A Long Distance Relationship: Take Two

As a blogger, I keep a running list of blog post ideas that I’m interested in writing about one day. These ideas vary from deep thoughts of life to a fun, simple recipe. One particular topic on this list is, “How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship”. After experiencing it in the first year of college with my now-husband, I got the hang of it.

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Donovan and I dated in high school for a couple of years. After graduation, we both headed off to different colleges. Both at the beginning of a new change in our lives, we thought we’d give long distance a shot. That season of our relationship was really, really complicated. I’ll spare you the details and just say that over the course of that year and maybe even a short break-up, I learned SO MUCH. Despite all the trials and stumbling blocks, we made it. We were even still separated by a few states during the beginning of our engagement, but two months before our wedding date, Donovan came home and we were finally done being apart!

I still remember that evening. My mother-in-law to be, my mom, and I had just spent a couple hours at the wedding decorator’s house looking at chair covers. We were in Goodwill looking at different types and colors of fabric when Donovan called me. He had just parked at the store after driving all day to Arizona from Montana. I rushed outside to greet him in the parking lot. I remember embracing him thinking finally. Finally, long distance was over. Finally, we would see each other on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. Finally, we’d forever live in the same city. We were so, so happy to have each other’s companionship and do life together at last.

Fast forward exactly a year and a half later to two nights ago. I was packed full of emotions – Facetiming my husband goodnight for the first time since that fabric-shopping day. I felt my throat choke up and my voice quiver as I got the words out, “I just want to do life together.”

So here we are again. On Sunday morning, Donovan packed up his car to the brim to go to the police academy for 17 weeks. There’s a pillow missing on our bed. His closet is half empty. The only toothbrush in the bathroom cup is mine, and the shower only has my products inside. I didn’t wake up this morning to a dirty dish in the sink or have to habitually put away the toaster he usually uses for breakfast. I came home last night to an empty house, and at bedtime I locked up the house myself, trying to think of the checklist Donovan usually does to keep us safe at night. For the next 4 months, my day-to-day schedule has completely changed.

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As I got ready for bed that first night alone, I thought about my list. I remembered that particular topic that I thought I had conquered and figured it all out. Then I quickly realized I have no clue how to survive a long distance relationship.

And I don’t mean I don’t know how to stay together despite the distance. I’m not worried about that. But I don’t know how to make it easy. I don’t know how to be okay with it. I don’t know how to start an, although temporary, new routine. Even though I did it before, I don’t know how to do it again.

What I do know is we’re strong. I know we support one another. I know we love each other more than anything, and love is the strongest force in the world. And I know that the days, weeks, and months will go by and we’ll figure it out once more and we’ll “survive”. And I sure as heck know I don’t ever wanna go through it again a third time!

So if you’re wondering how to make it through your long distance relationship, all I’ve got for ya is… Love each other. And you’ll be alright.

— Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? —

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2 Comments

  1. This gives me ALL the feelings! My husband and I did long-distance at the beginning of college, too. Then were together for awhile, and separate again after college while we were engaged. When we finally got married and he moved in, I felt like we could finally settle into a routine. Then a year later he left for a 10 week national tour with a band. I was devastated. I was so worried about what our life would look like if he continued to go on tours and we were constantly separated by thousands of miles, time zones, and totally different schedules. I felt like maybe I had signed myself up for a life that I couldn’t handle by marrying a traveling musician.

    I learned absolutely nothing helpful- it’s always hard. Sure, communication helps and stuff…. but nothing makes it better. At least nothing I could find. The only thing that helped me was remembering military families and how much harder it must be for them with the constant distance and lack of communication and changes in living situation and fear for the spouse’s life. I tried to draw inspiration from their strength.

    Good luck with the distance from your hubby! Just keep loving each other through it.

    • Hannah Rooks

      I’m so glad you could relate – although so sorry you had to go through it too! I definitely have those thoughts of I could never be a military wife. Those women are STRONG! Thank you so much for reading, Laura, and your sweet words. It means so much to me!

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