From cohabitation to nohabitation
February 1, 2011 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I have lived with my boyfriend of 4 years for 2 of those years and now I am moving out. How can I make this transition smoothly?

I'm moving out because I bought a house (I bought it alone because bf was not particularly interested in owning just yet, and I am not interested in mingling finances before marriage.) My main motivation for buying the house is that the house I bought saves money compared to renting and is closer to my parents and the area I grew up in. It is about 1.5 hours from the apartment I was sharing with my boyfriend.

Due to the current location of boyfriend's job, he can't move in with me right away. He intends to look for another job that would enable him to move in with me.

My problem is that I'm having a hard time envisioning how to keep the relationship afloat until we can cohabit again. His schedule changes every few weeks and we usually don't have the same days off. He usually works night shift wheras I work day shift. I usually work 7 days a week now, though I intend to downshift that soon. I believe that he will find a job, but "in this economy" I worry that it could take..a long time. I have this feeling that I am sabotaging the relationship by moving out (boyfriend is supportive and thinks things will be fine - i tend to be a worry-er).

How can 2 people stay connected for an undetermined amount of time when work schedules make even "weekend" visits difficult / sparse?
posted by WeekendJen to Human Relations (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
intentionally connecting.

i think when you live with someone it can (but doesn't always) become easy to take for granted the fact that you connect in some way - whether you have some time in bed together for snuggles (if working different shifts), or eat a quick meal together, watch movies together, have a chat, fold laundry, etc. - that often happens by default.

when you are apart, you will need more planning - but it could be fun! if in person visits are challenging, plan a vacation together! even if that just means two days. meet half way for a meal whenever possible! read the same book or watch the same movie and talk about it over the phone. write a short story together, swapping paragraphs as you go! write each other cards and letters and mail them. care packages are fun. call each other more often. send photos, art. phone sex! surprise each other (if you can) by taking an afternoon (or morning) off and going off on an adventure. give him a disposable camera and have him take pictures of a week of his life for you to develop.

it will take work, and it is doable if you are both invested in it. it could even be fun to take on those types of romantic gestures that sometimes fade off when you live together (although i swear they can continue!).

(oh, and it's ok to talk about feeling scared with your sweetie. it will be a change, and there is nothing wrong with not liking it as much as living together).
posted by anya32 at 11:22 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


To build on the above, make a time when you two look at your week ahead and plan some time together. Look at your work schedules and block out time for phone calls, IMs, dates... whatever it is you do to connect. It becomes a team effort to make time for each other, which helps to show that you make each other a priority.
posted by ldthomps at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2011


This sounds really silly, but both of you could make it a point to text each other throughout the day. Send the things you would normally talk about over dinner via text. Email can get cumbersome, especially if you're like me where you think every personal e-mail ever has to be a full-blown letter. Texting and picture texts are a great way to be like 'crazy coworker brought in donuts! yesssss!' or 'look at this rug i bought for our house!' - so you still feel connected even though you're apart. And because they're throughout the day, you can feel like you're always thinking of each other. And it really only takes less than a few minutes, so it could be compatible with your crazy schedules.
posted by kerning at 11:28 AM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you sure you are not sabotaging your relationship? If you are working 7 days a week how is being closer to your parents more convenient as you have little time to visit them and whatever time you will save will be spent keeping this relationship alive. It also doesn't sound like you two have sat down to figure out how to keep the relationship going.

But, to answer your question, I have been in several long distance relationships before so have a bit of experience. The most important thing you have covered: have a long-term plan of a life together. Gratz. You should also get on a schedule. For example, I would txt him good morning every day at a certain time and have a phone call before bed every night.

And for the love of god, keep talking and letting each other know what you are feeling. Without a close confidant the loneliness will just fester.

Good luck.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:36 AM on February 1, 2011


The only point I can address is the sabotaging the relationship bit- I have two good friends who lived together, lived apart and now are living under the same roof again. No breakups, no major relationship problems, etc. They were much closer (physically) than you and your SO will be, but it isn't something to freak out about. It's been done before and it'll be done again.

As to what to do, I'm merely going to second anya32.
posted by Hactar at 11:45 AM on February 1, 2011


I moved away from my then-boyfriend, now-husband in between long stints of living together so that I could finish college. I was away for 6 months and we'd see each other on weekends. We survived just fine.

I suggest Skype, emails, texting, etc. Communicate as frequently as possible. My husband was terrible about responding to my texts and emails and his silence made that period of living in separate cities much more difficult than it needed to be. But like I said, our relationship survived it all the same.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:10 PM on February 1, 2011


How is a mortgage cheaper than sharing rent 50/50 with your boyfriend? Unless this house was really close to both your job and your parents and it was a deal of the century, I don't understand how it's worth being that far away from your SO.

In my last relationship when I saw the end was near, I stopped making plans as a couple and started making them for myself. If you are not making joint decisions with your SO, it sounds like you are not very committed.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:42 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


nthing all the 'set time aside to connect and communicate' responses.

I also wanted to say that I was in this situation too. (Well, I suppose I still am since I haven't moved back in with SO yet.) And I'm grateful for it now even though it was really tough in the first few months. I missed him constantly and wanted to talk to him all the time. I was a bit insecure because it was weird being apart from him.

However, as time passed, it became easier. We called each other at least once a day, we saw each other weekly and were able to spend more time doing the things that enriched our personal lives (his career, my school) because we had our own time. Our relationship changed, I think, for the better.

Long distance relationships can work if there's a plan to get back together so maybe if you talk with your bf more about this and hash out a time line it'll make it easier.
posted by p1nkdaisy at 8:46 PM on February 1, 2011


How is a mortgage cheaper than sharing rent 50/50 with your boyfriend? Unless this house was really close to both your job and your parents and it was a deal of the century, I don't understand how it's worth being that far away from your SO.

In my last relationship when I saw the end was near, I stopped making plans as a couple and started making them for myself. If you are not making joint decisions with your SO, it sounds like you are not very committed.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:42 PM on February 1 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]


It is closer to my work (I had been commuting over an hour from the apartment with boyfriend), and as far as "deal of the century" I pretty much got one AND also a lot more space (a 3 bedroom house compared to a really cramped studio apartment). Some people think school or job chages are valid reasons to temporarily live away from their SO, and I felt that stable, affordable housing was the best thing for my financial future and thus a good enough reason to deal with the separation. I know some people here are really crusaders for renting, but in MY life situation, renting is a waste of money compared to owning. Please re-read my question for the details about how the joint decision is that I will be sole legal owner of the house, but boyfriend is moving in with me, just at some unknown time at this point.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:18 AM on February 2, 2011


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