The whole truth about our summer, a.k.a. how we live at a distance for 4 months

While it may have not been completely apparent (though maybe sort of?) based on the summer’s blog posts, Brett and I have been living and working in completely different states since early June.  Brett, as he did last summer, has been working with Microsoft Research from Seattle, Washington while I have been working with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

We have decided officially though…that even though we made this work for another summer, living at a distance is not how we would like to continue our married lives together.  This summer, with a little luck, will be the last one that we need to spend across the country from one another.  We have been able to make our relationship work though and have both had really successful summers.  We both hear many comments about distance relationships…about how we just couldn’t get married last summer and then live apart (well…we did)…about how it would put a huge strain on our relationship (well…we’re fine)…and the ‘oh my, how do you ever make that work?!’ comments (well…we do).  Honestly, the hardest part about living separately over the summers is moving back in with one another!  haha!  🙂  We both are forced to become super independent over the summers and then we force each other to move as a unit when we come back together.  But…like I said before, we have done this before and we are fine!  I just can’t help but wonder why we get these sorts of comments when couples comprised of military personnel have been figuring out how to live apart for a while now!

None-the-less, I thought I’d share how we make it work over the summers, when we are living more than 2500 miles from one another.

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Mal and Brett’s tricks to a distance relationship:

1.  We keep ourselves busy with our own hobbies.  When we are each busy doing things that we like, we have less time (and brain power) to feel lonely.  When each of us isn’t feeling too lonely about having to live so far apart from one another, we can continue to thrive as individuals and can thus continue to thrive as a couple.

2.  When we’re keeping busy we keep one another ‘in the loop’.  Though some long-distance couples (I’m thinking of military ones here especially…) may not have this luxury, Brett and I do.  We both, at almost all times, have our cell phones nearby.  I’ll text Brett when I’m heading out for a run with the pups and he’ll let me know when he’s leaving work and off for an evening activity with friends.  We both feel more involved in the other’s life if we know (at least vaguely) what they are up to at any given moment.  (We especially love updating one another on the things definitely not worth updating about)  🙂

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3.  We skype or facetime at least every few days.  Seeing one another has been really important for Brett and I when we’re living apart.  It is easy to just chat quickly about our busy days and kind of forget that our spouse is on the other end of the telephone.  Some days our schedules don’t synch up enough to enjoy some face-to-face time (there are two hours of time difference between our two summer ‘homes’) but this becomes a priority at least a couple times a week.  Sometimes it means that we’ll skype one another right as I’m heading to bed and we’ll keep it running through the night.  Then, in the morning, I get to wake up ‘with’ Brett and I’ll turn off the skype call before I head off to work 🙂  On the weekends though (once again…if our schedules permit) I’ll get to keep the skype call running until he wakes up and throughout the day.  A couple of times we’ve even watched tv ‘together’ this way 🙂

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4.  We’re patient with one another’s bits of crazy.  Brett and I have found that some personality quirks are magnified when we’re living long distance from one another while others are suppressed.  For example, my tendency to worry seems to grow when Brett and I are living apart.  Brett is super supportive during my bouts of worry 🙂  Brett, on the other hand, isn’t any better at doing things while talking to me on the phone when we’re living across the country than when we’re living in the same zip code 🙂  But we make it work.  Sometimes our schedules get in the way a bit…but we stay flexible to one another 🙂

5.  Be patient with one another and always apologize if you are mean.  I know that this one looks a lot like #4 but it really is one of the most important things that we’ve had to remember.  Sometimes, one of us just has a bad day.  It usually has very little to do with the other person but this bad day is hard to keep out of the tone of limited conversations.  If one of us is rude to the other, the important thing is to say we’re sorry and move on.

6.  When you are together, go on adventures!  Whenever Brett and I are able to be together for a weekend (yep…never longer than that for the summer), we have a great time together 🙂  We explore the city we’re in.  We try new places to eat and new things to see.  We show each other our favorite spots around town and we find brand new ones.

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And that’s it!  We made it work using these easy tricks last summer when we moved 2500 miles apart, came together to get married, and then headed back across the country from one another and again this summer (except that getting married part…we already did that 🙂 ).  I wouldn’t say that it is easy-peasy but we make it work.  I’m just glad that we don’t have to for much longer!

Do you have any tricks for long distance relationships?  (whether they are usually long distance or not!)  🙂

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