Some might say I have a dysfunctional relationship. First of all, my boyfriend and I work together but don’t live together. We can spend months at a time in each other’s pockets, seeing each other 24-7 then go weeks without seeing each other, with 400 miles between us. Oh the beauty of working freelance! My boyfriend and I make up a musical duo, me singing and him playing the piano and guitar and we travel around the world together performing. Pretty amazing right? It is, except for the on-off relationship we have in terms of when we’re together it is so full on and when we aren’t, we can’t pop round for a date night.
Could you work with your partner? You hear about couples working together in the same industry, or maybe even the same office, but my relationship hits another level. My boyfriend and I HAVE to have each other to work. And because most of the work we do is outside of the UK, it means packing up our lives for a few months, leaving our friends and family behind and moving to a different culture, where the only other person we know is each other! All I can say is thank GOD for Skype.
It really puts our relationship to the test when we can go for a whole week, being in each other’s presence non-stop. It teaches you the importance of giving each other space and the art of quickly working your way through an argument. After all, if you’re not speaking to each other, whom else have you got to talk to?
Spending that amount of time together can start to pigeon hole you as a couple who can’t spend a single second away from each other and the people you meet along the way tend to unintentionally see you as a double act instead of individual people, which annoys me. If my boyfriend wants to do something and I don’t, I am perfectly capable of letting him get on with it while I have some much needed alone time.
There are no two ways about it. Long-distance relationships are the worst! To get each other on the phone requires sticking to a schedule and you can sometimes feel like your really missing out on your partner’s life. It’s hard to support someone fully when there are miles and miles between you. As my boyfriend and I want to catch up with friends and family while we are at home, it can result in days passing with limited contact. My rule is that when I’m out with someone, my phone is securely stowed in my bag and my boyfriend has to wait his turn. The same goes for him. If I call and he is with his mates, I tell him I’ll call back, because it would be rude to his friends and I don’t want them to think I’m controlling!
It means putting aside a block of days where you travel to see them, packing a small bag (and inevitably forgetting your toothbrush or your hairdryer or something) and in the case of me visiting him, squishing into a single bed to sleep! Not the most romantic of times! As we still both live with our parents (what’s the point in getting a place for our own when 8 months of the year we are outside the UK) it’s not really time to ourselves, but time spent with each other’s family. Alone time can be tricky!
However, spending that time apart can do wonders for such a hot and cold relationship. When we are together constantly, there can be niggles in my head of ‘What am I doing? Is this relationship working?’ but the time apart allows me to re-evaluate my relationship, miss my boyfriend and know that I still want to be in this relationship with him, no matter how unconventional!