You’ve Reunited With Your LDR Partner … Now What?

When I touch down in Belgrade, I go through the usual motions of long-haul flight exhaustion: eye dryness, sensitive stomach, sweaty clothes, sore glutes. All I want to do is go to bed. Only I still have to go through customs, collect my luggage, and — oh yeah — reunite with Aleksa after 6+ months.

When I reunite with my partner, I want to look like a movie star — not a stinky egg with bloodshot eyes. And of course, the first thing your partner will want to do is hug you and kiss you: stinky, sweaty, achy, sleepy you. 

I always try to enjoy the moment; I always tell myself that my partner doesn’t care about any of that. But no matter what, I have a nagging voice in my head saying “Hey, fleabag. Take a bath.”

Luckily, I’m not alone in this feeling. I’ve spoken to a handful of people who share my post-flight ickiness. What’s funny, however, is that we’re not the only ones who feel a bit unrecognizable!

After so many months apart, our partners can seem like strangers. And I don’t just mean in their behavior. Facetime skews proportions; cameras don’t pick up skin textures, beauty marks, facial hairs. Think about who you were three, six, nine months ago … you probably looked different than you do now! 

When you see your partner again, it can be straight-up weird. I’m always surprised by Aleksa’s height (has he always been this lanky?) and current hairstyle (he’s more handsome than I remember!) During those first few days of reuniting, I feel shy. It’s as if I feel like I’m doing something wrong — that the person I am with can’t be the person I’ve been speaking to on video camera. 

But once you’ve gotten over the shyness — and the jet lag — your chemistry will return. And that’s a really wonderful part of being reunited. You’ll fall in love with your partner all over. You’ll make new memories. 

Lest we forget that this period is one in which the world romanticizes an LDR. The story arc of passion, of travel, of being kept apart and reunited … seems quite exciting, doesn’t it? That’s because not getting what you want right away can be very sexy

Take it from me, though, and revisit paragraph 1-2: it’s not very sexy. Not right away.

This brings me to a different point: There is pressure on LDR couples to have a wonderful time when they reunite. Friends and families send us away with words like, “Make the most of your time,” or “Make every second count.” 

It’s a bit silly, right? Like, of course we want to make the most of it. I just spent $1200 on this plane ticket and have been dreaming of kissing my partner for months! Why wouldn’t I make our time count?

But eventually, you realize “making it count” doesn’t even make all that much sense. How do you make every second count? How do you make every day exciting, happy, and intimate? What about illness? What about jet lag? Or just a run-of-the-mill bad day?

In my last blog, I shared that sometimes the inconvenience of your trip will come down to misfortune in your personal life — with “family members suddenly [passing]” being the first on my list. Eerily enough, the day after that blog was posted, I lost someone who was dear and precious to me. A friend who was a part of my New York family. 

This was among three losses I experienced in January. And even though Aleksa had no problem sticking by my side while I grieved, I couldn’t help but feel I was not “making the most of our time together.” How does one celebrate love when they are processing loss? It’s hard. We hadn’t seen each other in six months, quite literally not since our honeymoon … and to be dealing with such tragic news? Even harder. 

My vision of reuniting was this: lots of blueberry pancakes, lots of kissing … surprise dinners, afternoons at the Met, cuddling on snowy days. It was most certainly not crying on the couch in the same pair of pajamas for days on end.

(And it was also not the following events: the mouse that terrorized our home, the cockroach at the laundromat, the infection on Aleksa’s sixth molar, the weekend in Connecticut dealing with the infection on Aleksa’s sixth molar, the night I lost my peripheral vision, the time we fought over garlic vs onions …)

The point is that when I was sad, Aleksa brought me flowers. When Aleksa was homesick, I learned how to make a pretty good tzatziki sauce. Reuniting doesn’t need to be a glamorous weeklong event of lingerie and oysters. What reuniting is, or what it should be, is a testament that when the two of you are together again, you mean business. You have each other’s backs. You support one another.

If you’re about to reunite with your partner, don’t feel like you need to put on a show. Enjoy their presence. Enjoy what the two of you have together. Even in the bad moments.

Best, 

That American Girl

P.S. (Hey, look at this cheesy line I just came up with: I didn’t love every second, but every second was filled with love. Did someone write that already?)

