You said I was crazy to sign up for an extreme long-distance relationship. You were wrong.
I live in Orlando. He lives in Australia. At any given moment, there are 9,349 miles (plus, one hell of an expensive airplane ticket) separating me from my boyfriend. In fact, our time zones are so far apart that he technically lives "in the future" (because, right now, it's already tomorrow in Sydney).
Let me be clear, this man is the greatest love of my life. He's on my mind and in my heart constantly, but I only physically see him four times a year for 2-and-1/2-week visits, and you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.
Our relationship is pretty close to perfect, though naysayers give us an earful about it all the time. "You're crazy." "It will never last!" "How long can you sustain a long-distance relationship like that (and why would you even bother)?" "What kind of future can you possibly have?"
Actually, we have a rather bright, exciting, and beautiful future, thank-you-very-much. We're two years into this global romance of ours and it's the happiest, sexiest, and most meaningful relationship either of us have ever experienced. And while we certainly miss each another, we've discovered that far-flung love comes with some surprising (and pretty darn spectacular) benefits.
So, naysay all you want, cohabitating couples! When it comes to true relationship satisfaction, you might be the ones missing out.
Romance Movies? Pshh, We Put Them To Shame.
He's tall, dark and handsome and has a sexy Australian accent. I'm a woman who was previously lost in a loveless marriage who's finally blossoming into herself post-divorce.
We board planes and fly halfway around the world just to be together. We get dressed up and go on amazing dates with twinkling city skyline backdrops. We kiss in public (often and unabashedly). We lay on picnic blankets in the park. We stay up talking and laughing all night. Every moment together feels darling and sexy.
But the best part is: this is our real life.
I'm just an ordinary person. He's an ordinary person. But we're building a beautiful relationship together because for us, a life of passion trumps a life of cohabitating proximity.
Naysayers always focus on the hardship of time spent apart (and I confess, it is definitely hard). But we choose to focus on the heartfelt joy and deep connection that comes from time spent together, which (precisely because we haven't seen each another in awhile) is always exciting, full of love, full of romance, and spent exploring new adventures together.
Heck, after three months apart, even ordinary moments like grocery shopping or doing laundry together feel sweet and oh-so-romantic.
Tons Of Alone Time? Yup, And I Love It.
Waking up next to the man I love is a beautiful thing, no doubt. But sorry dude, I can't miss you if you're never gone. Just because I'm madly in love with my guy and adore his company, it doesn't mean I want him in my personal space 24/7.
It seems like once couples move in together they're not "allowed" to take true chunks of alone time ever again. An hour or two? Sure. A whole weekend? Only if your partner has something else to do. More than that? It's an issue.
Sorry, that kind of all-up-in-my-space commitment is not for me. Not at this stage of my life anyway. I work from home, so right now I love — and desperately need — my privacy. And my boyfriend works ridiculously long days and is pretty fond of his alone time, too.
Our long-distance dynamic regularly gifts us with three-month chunks of guilt-free alone time. This space and solitude helps us each stay tethered to ourselves, recalibrate our energy, and creates space to plow through deadlines and take time to just relax — all without worrying about neglecting the other person. When it's time for one of our quarterly visits, we show up recharged and ecstatically happy to share space with each other again.
I Don't Have To Parent His Kids
Let's be real, no matter how much your kids like your new boyfriend, they still don't want their time alone with you intruded upon. One of the great perks of a long-distance relationship is that our children have a new loving and nurturing adult in their lives without having that adult invade permanently.
My boyfriend and I incorporate time with our kids into our visits for a few days (we hang out with his boys when I'm in Australia and with my daughter when he's in America). We dub that "kid time" so the children are the priority and focus. It's a super fun, super loving time when everyone gets to bond without pressure, and our children get to see a beautiful example of what a healthy, loving adult relationship looks like.
The rest of our 2-and-a-1/2-week visit is kid-free (thanks to our exes) and my boyfriend and I focus entirely on "us." You know what? Our kids are thrilled with and appreciate this arrangement. We all get along wonderfully and enjoy our time together.
They are glad to see me and my boyfriend in love and happy together. However, at the end of the two weeks, our kids are relieved to have their sacred space with us as individuals restored.
We Have More Sex Than You (For Real)
Let's debunk one myth, shall we. naysayers? If you're thinking you could never go that long without sex, well, I'm here to tell you that despite big gaps in time spent apart, my boyfriend and I most likely have way more sex than you. Impossible, you say?
Well, research shows that the average cohabitating couple has sex twice per week (that's 24 sex acts over 3 months). During our 2-and-a-1/2-week visits every three months, we easily average sex 2-3 times a day (you do the math). Sure, the daily number of romps is less when the kids are around, but far more when they're not.
With that said, I have to tell you — the long-distance perk here isn't in the quantity of sex; it's the quality! Even though we steadily grow and deepen our emotional connection while apart by communicating daily (Skype date, anyone?), the one thing we can't share while separated is physical touch.
Our bodies forget each other just a little bit, but enough to make that initial intimate contact at the start of every visit feel like we're having sex for the very first time (over and over again). Senses are heightened, the intimacy is both soulful and primal, and the anticipation of every subtle touch is downright thrilling.
In the days that follow, our sexual rediscovery ranges from passionate and erotic adventures at night (please, don't hate us, upstairs neighbor), to sweet sleepy lovemaking at dawn and wonderfully playful sex in the afternoon. Yeah, you can keep your infrequent maintenance sex, cohabiters, the I-missed-you-so-much reunion sex is so much better.
We Fight For Each Other Every Day
One of the biggest relationship insecurities people have is the fear that the person they're with might only be sticking around because it's easy and convenient. Well, ladies and gents, I don't have to worry about that for a second.
This is not a worry one has when your relationship is anything but convenient. Attraction, chemistry, or excitement might bring long-distance lovers together initially, but you have to reallllllly love someone to stay in a relationship like ours.
While the dynamics allow for some pretty wonderful perks, our relationship is not without its challenges and hardships. The day-to-day logistics of navigating a 9,349 mile distance, a painfully expensive cost to fly back and forth, a 16-hour time zone difference, and entirely rearranging your schedule to accommodate the 2-and-a-1/2-week visits, on top of not being able to see the person you are madly in love with whenever you want ... well, it can be incredibly hard.
It was an amazing leap of faith when my boyfriend got on a plane and flew halfway around the world to meet me for the first time. It has been a beautiful leap of faith every step we've taken toward each other ever since.
Once someone has seen you at your best and your worst (in person and over a Skype screen) and they keep showing up no matter the odds that seem stacked against them, well, that's love, people. A true, deep, earth shattering love that's worth fighting hard for every single day.
And you'd be a straight up fool not to fly halfway around the world for something (or, rather someone) like that.