Tara Tiger Brown

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just prowling around

Long Distance == Distant Hope?

There’s this dood. I’ve known him since March of this year – met him through my best friend at SXSW (I’m sure you’ve heard this story before).

We chatted – he showed me how to eat a banana “properly”, I told him that he scared the shit out of me when he was yielding a big knife at a party and it wasn’t a good way to meet girls, and other normal stuff like that.  Ultimately we bonded over failed marriages as our divorces were within a month of each other and we were married for about the same amount of time and are the same age if you can believe it. (Well I can now after discovering that it’s pretty common to date fellow divorcees).  We were really just friends to begin with because I was actually at South By with someone else but that’s a whole other post and a half.

Anyway, we IM’d, texted, ate drank, the usual. After May when we did a roadtrip together we decided to make things a bit more official.  Neither of us like labels but it seemed that we didn’t want to be dating anyone else so what the heck.  I think that the nomenclature was “more than like.” And yes, because I know you are wondering, we are out of high school.

So here we are 4 months later and I still dig him. Last text message from him indicates he feels the same.  Problem is that we don’t live in the same city.  He’s in LA and I’m in SF.  I thought it would be perfect because LA and SF aren’t very far apart and I would have lots of time to do my own thing and not feel all clausterphobic.  The problem is that when we are together it’s 24×7 and I’m terrible at doing “that” (hence my divorce?) and when we are apart I feel very disconnected despite being tethered virtually so to speak.  I have no intention of moving to LA, I just moved to SF and LOVE IT and think LA is nice to visit but not to live.  He is super in love with LA and has publicy despised SF.  Not great combos.

Over this past week I have had a similar conversation with three other people  and not one person has said it’s easy to do the long distance thing and even gave me a big sigh and look of sadness.  One couple is separated by an ocean and have been doing it for over a year. One guy just met a girl in Las Vegas and isn’t sure what to do next because he’s in SF.  And another gal told me that the limit on LD relationships is 4 months max.  I do know of a great story of friends that dated for a long time between Seattle and Los Angeles and she made the big move up to Seattle.  I haven’t checked in on them lately but I am sure it is bliss.

I should mention that me and my dood see each other at least once per month.  He does more of the traveling to see me because his schedule is more flexible. In fact we did the math to determine the max time apart and it came out to 12 days and we’ve been sticking to that give or take a few days.

I can’t complain about the effort that he is putting in, just the opposite, but I can’t say I don’t get frustrated when I’m out with other couples and am the odd wheel, or I want to go to a movie and would love to just call my dood and hang out.  Heck – just cuddling on the couch.

We decided to see where we are at in December when we take a trip together.  I’m pretty bad though, I have big moments of angst and impatience so it is going to be a real trial for me to go 4 more months without complaining or throwing my hands up.  I mean, there are lots of “fish in the sea” right?  How do I know that I should stick it out?

Now I’m at the point where I want to hear some good stories about it actually working out and the happily ever afters and all that.  My roommate told me to stop thinking about it so much but that’s just not me. I’m a thinker, and a doer and right now I can think a lot but not a lot I can do.

So, is there hope for a long distance relationship?

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26 Responses

  1. Nicholas says:

    There’s always hope. Go with how you feel and everything will work out.

    Remember… stay flexible and have fun!

  2. Jason D- says:

    What Nicholas said. Flexible and fun. I had a 7 year LDR and it finally fizzled out but I have no regrets about it and when it was good it was really good and when it was bad it wasn’t really all that bad. We were exclusive for the first year but couldn’t afford the trips as much after that and then we mutually started turning the other cheek on exclusivity. We always gravitated to each other though and still saw each other a lot but when the time came to take the big plunge she ended up leaving me. I guess she had gotten used to our “arrangement” and too much of me was gonna cramp her style. So it can work but definitely a sub-optimal way to go for sure for the long haul. But I know you two and non-traditional seems to be in your blood and if anyone can figure out a way to hook it up it’ll be you two. Good luck! And I totally hear you on the snuggling on the couch thing. That was always the worst bit. But it made the reunions a lot more fun 😀

  3. lkwinter says:

    No.

    you asked. : )

  4. sabrigley says:

    My mum’s best friend is a judge in Germany, and her man (now passed on) was a judge in Paris. Neither could move to the other’s city without giving up their career.

    They were a happy long-distance couple for almost 40 years.

  5. Stacia says:

    I had a very successful two-year LDR (married now 9 years). The first year was me:Germany, him:Bellingham, WA. The second was me:Seattle, him:Bellingham, WA (90 miles north of SEA). The great part about the distance was that we got to know each other really well through daily email (they didn’t have that new-fangled SMS thing back then). And we had some space to do our things. There were many many times that it SUCKED, but as Jason said in an earlier comments, the reunions were pretty awesome.

