My wife and I experienced a long-distance relationship when I was in California and she was in Boston. We both moved to Los Angeles so I could pursue my film-making career, but she had to give up her job as a manager at Lord & Taylor, the high-end department store. It was exciting to be moving across the country and we had a ton of fun driving across the U.S. But then the reality set in…
She was promised an equal position in L.A., but it never happened due to miss-communication. Meanwhile, as a freelance film/video producer we didn’t have the steady income we had back East. She did manage to work within her old company, but it was far from what she left and it came with a huge pay-cut. After a few months, her old boss called her and offered her a position that she had a tough time turning down. I was devastated, but I also knew the reality of the situation. So we decided to have a coast to coast marriage. Boy, it wasn’t easy!
She took her new position back in the Boston area, and decided to fly out every couple of months to see me. My work was taking me overseas sporadically, and I would get back to Boston to visit her when I could. This went on for three years.
We both never had a problem with honesty in our relationship, and we never thought about cheating or seeing someone else. Well, naturally thoughts do cross your mind, but we never acted on it, and for that I am grateful. We both learned a lot from this experience, and I believe it has made our marriage stronger. We have been married for 21 years, and we have had a ton of ups and downs like any other relationship.
Loneliness was a big issue for both of us. When we had time off, it was quite difficult not to think of your partner. I knew I had to keep busy as much as possible, so between jobs I pursued a poker playing career. She kept busy by working a lot of overtime and she was temporarily staying with her parents, so at least she had company.
Three years is a lot of time, and we both couldn’t wait until we saw each other. I remember counting the days until I had to go the airport to pick her up, and then trying not to think of how many days she had left before I would have to take her back.
One of us would have to give up their pursuit, and I knew it would have to be me. My freelancing was just what it was, sporadic. She had steady work with a steady income and I knew I would have to go back or lose my marriage. When you love someone, you want to be with them as much as possible. In our case, a few times a year is just not cutting it.
There are many opportunities to stray when you are in a long-distance relationship. I could never look at my wife and not be bothered by my infidelity. Sooner or later I believe the subject would come up, and sooner or later I would tell her. I know myself, and I don’t have the stone cold heart to cheat. Some people can. I am not going to judge them. Everyone is different and every relationship is different. For us we are old-fashioned. We both come from strong Italian-American families, and the guilt would kill us. I know she feels the same way.
The best way to maintain closeness was by the phone. We would spend a lot of time on the phone, or would make numerous phone calls every day. It was important for both of us to keep up on the news of our days. We had things to talk about. From job issues to family issues to the next visit issues, we talked. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to communicate, and both believe that is the strongest method for a healthy relationship. What made it easier is that there were no children involved. I don’t think we could have done this with children, or it would have made things so tough that something would have collapsed. We probably would just not take the risk.
If all of this sounds perfect, it isn’t. Problems we have had. Serious issues too deep to discuss here. But somehow we have always worked through them. When we got married, I guess we both knew there would be good times and bad times. While dating, we never had bad times. We took vacations together, but we didn’t live together. Living together is a lot different. I’m not here to advocate that everyone should live together, do what you think is right. I’m just saying when you do, things are different. Again, we learned to deal with everything that came our way. For over twenty years a lot has come our way.
We hope we never have to have a long-distance relationship again. It is just too stressful. But we did it and are stronger for it. We both trust that we won’t stray. That is super important. I know I would have a hard time forgiving her if she did. Frankly, I’m not sure I could. For us, it is too scary a thought to even entertain.