These two have inspired me for some time now. Not only do their words leave an impact on my soul, the love they share with one another is something out of a fairytale; it has inspired millions.
Steph: I am completely inspired by the love and respect I see from you two. How did you meet?
I received a social media message from John when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. He wrote me a short message to let me know he liked my poetry. It was over a month before I read his message again and decided to read some of his poetry as well. I was impressed by his writing talent and decided to send him a message to let him know that I enjoyed reading his poetry. It wasn’t long before we began chatting back and forth, quickly becoming great friends. It didn’t take long before I realized that he was very unique and I was amazed at how much we had in common. I also felt a strong feeling that somehow we would become an important part of each other’s lives.
When I messaged Christy, I wasn’t really expecting a reply, much less that we would become friends and end up falling in love. My heart was closed down due to some things I had gone through. I was losing faith in love and wasn’t sure that I could ever find what I was looking for. Despite this, as we began communicating, I found myself opening up more and more. I was very intrigued by her, and our compatibility was amazing, but it took a while for my heart to trust that love had unexpectedly found me.
Steph: It seems that LDR’s are still taboo, people don’t understand, and feel uncomfortable with the thought of living far from the person they love. What are some misconceptions about LDR’s that you would like to address if any?
Some people may assume that long distance couples are not as serious as couples in a traditional relationship. They may think we don’t have to work as hard on our relationships as couples who live near one another or who live together. I personally find that it takes a greater amount of effort to maintain a healthy relationship without having a day-to-day physical connection. Since body language makes up 55% of communication physical separation creates a unique challenge for long distance couples. It can create misunderstandings that would be easily avoided in person. In our case, it requires a deep amount of trust and commitment for us to remain as emotionally close as we are while living apart.
Steph: What is the most challenging aspect of LDR?
I find that one of the most challenging aspects of being in a long distance relationship is finding balance. Balancing life can be difficult for any couple but since long distance couples don’t have the opportunity to interact with each other in a natural setting, finding the right balance can become even more of a challenge. Rather than chatting while eating dinner together or cuddling while watching TV, John and I are limited to online messaging, telephone conversations and Skype sessions. It’s not easy for me to balance long distance communication with work, parenting responsibilities and other daily activities.
It can be really tough not being physically present with Christy. Helping fix something in her house when she needs it, holding her in my arms to comfort her, or express love. Even something as simple as looking across the room and smiling at her, or reaching out and taking her hand in mine. There are many times when those type of things are what you really want or need, but you can’t have them. You feel constraints very keenly in those moments, because you know you have to wait weeks or months before you get the luxury of being in each other’s presence. It hurts sometimes, but when you are together, you appreciate all the things which can get taken for granted when two people are living together daily.
Steph: What would you say the benefits are for your LDR?
Living apart forces us to go slow, hone our communication skills, and put down deep roots. In a relationship where you see the person every day, time together can be filled with activities and entertainment. There isn’t anything necessarily pushing you to be a skillful listener and communicator, or to go deeper with the relationship. In an LDR, it’s kind of do or die. You either figure out how to build a strong connection which can handle the added stress of being apart, or it’s not going to last. Thankfully, we have been able to create something really strong.
Steph: How do you stay connected?
John & Christy:
We communicate a lot, using a variety of ways – phone, messaging, Skype. We watch videos together, read and discuss books.
Talking through problems and conflicts as they arise is important, and we build regular times of communication into our week so that we never go too long without connecting.
We are always available to provide emotional support for each when needed. Making plans for the future, when we’ll be able to live together helps us feel close.
Steph: Is there any advice you’d like to give for those who are beginning an LDR – what to do, what not to do, and what to expect based on your experience?
John & Christy:
Expect that a long distance relationship will be challenging and require extra effort. It’s essential to find creative ways to stay connected across the miles.
Because it’s easy for misunderstandings to arise when you can’t see the body language or facial expressions of the other person, it’s important to not make assumptions or jump to conclusions.
Steph: How has your LDR inspired your writing? Do you have a favorite piece/quote that is directly related to being apart?
John & Christy:
Being apart stirs up emotions which feed our poetic creativity, but mainly it’s the relationship itself which inspires our writing.