Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Don't Run

Some of you know that Alex and I dated long distance for the entirety of our two year relationship.  When we met, I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina for graduate school, and he was working at a university in South Carolina.  Six months later, I moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to take on my first "bid kid job."  For the next year, we dated across time zones instead of just state lines.  Finally, Alex made the move to Monroe, Louisiana almost two months after we were engaged (16 months after we began dating), which is where we were able to eventually share a home together almost exactly two years after we met/started dating.

Before I moved to Arkansas, Alex and I had a big "heart-to-heart" about our budding relationship while sitting on a huge rock at a park in Raleigh.  There, we decided to not give up on "us" even though we'd only known each other for a few months and had no idea how we would make it work.  Not long after, I came across the song "Love Don't Run," by Steve Holy.  It reaffirmed our decision to see things through and let life take us where it would.

Over the course of our two year relationship, we learned to be creative in how we spent time together, even if that time was spent physically apart.  In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to share some of the many unique ways we "dated" even while we were apart.

1. Skinner
Who says you can't have dinner "with" someone when they are hundreds/thousands of miles away?  I remember a grad school professor telling me a story about how she had dinner with her now-husband every night while they dated (they ate while talking on the phone - it was the 90s and all!), even though they lived states apart.  Her story inspired us to create our own version of "dinner" together.  Every now and again, we treated ourselves to dinner from the same take-out restaurant and ate at the same time while chatting over Skype.  Skype + Dinner = Skinner

2. Monday Moe-Shows -> Domi-Shows
There were a couple of Monday-night comedies we both enjoyed watching, so we made a point of watching them "together."  This meant coordinating the DVR to fast forward commercials and watch each episode in tandem.  We used Gchat to converse with each other throughout the episodes, commenting on the characters' situations, and of course, coordinating the fast-forward/pause/play buttons.  On occasion, we upped the ante by treating ourselves to Moe's Southwest Grill as a precursor to the television show.  Once we moved to Monroe, Monday Moe-Shows evolved into Domi-Shows (think Dominos) since there is no Moe's within a 2 hour radius of here.

3. Book Club
Alex and I both like reading but we don't make a point of doing it nearly enough.  Pretty early on in our long distance relationship, we decided to try rereading a book that would spur some discussion on important topics (re: religion/faith).  The Shack is what we settled on, and though the idea was great in theory, we didn't stick to it regularly enough for the idea to survive for very long.  Ultimately, we did discuss said topics, but I don't know that the Book Club had a huge hand in that.

4. The Notebook
Instead of mailing letters to one another, we wrote in a notebook that was sent back and forth between us. Thanks to the joys of modern technology (see #5), it wasn't necessary to write letters about what was going on in our lives, so instead we shared hopes, dreams, bucket lists, and even stories from our childhood.  It was such a random assortment, that it almost became a type of scrapbook of our lives (past, present, and future, really).  This is, by far, my favorite memento from our relationship, and I look forward to sharing it with our children later on.

5. Good 'Ole Fashioned...Technology
In this day and age, credit must be given to modern technology for its hand in all long distance relationships.  I can say that Alex and I were in constant communication almost every single day (and still are!), even though we may not have seen one another for weeks/months at a time.  With apps like SnapChat and Voxer (which didn't exist when we were dating, by the way), it's SO easy to feel close to someone despite the distance.

Long distance dating is not a new concept, but tools used to support budding relationships are always evolving.  The possibilities are endless, and I hope to expand on each of these ideas sometime in the future.  What are some other unique ideas for long distance dating?  Have I forgotten anything?

Let me know!


Jen said...

The notebook is my favorite idea! Not that it should surprise you ;)

Amy Salisbury said...

I didn't know this! My hub and I were long long (different countries) distance our whole relationship too, so many neat stories and skills built up by the effort needed to be put into communicating and dating with the distance, like you said! I'm reliving it all now as I have to look up, print out and prove to the gov for immigration purpose that ours is a legit relationship... Here, 400 pages of Skype conversation log should help;)