November 27: We are sometimes by ourselves and sometimes lonely and in our bedroom

Not every moment in our bedrooms is filled with Joy ™ or Love ™ or Companionship ™. Those we love and care about could be far away from us for a while. I know that Yukon and Bumble both have, sometimes, long assignments apart from each other. This can turn into a lot of long-distance conversations over a laptop or phone, lots of pizza, soft drinks, feelings of loneliness. How do we cope with missing someone—or not having someone?

Here are ways I’ve found helpful to keep long distance relationships going—and they can fluctuate between being together and enjoying being apart. I find if I balance those two things, it helps both of us. We need other ways to be happy outside of the relationship (that took me a long time to understand). These are just my suggestions—and I’m sure others have great ideas too. These may not work for everyone.

How to be TOGETHER, even apart:

JITSI/ZOOM/SKYPE/FACETIME: at least once a week, we try to meet in realtime on a video to talk to each other.

When we can’t or don’t have the time for ZOOM/SKYPE/JITSI, we use Telegram to send pictures, and write notes and send Voice Messages. We find Voice Messages to be the most effective way to communicate back and forth—you get to hear the full idea of your partner and then respond. We find that if it’s more than 6 min it looks scary—so we try to break it into parts; also if it does get above 6 min, we say “12 min message coming, all good stuff” so that no one thinks there’s a hard discussion hidden in there.  We often share really deep stuff in voice messages—because they are like mini essays. And this encourages the other partner to share too. We also sometimes tell each other collaborative stories (because we both love scifi and fantasy)—that are just plain funny, or sometimes titillating. Sharing in a collaborative story can be very bonding.

If we have to have a hard discussion we NEVER use voice messages anymore… it’s too easy to rant, or to get longwinded or to misunderstand and then be 12 min behind the problem moment. ALWAYS CALL if there’s a disagreement… so you can talk it out together.

We watch movies or TV shows together—but apart. So we time when we’re going to watch a show we both like—and then we watch it together separately (not on a share program, but just both hit PLAY on Netflix etc at the same time) and then we send each other Voice Messages to discuss it!  We did this with Andor and House of the Dragon.

We try to hear each other’s voice or see each other’s short video message (Telegram has 1 minute video messages) every day. Seeing a face, a smile, and hearing a voice can do wonders.

We send each other articles that we think the other would love (but NOT articles that “prove our point”—that doesn’t seem to be good.)

We send photos about our day. We share messages about our agendas for the day. Mundane, yes, but relationships are built on mundane stuff too.

We try to get to see each other physically at least once every 3 weeks—but we know that’s not always possible for everyone. We live 6 hours from each other. We have gone as long as 2 months without being together physically. It’s doable. But it takes a lot more screen time and message time.

We rarely use email—and he doesn’t have social media, so facebook and Instagram, etc are not on the table. So you may use these too to stay in touch with your partner.

How to ENJOY Being APART:
I date myself when I’m alone. It’s like self-care—but with LOVE and INTENTION to make me happy.

I save good movies that I like and my partner isn’t into for times when we’re apart.  I’m a big Marvel fan and Disney fan, so Disney + is a feel-good channel for me. Also Netflix and HBO Max. We both love Indie films so I save those for when we’re together… but Moon Knight and She-Hulk and the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special are for moments by myself. I watch all my Tarot and Astrology and HOW TO ART videos when I’m alone.

I listen to my music. Sometimes loudly.

I work on pet projects. I have art and writing to get done. I do that when we’re not able to be together. (But I also do some of it when we are together, if I’m going to be with him for more than a couple of days.) I get to stay in my studio for 7-10 hours a day!! It’s fun!

I see Museum Exhibits, go to Coffeeshops, walk in the park—do things that I LOVE doing alone. I sometimes send him pictures of it afterwards, but I try to value my alone time too.

I buy foods that I love. I give myself little gifts of food—usually involving chocolate!

I buy myself little gifts online or in stores, when I’m in a store. Just something I know I will use or love. Like new paints (if I can afford them) or erasers!I read when I’m by myself. I love being able to be involved in a book. Deep and undisturbed. I may only be able to do this apart from my partner.

I call other people—my mom, birthmom, friends, or write them—or I arrange to have coffee with them or hang out with them. My partner can’t fulfill all my desires for company and conversation and friends are awesome. Having time with other people keeps us from also being “lonely.”

Church and clubs—if you have a social group outside of your relationship, it can help strengthen your resiliency when the two of you are apart. I always feel better knowing when my partner is visiting friends, his family, or is part of a group that is meeting. Then I know he is happy.It took me a long time to realize that happiness WITHOUT your partner is not just okay, it is good, and needed.

We may not always get rid of the lonely feelings we have when our partner is not with us—that’s okay. That’s natural. That’s love too. But we can minimize them when they become uncomfortable.  We are fully rounded people with outside interests and ways of getting joy enhances our time together— two people ADDING to each other from all the outside things we do, not just our shared experiences.

Don’t worry, Yukon! Bumble will be back before you know it! Eat your pizza and hang out with the satyrs!

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