Distance and Falling into A Routine, how do you handle it?

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone is okay. Thanks to all of you, I am still working on my jealousy. What used to be a 9 or a 10 has come down to 4 or 5s, and I have begun developing routines and practices to get better, and a fairly set schedule to see my partner kept me sane. What I found now is something that seems to plague mono, poly, and other relationships at times - routine. Life has been particularly brutal, with a family member being ill, a coworker passing from COVID (so I am inheriting their duties), and the new omicron strain coming up. As you may recall, I work in healthcare/disaster prep - so we are locking and loading again.

I'll keep this short to explain where I am.

As part of working on jealousy I uncovered an issue with my partner, which you might remember is named K. We are amazing together in person, and now with a closer post-move distance there is a better chance of seeing each other and we were routinely visiting. We had to pause for about 2 months while her homelife and worries of her husband were settled, which absolutely sucked and pushed me to the point of almost walking. His job meant he was away for a long while and with me being there with her so often, he needed more time together as his needs weren't being addressed. Her and my relationship was also intruding on responsibilities/their time together to the point it was hurting them all. While it hurt, I agreed that the priority was to fix their issues and get life stable - so all could be happy. I used the time to go on a few dates myself which she knew about (unfortunately nobody really piqued my interest) and was happy for me to. They did some great heavy work themselves as well, and we all emerged with valid mistakes to learn from.

Anyways....

Afterwards we had a heart to heart and I realized that she fought for me and worked with her husband despite setting up a date with someone else during all this. Before the argument it was supposed to be me visiting K on a trip, but I understood that the issues between her, him, and me as the meta precluded me from visiting her on it and that this random date was a fun thing. She was also very sweet and reassuring about seeing each other after this was fixed. I called a poly friend during K's date who helped affirm I didn't feel as bad about it, I just really missed K and this particular situation was making me sensitive. Now her and her husband are taking another trip and she is thinking of going on another date. Again, like before, scheduling to see me doesn't really work, so I grabbed my pen and sat down to keep fighting this much-less-intense jealousy monster.

I should add her husband has since had his needs met, their priorities cleared, and is seemingly quite supportive of me again. (Him and I have also met, and got along really well, ironically the source of his worry as we're pretty much the same, just I am younger). But the one evening she has to escape the family just doesn't work and is the only reason she claims. It bummed me out, but the universe isn't perfect.

So as I was reflecting and working on continuing to be accepting of these other folks, I realized that a big part of it was what I felt were indeed these unmet needs - especially as we have not been able to see each other and our time apart since last visit(October) was super stressful. My poly friend agreed with me on the needs. I wasn't feeling sexually connected to K, as we used to connect over the phone that way if we couldn't in person. In fact, K mentioned at times we felt like good friends more than bf/gf, especially over the past weeks following resolution of their issues. I agreed, and reiterated that before we flirted over text often and I brought up that I needed it, and it was not happening as often. I told K I felt marginalized though understanding of the temporary stepping back to allow them to fix the issues of life at home (moving, career changes, etc) and was looking forward to reconnecting. I also felt that priority should have been given to me over other people to help us in reconnecting, but I told her I understood the scheduling and that one evening, while amazing, is not enough. We usually spend several days together and bond deeply through doing things together and are planning that out. She talked with her husband about our frustrations on this sexual connection both in person and over the phone, as he inquired about me in a good way, and he agreed with me and explained things to her from his view.

So now things are recovering but still a bit tense from this unexpected situation with my meta and her. After having an open discussion with K today I have been thinking of ways to reignite over the distance. In my positive column is that these other dates are less bothersome to me, and my jealousy isn't over worries of loss, etc, anymore as I know she wants to see me and we have stuck by each other through potential illness, others, and even when a meta is upset. My feelings seem to be over the fact that I want to be happy and exciting for her again. I popped open google, but most of the long-distance tips to reignite a flame is "visit more" which we are planning but can't do at the moment, or stuff we have done but is hard to do when one is taking care of a family.

My TL;DR, what I have done, and questions.

TLDR:
  • My gf K and her husband had an argument over her and my relationship impacting responsibilities in life, which means it has been a bit since we have seen each other and is leaving me feeling in need of connection. They fixed it, we persevered and while our commitment is clear it has left a bit of residual damage including collapsed sexual and physical connection.
  • She had drinks with a random person and may again, including doing more with them, but we can't get together due to scheduling issues. This leaves me feeling with unsatisfied sexual needs and jealous of time. This does not have a "complete" fix I know, as there is only so much time in the day and we can't freeze time to sneak in to see each other before she goes back to her family.
  • When talking about us, we both felt that we slide towards friends in a sense and both want to move to back towards hot/heavy bf/gf like we were a month or two ago.
What I've Done:
  • I've said that we should chat less about mundane things, being present every hour in each others can kill a vibe and intrudes on productivity. I get that when she is left alone with her family as he travels I am an easy distraction, but we should not be codependent.
  • I have tried to be aware of her and my negativity. The argument between them was unique, as it impacted all of us and we needed to address it while also stepping back our daily chats overall while they worked things out. With the other negative things in my life I have been open to her about them, but have worked on being aware of not being negative all the time so as to not drain us.
  • I have been respectful of their need for time together, and have only brought up sexual things when I feel her stress and schedule is okay to suggest it. I let her decide from there.
  • I asked my poly friend for her poly therapist contact, the big stresses outside of relationship need to be addressed as well as I want the therapists advice on LDR poly relationships.
  • I communicated the need to find a way to fix the sex-issue. She said with happiness she feels more attracted, which is why since their fight and with the tough lives we are in we have been less desirable to each other, which leads me to...

