Self Expression Magazine

End of the Distance

Posted on the 19 September 2013 by Kcsaling009 @kcsaling

Reunited in a lousy iPhone picture (c) KC Saling, 2013

Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. Even when you’re fully committed to each other, there is still a huge amount of deliberate work you have to put into your relationship, and this is only amplified when you’re separated by time and distance. I think it’s gotten harder the longer Scott and I have been together. The longer you’re with someone, the more enmeshed you get in each other’s day to day activities and the more you lean on each other for both little things and big without even realizing it. So when that isn’t there…well, it sucks, to be frank.

I consider myself a very independent person, and when it comes to getting stuff done, I get stuff done. But I’ve gotten very used to having a sounding board, to having someone around to bounce ideas off of, to having someone there to listen to my brainstorms and get excited with me when I’ve stumbled onto something great, and to give me that look {c’mon, all of you who have ever had a significant other in your life know that look} when I’m doing something off the wall. So yes, I miss having someone there, and yes, everyone misses the, ahem, intimate time, but that’s all actually very, very secondary to missing the {constant} emotional and intellectual support you get and provide to someone who’s entwined in your life.

Maintaining that, whether your partner in crime is near or afar, takes a lot of work. And it takes a lot of planning and coordination when you’re dealing with a six hour time difference. Never underestimate the amount of work and support required of spouses supporting troops overseas or people in commuter relationships. Seriously, in order to not only make that work but to continue growing as a couple in the process, you both have to be committed, inventive, flexible, and able to smile in the face of the myriad of things that go wrong that you suddenly have to deal with without the person who might have helped you, might have poured the wine for you, or might have just let you vent about it.

When you’ve got a good thing going, you survive the distance, and you make it end.

Part of our gallery wall (c) KC Saling, 2013

Part of our gallery wall (c) KC Saling, 2013

I tell you, I was jittery excited all day yesterday at work. It’s a good thing they ran my tush off at the Air Force Birthday Run at Ford Island that morning {oh, yes, happy birthday, Air Force!} because otherwise I would have been bouncing off the walls, waiting for it to be time to go rescue my husband and our cats from the airport.

Then, finally, it was time. The reunion was sweet. There were smooches all around. It was romance at its finest, and I got hit with all the reminders of why I fell for and married my handsome guy the first time around.

The distance was over, and everybody lived happily ever after.

Happily ever after isn’t the end. You have to remember the sequel adventure.

There’s more to reuniting with your loved one after any space of time being at a distance than just romance and roses. There’s always a part of you and your significant other that has not only gotten accustomed to being on its own, doing things its own way, but has gotten to like it.

Sometimes there are growing pains. Sometimes even the smallest thing can spark an argument. You should expect that at the end of time apart, because each of you has grown used to going about your business without someone else backseat driving, and then all of a sudden, there’s someone else in the car with you, telling you to turn here or there {not literally, mind you, but I do hate backseat drivers}.

That sudden resentment of someone else getting in your way, messing up your routine, rearranging the way you set something up, and gosh darn it doing their own thing like the independent person they are and isn’t that annoying, all of that can be extremely jarring when you’re in the honeymoon period of getting reunited. Especially when you’ve lived together before, and “haven’t we ironed all that out already” and “didn’t we solve this the last time” are mixed in with your initial reactions.

But the point is, that’s okay. It’s not a sign that your relationship is flawed or doomed or anything of the sort. It’s just your two personalities figuring out how to mesh with each other again.

So don’t rely on “happily ever after” being the end of the story. Relationships, growing together, living together, and not driving each other crazy, all take a lot of work and maintenance. Your romance, courtship, and marriage were the first book. Now you’re writing the rest of the series. Make it a positive story.

So we squabbled. But it was the cats’ fault.

The Binker (c) KC Saling, 2013

The Binker (c) KC Saling, 2013

Just as a side note, it is harder to bring a pet into Hawaii than it is to emigrate into this country. Seriously. We spent three hours in the animal immigration station they call the quarantine office, going through vaccine records, health certificates, shot records, microchip numbers, filling out specialty forms, and jumping through more hoops than I’ve ever had to jump through at a military in-processing station.

But three hours and $330 unexpected dollars later {yes, we weren’t expecting that one – Hawaii charges you $165 per pet if you pick up your pet at the airport, and $12.95 per pet per day they have to hold your pet in quarantine!}, we had our furry little friends out of kitty jail and were able to head home.

If I was short-tempered at all on the drive home, I blame that.

Now what?

Now that we’re all back under one roof, and extremely glad that the 70-some-odd total combined days of distance relationship we had this summer are at an end, two humans and two cats have to figure out a routine that we all can live with. We all can’t go our own independent ways without accommodating each other. Sooner or later, we’ll settle into place and mesh together, not like before but like something special in its own right, but in the meantime, I’m allotting for a growing period. At least for me and the husband.

There’s no accounting for the cats.

Have you reached the end of your distance relationship? How did you mesh your routines together? Any advice to share? I’d love to hear from you.


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