Geoff has said we might not be in the same city to celebrate our one-year anniversary.
In my mind, I'm pacing back and forth among anger, sorrow and confusion. So what happens now?
Geoff did say he wants more than anything to be together on June 18, but he wants to spread out his vacation through the summer so we don't have to spend so much time apart anymore. He's already planned to take a drive down to the Southwest the first week of June, but leaving to go back June 10. That's one week too early!
Right now I'm numb to this news. It just seemed so obvious that we would have this special weekend together. I want to believe that everything will be fine despite the fact that we won't be celebrating our one-year anniversary together.
I don't know. Do couples survive not being together for their anniversary? Is it really so important to make such a big deal out of the date? Of course, we could just celebrate a week early, but will it really be the same?
I had plans for the day. Changing those plans to a different day won't be a huge deal. But think about celebrating your birthday a week early because you're going to be out of town on your birthday. Will it mean as much?
I read the forums on the United States Masters Swimming Web site often. Someone posted a thread about finding love in the swimming pool. Some of the comments were so good, I decided to post a story of my own (with Geoff's approval, of course). Here's what I wrote:
I agree that having a swimming spouse is the ideal.
I had gone through many relationships where I tried to explain why I swim as much as I do, instead of trying a less smelly sport (chess, perhaps??).
Anyway, nine months ago I became involved with a swimmer (after two years of skirting any romantic involvement), and it's been great ever since. We can talk about our great workout sets, our poor sets and the meets we attend. To be able to use swimming shorthand with the one you love is the greatest asset of all!
Although, my fiance loves to swim alone, for thousands of yards at a time without stopping. I, on the other hand, need more than one other person around to motivate me and like shorter sets. We're different in that way, but when we talk to each other about swimming, it's nice to know that we both get it.
I know two people who work and swim together. I suppose that would be the perfect situation. Provided you can stand seeing your spouse 24/7.
Swimming is one of the things Geoff and I talk about all the time on the phone. And it's so easy to talk about. When we talk about our jobs, we both feel a little like outsiders (though we have visited each other's jobs and feel like we know all the inner workings). So swimming is a great thing to fall back on, something we will continue to discuss well into old age.
Some blogs just write themselves. Here's a comment a guy left on the Ryan/Alanis entry:
I just read the almost four months of archives of your blog. I enjoyed reading your passionate and honest feelings about your long distance relationship. After reading your comments I couldn't help but think about the times when my now wife and I lived on the telephone. Let me tell you a bit.
First, my now wife and I met about 5 years ago at UNM. I had just returned from a 6 month "study" (I almost never studied) abroad in Spain. We met fortunately by chance, talking about Spain. While I talked on and on about Spain she kept saying how she wanted to go. Well after a few months of dating, she decided to study abroad in Spain for 4 months. I think we only dated for about 4 or 5 months before she went to Sevilla, Spain. Nevertheless, we worked it out, promised that we would not hook-up with anyone else, keeping our eye on the future and the potential of our relationship. After 4 agonizing, expensive, and pretty difficult months; we made it and I think it really made our relationship stronger.
Well, that's not the end yet. About a year later, I graduated from UNM and was accepted to a graduate program at the University of Chicago. Of course I went and for another 4 months we were apart. But luckily she soon graduated and moved up to Chicago as well.
Seems like a happy ending there, but about 1 year later I moved to D.C. for 3 months for an internship I couldn't refuse. However, in the middle of that break, I flew back to Chicago and proposed to her in a pretty big surprise. It was a great story in itself.
Because I am overcome in nostalgia after reading your blog I'll give you the short story...I surprised her at our favorite restaurant, Cafe Iberico, (I had my friend invite her for drinks and I showed up instead)then afterwards we took a walk down the lake to Buckingham fountain (the famous fountain on Married with Children). There, with the lights of the fountain shining, I got on one knee and proposed. It was great, and to our surprise we had an audience clapping. But, that was not it. I had a horse carriage pick us up at the fountain and took us for a ride up Michigan Ave (Chicago's main drag) to our hotel where we had all the typical romantic stuff. Then the next day we went sailing on the lake. It was wonderful.
Well, to make a long email short. My wife and I finally got married in August 2003, here in New Mexico, where we grew up. I just wanted to tell you our story to let you know that all relationships have challenges. It's only the really good ones that overcome bigger than average obstacles. As long as you and your partner love each other, it will all work out. In fact, looking back, the distance made us stronger. Everyday we are faced with obstacles in our own lives and our relationships, but when we think back to how difficult it was with the long distance thing we say: "We made it throught that;" and all the trivial or future obstacles seem like peanuts.
So, congratulations and I wish you guys happiness.
Thanks, Dominic! And by the way, you've now trumped my proposal story. Maybe we'll have to outdo your wedding. It'll be bigger than Prince Charles and Camilla. Funny hats optional.
Just read a little blip in People magazine about Ryan Reynolds (the star of the gawdawful "The Amityville Horror") and Alanis Morrissette (she was God in "Dogma"). They're engaged and often find it difficult to find time to be together, especially now that she's on a world tour and he's trying to convince the media that he made the best horror movie ever.
Their solution is a few days together in Paris somewhere in the middle of the tour.
"I just want to make sure we spend as much time in the same room together as possible," Morrissette said.
How admirable. I love that idea. When Geoff and I are together again, I think I'll lock us in a room together and not emerge for days.
Of course, the room will have to have a shower, a refrigerator, television and cable.
Today marks 10 months since Geoff and I have started on this journey. Despite the hard times and because of the wonderful times, I've enjoyed every moment so far.
