After nearly 18 long months of living on the opposite side of the planet from one another, Ron and I are finally back together for good. And all I can say is, about frickin’ time!
Whenever someone asks me what being in a long distance relationship is (or was, yippee!) like, I say that it is difficult and there are no advantages to being apart. It is the antithesis of what an intimate relationship should be. But that does not mean that it is unbearable. I was never overwhelmed by loneliness or a sense of loss, because I knew at some point Ron and I would be reunited. We had set a limit of one and half to two years, and that time frame gave me some structure to work around. With Ron gone, I was also forced to learn how to fill up the stretches of time I had to myself. I realized that, after having been a loner for most of my life, I would have to reach out to other people if I didn’t want to go crazy. My friendships in New York City deepened as a result, and I will never take those relationships for granted. Ron and I also had to find common ground in our daily conversations over Skype without the benefit of day-to-day shared experiences, and I believe the lessons we took away from that challenge will help us weather the rough patches each couple inevitably tumbles into. So while there are no advantages to being in a long-distance relationship, the past year and a half will be an experience that I will continue to draw strength from for the rest of my life.
But it is very strange to be back together with Ron. Today I felt guilty for wanting to surf the Internet while he took a nap. Then I realized that we now had all the time in the world together, not just a week, and it was okay if we did not do every single little thing in tandem. One of the things I missed most while we were apart was the “white space,” which is what I call the moments where we just sit together and do our own thing, without feeling the need to have a meaningful conversation or otherwise milk every second of every precious moment we have together. In the last year and a half, Ron and I only saw each other for a total of about three weeks, and during those weeks one of us always had to work, so we really only had the evenings and weekends together. I felt so much pressure to make every second count. Now I feel like I’ve been given a wonderful gift, the luxury of time with Ron, and I just want to sit back and savor the idea.