In a Classic Carly-like way of thinking, I want to share the journey with you. If there is anyone out there that is currently navigating a long distance relationship or are about to transition to a long distance relationship, I hope this helps.
Before I get started, I do want to introduce you to my boyfriend because it is going to drive me crazy if I just refer to him as ‘the boyfriend’ over and over again. So, everyone meet Brandon.
Okay, now that we have the formal introductions out of the way, let’s get into it. I am not going to sugarcoat this for you, long distance S.U.C.K.S. If you are wanting to put your relationship to the test I suggest going to IKEA. It is by far the less painful and, not to mention, cheaper option. Nevertheless, Brandon packed his bags and headed off on a trip of a lifetime leaving lil’ ol me behind. I can honestly say it has been both far easier and far harder than I expected. So sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy my trials and tribulations.
Navigating a long distance relationship | what I have found that works…
Listening to Pitbull, on repeat (hear me out)
The airport drop off was definitely not easy. I had this beautiful image in my head that we would get to the airport and it would be a super romantic farewell, the stuff you see in movies. It was not. He was super super nervous (and quiet), which is no surprise – the guy is packing up and leaving behind his life for six months. And I was an emotional wreck, barely keeping it together. So yeah, not super romantic.
Once we waved goodbye and he headed down that dreaded escalator at a snail’s pace (if you have been to Brisbane International Departures than you will know what I am talking about), I headed back to my car.
Tip: take a picture of where you parked your car. The last thing you want to do when your upset and your brain is working 100% is wander around trying to locate your car.
From a practical perspective, I was a little nervous about driving home from the airport. We had been up since the early hours of the morning, I was tired AF and crying… a lot. Add that combo to the fact that it was past midnight, raining on and off and my vision is average at best and you have yourself some un-ideal driving conditions.
Anyway, I had kept myself somewhat together (tears definitely still happened) but once I got back to the car I lost it. I don’t even think tears were coming out as much as I was doing that weird can’t-breathe-sobbing thing. I made Kim Kardashian look like the most beautiful crier in comparison. My brain was like ‘Carly get your shit together, every minute you spend crying won’t bring Brandon back. You will just have to pay more in Airport Parking. It is time to go home.’ So I turned my car on and a Pitbull song was blaring on the radio station.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to cry, or feel sorry for yourself and be sad in general when Pitbull is playing. It just doesn’t work. I jumped onto Spotify and played nothing but Pitbull the entire way home. Crisis averted. Thanks Mr. 305.
Mr. Pitbull and his musical masterpieces have been frequently played since.
Keeping reaaaalll busy
I am in a very lucky position in that I have a very demanding job that consumes my life and thoughts and I have this blog. Both these things have made the past three months FLY by. Find something you can pour your heart and soul into and not only will time go faster but you will be knocking your goals out of the ballpark.
Focusing on Project Carly
You know how you go through a breakup and after the tears and the ice cream you get all #IndepedentWoman and start eating right, working out and focusing on yourself? Well, I decided that Brandon going away for six-months meant that I could ‘refocus on me’ without the breakup #Winning
In any relationship, it can sometimes feel as though the needs of ‘me’ can get drowned out by the needs of ‘us’. And it is not just the couples who are inseparable that can benefit from ‘being selfish’ once in a while.
Brandon and I are both very independent (he may chuckle reading this). I have never felt like I am his other half or him mine. We are two whole humans that prefer being together. We have our own personalities, goals, ambitions, interests and social circles. This has definitely made being apart easier as our identities aren’t so tightly intertwined but, all the same, it has been nice to pour all focus and attention on ‘Carly’ for a while.
Enjoying the blisses of singledom…
… no, not like that.
If I come home from work at 10 pm no one cares (besides my hungry cat).
If I go out for dinner with a girlfriend I don’t need to let anyone know.
When I go grocery shopping I can buy for me. If I want god damn Zooper Dooper for dinner I have no one else’s tummy to worry about.
If I want to hog the entire bed there is no grumpy snoring man to stop me.
Putting 110% trust and faith in someone
Go through the Ghosts of Carly’s past and they will tell you, I have not always been the most trusting person (and with bloody merit, mind you). With Brandon, I have been a squillion times less insecure and more trusting. I know in my heart of hearts that Brandon is loyal to a fault and was raised to respect people (thanks Mama and Papa P). However, nothing can surface insecurities quite like managing a long distance relationship. The funny thing is that if anything, this whole long distance gig has solidified that I am with the right human. Sometimes regular contact is hard and if you don’t trust your partner, you are in for a very rough time. Which brings me to this, if you do not trust your partner it could be for two reasons:
- You’re with the wrong partner. Adiós, aloha, sayonara, bon voyage, au revoir, ciao, auf Wiedersehen, bye Felicia. This is the perfect opportunity to cut ties with someone you cannot trust.
- Your own insecurities or baggage is coming into play. To this I would say; ‘What is fixating, worrying and playing out a myriad of scenarios going to achieve?” Old mate will be over in Turkey having the time of his (or her) life while you sentence yourself to 6-months of mental torture.
It has taken me a while to get to this place but I now think that if someone wants to cheat on me or betray my trust, go for gold. But it is going to be them that destroys the relationship not me and my insecurities. Believe me when I say that nothing will detonate a relationship as spectacularly as unfounded insecurities.
Navigating a long distance relationship | what I am really struggling with…
I don’t want to focus on the negative aspects of managing a long distance relationship because we are at the halfway point and all things considering it has been overwhelmingly positive (touch wood). But here are a couple things that have been hard:
We are battling against time zones, conflicting schedules, shitty Wifi connections, noisy hostels, each others’ emotions, family deaths, and serious illnesses. It has been hard.
Technology is great but nothing beats the real thing.
Settling into the ‘new normal’
The first two days were by far the worst and the first two weeks weren’t much better; like beyond horrible. Which is kind of ironic because I am sure if you asked Brandon he was having the time of his life in those first two weeks.
There is something to be said for being ‘the one that gets left behind’ and it is not pleasurable. It legit felt like I was in mourning, and I am tearing up now just thinking about it (don’t worry, I am laughing at myself too). But at the time, it really did feel as though Brandon was just gone and I was expected to continue on with my life like nothing had changed. Literally, nothing else changed. My life and routine went on being the exact same, just minus Brandon and I think that made Brandon’s absence so much more painful.
Controlling feelings of resentment
I am not going to come off too good here but in the name of transparency, I feel compelled to include this… at times I have really resented Brandon.
At times it can feel like here I am back in Brisbane, working long hours, paying my mortgage and bills, cleaning the kitty litter and all of the other boring #adulting things you can think of. Whereas Brandon is hiking up mountains, pub crawling with amazing people and skipping from country to country. And doing it all without me. When I am at peak stress or tiredness or loneliness, that can be a tough pill to swallow.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this. As a general rule, I try to keep the details of our relationship off the website and social media because I am respectful of Brandon’s right to privacy. However (after getting Brandon’s permission), I think that sharing this experience could help other long distancers feel a little less alone. And if not, at least it will give me a cheeky giggle or two as we head into the second half of this experience.
Until next time,
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