Thoughts on Long-Distancing It: Breakdowns Are Inevitable

Yesterday I wrote Thoughts on Long-Distancing It: How Commuter Marriages Are Born and told how Wayne and I have had a long distance marriage going since July. I also wrote about Friday Night Lights and Tami Taylor, a character on the show going through the same ordeal.

It’s not easy being separated from your spouse. It is easy for tempers to flare to extremes, though. In some cases quickly, in other cases they simmer before exploding. Here’s two examples of what I mean:

Example One: Tami’s Meltdown

While her husband, Coach Taylor, is away trying to adjust to his new college coaching job, Tami has stayed behind to raise Gracie, their newborn, alone. Which, as many of you mom’s out there can attest, is challenging enough when the husband’s around (and willing) to help.

But hers is not.

She has no one to help with feedings, or to tend to Gracie’s dirty diapers or hunger pangs while Tami takes a little time for herself. She’s with the baby night and day, with no relief.

In last week’s episode, she went a little stir crazy so she headed to the school. The man who took over her counseling job is also a friend. He noticed she was frazzled and asks if everything’s okay. For one, the old Tami never would have walked to the school in 105 degree heat with a newborn. For another, Julie broke up with her boyfriend and that seems odd.

Tami’s stunned to learn this last bit of news. Julie’s her daughter. Last she knew she was still seeing the same boy, but when she asks her about it Julie shuts her out, something she’s never done before.

But it gets worse. Julie stays out until some ridiculous hour with a new boyfriend.

Tami frantically watches for her, and when the new boyfriend finally pulls up, Tami rushes outside and demands Julie get her butt in the house right that instant. Julie refuses. A shouting match ensues, then turns physical when Tami yanks Julie from the van and ends up slapping her.

That is not how they interacted with each other when Coach Taylor was around and before the baby was born. It’s what makes Tami realize just how much stress she’s under. When her husband shows up later the next day for a visit, she breaks down bawling and finally admits how much duress she’s experiencing because of their situation.

Example Two: My Meltdown

In 1999, Wayne decided to take a job in Jacksonville, Florida. We lived in Phoenix. I didn’t want to move, but I agreed because Wayne bribed me with my dream situation: I could stay home to write.

But we were separated four months, with only two visits during that time. As the weeks passed I grew increasingly angry. I felt alone, overworked, and jealous. While he was making new friends and going to the beach and seeing new things, I had to take care of Budly, sell the house (including keeping it spic-and-span clean), and maintain my job (couldn’t quit until we moved).

He had such a cavalier attitude about the whole thing (he couldn’t understand what the big deal was –because he was having so much fun!) and eventually it wore on me. I threatened divorce, that I’d move out and see how he liked trying to sell the house from Florida by himself.

He didn’t like that too much and plans immediately went into effect to move me down.

Since then we’ve also moved again. We both remember how ugly things got the first time and strive not to repeat that. To address that, I’ll be posting another article, How to Survive When You’re Long-Distancing It: 3 Must Haves, soon.

Questions to Readers

Have you ever been separated from your spouse due to a move? (Or any other reason?) Did you ever experience a breakdown, mini or otherwise?