    It can definitely work if it’s the right person. I think there does, though, need to be some mutually agreed upon light at the end of the tunnel…some point when you plan to be within 10 miles of each other (for us, it went from 90 miles apart to him moving in). You don’t need to know that date now, but if you both keep feeling the same way you do now then it will come about on its own.

    Sure, there are other fish in the sea, but if this is the fish…then this is the fish.

  6. Sam says:

    It’s been a while. Glad you’re enjoying SF.

    One of my best friends just got married 4 months ago after being in a long distance relationship for 3 years. They were in college when they met at a Disneyworld internship, and she was a year behind him. He had to make a choice when he graduated to either move out to Montana and wait for her to finish her degree or break it off. He made the sacrifice and spent 20 months working an aweful job with no close friends around, all while waiting for her.

    Sounds like you guys have a great relationship when you’re together, but the long distance thing will get old. Somebody will have to make the sacraficial move eventually 😦 Until that moment of choice comes about, have fun, but keep on open mind.

    Take care T-Roar

  7. Ryan says:

    It’s not often that two awesome people find each other. Life is short so enjoy the time you have together 🙂

  8. Jason D- says:

    Oh, I forgot about another happy ending. My old roommate in SF met a guy in Tahoe that lived in England. They had an LDR for about 2 years and even had to rendezvous in Canada for booty calls after the DHS denied his visa renewal for the US. After the 2 years and lots of red tape they got married and are happily ever-aftering in Sacramento at this very moment. Although as a disclaimer I’m opposed to all forms of nuptials but I’m the guy living alone with no love life at all at 37 so take any advice I give with a giant fucking salt-lick.

  9. davidly says:

    As long as you still have a great connection, stick with it.

    It’s LD, but not very LD. It could be a lot worse with different time zones. Two people living in greater LA can be just as far apart (that was me for 7 months).

  10. buster says:

    Well you know my story. It can work but it takes magic and luck! But then again magic and luck can be self-fulfilling if you have imagination and open-heartedness. Don’t hold back! Whatever that means to you: thinking and/or doing!

  11. Erica says:

    I have to say, Tara, I fell in love with the most amazing person ever who lived in LA. I was fine with being far away because it did give me space and let me grow as a person in this newish city I moved to. If his side of the story was a stable one I would say that we might be together still but just like any relationship, we had the chance of breaking up. There will always be a push and pull of feelings and angst and love and longing. But if there’s that willingness and love, what else do you really need?

  12. Tara Brown says:

    I am overwhelmed with these heartfelt responses. Thank you so much. You are all amazing, supportive friends. Thank you!! ❤

  13. Andy Mesa says:

    When I lived in Miami I dated a girl that lived in Portland, it’s not easy, but with technology it’s a little easier. E-mails, IMs, webcams, tweets, and visit as often as your wallet allows.

    I know several people who met on the internets, did the LDR thing, and eventually moved in together and lived happily ever after. I also know people where it didn’t work out. I guess how strong the relationship is will decide that for you.

  14. Omar Shahine says:

    Tara-

    My wife and I did a long distance relationship for 4 years. She was on the east coast and I was on the west. If it works out it’s cause it was meant to work out. Long Distance isn’t easy, but we survived over 2500 miles apart for 4 years :-).

    -Omar

  15. […] Long Distance == Distant Hope? Tara (Tiger) Brown (tags: relationships LDR tarabrown) […]

  16. Annika says:

    I met this guy in college. We kinda dug each other. School ended. We did the long-distance thing for the summer. The long-distance relationship was pretty sucky. We said, OK, let’s do this. We lived together for a couple of years and then he decided to move to LA. I didn’t. We lived apart for two years. We broke up and got back together a couple of times. We loved each other. The long-distance relationship was really sucky. We broke up and got together a couple more times. I moved to Los Angeles. We lived together for two more years. We’ve been married for four years and have a little boy. (Not that getting married and having kids is a necessary end, but it’s what we both wanted.)

  17. Heather says:

    LDRs are totally doable. It’s all in your mindset. What matters is if you feel like you’re with the right person. If you do, then the distance is annoying, but secondary or even tertiary. If you don’t, then the distance is going to seem like a larger factor.

    You guys are *really* close, compared to my LDR with my husband.

  18. amanda says:

    There are always reasons to break up. And to be honest, being long distance is a good reason to break up. Long distance relationships are hard because it does seem like eventually someone has to make a move. In my long distance relationship, that was me and then things did work out as planned and I’m still a bit bitter that I moved across the country. Side note: know any nice single guys in Seattle??? 🙂 But that being said, if you like the guy enough to try to make long distance work, DO IT. And if things stop being fun, don’t do it anymore.

  19. bromike666 says:

    Crystal and I did the NYC(me) – Phily(her) thing for about 6 months and then I actually left NYC and moved to Phili (yeech) to be with her. I still worked in NYC and had a two hour Amtrak trip (each way) to NYC every day. Finally we both picked up and moved to LA together.

    Anyone who knows me knows that giving up NYC for Phili(yeech) proves that love conquers all.

  20. Jo-Ann says:

    LDRs can work, and work well. A cousin of mine and her husband never lived in the same state for the first 10 years of their marriage. but as she stated ‘each time we got together, it was like our honeymoon all over again.’ … and they got together twice a month.

    What is beneficial about being alone for part of the time IS getting in touch with yourself. It’s easy to get into a relationship – post divorce – to dull the pain of that ending. And none of us wants pain. So another relationship brings comfort — soothing and salving on very real and deep levels.

    When distance separates, there is the pain of absence… but it is also the pain of healing from the past. In spite of how much we want to avoid that, the healing pain is necessary — IF you want the current relationship to be a WHOLE one, and not just a bandage for the past.

    You are both awesome. Be at peace and go forward!

  21. Alixito says:

    In July, I went to Kauai for a vacation with a girl friend. I was not looking for love or anything remotely close as I just had my heart shattered the year prior in Hawaii. I went back to reclaim Hawaii, reclaim myself, reclaim my soul, and say goodbye to the heartaches. Basically, I just “let go” and asked the universe to guide me through whatever happens now.

    The next day, 4th of July, I met my BF, who lives in Kauai. He’s a friend of my girl friend’s husband, who moved to Kauai about 7 years ago because he just loves Kauai so much and gave away everything he had to pursuit a simple yet passionate life. I returned to Seattle on July 6th and we’ve been talking many times everyday on the phone since. It gave/gives us the opportunity to really get to know each other without hiding behind IM or email (since he doesn’t even have an e-mail address!). He visited me 2 weekends ago for 4 days and it was incredible. We are in love and the distance is hard but made easier because we are making future plans together.

    I will be visiting him for the week of Thanksgiving and he will be visiting me for Xmas and my Bday.

    We’re both scared at how fast we’ve fallen for each other but we’re both willing to take the chance because when you meet someone that you just click with immediately in every way, you’ve just gotta put every effort in to make it work. There are billions of people on this Earth, do the math and see how difficult it is to find someone that just fits perfectly. And when you do, is there really anything that can stop you from being together besides what goes on in your head? Distance is only temporary. When you get to the point where you just do not want to live without the other person, I’m sure you’ll both find a way to make it happen.

    I’ve never experienced love like this. I’ve finally found someone that loves me for me and everything about me. It’s so rare and so appreciated. Finally I belong.

  22. Travis says:

    Here’s my story: My friend J who lives in LA met a guy, N, who lived in South London. They dated across the ocean for two years. Finally, he moved here two+ years ago. I became a minister over the Internet and married them. And they are here, together, and happy if challenged from time to time, as most people are. For what it’s worth, J says she doesn’t think they would have lasted if they had lived in the same place right off. She thinks she would have trashed the relationship in some way.

    You don’t know me, but I know SB tangentially and it’s clear just following his twitter feed that you two are “in more than like.” It’s very sweet and seems really worth continuing to nurture/enjoy/pursue angst and all. That’s the view from here, anyway.

  23. Ms Read says:

    Hi Tara,

    I am Tim’s wife. And as Tim tweeted we were long distance at one time.

    I believe no matter the challenges such as long distance, if a relationship is right, both people will do what it takes to make it work. Tim and I basically share a brain so we made it work because we knew that we’d found the right person.

    There were challenges of course but they didn’t matter compared to the rewards of having each other.

    I think in the end LDR just lets you know more quickly how dedicated you are to a person because there is more effort required. And when the effort seems like to much then it is probably a sign that its the person, not the distance that isn’t worth it.

  24. dw says:

    I met my now wife when were both working for English non-profits.

    I was in Wales, she was in Bristol.
    Then I was in Reading, she was in Bristol.
    Then I was in Reading, she was in Philadelphia.
    Then I was in Tulsa, she was in Birmingham.
    Then, two years after we met, we were both in Seattle. And we’ve been married for nine years.

    I think, though, we were eventually going to be in the same city. Maybe it’s not the case with you. But I think if you stick to the usual good advices for good relationships — honesty, openness, transparency, faithfulness, dedication — you’ll be fine.

    If you want this to work, you have to invest in it. And you know that. But it can work, and it does work all the time. The last 20+ comments should tell you that.

    So yeah, just play it out. Be the awesome girlfriend. If it doesn’t work, glean the lessons but have no regrets. And when he is around, enjoy the cuddling.

  25. Sean Bonner says:

    This guy sounds like a dick, if you ever get around to dumping his sorry ass you should give me a call!

  26. […] life | Tags: dating, long distance relationship, love, relationship | I recently wrote about my Long Distant Relationship (LDR) with my dood (let’s call him ‘Sean’) and how I was trying to determine if it was worth […]

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