When I touch down in Belgrade, I go through the usual motions of long-haul flight exhaustion: eye dryness, sensitive stomach, sweaty clothes, sore glutes. All I want to do is go to bed. Only I still have to go through customs, collect my luggage, and — oh yeah — reunite with Aleksa after 6+ months.

When I reunite with my partner, I want to look like a movie star — not a stinky egg with bloodshot eyes. And of course, the first thing your partner will want to do is hug you and kiss you: stinky, sweaty, achy, sleepy you. 

I always try to enjoy the moment; I always tell myself that my partner doesn’t care about any of that. But no matter what, I have a nagging voice in my head saying “Hey, fleabag. Take a bath.”

Luckily, I’m not alone in this feeling. I’ve spoken to a handful of people who share my post-flight ickiness. What’s funny, however, is that we’re not the only ones who feel a bit unrecognizable!

After so many months apart, our partners can seem like strangers. And I don’t just mean in their behavior. Facetime skews proportions; cameras don’t pick up skin textures, beauty marks, facial hairs. Think about who you were three, six, nine months ago … you probably looked different than you do now! 

When you see your partner again, it can be straight-up weird. I’m always surprised by Aleksa’s height (has he always been this lanky?) and current hairstyle (he’s more handsome than I remember!) During those first few days of reuniting, I feel shy. It’s as if I feel like I’m doing something wrong — that the person I am with can’t be the person I’ve been speaking to on video camera. 

But once you’ve gotten over the shyness — and the jet lag — your chemistry will return. And that’s a really wonderful part of being reunited. You’ll fall in love with your partner all over. You’ll make new memories. 

Lest we forget that this period is one in which the world romanticizes an LDR. The story arc of passion, of travel, of being kept apart and reunited … seems quite exciting, doesn’t it? That’s because not getting what you want right away can be very sexy

Take it from me, though, and revisit paragraph 1-2: it’s not very sexy. Not right away.

This brings me to a different point: There is pressure on LDR couples to have a wonderful time when they reunite. Friends and families send us away with words like, “Make the most of your time,” or “Make every second count.” 

It’s a bit silly, right? Like, of course we want to make the most of it. I just spent $1200 on this plane ticket and have been dreaming of kissing my partner for months! Why wouldn’t I make our time count?

But eventually, you realize “making it count” doesn’t even make all that much sense. How do you make every second count? How do you make every day exciting, happy, and intimate? What about illness? What about jet lag? Or just a run-of-the-mill bad day?

In my last blog, I shared that sometimes the inconvenience of your trip will come down to misfortune in your personal life — with “family members suddenly [passing]” being the first on my list. Eerily enough, the day after that blog was posted, I lost someone who was dear and precious to me. A friend who was a part of my New York family. 

This was among three losses I experienced in January. And even though Aleksa had no problem sticking by my side while I grieved, I couldn’t help but feel I was not “making the most of our time together.” How does one celebrate love when they are processing loss? It’s hard. We hadn’t seen each other in six months, quite literally not since our honeymoon … and to be dealing with such tragic news? Even harder. 

My vision of reuniting was this: lots of blueberry pancakes, lots of kissing … surprise dinners, afternoons at the Met, cuddling on snowy days. It was most certainly not crying on the couch in the same pair of pajamas for days on end.

(And it was also not the following events: the mouse that terrorized our home, the cockroach at the laundromat, the infection on Aleksa’s sixth molar, the weekend in Connecticut dealing with the infection on Aleksa’s sixth molar, the night I lost my peripheral vision, the time we fought over garlic vs onions …)

The point is that when I was sad, Aleksa brought me flowers. When Aleksa was homesick, I learned how to make a pretty good tzatziki sauce. Reuniting doesn’t need to be a glamorous weeklong event of lingerie and oysters. What reuniting is, or what it should be, is a testament that when the two of you are together again, you mean business. You have each other’s backs. You support one another.

If you’re about to reunite with your partner, don’t feel like you need to put on a show. Enjoy their presence. Enjoy what the two of you have together. Even in the bad moments.

Best, 

That American Girl

P.S. (Hey, look at this cheesy line I just came up with: I didn’t love every second, but every second was filled with love. Did someone write that already?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: