What A Week In A Long-Distance Marriage Looks Like

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What A Week In A Long-Distance Marriage Looks Like
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Even though this distance has become our new normal, it doesn't mean it's gotten easier.

As told to Ronnie Koenig

When Mike* and I first met one night at a local pub, I was 22 and in my senior year of college in upstate New York, and he was 26 and finishing up culinary school nearby. We had an instant connection: Within a year of dating we moved in together and got married.

Instead of going on a honeymoon, though, I moved to New York City for grad school a few days after the wedding and Mike moved across the country to San Francisco for an opportunity to open a restaurant. Needless to say, our friends and family were baffled.

We've been living apart for almost a full school year now. And even though this distance has become our new normal, it doesn't mean it's gotten easier.

Here's what a week in my life is like:


Monday

While the rest of my married friends are setting up homes or picking out their first couches, I'm labeling my container of half and half in a fridge I share with two female roommates—who are great, by the way, but they aren't my husband. I am constantly reminding myself that the situation is temporary. (Not all long-distance relationships are doomed, research shows.)

Mike and I both live with roommates to save money so that I can fly out to see him, ideally twice a month. On my way to class, I get a text from Mike saying that he misses me. He also includes a link to a new restaurant he wants us to try. This Friday is my next trip; it's circled on my calendar, and I get a surge of excitement every time I see it.


Tuesday

After classes, I go home and make dinner for myself. At 10 PM my phone rings—it's Mike right on time for our daily FaceTime date. I don't know how we could have gotten through this year without video chat. Just getting the chance to actually see each other when we speak makes all the difference. I can read my husband's emotions better, and it feels good to be seen by him and told I look beautiful.

If one of us is out we will show each other our surroundings and what we're up to—for instance, today I went to a pop-up clothing store with friends from school and just had to show him a dress I was trying on. And the other day he showed me how the new design of his restaurant is shaping up. But tonight we are both staying in, so we catch up on Twin Peaks, starting our DVRs at the exact same time. It's a little bit of normal and I love it.

Wednesday

This evening I went to happy hour with some of my classmates and a male friend awkwardly tried to kiss me at the end of the night. Never mind that he knows I'm married and wear a wedding ring all the time! I think because Mike and I are apart people automatically assume that there's something wrong between us, but in fact, it's the opposite.

When we made the decision to live separately we were thinking about the big picture: He would never get an opportunity here as good as the one he got in California, but he didn't want to see me sacrifice my chance to study at one of the best fashion design masters programs in the country, so we both went after our dreams. I called Mike when I got home and we laughed off what happened with my classmate. Sometimes I just need to hear his voice and that makes everything feel better.


Thursday

Tonight our FaceTime date turned into some private sexy time. It feels silly to say I'm having phone sex with my husband, but that's really what it is. We do this about two to three times a week and it's really important because otherwise, it could start to feel like he is just my long-distance friend.

When we first started doing this, I felt strangely shy even though we had been intimate so many times before in person. I guess it felt a little like performing. But because Mike has such a great sense of humor he always puts me at ease and I never feel weird anymore. I am so looking forward to tomorrow when I will actually get to see him in person!
 

Friday

The one good thing about living apart from your husband is that you get to have that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling all over again each time you reunite. When I see Mike waiting for me by the baggage claim I run into his arms and we hold each other. I just inhale the smell of his body, taking everything in.

Our lives feel intense and dramatic and although I would not want to live like this permanently, I do relish the fact that we get to have moments like this one. We go back to his apartment and spend the entire afternoon in bed until one of us decides we need to go eat.

Mike was excited for me to try Korean food at Namu Gaji. We spend hours just talking and trying everything on the menu. It's strange because in a way we pick up as if we haven't been apart, but it's also like catching up with a long lost friend you're really excited to see.

Saturday

Being at Mike's place is great and we easily fall into our married couple routine when I'm here. We do normal things like go food shopping, cook dinner and sit outside, go for walks, have sex again (and again!), and visit the restaurant where he works. I know that after one more year of school I'll graduate and come out here to make this my home, so I try to get to know the friends he's made even though I'd rather just be alone with Mike since our time together is so limited.


Sunday

Now, this is the part about living in different states that sucks: the goodbye. I've done it so many times now, but it still hurts every time. We part ways at his house and by the time I get into my Uber I'm a snotty, tear-streaked mess.

It's in moments like this that I think I should just quit school, come out here and find a job, or maybe apply to schools on the West Coast. But then I remember how hard I worked to get where I am and that part of what Mike and I love about each other is how we are each so focused on careers that we are passionate about.

Before I turn my phone off on my flight I see a text from Mike—just a quick "I love you." I text him back, "I love you too" and then put my headphones on, hoping I'll be able to fall asleep as we prepare for takeoff.

*Names have been changed

This article was originally published at Prevention. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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