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Bicoastal Baby: Ushering in surrender

All things change.

I know, deep right? But it’s true. And it’s especially true when you are in a relationship with someone who lives across the country.

And sometimes it presents challenges.

For one, sometimes your financial situation changes. When I met Captain, I was working a full-time corporate job (not making much money) but I was gainfully employed and had the basics covered even though I was miserable. At some point, after we became more serious, I went from full-time to telecommuting so I could travel and visit him. This was both my ticket out of cube culture and a way for me to support my budding romance. But now, a year out of leaving my job and a year into my freelance life, my finances have changed and while I have way more flexibility on my hands, freelancing doesn’t always equate to steady work, which means less money in the pocket. And less money in the pocket sadly means less funds to pay for those airline tickets. We’ve been lucky, however, and have always managed to have the resources we’ve needed to make a visit happen. And a large part of that has been to planning.

Secondly, long distance relationships go through the same stages as geographically intimate relationships – they just take longer to get there and adjust. We had a great honeymoon stage – full of passion, sexy whispers and future plans. That’s not to say those plans and passion don’t exist now that the shine has worn off a bit, but let’s just say we are more realistic. We are also settling into our respective homes (in our respective cities) a bit more.

This leads to challenge #3: rooting. Being bicoastal means each of us has to have some footing in the other’s city so as to feel the embodiment of home. For autonomous people like us, it’s not enough to just go visit and stare googly eyed at each other while the rest of our lives fall by the wayside (that may have been enough in the honeymoon stage, but we are past that). We are dealing with a myriad of issues here – the reality of rooting in our home cities, solo (and as polyamorous people), the disruption that can sometimes happen when leaving to venture across the country to visit one another (mixed with excitement and anticipation, all feelings are true) and the feeling of lack that sometimes emerges when visiting our “other home.”

For the sake of this column, however, let’s take a brief look at rooting in our respective cities. I will say, having my partner across the country has made me reluctant to take on anything that ties me to New York on a committed, non-negotiable basis – such as a full-time job (I don’t really want one anyways so that works out). Though I don’t have many commitments here, I do have a few. I have another significant partner, Superboy, who I see on a weekly basis, and though we are not romantic in the traditional sense of the word, we are intimate and loving with each other. I also am committed to my karate practice. As it is, I leave my training for two to three weeks at a time to travel. My school knows this is my reality and is supportive (after all, they are queer & feminist and well, get life) and while it can actually be great for my learning to take a break, it can also impact my well-being and sense of community connection when I leave.

So in other words, it’s hard and confusing and sometimes makes me question what I am doing. Which, I think ultimately, is good. Good for me and good for the relationship because I am always consciously making a choice to be in it.

What I am also realizing is the importance of surrender. My parents have been married for 38 years. You meet someone, get married and have kids. That’s the plan until you deviate from it. I come from conditioning of not only a monogamous paradigm, but that relationships have to look and move a certain way in order to mean a certain thing or be legitimized in mainstream romantic culture. What does it mean if one of us gets hot over an opportunity in our respective city and limits our travel ability? What happens if we just run out of money and creative options to see each other? Does that mean we are regressing as a couple? Does it mean we aren’t successful or love each other less? We are facing this now. For me, those realities are frightening and it would be easy to spiral into a state of fear and scarcity.

So what can I do? I hang in. I’m working on my mindset and part of that is staying present and surrendering to what is in store. If I can just remember to breathe and trust, things will work out OK. Maybe not like I envisioned or planned, at first, but perhaps better than I ever imagined.

Liz Gold is a queer femme who lives (most of the time) in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She owns Rhino Girl Media. Check out more of her writing at www.14karatliving.com. And yes, shes for hire.

 

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