The questions
  • Are any of you long-distance where both of you have extremely busy schedules, so you need to be sensitive to not overburdening?
  • Is there stuff you do "apart but together?" I've looked at app games, goals (such as language practice), etc.
  • What do you do with a poly LDR to encourage flirting/sexting/that intimacy when you can't see each other?
  • When you have a disagreement/partner sees another but can't reconnect in person, do you have tips or advice to help reestablish that closeness? This is a big thing for me, as seeing her after her previous hook-ups reestablished our flame.
Thank you all!
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
Heya tallbosguy, welcome back!

Although I'm in a long distance relationship, I feel like the only one of your questions I can answer fully is this:

  • What do you do with a poly LDR to encourage flirting/sexting/that intimacy when you can't see each other?
Puck and I have a weekly "date" call specifically planned to be longer than our daily touch base calls. We know that during that time there will be sexy-time involved in the way that works for us (unless either of us really isn't up to it, then, of course, nothing is required. We don't sext between those calls but occasionally have a spontaneous flirty conversation.

As for your other questions, here's some brief answers

We don't do much together besides talk, although we have a short movie (an adorable classic from my childhood that apparently didn't make it to his corner of the States) planned as our Christmas call before he will be mostly offline for a week because of in-laws visiting.

As for busy schedules, we both work full time, and he has a number of side projects, but even with that and the time difference, we tend to talk when I wake up and just before he goes to bed. It's become a routine, but one that can make way for other things that are happening in our lives.

We only really need "reconnect" time when one of us (usually him) has been away for a few days and we've missed our weekly call. We just make time for a slightly longer call of an evening and tend to do it with a drink in hand and often end up talking about random shit. It's a lot of fun.

"Visit more" is often just not practical. So get really good at doing the online thing. Build routines, little rituals like how you sign off, do "show and tell" things using props from memory lane (I've shown Puck the stuff I cherish, and vice versa.)

Also, get really good at fulfilling your own sexual needs and then evolve ways into involving her with that even at a distance. If you want to have some kind of direct engagement with her, get a toy she can put in place that you can then control from your phone. (Not my jam, but I've heard some good things.)

All the best.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi TBG,

It's been a long time since I was in a long-distance relationship. I don't remember much in detail but I sure remember that it was not fun. The most important, and effective, way of dealing with it, was knowing that it had an end date. You can endure a lot when you know it's just a temporary situation.

My partner (Snowbunny) and I play Chess with each other on the Chess.com website. So we are doing it "apart but together." Come to think of it we also both participate on Facebook, so again ... "apart but together." Although Facebook involves a lot of other friends/family as well.

It seems to me that when you are trying to encourage remote flirting/sexting, you need visual contact. Otherwise you have to know how to "talk dirty" and be effective at it. This may sound weird, but calling a sex hotline may be a way of getting practice for that.

Again I want to emphasize the importance of making visual contact when you can't be there in person. Set up a zoom meeting or something to that effect. Without that, you have to rely on voice only, where experienced communication becomes a must.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
I totally agree with the visual contact. Every time I wrote "call" I mean video call. Thank goodness for the internet. Bon Jovi sang, "a king's ransom in diamonds I'd give just to see through this pay phone," and I'm extremely glad that is no longer the case.
 

Token2

Member
I'm long distance. I have learned once the NRE has passed the connection dwindles without conscious effort.

My boyfriend is much more laid back than me so it's easier for him but I feel it and sometimes it does feel like we slip into friends territory.

I really have no advice, if I were you I'd l know I'd be crushed by the dates with the new person - mainly because the enforced distance between us means I feel like we've not really had the chance to explore who or what we are.

We've been having sex for 2 1/2 years and transitioned into this new poly zone about 9 months ago but actually because of covid have been apart until recently since July.

Maybe she's trying to dilute things a little to keep her husband more secure?

But I'm not a sexually jealous person. I just want the opportunity to explore us. And if turns out it's not a long-term thing that's ok but because there's so much space in between connecting what might take other couples weeks to work out is taking months. Maybe even a year.

