Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Year of Long Distance, by Jon

Dear readers, tomorrow marks one year since I moved back to DC from London.  In honor of the anniversary, I asked Jon if he'd write a guest post for Betsy Transatlantically about what the past 364 days of long distance have been like for him.  You've heard about it from my side - here and here and here and here and here - but I was hoping he'd tell you a bit of how he feels about being in a long distance engagement (and, in less than three months, a long distance marriage).  Now, English boys are notoriously bad about feelings; you might be able to get them to admit that they have some, maybe, but convincing them to share those feelings is another matter entirely.  Add to that Jon's discomfort with blogging in general, and... well, I cried when I read the email he sent me.

Jon, I love you.  We've made it through a year and we can handle whatever else we have to - in the end, it will all be worth it to be together.

Skyping on a Saturday; 8am EST, 1pm BST

One thing I know about myself is that I truly dislike the experience of typing on a screen - it somehow just seems wrong to scrabble around on a shiny, unresponsive flat surface trying to string together something approximating a sentence, let alone a meaningful one. It's probably why I have a mortal aversion (except at times of desperate need) to Twitter, Facebook and anything else that requires me to share information about myself using a touchscreen. The number of times I just want to talk, not to a screen or to a phone, but to the person I love, can feel overwhelming.

To that end I am probably the worst individual imaginable to enter into a long distance relationship with in the 21st century - one that is based largely, out of necessity, on WhatsApp messaging, and I am truly grateful and amazed that Betsy has put up with it and me so well for as long as she has. We both make the best of whatever forms of communication we have at our disposal - we Skype whenever we can, generally late at night for me (when I'm trying not to be sleepy) and early in the evening for her (when Charlie really really needs a walk). I miss her every day and we will get through the rest of this together, even if we're both currently plonked on either side of the Atlantic. Yet regardless of whatever challenges there are still to come, I really do think that things only get better from here. We're over halfway through this now and the rest should pretty much be a doddle. It's not like anyone was ever really challenged by organising a wedding (with the bride out of the country!), navigating the transatlantic visa process or moving to a new country, right?

Actually, I truly do believe that all of those things, while of course vital, are not as important in our long-distance relationship as it is to take the time to talk about the day-to-day stuff, the seemingly trivial stuff, the silly stuff that couples who see each other every day don't even think about because it's just there. One thing I think we've learnt is that it can become tempting, when every conversation is time-limited, to focus on the Big Stuff, the things that need talking about, that need doing, the life-changing decisions. Of course those discussions need to happen, but we also try to make time to just talk (or in my case sometimes drunkly ramble beside my iPad, as is my wont), when it doesn't matter that much what's being said, just that it is. That's sometimes more difficult than it sounds, and so when Betsy and I are finally together again, it's one of the things I'm looking forward to the most. I really love you Betsy, and I want to listen everything you have to say for as long as you want to say it, even your "interrupting starfish" joke.


25 comments:

  1. You have a good guy here Betsy, I think you should keep him ;) And the sharing of feelings by a British guy? In my experience it gets better over the years! xx

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  2. HI JON!

    1) What is doddle?

    2) Remind me to teach your fiancee my whole range of 'interrupting animal' jokes.

    3) Here is a picture of your dog trying to get at Betsy's fajitas:

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  3. Georgia ChristakisMay 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Hi Jon! I am super-impressed- both of you write so well! Your kids are going to be literary geniuses.

    I can't even tell you how much you've hit the nail on the head here. My boyfriend lived in Greece, now Delaware, and long-distance is the ultimate making-it-work situation (shout-out to what's app- what a Godsend!) especially when your 5 or 7 hours different in time.

    In regards to the feelings thing- don't worry, us American girls have a way of opening your stoic British hearts right up, don't we? (sorry, Peter)

    Hope you guys have a long, happy marriage together!

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  4. This is so sweet! Sounds like you have a keeper! ;)



    But what is a doddle?

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  5. Jon, you are definitely a good one! Love from Aunt Louise

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  6. Whatsapp is the saving grace for my Englishman and I! Can I ask, have you gotten your fiance visa yet? Because I've been waiting for my UK partner/settlement visa for almost a month now. (The horror! The horror!) xx

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  7. How sweet! You two will make it, no question. And Jon is right--things will get better from here! In some ways, I found it easier to be long-distance married than long-distance dating or engaged. There's a permanence in marriage that makes a few months apart seem piddly.You've got a lifetime together ahead of you. :)

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  8. Well, your young man is quite the writer! What a lovely, touching post... I have a feeling Guy won't appreciate me bugging him later: '*Betsy's* fiance wrote a post for *her* blog and he's *notoriously* private!'

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  9. This is just so lovely! So full of hope for the future, and love for you, Betsy! I CANNOT WAIT to meet Jon someday!!

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  10. I absolutely love this post. I thought being separated from Nick for those few months was so difficult but I can't even imagine what this is like for you guys.



    Jon, you write so eloquently. I agree with Georgia' below: your kids will be the next literary geniuses. I can't wait until the day that Betsy is able to write about your adventures together! Also, I've been told that we're soulmates by your fiance, so we must meet one day.

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  11. aha! our American-ness wears them down :)

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  12. 1) I have no idea.
    2) HAHAHAHA go get 'em tiger.
    3) eee :)

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  13. aw thanks! he's got a good head on his shoulders :) thank you!

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  14. it is!


    we haven't - I applied online last week and I have my appointment tomorrow. fingers crossed for both of us!

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  15. aw thank you! when I wrap my head around the idea of starting off our marriage long-distance, I'll pick your brain for tips. thank you in advance :P

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  16. hahaha I take full responsibility :P let me know if he writes one for you!

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  18. Thanks for the post. It's interesting to get the "other" perspective!

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  19. Once you get married, there will be two writers in the family. This was a great post, well written and well articulated.

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  20. :) Skins fan. Perfect. Can't wait for the time when you move over here, Jon, and we get to meet! You're gonna fit in jusssstttt fine! Great post! (from both of you!!!)

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  21. really enjoyed reading this... Nick and I went through a couple years of long distance while I was in Hawaii and the things we always missed the most about being together were the stupid little things like grocery shopping or watching tv shows together... it's those things that will mean even more when you are finally reunited for good... still to this day, those are the things I never take for granted.

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