I haven’t seen my honey since September 2010. Sometimes it just gets so hard to be apart and not know when we will hold each other again! It’s funny the things you take for granted when you see your partner each and every day. Right now, I say that I will never take the little things for granted when we are finally together long term. Realistically, I will. Eventually the day will come that I will not feel the sting of the long months and years we spent apart. I will be able to be angry with him over the small stuff and blame him when my days goes badly. Right now, I don’t have the luxury of doing these things.
For the past 2 1/2 years we have spent an average of 2 hours a day together either on the phone or over the internet doing IM and video chats. There is an awful lot of life which just doesn’t get shared when 22 hours of the day are apart. Conversely, there are many things we talk about and share on a regular basis which don’t usually get talked about in an all day every day relationship. I’d honestly have to say that within the first six months of our relationship, he knew me better than pretty much anyone else ever has. There is nothing to do except talk. I mean, we can’t watch TV, go to concerts or clubs, play sports or other games together, or even just lie in bed all day making love. If we don’t talk there is no relationship.
At this point, there aren’t many things he doesn’t know about me. Sure, some of the minor details of my life, but overall, he knows me. There isn’t a lot let for us to talk about and explore which is new and exciting. We have reached the maintenance level of our relationship. Not always exciting for either of us, but for me, I find great comfort in it. I cherish the routine of our relationship. Knowing more or less what we’ll talk about and what happened in his day. I can usually predict pretty well the exact words he’ll use to respond to things I tell him. I love this! The predictability has become a game in and of itself for me.
In the routine, though, sometimes we forget to talk about the important things. Being in a long distance relationship and going through the immigration process are phenominal stressors! Perhaps it is not always “forgetting” as it is a choice. With only a couple hours a day to share our life right now, who wants to bring in the stress and hardships, right? I’m learning that these are the glue of our relationship. The sweet romantic things and the normal day-to-day things are important, but in the end, without the glue of sharing our hurts and stresses there will be no romance and mundane stuff. There will be no “us.”
I bring this up, because in the past 6 months, things have been immensely difficult and stressful for each of us independently and even more so together, as we share each other’s pain, stress, and fear. Sure, we can talk to our friends or family about the stressors and get some relief, but in reality, no one truly understands the inner workings of our relationship and the actual stress of being apart more than the two of us do. Makes the most sense to share with each other first and foremost.
Benneth and I went a little too long without having a good talk about our stress and anxiety. He tends to go into sollution mode and just get things done. I tend to go into more of a needy place. I need more of his time and attention than normal… and have trouble getting a lot done. This doesn’t work so well systemicly. If he’s mainly action and little emotion and I’m emotionally needy and little action there is bound to be a big disconnect in getting our needs me.
I found myself getting irritable the other day and feeling like there was no emotional connection between us. I was asking myself, “Why bother? I can’t hardly remember right this moment why we’re fighting to hard to make this work.” I found it quite effective to ask directly for what I needed. “I need your time to talk about us… and not the sollution for bringing us together.” We were able to both validate the need the other has for sollution and emotional connection. We were able to come to an agreement on a sollution which works to meet both needs and build our relationship even stronger. The beautiful thing in this conversation was that we each heard that we both are feeling the same thing… just expressing it differently so we didn’t hear the other “saying” the feeling.
It’s looking like the time will be coming within the next couple of months, God willing, that I will be able to go over there and marry him. I cannot begin to express the joy this brings to my heart! Knowing that I will soon see him again and start the process of making our life together permanent and physically close is just about mind blowing!! The immigration process is still lengthy and difficult. We’ll be looking at a good 6-9 months before he has another interview to come here. At least knowing that there is an end in sight makes it more doable. Waiting for something when you have no idea when it will happen is nearly unbearable!
I have a couple of friends telling me I should write a book about our immigration experience and living for a few years totally in love and trapped on different continents due to governmental red tape and money stressors. Where does one start with such an undertaking? How do you tell your story of love, hope and faith through the filter of hurt, anger and frustrations with things totally out of your control? Food for thought. As Alma says, it might help someone else going through this situation to navigate it a little easier than we are. I would like to think it might bring them a touch of hope when things are bleek and look impossible. Where do we turn for hope when there seems to be nothing to hold onto?
I’m grateful today to have held on for that hope. My ticket isn’t bought yet, so there is still the uncertainty… but I tell you there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel!