing my modeling career. After I moved back home, my entire perspective had flipped. I no longer wanted to pursue living in New York City for a modeling career. I realized I don’t have that “all-or-nothing” drive to risk everything I have. I’m 5’6… maybe my mind would have changed had I been four inches taller. You always hear about the great success stories – the people who move to NY or LA and go from having nothing to everything… you don’t hear about the people who give it their all and don’t make it.
Moving back home made me realize that I don’t have that drive. It made me re-evaluate my priorities and goals and know that I want to pursue a realtionship with Connor, not New York. I want to model, but not so much that I’d give him up and risk putting myself into a pit.
Moving back to long distance has also redefined how we spend our time together. Every weekend that we are together is more like when we first met. We don’t do anything different from couples who live together. We go to different coffee shops and explore Vermont or New York, have a lot of sex.. the usual. Occassionally we will travel to new places in New York City, Florida, and now we have a trip to Boston planned.. And now that it is winter, he will be helping me learn to ski again. We also visit each other’s family. The diffence now is that we hardly touch our phones and we want to spend every second together. We even shower together so we don’t have to go ten (25 for me) minutes without seeing each other. When we were living together, we lost conversation and found ourselves in our screens more often than we’d like to admit. Going back to long distance has helped us get back to a place of discovery and fall more in love with each other.
This doesn’t scare me in the long run.. We know we rushed into things the first time around and are taking it slow this time.
The issue of trust is something that every relationship will struggle with at one point or another. Just because we are long distance does not mean there is a greater risk of someone cheating. Or maybe there is, idk, don’t look it up. I didn’t check for stats. But think about it… How often do you hear about someone being cheated on, that wasn’t even a long distance relationship? What truly is the difference being long distance? I feel that there is just as much of a chance of ‘Joe’ down the street ‘cheating’ on me compared to Connor in Vermont. You really just need to trust your partner. Relationships are nothing without trust. It’s lame, but true. I remember being in my last relationship that lasted three years and I constantly feared he’d cheat on me or leave me for someone else. I don’t feel that way with Connor. If anything, I think a long distance relationship gives a greater sense of security within the relationship because if your partner is giving all they have into making it work, why would they risk it?
(((I know the whole ‘is it really cheating? monogomy is a choice’ talk… For the sake of the argument, it’s easier to just say the word ‘cheat’)))
I asked Connor to give his perspective on this subject and here’s what he said:
“I think our LDR has most notably changed how I value our time together. I think the best thing about most LDRs is how special the time together is. I’m generally very anxious about timing, I like to get things done and have time to sit back and just exist. I think before we were really serious that extended to my relationships as well. I liked the idea of just being near someone, and coupled with my relaxed nature it makes sense that it extended to the idea of just sitting around together on the couch or something. But our time is limited, and even when we do block out time to specifically see each other, we still have stuff to do and you always add more on top of it all because you’re such a go-go-go type of person. Being long distance has really made me rethink the idea of “time together” because even if we’re in the gym, or shopping, or skiing, or just driving around its still time with you, and I can still have “near someone” feeling if I just sit back for a second and remember that you’re there with me.
I obviously do want to see you all the time, and since my love language is primarily touch its sometimes difficult to be away from you but I make the most of our time together. I take a lot of chances when you’re passing by just walking around the apartment to grab you for a hug, a kiss, or even just a touch. That first hug when I see you after a while makes the whole time apart worth it, and you really learn to treasure the feelings you experience with another person.
Ultimately, having an LDR hasn’t really changed my perspective of what I want out of a relationship, but how I want to view the experiences in one. Independence is really important I think, because it keeps those special things special. We did live together for a while and I think we both lost our independence a little in the choice, but going back to long distance helped me realign my perspectives and priorities with us and I think it made us stronger to prevent something like that happening again. “
The best piece of advice we can offer to anyone struggling in relationships or long distance relationships is to think long term. We don’t know where we will end up. We don’t know where we will end up living, we just know we want to be together.