I’ve read a lot about long distance relationships, and I’ve noticed that there’s not all that much written about what happens after. That is to say, once you’ve moved in together, or even once you’ve decided that this person is “the one”. They say it’s important to write what you want to read, so here it is: the happily every after of LDR’s.
I am that friend of a friend for whom a long distance relationship actually worked. My husband and I met through a mutual friend – an old boyfriend of mine – him in New York, USA me in Toronto, Canada. We were friends for a few years, seeing each other only when I visited my boyfriend, and after my boyfriend and I broke up, we lost touch for a while. A year later, he messaged me on Facebook, and we ended up talking for something like eight hours. We dated for a month before I visited him in New York, and we made our relationship official. For a while, his friends didn’t believe I existed – I was the “girlfriend in Canada”, which I will forever find funny, because ten months later, these same friends were at our wedding.
My husband moved up to Canada to be with me, and we found ourselves a very nice apartment that would be super easy for two people working to support, but at the time, his paperwork still hadn’t come through, and I was still in school, working only part time. We stayed there a year before we were given the opportunity to move down to Delaware for a time. At this point, Husband’s time in Canada had run out – we would have to pay 600$ to let him stay longer – so we figured, why not? I can be in the US for six months without a visa and without giving up my free Canadian health care, so down we went. We applied for the permission to apply for a visa for me (seriously), and ditched Canada.
That’s pretty much when the trouble started. We didn’t know that Canadian Immigration had lost Husband’s paperwork until we tried crossing the border into the US and they rejected me because his paperwork wasn’t in the system. We sat in shocked silence as we drove back to my parents’ house. I cried. Being pulled apart after being together for more than a year was heartbreaking for me. Thankfully, the border people let me through the next day, but it required the “right” person at the gate, along with a giant book of reasons – which I now carry to cross the border every time – that I will return to Canada.
I can’t work in the US without paperwork, and he can’t work up in Canada, so we decided to try to divide and conquer. My husband is in Delaware, and I’m living with my parents in Ontario. It’s a weird place to be, too. When we left Canada, I was leaving a job that was paying OK money plus benefits, and an apartment we loved, to go on an adventure. Now, writing on a desk I used when I was 12 in a room I’ve had since I was 3 or 4, I feel lonely a lot, and like a bit of a failure. We thought we did everything right – applying for immigration ahead of time, doing research, everything – but yet here we are.
With me applying to graduate school, we’ve decided to spend the money and get an immigration lawyer to get Husband into Canada once and for all. The hardest part about deciding where to immigrate, though, is the fact that our families and friends are all over the place. Most of my family is in Ontario, and I have friends all over the world, though most of them are here in Ontario, too. His family and friends are spread out across the US, but most of them are in the New York/Pennsylvania area. The biggest question is sitting on the horizon, too, because when we have kids, where should we live? The health care perks in Canada are huge, but then we’re a six-hour drive from my in-laws. Of course, it depends where we both get jobs, but if we plan on being near family and friends, we have to decide whose family, and whose friends.
Or we could just say screw it all, and move to Hawaii.
LDRs are hard, and long distance marriage is a pain, too. Skype is brilliant, and the ability to text, but ultimately it’s difficult knowing that the person with whom you want to spend your life is suspect whenever visiting your country, and vice versa. I feel like a criminal every time I want to visit my husband, and it sucks. It also sucks lying in bed with my computer warming me rather than him, knowing he’s in bed too. It’s like the old days when lovers would look up at the night sky and know their partner was gazing at the same moon. I can see him, right in front of me, but I can’t touch him. His voice is different over the headset, and I’m holding a teddy bear instead of his hand. It’s worth it, though, in case you were beginning to doubt. I’ll always choose a difficult life with him over a simple one with anyone else.
Marriage can be hard, whether you’re living together or on opposite sides of the world. As someone that’s done both, I like to think I have at least a little bit of authority on the topic. The biggest thing – the most important thing – in the whole institution is communication. Love is great, but if you can’t communicate with your partner, you’re going to find yourself in a heap of trouble. I was feeling lonely a while back, and I told my husband so, and we talked about how to fix it. I’m a little needy, so I requested he send me letters, like he did when we were dating. We have date nights, and TV shows we watch only with each other (and let me tell you, writing full-time and having a list of Netflix things I’m not allowed to touch is terrible temptation).
Telling your long distance partner what you need and what you want is super important because even if they’re really in tune to you when you’re together, when you’re long distance, they can’t get as many physical clues to what you need. Are you feeling sad, but only texting? Sure, my husband can figure it out eventually, but why go through the pain of having to drop a million hints when I can just text him, “I feel blah, make it better” ? Presumebly, if you’re committing to long distance, you’re committing for the long haul. Use this time to learn how to talk to your partner, and be honest with him.
Husband and I started dating September 2012, married June 2013, and we haven’t fought once. It’s not because we think the other person has no faults, or because we think the same – we don’t. We’re not just in our honeymoon period. We have disagreements, like any two mature people who have chosen to spend tons of time together, but we don’t let them get to the point of arguments because we used our time during our LDR – then and now – to learn how to communicate. How to be honest with each other. Honesty is the best policy because, really – if you can’t be honest with them, will you trust them to be honest with you?
I’ll always be honest with my husband, and with my friends. Lovely readers, if you’re in a LDR, I’d love to hear about it. Have questions about how Husband and I are making things work? I’ll always answer questions about how we do it because the world needs more love, and if my experience can help you and your love, all the better.