Long-distance relationships can get a bad rap. Be it marriage or dating, some assume it just won’t work out – they’ve heard all the horror stories. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
How do I know this? Well my dear one’s, I’m living it….right now!
Eighteen months ago my husband accepted a career advancement opportunity with a large corporation, first working in southwest Arkansas, and then following a promotion moving to northeast Georgia. My husband rents an apartment where he works while I stay back in Wisconsin until my youngest son finishes high school.
When we presented our mutual decision about my husband’s career change to loved ones, friends and colleagues, we were met with some
interesting reactions. People who knew us and our relationship well were primarily very supportive, but there were others who reacted with some pretty strong opinions (aka, fears).
Myth #1: It’s selfish to leave your loved ones behind for a job at this stage in life.
Why is it some people think the only time you can take risks to pursue new career dreams is when you’re young and unattached, or in the military fulfilling a civic duty? But when you’re older, have a home, a new blended family and live near your extended family all your life that it’s better to just stay put? Sure you can fantasize and wish it were possible, but i’s not a good idea to actually do it.
My husband and I see life as a journey. We are adventurous types who are not afraid to take risks and step outside our comfort zone. Risks = Opportunities. We each possess that itch (or yearning) to keep moving our lives forward and to enjoy the experiences that are presented along the way.
Shooting for a dream is not foolish at any age (But who’s calling who old here?! Mid-40’s and early 50’s is nowhere near old!). And leaving your loved ones to pursue a dream is not abandonment, nor is it selfish. Pursing a dream is empowering! It’s heroic! It’s a great life lesson! And we’re modeling to our family and friends that it’s OKAY to go for it, even if it’s scary as hell!
Myth #2: You’re going to grow apart and won’t be involved in each other’s lives anymore.
When my husband and I met, we were inseparable. Not out of some young insecure and immature in-lust reason, but rather because we enjoyed each other’s company. We had fun no matter what we did and it was obvious to everyone around that we were truly interested in one another. We each had been previously married, learned many life lessons along the way, and knew what we wanted. And after 17 months we got married on the beach in Hawaii. To outsiders it may have seemed like a whirlwind love affair now interrupted by 1,200 miles that’s gotta be destined to fail, but to the contrary it hasn’t!
We stay involved by speaking and texting multiple times a day (I’m completely serious!), sharing fun posts and tagging one another on social media, Skyping on a regular basis, and traveling to see one another every month. The longest stint we had apart early on was 7 weeks, which was hard. But we learned from that experience and vowed to never let that much time go between being together in person again.
We are both individuals choosing every day to stay closely connected, and we do this by talking about our relationship, our dreams and plans, and any worries or fears. We also share about work and what’s going on in our extended families and with friends. Maintaining connection is top priority!
When we spend time together, whether it’s my husband traveling home or me traveling to see him, we make it an adventure. Sure, his work has awarded us the opportunity to travel to new and exciting places together. We’ve seen some awesome sites, but the absolute best part is that we choose to live in each moment, each experience together.
Myth #3: You may as well get the divorce papers ready because the relationship will never last. Someone’s gonna cheat when you’re not together all the time – it’s inevitable.
Holy shitballs!! Yes, this one stopped me in my tracks when I heard it! I was honestly offended and my gut knotted up. Not because I was worried my husband would cheat (or that he was worried about me), but rather because the folks who made statements like this were projecting their personal insecurities onto us. They believed that if you’re not constantly there to keep an eye on your partner that they will stray. Yikes!
What I realized about the naysayers is that they had not yet experienced real trust in their lives. Or maybe they thought they did, but then got hurt.
In Googling the definition of trust, I found this…
Trust: “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Synonyms – confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence; reliance.”
This definition matches how I feel about my marriage. Trusting and being trustworthy is a choice I make every day. The level of trust I have in my husband, myself and our relationship is not questionable…nor is it something I’m willing to jeopardize.
What I’ve learned in these past 18 months is that I have a choice to believe the naysayers. OR I can believe in my husband and our ability to continue this healthy and successful long-distance relationship journey.
Long-distance relationships are not for everyone, and that’s okay. But when you hear of someone who is in one or is considering it, I invite you to be supportive and not project your fears or bad experiences onto the other person. Because there are couples who do defy the odds, busting through the myths and show that long-distance relationships can survive.