On the plane heading back to Chicago — decided to shell out the $20 for internet so I could power through some backlogged e-mail, etc. Great long weekend trip, but also I’m tired. Long distance isn’t easy, but Kev and I and the kids aren’t about to abandon our academic jobs and move to California, and Jed isn’t about to abandon all that gorgeous California sunshine (not to mention job, other sweetie, etc.) and move to Chicago, so we’re kind of stuck with this for the foreseeable future. Jed’ll be coming out to visit in mid-October, so that helps. But still.
Sometime last year, Jed and I decided that we really needed to try to see each other once a month if at all possible, because it was really hard communicating well otherwise. Especially since for a lot of the last few years, I was feeling so overcommitted with STUFF and INPUTS that I got really phone-aversive; I hated speaking on the phone, and couldn’t bring myself to answer it or pick it up to call anyone.
The phone thing is better now, which is a really good sign that I’m managing to slow down my life a bit, get it to a healthier mental place. So we can talk a little on the phone now, which helps, but in person is better. Which (along with budgeting for flights, sigh) means time. It’s actually reasonably productive time in terms of work, because I often get a lot done on the plane, and by being away from the house and its infinite distractions (surely it’d be a good idea to reorganize this pantry…), I also get through more e-mail, etc. work. And Jed is super-helpful with tech issues often, so I tend to save those up to have him help me through them…
But it’s time away from Kevin and the kids too, and more time with Kevin on solo childcare duty (if it’s me traveling), and so there’s a balancing act there. I mostly don’t travel to just visit Jed in CA; I usually meet him at conferences I’d be going to for work anyway (which are ramping up lately — I’m going to those something close to monthly now).
But Jed doesn’t necessarily want to attend all of those, and he’s more introverted than I am, and big conferences are draining for him, even if he likes the topic and the people, etc. Draining for me too, sometimes — I’m not as extroverted as I used to be, and need to go hide in my room and recharge periodically.
And it’s not just a matter of missing him. There’s relationship…work, I guess is the term?…that needs doing, to keep the relationship healthy and happy. Regular conversations to clear away misunderstandings, to come to agreements, to get yourselves on the same page, hopefully. There was a long stretch of years when Jed and I mostly weren’t doing that work (when the kids were small, and during cancer, when I was mostly medical-focused), and we drifted apart. It’s sort of surprising, in retrospect, that the relationship survived that really strained and somewhat silent time. (I am very stubborn, though, which helps.)
Somehow we hung onto each other, and the last few years, have worked through a lot of those issues. Though if I could figure out a way to do some online / remote couples counseling, I might try it, as I think it’d speed things up. (Is there such a thing? Is it effective? The idea of Skyping with a therapist and split screens seems goofy, but maybe it’s worth a try…)
I was telling Jed last night that I’d come up with a brilliant new analogy — therapists are like personal trainers for your mental health — sure, you can probably get more fit / work through these issues on your own, with time and attention and dedication. But a good personal trainer / therapist can offer tools to help massively speed up the process.
I don’t really have any conclusions here. Just documenting another #poly challenge, I suppose. I miss Jed already, and I missed Kev and the kids while I was in CA.
My love life is an embarrassment of riches, and I know that I’m a lucky, lucky girl, with these two wonderful, brilliant men. Is it too much to ask, to just have them live in the same city…?
Want teleportation now, please.