Den and I have been together long time. A long, long time. Longer than any of our previous relationships.
In dog years, we’re middle aged.
In Kardashian years, we should have been dead and buried ten times over already.
A month ago, he went away overseas. He’s not coming back for another whole month.
He’s gone for business, and for other work reasons I couldn’t go with him. We were okay with that.
Others not so much.
“Two months?” we kept hearing. “You’re going to be apart for two whole months?”
The suspicion was palpable. I’m not sure what everyone was thinking. Divorce? Scandal? Relationship suicide?
In the grand scheme of things, two months doesn’t seem like a long time. We’re lucky that we have an end date already set – many couples do long distance for years without an end goal or much say in the matter.
We’re an independent couple who has never felt like we had to live in each other’s pockets. We didn’t really understand why people were getting so upset on our behalf.
We knew we would miss each other, but that was certainly nothing to stop us. In fact, the second the flights were booked something great happened – we instantly became nicer towards each other.
I waffle on a lot about couples taking each other for granted, and let me tell you, there’s nothing to remind you what you have quite knowing they’re about to leave you for an extended period of time.
The weeks leading up to his departure were bliss.
Instead of rushing around first thing every day, we would laze in bed a little longer. We were quick to get over little arguments, realising there’s more to life than bickering over who exactly put the toast crumbs in the butter.
And then he left. And, I’m going to be honest with you… I fell apart a little bit.
My reaction was completely unexpected – well, to me anyway.
I was quite literally panic-struck at the thought of not having him around for nine long weeks.
It didn’t help that the night before he left, the universe decided to really reinforce the message by nearly burning our house down. I’m categorically not the one that deals with faulty fuse boxes. I suddenly realised how much I rely on him.
After dropping him at the airport with a short and sharp goodbye at the door, I promptly fell to pieces for a few days.
I felt like I was trying to do the Oxfam without a support team – trekking a huge hill all on my own.
Acting this way was completely foreign to me, but upon reflection I realised it had never lived on my own before – there have always been flatmates, family or partners with me.
A luxurious weekend alone in your house is a very different thing from night after night of aloneness stretching ahead of you.
And I’m going to make sure we do it more often.
After the initial shock of feeling abandoned and unsure, I settled back down and began to enjoy myself, and my time to myself.
It’s a grounding and re-centring experience, being away from your partner for a length of time. It doesn’t have to be two months, but a week or two every now and then wouldn’t go astray.
I’ve learned how to be on my own again, and to enjoy my own company.
It’s reminded me that I’m my own individual person who can do what she wants, when she wants, without needing to tell or consult anyone else first.
It shows up all the small unconscious compromises you naturally fall into when you live with another person, so you can decide if you want to keep living like that or change back to your own preferences on things like bedtime, what and when you eat dinner and what music you’re playing in the house.
It’s reminded me also that I am a perfectly capable human who can do things like change the flat battery instead of playing damsel in distress and letting a man do it for me (Thank god no spiders have shown up yet, though).
It’s really made me appreciate what I feel for Den and how much a part of my world he really is. Sure, it can be tough in a relationship sometimes but I am much happier with him around then when he is gone.
And that is the best part of it all.