So why did I go when things were so great at home?
My only answer is that I couldn’t not go. I had this trip planned for a couple months before things got serious between us, and there was a point when I honestly considered cancelling it. But in the end I knew that I might never get this opportunity again—that I might have a regular-hours job again, that I might be broke again, that I might have kids or a mortgage, and that it would only be harder for me to leave for that long if we’d been dating for a year, or five years. And I knew I had to do it. With anyone else, I think I would've ended things before leaving or not left at all. But with Ad, things are different—good different. Maybe it was exactly because things were going so well in my relationship that I felt okay about leaving, and about staying together through it: It seemed strong enough to survive the time and distance. And if it wasn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be anyway, right?
Isn’t it hard?
It’s incredibly hard. Even while I’m having all these sweet experiences, it’s hard to miss out on everything at home. Christmas was hard. His birthday. I’m missing attending three or four weddings with him. Sundays—New York Times and coffee and lounge day—are tough. Difficult days when we can’t give one another pep talks are bad. Not being able to just physically be around one another is the worst.
How do we cope?
We hang out together on Skype. We email things we'd usually chat about. I write letters and send postcards. I carry pictures around and show people I meet and talk about him constantly. I count down the days until we meet in India. We make plans for when I get back. But while I think about him a lot, I also try to focus on the experiences I’m having, why this is important to me, and why I’m not ready to come home just yet, despite what I’m missing. After I cried four days in a row after we talked on Skype, I realized we just can’t talk every day. Because as good as it is to see one another, it actually does make it harder.
What does Ad think about all this?
He’s been incredibly supportive and reassuring that everything will work out. Of course, after a month and a half, I’d say that it’s been much harder than either of us imagined it would be, and eight months, which sounded like a long time when I started, now feels like an eternity. But I still feel like it was the right thing, and I’m so grateful to be with someone who is sure enough of himself—and us—to be able to deal with my craziness. I can’t wait to travel together some day (and also to be together at home). Til then, Skype has my undying gratitude.