It has come time for me to leave this community. My LDR story, in brief, is that I met my fiance at college when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. We had most of 2 and a half years local and then he graduated and couldn't find a job in his field near the college. So we spent 9 months apart while I finished school and he worked at the closest job in his field he could find--a 6 hour drive away. As I didn't have a car, he drove down to visit me about every other weekend at school.
Anyway, my graduation was last May (see userpic!), so at this point we've been reunited almost as long as we were apart, and after spending the summer hanging out at his parents house and then at my parents house, we moved to Chicago for him to go to graduate school in August. Shortly after moving I finally found a job, but it is over an hour's drive away from our apartment and his graduate school... so getting enough quality time together is still difficult, and getting quality time for myself AND quality time for the relationship is nearly impossible, especially since I'm completely exhausted at the end of the day. The fact of the matter is, when we were long distance, he drove 12 hours every other week to come see me, now I drive around 12.5 hours every single week to get back and forth to my job. I've been tempted on many occasions to just get my own apartment closer to work, I could have more time for myself during the week and time for Josh on the weekends... but I didn't move half way across the country to live by myself. Plus, we're trying to save up to buy a condo, and that's not going to happen any time soon if we need to pay rent on two apartments.
Anyway, while I am not especially happy with the place I am right now in my life (even if my job was nearby, it's still for a defense contractor and therefore still not my cup of tea), I do still stand by my decision to come to Chicago with Josh... it's just not been as easy as I hoped it would be. I've said it before and I'll say it again, while LDRs take a lot of work, really good local relationship takes just as much work. I never really realized how much effort I put into it before, because it was so much fun. But now that I don't have the time and energy to just spend time together doing things we both enjoy, I realize how important it is to do so. We grew apart a lot during my last year at school, but during the 3 months since I started working, we've grown apart almost as much. It's difficult--while we were apart we got really good at each doing our own thing and killing time, so now that's almost all we do, especially when I'm so tired. (And then at the end of the day we realize that we were each just killing time waiting for the other to be done doing his own thing--what a waste, eh?!) It's been a struggle to find new ways to connect and places to go with the new place where we live. During the fall we went biking together--Chicago is a great city for biking! And we used to go walking all the time when we lived in California. But it's too cold for either now (it's hardly been above the freezing point of water in months). We joined the Field Museum last month, so that should be a fun and interesting place to go together, and now we can go as much as we want for free. We'd really like to go out dancing together (we used to do that a lot when we were in school), but dancing starts around 9pm, and I need to be in bed by 10pm if I'm going to work the next day... and even on the weekends I'm exhausted by 10pm. I actually found an interesting article which made this whole thing make a lot more sense to me. It's about Honeymoon Habits--we did a really good job with that when we first lived together, but then when our LDR ended and we moved in together again we didn't do a very good job of forming new habits, we were out of our element and thought we were set.
So, the long and sort of it is that it's time for me to leave the community. I originally intended to stay in the community until after our wedding (this June 18th, yay!), but I've changed my mind (and no, this has nothing to do with the recent drama). I've really enjoyed knowing you guys, and it's been great to be part of such a supportive community, but right now I need to concentrate on making time for my relationship, or all my LDR time will have been for not. I wish you all the best, and please remember this when you are united or reunited with your SO: don't stop working on your relationship; never kid yourself into thinking you are done putting out effort and love. (And don't let your SO neglect the relationship either!)
I should like to also give a brief review of my LDR experience itself. The funny thing is, while I know I was miserable and lonely and cried myself to sleep many nights, I don't really remember it. I tend to block bad memories, and I have blocked most of my memories of being apart. What I remember vividly from my senior year are my Thursday lunches with my ex-roommate, Wednesday lunches with the women's support group, winning a gold star among all the physics majors for knowledge gained from being a seamstress, flying from one side of LA to the other for a job interview, studying how ancient people viewed the skys, getting to know Michael on walks back from class, learning to play in the balanese gamlan ensemble, decorating for parties, having a group of girls over to watch "Mona Lisa Smile" in my door room late at night, watching M*A*S*H in the dorm lounge, going to see Michael Moore, student teaching physics at the high school, education meetings with Emily and Prof. Saeta, learning more about energy use and the environment, how happy it made me to see the couples I knew who enjoyed each other and treated each other well since I knew I had the same thing waiting for me (I do still remember all the couples from high school when I had no one anywhere and thought I never would). I'm quite happy not to remember specifics of the LDR, because I know I didn't enjoy it. All I really remember is that we swore we would never do it again--from now on we will arrange to be local. Which means my ability to offer support and advice for LD couples is mostly gone too--people come and post here "because nobody else would understand", and I realize I don't understand either--I don't even remember how I survived mine.
I thought this might be of interest here too (I don't know how many people read this one and not LFA). I will be remaining part of this community.