OT: Long distance relationship - big adjustment
The first nearly two years of my relationship with my SO consisted of the two of us together 90% of the time. Not saying we were together 90% of the time for two years, but when together, it was 1:1 90% of the time. We were 8 minutes apart and got into a groove of seeing each other 1-2 nights a week and nearly every weekend from Friday to Sunday. We had tons of plans, mostly with my friends or alone, riding bikes, kayaking, and traveling.
Even during Covid, our routine was pretty steady with plenty of time together. Living only 8 minutes apart, it was common for us to spend some time doing chores at our respective homes on the weekends, but we always had Saturday evening and usually Sunday together.
At the end of 2020, I saw him daily because I was staying with him at his house until my son moved out of my house and SO bought the house in the mountains.
Now, the routine that seems to be emerging is this: We see each other 1-2 weeknights for a couple/few hours, have a sleep over. While in town, he loads up his van with more things to move out of his local house, does some chores, but then heads back to the mountain house for the weekend.
Although retired, he has chosen to do chores on the weekends up at his house, so if I want to see him for more than a few hours, I basically have to go to his mountain house.
While most of our relationship, we've enjoyed the company of each other 90% of the time, he's got an open door policy at his mountain house that his daughter/her friends/anyone else are always welcome. So, even if I do come visit him at his mountain house, there's a good chance it will be a group event and not the 1:1 quality time I'm used to.
I have a lot going on down at my house. I have renovations being done. I have yard work to do, and I'm about to start studying for a big exam related to my job.
I'm doing my level BEST to handle the time apart, and to his credit, he's been really wonderful about communication as I requested.
But I'm really struggling this week. Having him come to town a couple weeknights, mid week is going to start feeling like I'm a booty call or something when he COULD choose to spend a weekend in town to allow us more time together.
And, I REALLY enjoy his daughter - REALLY! But our time together is so little right now, I need him to carve out time we can spend 1:1. I don't want her to feel unwelcome, but I want his undivided attention. The only way I really get that is if he's here with me due to his open door policy up there. I'm an introvert. I don't mind socializing, but I like to KNOW what to expect. If we lived together and I saw him daily, I would be much more open minded about last minute visitors. But, with our time together so rare, I need some structure.
This week is harder because he and his daughter MIGHT be spending a day together marking the late wife's death this weekend. I know people are different, but I really HOPE the people I love will focus on all the days I was ALIVE and not the day I was in such incredible pain, a mere shadow of myself, slipping away from them. And SO and his daughter have a track record of heavy drinking on any given night and some serious drinking on at least one commemoration day since we met.
Hopefully for them, they will do something POSITIVE and healthy befitting the woman the LW was. I'm sure she would like to be remembered for her warmth, humor, loving kindness and vivacity instead of being remembered on a day when she was at her lowest and fading. I once suggested to him that he and his daughter celebrate the LW on any and many random days of the year when she was vital and ALIVE, instead of marking the day she died.
This was the week last year that I broke up with him and I've got some flashback pain from that. I'm sure he does, too. Things are weird. I think he's on guard wondering if I'm going to throw in the towel over this commemoration. I'm not contemplating that, but it really does hurt like hell. I can't explain it. I don't WANT to feel this way, but it's a deep gut punch pain that I would love to turn off and put away.
I'm not sure which of the two is the driver behind these continued grief sessions. He says SHE wants to spend the day together. However, SHE was fine with skipping it last year due to Covid and was fine with missing the birthday observation while we were on vacation. NOW, she wants to spend the day together. Honestly, I think HE is the one driving this and I don't think she knows how to tell him she doesn't really want to continue. If she blows him off this weekend, I think I'll know HE is the one wanting the commemorations. Another sign he is NOT ready for the things we've talked about.
I realize grief is personal, but sometimes people choose to grieve in a way that is NOT healing or even really honoring of the person who died. Sometimes it's counterproductive and done in a way that keeps people stuck. Sometimes it's selfish and self serving. But I'll leave them to it.
It will be interesting to see how we navigate this long distance thing. I know that it's not a very pleasant experience for me and it seems as if I'm the one who will have to make the greater effort to be with him up there.
I will have to pack a bag, be prepared to not have 1:1 time with my partner due to the open door policy, do a 5 hour drive round trip, etc. Ultimately, I would need to rearrange my work to spend more time up there, working remotely, wait on him to carve out a work space for me, and work harder to handle my chores and responsibilities at my own home.
I am constrained by my job and my partner is retired, but I am starting to feel some resentment that he has moved away from me and if I want to be with him, I will have to make many changes and/or adjustments.
I just feel like the apple cart has been upended and I'm a secondary consideration. The excitement of the mountain house and all the potential it might hold for our future seems to be fading rapidly....exponentially.
This is just a vent. There are no villains here. People do what they think is best or right. Long distance relationships are hard especially when it's unclear why we're doing this or how long it will last. At some point I imagine we'll talk about it, but right now, I just suck it up and try not to dwell on it. It's not working really well, sadly.