Thursday, January 9, 2014


In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare wrote that

Journeys end in lovers' meeting.
But what happens when they part?

Relationships are difficult to characterize. I mean, you can't just generalize about them and say that they are all X or Y. Each one is different from the next. Your past relationships can't define your future ones, and the way a single relationship feels from the inside can vary from day to day.

Marriages are no different... except you can multiply all that variety of feeling by five million. At least for me, marriage goes beyond other relationships because it's a connection that makes you invest a deep interest in the future. Dating is about being in the present. Marriage is about investing in the future as well as making the here and now spectacular.

Enter the long-distance marriage.

Without warning, I find myself cut off from the here and now. I am investing in my future, the future of my marriage.

I think this is what makes the being apart so hard for me. It's why I cry when he leaves (and for the several days after), and it's why I find myself a little bit lost until I see him again.

Every time I see something funny and what to laugh about it with him, I can't. When I try on that gorgeous dress and want his approval before I lay down the big bucks, I can't (okay, camera phones make this possible). And when something in a movie makes me cry, he isn't there to say "Oh, honey".

The here and now is removed. It's not even paused. I don't get to resume these moments when I'm with him again. No, we are missing out on sharing them together.

 But what an investment. Being apart in order to earn our respective PhDs is more than just a gift to ourselves, it's a gift to each other. We have given each other the freedom to grow. As sad as I feel when I miss him the most, I feel so much more happy that we are doing this.

I just really, really hope it makes the here and now of the future into something better than it would be otherwise.

Geez, that was sad.


Addendum: A few hours after writing this, I went to the gym. While there, I realized that I've kind of... let myself go... since Keith left. You know what I mean... leg stubble is visible from several feet away. Grease streak in the hair. Armpits making me look like a member of the RadFems.

I cleaned up.

And now I feel better. Physically and emotionally.

Sometimes the solution is as simple as a shower, am I right?


  1. Oh - I'm sorry that y'all are apart!! I hope that the time passes quickly for both of you and then you will be together forever!

    1. Hehe. I love this comment. I've read it a couple of times now and each time when I get to the "you will be together forever!" part I imagine hearts popping up on the screen and I get a warm fuzzy. I think that means I'm excited about the together forever stuff.

  2. I know it is so hard to be apart, but I think it is great that you are both able to grow and earn your PhD's. Keep your chin up, and keep thinking of the beautiful future you will have together!

    1. I figured you would understand, Kristen! It's worth it. And, yes, I just keep my eyes on the prize. Also, I keep my eyes on the prospect of leaving this wintery tundra in order to go be in AZ. Let's be serious, that's a pretty great bonus.

  3. Aw Bren! You guys are an amazing pair and I feel lucky to know you both!

    That picture of the two of you makes my heart croon! I am so glad he is coming home for the summer soon.

    1. Thanks, friend! I miss you like crazy! Can't wait to see you next!

      Now that the first few days have past... I'm feeling less sad about him being gone. Slipping back into my regular routine.

  4. There will always be "feel bad for self days". It's good to acknowledge them, allow them to be - and not to beat yourself up over them. You did the right thing, and sometimes a nice hot shower (or long run) can wash it away - or at least water those feelings down a bit.

  5. Oh wow, that's got to be hard. My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for many, many years, and I hate to say, but it never gets any easier. After 11 years, I still cry when I head to the airport. But what a strong bond you two must have if you can endure getting your PhDs while apart!

  6. This is a really beautiful post. It has to be hard, and I give you both a lot of credit. It'll all be worth it in the end, I'm sure! It sounds silly, but I know that for me, sometimes routines -- yes, even something as simple as a shower, haha -- can really help!