I'm grateful though as this guy is the perfect person to emotionally open my long-term relationship through and that's helped me understand that I'm not likely not to be poly in the future. Whatever happens now.
 
Thank you everyone.

Time apart is my major issue now, and the source of the jealousy. Our time is planned to be longer because we spend days together, and it is great. Our calendar simply doesn't align for that now so I get really envious I can't see her in person like others can.

Unfortunately I have to think about the end-goal, neither of us are moving any closer and as highlighted above - distance is really, really grueling. Without that next date to persevere too it feels like treading water in the night.

Thankfully she has stepped up the TLC and sexual support. Another member mentioned love-bombing, which I am paying attention to. I am also paying attention to her words versus her actions.

I really have no advice, if I were you I'd l know I'd be crushed by the dates with the new person - mainly because the enforced distance between us means I feel like we've not really had the chance to explore who or what we are.

It is ironic, it is the knowledge who we are and how great that makes me feel not-so-good about others in the moment. For example, a last minute drink invite came up tonight, and it just made me even more bummed out that since we last met up she and I had dates with others which were enjoyable but were unable to make our schedules match.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Is this calendar misalignment going to get a correction anytime soon?
 
Hopefully this next week I will find out when we can visit in the next month, which is after another date of hers.

I dug more after last night, when she had a random drink invite from a swinger she went on. Part of the discomfort is an increase in the random dates and with the holiday busy-ness it has been stressful for us not to reconnect and I am not getting that time to meet face to face that I need. With this lack of needs being filled, I do not want to pull the trigger early, but do not want to wait too long either. I conveyed this to her.

Usually she met someone once every few months, now it has been one every other week. I asked if this was the new norm, it is beyond a level I want to be involved with (and break up if this is the case) and all I was told is that it is "not likely." This isn't certain as I would like, but as it is Christmas Eve I did not mention breaking up when she asked if that was a risk. One of these dates was because I couldn't meet up, mentioned before. Yesterday was for fun, and had it gone well she would have maybe called off the next one. Since it didn't go well, she is going on another likely. I prefer a slower, closed pace which was already what I was working on, but I think this talk is better in person and not one to do over text.

The funny thing was that on her way home she texted me, and asked about me seeing the women I had good dates with - particularly if I would again. This ran contrary to her actions before, where she could ask anything (respectable) and it seemed to make her less pressured and happier. She mentioned she was scared of me drifting away - a definite with this new "dating" pace, but as I mentioned in my original post, this is something that is enslaved to the calendar at the moment.
 
Last edited:

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
with the holiday busy-ness it has been stressful for us not to reconnect and I am not getting that time to meet face to face that I need.

You could ask yourself why you actually need this, and work down to the root of your need - perhaps a core belief. Something in you exists that says you get stressed if you can't reconnect (frequently?) in person, but could you deconstruct that need and see its origins? That (gaining insight and possible understanding) might help alleviate the stress, and change it from a need to a want.

Right now, you need something from her. We tend to need from others when we can't take care of the need by ourselves. You have said you need to reconnect in person. Is that code for sex?
 
Sex is a portion, and COVID does indeed make it lonely. However, I believe that being around someone physically is important to maintain a healthy relationship. Even not sexually, being around others is important.

I have had physical contact with other dates, but while it helps a bit it does not replace my missing her entirely.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
However, I believe that being around someone physically is important to maintain a healthy relationship.
Genuinely, why?

I know I'm an absolute outlier, and I'd visit Puck in a heartbeat if I could, but I can maintain the relationship without being in person.
 

Token2

Member
Physical connection helps IMO but if you spark eachother just connection makes you both sparkle...
 
I appreciate your comment Token and Evie, but as this is a long-distance relationship that physical touch and being together saying nothing is important for establishing comfort and trust and reaffirming around it. Not to mention the physical benefits to being physical as well. This is not a poly/mono thing in my mind, but just a human connection.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
but as this is a long-distance relationship that physical touch and being together saying nothing is important for establishing comfort and trust and reaffirming around it.

I'm sorry, I don't understand your grammar. Please elucidate.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Genuinely, why?

I know I'm an absolute outlier, and I'd visit Puck in a heartbeat if I could, but I can maintain the relationship without being in person.

I have friends that I've never met or met only once or twice, and that's fine, we have wonderful relationships. (And some of them are as close to me as local friends, or closer / I talk to them more.) But I don't think I'd ever have a long distance romantic relationship again; comet perhaps but not *partner*. The 72 days (and the fact that happened in early 2020 and I still know exactly how many days it was) that Artist and I didn't see each other were hell and I'm not sure I'd sign up for that on purpose, ever.

But, as I've written about here so very often, my romantic language is physical touch (and sex). I even start feeling unloved by my life partner of 25ish years, start doubting he still cares about me, without a minimum level of physical contact, and that's with us living in the same house. It's... hormonal I suppose, oxytocin and dopamine and and and... but knowing the mechanism doesn't make it less real.
 
Top