Whenever I say my Merchant Marine is en route home after 3 weeks away a gushing individual typically clasps their hands together and without fail responds with, “OMG, you must be so excited!”
Before I break this down, let me be quite clear: I am always very excited.
I, however, live in a world where distance with my loved one is my reality and the pattern of hellos and goodbyes are as common as snow days in New England.
Every three weeks — well, 22 days going out and 19 days coming home, but who’s counting? — my MM and I go through the logistics of airport pickups and drop offs. Will he Uber to Logan? Does it work with my schedule to pick him up? Is the Commuter Rail a more efficient option?
And while I’m afraid to burst the Nora Ephron-themed bubble, there is no magical embrace upon airport pickup. You know the one where I meet MM at the terminal gate and he sweeps me off my feet? I’ve made a sign saying, “Welcome Home” and a stranger is there to take the perfect instagram picture.
Nada. It’s more like him dropping a pin on his location at Terminal C ‘Passenger Pick-Up’ and me trying to avoid eye contact with airport cops as I disobey the ‘no idling’ rule. MM jumps into my car and between a fast embrace and me trying to plug my address into Waze, the whole interaction is a blur.
So yes, I am excited to see him and I am sad to say goodbye. But, you can imagine while all of this orchestration streams through my brain, it takes up the space where my emotions could be spilling over. Similar to how Netflix auto-plays the next episode after 5 seconds of post-show credits; my mind barely gets a moment to process my MM leaving until, well, he’s gone.
You may be wondering, “Three weeks away? I wish my significant other would ship out for that long.” Funny you should say that, I get that quote … a lot. And while I muster up a little chuckle when it’s said to me, the reality is you don’t wish that. And if you did, well, maybe you should be reconsidering your relationship.
I know I may seem harsh, but hear me out.
This distance stuff is tricky. Aside from the stressful pick-ups and emotional drop offs, comes the scheduling. Get out your planner, this one’s complicated.
The MM and I are invited to three weddings this year and due to the way his schedule pans out, he isn’t able to attend any of them. At first I was really upset. I cried, stomped my feet and said it wasn’t fair.
Yes, I acted like a toddler.
But, honestly, because it’s not. Of course I want him there beside me; meeting distant friends from college, tearing it up on the dance floor, or simply having someone to talk to about the evening on our way home. But after some serious renegotiating with my thought process, I decided I had no other choice but to change my mindset. He’d be home for my birthday and long weekends, as well as most of my spring break.
Long distance romance truth: You must reformat what you believe is “fair” and how you considered situations going.
Being in a relationship that heavily relies on friendships and family isn’t something that I anticipated. However, now that I am in it, I honestly couldn’t imagine life any other way … [Part 2 coming soon]