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OT: Long distance relationship - big adjustment

futurobrillante99's picture

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.

Comments

CLove's picture

Vent away, sister. We are here for you.

Its not easy having a long-distance arrangement. Its made much harder when there is little 1:1 time when you ARE there. You are there fully and it seems he is dividing his time, so it all seems very lopsided.

And the whole celebration of death day tradition. People celebrate their "ancestors" and their dead in November. Dia de los muertos. Catholics have a Day of remembrance for their dead. "commemorating" vs celebrating. Loving their memories of life. Not the day they died and their death. You have had 2 years to process how the relationship is working. And this is a hot button for you and him. I suspect you are right about his daughter. She probably doesnt really want to remember her mother in pain on her death day. He is more than likely leaning on her and perpetuating that whole "lets remember her on her death day!" thing.

Sending you digital hugs. 

futurobrillante99's picture

You really are a sweet person, CLove. Thank you. The commiseration and digital hugs mean so much to me. It really cheers me up to know I have friends who understand that some things are just hard. And things sometimes just HURT even if the other person isn't trying to hurt anyone.

CLove's picture

were created for this reason. We need to feel our way through things, and I cherish the lows as well as the highs because I am FEELING them. Sometimes there are no solutions, no right way to do things. 

Biggrin Here for you.

caninelover's picture

Try to find some healthy ways to distract yourself this week so you don't obsess over their 'commemoration' which sounds more like self-medication with alcohol.

You're probably right, it is your SO wanting this commeration and not the daughter.  It is what it is and he may be stuck in this grief cycle for who knows how long.  

For the lifestyle, you guys need to sit down and plan out the near term as well as longer term (i.e. will you move when you're retired, etc).  Until then in the near term he should be more flexible especially since he's retired with less commitments, at least in my opinion.

 

futurobrillante99's picture

Unfortunately, I won't be retiring for at least another 5-ish years. I KNOW I cannot see myself in a long distance relationship for that long. If the tables were turned and I moved away, I really don't see him being willing to date me long distance for 5 years.

I am taking steps to make it possible for me to work remotely, however. That works for me whether I'm in a relationship or not.

We should be sitting down in a month or two to talk about a loose "plan." In the meantime, I'm just trying to count my blessings because I have a blessed life and so much to be happy for.

I think he wants the things we've talked about, but I don't have much actual evidence in terms of action. It's mostly just words and I've gotten myself into a lot of trouble over words in the past.

caninelover's picture

5 years is awhile, and even with remote work you'll still be committed M-F.  But at least you'd have quiet time in the evenings without visitors (which I assume mostly come up on weekends) so that may work.

Watereddown's picture

He's showing you who/what his priorities are. Gotta say it gives me an Out of Sight Out of Mind feeling. 

futurobrillante99's picture

I have moments where I've felt that, but he's been very good about staying in touch every day and sharing his day with me. I don't feel forgotten - I feel somewhat included - but I do feel left behind and that the onus is on me to arrange things so I can join him up there.

Watereddown's picture

SOMEWHAT included.

LEFT BEHIND.

UP TO YOU TO ARRANGE THINGS.

There you go. Unknw

futurobrillante99's picture

Feelings aren't facts - that's important to remember.

So I'm looking for facts.

Watereddown's picture

Your feelings are a fact of life and matter but you seem ok with your SO discounting them. 

But it's a fact that he chooses to do chores on the weekend which takes away from quality time with you. If you're feeling like a booty call don't have sex and ask for cuddles.

futurobrillante99's picture

How is he discounting them if I haven't voiced them to him but only here? So far, anything we've talked about, he's been quite receptive and made a concerted effort. I'm having a rough week on a couple fronts and am not ready to drop all my fears and insecurities into his lap. The time is not right.

My feelings are partly based on FEAR of getting hurt/duped again. If I see proof of an established pattern, I will speak up. 

2 weeks is hardly an established pattern.

Sometimes all someone needs is a little validation and encouragement. My feelings ARE valid, but I've learned not to act rashly on a swell of emotion. I come here, I vent, and then I process my emotions to check them. I look for fact to support my feelings. I look for evidence. Unless you are like me, you wouldn't understand what it's like to be flattened by an emotional tidal wave and disoriented. You wouldn't know the battle between the lizard brain throwing up alarms because of past trauma and trying to engage my neocortex. It's a constant struggle.

Watereddown's picture

Ok I get the hint. No more comments.

And I actually do understand. But it seems validation/encouragement are what you want over the possibility of maybe this isn't a relationship for the long haul. I don't believe in blindly validating/encouraging. The more I read your posts the more cracks appear. Good luck. Won't bother you again.

Livingoutloud's picture

I can ensure you that when you are with emotionally and otherwise available man, much of your disorientation caused by emotional tides and emotional battles caused by past traumas and your constant struggle between what's real and what's just your perception will lessen by a lot. Most likely will not go away completely but it will sure be way less. Longer you stay with men whose attention you need to fight for, longer you'll live in turmoil and state of confusion and disorientation. You deserve contentment, at the very least. 

WarMachine13's picture

FB this is why some folks quit commenting. I get you venting cuz I do it too. We all do. Sure seems like anyone points out a real thing and you find a way to excuse him. All the time. 

