Chris and I have been together now for almost 3 years, and a little less than half of that has been while we were living in different cities, cumulatively. During our most recent separation (me living in San Francisco and he first in Arizona and now in LA) I've had a couple realizations.
The first one is kind of a sad one. I was in Arizona for 3 weeks over my winter break and as I buckled into my seat on the plane to fly back I was less than excited to be back here. It was the first time that I was kind of discontent with my decisions for a successful future. My thought was Why can't I be working/going to school and live with the people I love? At that moment I just felt tired of the distance, I just wanted that part to be over and everything to fall into place. I'm still here, so obviously I'm committed to my decision to continue school, and I do still think it will benefit my future endeavors. But I want to have my cake and eat it too. So my current goal is to land a long-term internship to use for my directed study starting next summer in LA, so I can live there and finish school online. Luckily, AAU is very supportive of its own online program. So that should work, I just need to get in contact with someone down there that wants me.
Is it evidence of love when you can acknowledge a trying truth about your partner and still want to be with them? I'm sure that has to be just a part of the description of love. And I'm not talking about anything big. I had my second realization within the last week.
My friend Erica is living with me this summer until the fall semester starts and she moves into the dorms again. We share a studio apartment with a small kitchen and a small bathroom. She is the easiest-going roommate I've ever had, and is probably the best option for a situation like this, even over Chris. I lived with Chris in a similar transition period twice, once for two weeks, and the other last summer for a few months, and having separate spaces was pretty much essential. Erica and I are very similar: easy-going with small expectations of decency. We take turns doing the dishes, sometimes they pile up, and it always gets addressed. We make meals for each other and included each other in our social lives, supporting each other during this summer of potential boredom while school is out (for the most part) and most of our friends are out of town, and our money is tight so going out is scarce. This very close living situation has made our friendship stronger.
The same situation would strain Chris and I. I simply don't think living in a studio would work. Even if we have more floor space. I don't wanna list reasons and specific situations that we've dealt with when living together and how that wouldn't work here, because I don't want to seem like I'm attacking him remotely. But, despite the love, the same situation would likely strain our relationship more than (or maybe simultaneously) strengthening it.
I'm also considering way more seriously what he brought up way back in the earlier days of our relationship: living separately, for a while at least. After this honeymoon roommate situation I don't think I want to go back to anything less, not in the immediate future. When/If I move to LA next year I want to find my own place, and I think that will be best for us. I know what an ideal roommate situation looks like now, and I know what people are most definitely capable of, without too much effort. So I won't take excuses for dishes not being done or addressed, only added to for days at a time, or only one of us making food, buying groceries until things become one-sided and unfair until we have to Talk About It rather than it just being done.
Watch out world (and potential future roommates), I have standards now, and with every week that goes by I'm liking the idea of living alone for the next few years more and more.