There are many ways to test a relationship, and I had no interest in any of them. But life happens. You find yourself in situations you never expected.
He didn’t walk out, get thrown out or wander off to ‘find himself’. My other half just chose to live halfway around the world (yes, I have measured it) for a once-in-a-lifetime job.
A few years ago, a magazine article put it bluntly: “With our global culture, expanding professional opportunities, and technological advances…long-distance relationships are here to stay.”
My long-distance living arrangement was unexpected and I wasn’t exactly happy about it. My husband and I have lived apart before, but never for this long and this far away. And not since we’d had children.
So I dug back into Google archives to find that magazine article and remind myself why the author said this could work. One of the reasons hit home: it helps you define and redefine your core ‘values and personal sense of self’.
Now you’re talking my language. I’m all about teaching others how to define who they are and how to express it. I never imagined a year and a half away from my husband would help me do that for myself.
He went alone because I chose to stay behind to let my eldest son finish secondary school. While it made sense on paper, I admit to having a sinking feeling when he said “yes” to the offer.
However, just a few months into the new arrangement when people started asking me, with caring and sometimes worried expressions, “how are you holding up?”, I surprised myself with my reaction. I realised I was happy.
I can understand if that sounds a bit worrying. Let me explain.
It turns out, I’ve rediscovered what it means to be ‘me’, not ‘us’ and it’s given me more focus than I’ve had in years.
I’ve had a lot of fun with girlfriends who I now realise may have been overlooked when hubby was still at home. Instead of dragging him unenthusiastically to the theatre and ballet, I’ve gone with them. It’s a win-win.
When I dared to admit how well things were going to a select few friends who I figured might ‘get’ it, I discovered that I’m not a freak of nature, nor is there anything fundamentally wrong with my relationship.
Instead, this seems to be a secret some women already know. They have partners who are in the military, who travel non-stop or have chosen what my hubby and I have — jobs in two different locations. They all agree: the time apart can actually be very productive and satisfying.