You talk about your feelings. How SO always gets it and doing better. Its 2 years and he still doesn't get you need calls and attention and whatnot. And he gaslights you but that's a.o.k. because you recognize the gaslighting and celebrate seeing it instead of walking away like you tell other ladies to. Folks here bring up real valid concerns but you pretty much poopoo 'em and turn it back to its your problem your fault never his cuz he's super duper.

Figure you'll tell me why Im all wrong and go right back to its your feelings and its not valid cuz its FEELINGS. Wateredown is right. Good luck.

Monkeysee's picture

This, and everything watereddown said. 

Merry's picture

This makes no sense to me: 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.

He has the option of working on the mountain house at any time, but he chooses weekends. You work during the week, so he picks the only days that you are totally available? That's pretty selfish and kind of indicates that he either EXPECTS you to chase after him, or he doesn't care if he's with you or not. And you seem willing to accommodate that.

 

Livingoutloud's picture

Well you are looking for facts, people show us who they are. We just have to pay attention. He repeatedly shows you who he is. Good guy but not available. 
 

The facts are that he moved and now chooses to stay there on the weekends even though he could do chores during the week and be with you on the weekends. These are facts. Not feelings. Feelings are being upset about it (rightfully so) but facts remain facts 

He isn't a bad guy. He just isn't available and sadly you aren't a priority, it's just not as important. Long distance isn't an issue. 2 hours isn't even that far at all. You keep calling it long distance. I commute two hours a day. It's a hike but I'd not call it long distance relationship.

And there wasn't any urgent need for him to move, like none. Why? What was the rush? I don't see this relationship working in a long run. Of course you can let him know what bothers you and he might make efforts but it would probably feel better if a man was doing all this because he is just too crazy about you to wait an extra day. 

Attraction to unavailable men is real. I had that. It's hard to fight. But there's no other way really. They usually remain unavailable for life. It's always something: late wife, kid, drinking, new house, then it will be something else. They always find something to not be 100% there for their partner. And they are always more into other things than into their girlfriends or wives. That's how it goes. 

JRI's picture

I'm 76, retired 6 years and DH is 83, retired 8 years.  Some reflections: retired men really, really value talking to someone, retired men often see their sexual capabilities diminish, retired people become more themselves, ie, revert to their natural body rhythms (like staying up late), retired people (us, anyway) make less effort socially.

I also note that my mom is 97 and still grieves her first husband, my dad, after 76 years, in spite of a successful second marriage and 3 more children.  She would love to drink with me on his death anniversary and still talks about him frequently.  I'm the daughter in the scenario you describe and I agree, it's not her idea.  As the daughter, I wanted to concentrate on being happy, not dwelling on that loss.

tog redux's picture

When DH bought this house we live in, I owned a house 20 minutes away. I knew he was buying here to be in SS's school district and we planned to live together at some point. My house was too small for us (and not in his district, so would have meant driving him there every day). He took me with him to look at houses and made sure I was okay with the house he ultimately bought.  We still spent nights at both houses but more at his, because now I could sleep over more easily when SS was here, and it had a big backyard for my dog. We both did chores at both houses to help each other out and to have more time together. 

Seems to me that after 2 years dating, there should be some talk about if you guys will get married or live together (ever). And if he bought a new house, it should be with that in mind (or not, if you've agreed not to ever live together).  But I'm guessing that hasn't been talked about, yet he bought a house far enough away that you can't visit with ease and still care for your house and get to your job - so what is the plan? Do you guys plan to marry or live together?  You don't like long-distance, so what will happen?

Kaylee's picture

FB, I have to agree with what the ladies above have told you.

From what you're saying, he could do his jobs during the week, and spend weekends with you, but he doesn't.

Maybe you need to have clear discussions about each other's expectations, so you both know where you stand.

My ex used to say "when I retire in 8 or 9 years, I'd like to move with you to XXXXX"

My answer to that was nope, I'm not sticking around for the next 9 years, while you live in your house with your spoilt entitled ADULT daughter, and I live in my house, which you like coming over to because of the nice calm relaxed atmosphere. See, he wasn't prepared to do any of the hard yards needed to launch brat, and he thought I'd just wait around for 9 years. And actually, did he think that at the end of those 9 years, she'd just meekly agree to move out so he and I could retire together???

Monkeysee's picture

I rarely log in anymore, but I've been reading your blogs, and from the outside looking in, at least based on what you post, things with your BF really haven't changed all that much. He keeps making choices that don't include you, and you keep shoehorning yourself into a relationship that works but also really doesn't work for you.  
 

Your needs aren't being met. Sure, he meets them occasionally when it suits him, which makes you feel like you actually are a priority, but the overarching theme is that he does what he wants to do, and you're there when it’s convenient. He already has the 'first lady of the house', and that's his LW. 

The fact that he has an 'open door policy' when you've driven up to see him on the weekends makes it fairly clear that you really aren't the priority.  Same with choosing to do his chores on the weekend. Having LW's things there. Letting his daughter decorate instead of asking for YOUR input.  All of this tells me that he's not available, and nothing has really changed. If you're happy with that, then cool. But making excuses for him constantly isn't going to magically turn this into the relationship we know you'd like it to be.