Geoff went on a fairly detailed rant last night about why this long-distance thing is straining his life. Without going into many details (which involved several expletives), I'll just say that the phone is clearly becoming his enemy. Those of you who have been following this blog regularly know that's nothing new. And yet Geoff wants to get cell phones for both of us so we can ALWAYS be in touch. Go figure.
Anyway, all that anger and frustration melted away when I called him at 8 a.m. (7 a.m. his time) to tell him how happy I was to have been his partner for the last 10 months. Certainly the next 10 will have a few pitfalls, but there are going to be some days of great joy and jubilation.
In two months we'll be celebrating our one-year anniversary. I told him we BETTER be together that day. I won't stand for marking the occasion on the phone. He's agreed, and we're making plans to be in the same city for that weekend. Don't know yet what we'll do, but being together is pretty much all I need.
Remember the woman I told you about that had a boyfriend in Mexico? Well, she's back from her trip, and here's what she had to say about it:
Well, the trip to Mexico was heaven! And, might I add, there are NO phone bills... at least on my end. I can't reach Conner in Mexico for some reason... Mexican cell phones or something like that! So, only he can call me, and that doesn't happen much at all, no matter how much I will it to happen. I do have to say, though, that we email every day, and that in itself is wonderful! We even have our ups and downs via email!
I'd die if I couldn't talk to Geoff when I felt like it.
On my own long-distance front woes, I recently found out that my work on The Tribune's Web site is at least one of the three best entries in the Associated Press Managing Editors awards contest. Wow.
Naturally, I told Geoff. I was happy for about ten seconds -- until I realized that he won't be able to be here for the awards ceremony in two weeks. If I were single and going to this event stag, I would feel differently. But knowing that the love of my life won't be able to witness a fine career moment is heartbreaking.
The best I can do is go home that night and try to relive the experience on the phone. Not as good, but for now, it'll have to do.
Ever since Geoff and I started down this journey of love last June 18, there hasn't been one day when we haven't talked.
Some people -- like this woman -- might think of that as unusual and unnecessary. This woman says that e-mail is a fine substitute for the phone. But does she know how good it makes me feel to hear Geoff's voice every day?
Others, like this one, stress that talking every day is essential.
You don't have to talk about heavy stuff every day. Sometimes we just call to say hi, and "My day was OK," and "How was your swim today" and "Tomorrow will be a better day." These phone conversations last five minutes.
Others will last about an hour.
If you do the math, that's almost 9,000 minutes on the phone during the 299 days that we've been together. And we're still going strong.
My aunt Jenny is not a psychiatrist. But she plays one in my blog.
Recently, she sent a few comments that I thought were very insightful. Much more insightful than Dr. Phil.
You may be a quiet person not used to confrontation, but you are an intelligent, easy going guy that wants things to go smoothly with as least amount of controversy, but you MUST address things right away without rubbing your temples. Find a common ground that will allow you two to communicate any concerns whether you agree or not, the key is to have the freedom to be wrong or right and communicate. If communication is not the basis of your relationship, you need not take that trip down the aisle.
Never said a truer word. That last sentence is very accurate. And I agree that things need to be addressed right away. Never go to bed angry!
Long distance relationships are hard, at best, you always find a need to want to be with that Person because you miss them. Somtimes you have to make the best of a bad situation, one thing for sure, whether you are distant or in the same space, you are an individual and you must have your own "territory" missing someone is good for a relationship, in perspective. The time you spend away from someone enables you to grow as an indivdual and makes the relationship more viable.
You never want to be totally dependent on anyone for your happiness. You can be in the same house with someone and miss them, you don't want that to happen, it's more hell than being thousands of miles apart and missing them. STOP worrying about the distant relationship and focus on being a partner in life.
Don't make the mistake of being too close, it's something to say about "Thinking outside the picture."
I try not to worry about the long distance. I do always focus on being the best partner I can be.
Thanks, Aunt Jenny!
I don't want anyone to think that Geoff and I constantly fight or are depressed when we talk on the phone. Quite the opposite.
Just a few days ago we talked about the counseling sessions we will go through with the priest who will marry us. Apparently, the priest -- Fr. Paul -- will marry us only if we go through (and pass) three sessions, which I understand is typical. Though it sounds like a daunting ordeal, I'm certain Geoff and I will pass with flying colors. It also will mean numerous trips for me to San Francisco so Geoff and I can sit down together and discuss how happy we are thinking about our future together. Obviously, I'm not complaining.
The talk of a wedding ceremony -- I believe it's disrespectful to call it a commitment ceremony -- makes us excited. This is something we've both wanted for a long time. He wanted to do it in his previous relationship. I've just wanted a relationship strong enough to even suggest it. The ring Geoff gave me Christmas Eve only reinforces this.
No date set yet. We're just trying to get through a hectic spring. The summer will be much better. I promise.
How does one go about having an argument on the phone?
If you're an introvert -- like me -- it's not easy. We're used to being quiet and expressing emotions facially, not vocally.
Geoff and I recently started conversations about our future wedding. Well, they were conversations until we talked about how many people we wanted to invite. Then it got heated.
I wanted about 100 guests. Geoff wanted about two. Huh?
I won't go into the sordid details of the debate, but Geoff always demands vocal feedback from a suggestion he makes. While he's talking, I'm either rubbing my temples in frustration or thinking of what to say next. Though I can do both at the same time.
I never expect us to reach commn ground right away, but I always try because our phone time is so limited each day that I want it all to be happy and cheery. But long-distance-relationship people have their little tiffs, too, and I have to learn to accept them as they come.
Bottom line: Introverts don't make good debaters on the phone. But I'm getting better. Instead of steaming internally, I've worked on getting that steam out into the phone line.