Love from a distance

CameraMan and I are still fairly new at the whole long-distance thing. We were lucky enough to spend the entire first glorious year of our relationship in the same geographical location. With a couple trips apart thrown in there, we were together about 48 weeks. The second year we spent about 17 weeks together. This year, I'm predicting 21 weeks.

In our business, that's not bad. We're fortunate that only one of us is a freelancer (me)—CM stays in one place most of the time, and that helps enormously. We know 2-singer couples who are lucky to both be at home every few months for a week or so. It could be a lot worse. And sometimes the distance seems completely workable—our iPhones and our laptops help us stay in touch and feel like we're together when we're not. Other days it's really hard, and no amount of phone calls or text messages or video chats can change the fact that he's not actually here with me.

Because we're long-distance newbies, whenever we meet couples who have been doing this for a while, I always ask for their advice. Most of them have the same thing to say: communication is the most important thing. Make sure you talk every day, don't stop sharing the minutiae of your daily life just because you're not together, stay aware so you don't end up drifting apart gradually without noticing it. And most long-distance couples we've talked to have a time limit, a quantifiable number of days they can go before one of them has to fly in for a visit, even if it's just overnight. Whether it's a month, 2 months, 2 weeks—they've found the magic number that maintains the equilibrium of their relationship.

We haven't figured out our number yet, but it seems to be about 4 weeks. It's been 3 weeks since I saw CM in the flesh, and I can feel the clock ticking.

Which is why I bought a plane ticket to go see him 1 week from tomorrow. For 3 days. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Because I love my iPhone and all, but it is a sorry substitute for a boyfriend.

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