As I write this, we've been apart for three months and will be apart for three more; he's coming home shortly after his graduation.
So - what's this been like?
I was frankly terrified of this separation. I've had long-distance relationships before, and not once have they worked out for me. Without the partner's presence, communication can stilt and stultify, break down, fail to connect.
Not so here.
Without planning for it, sindrian and I have settled into a pattern of daily Gchat... depending on our schedules, sometimes it's just a few brushes of loveyoumissyou, but I feel connected. Even though he's not physically here, he's a few keystrokes away, so in some nebulous sense, he's almost-here. Still part of my daily world, even if he's not chopping veggies in my kitchen, even if he's not in my bed. I will take the shadow over the absence.
And the communication hasn't lessened in intensity. For the first time in the physical absence of a partner, the relationship is still actively growing. It helps that we are both tremendously open and honest and trust each other enough to be very vulnerable with each other - baby, I got armor, let me tell you. That armor's why I was trying so hard to keep it mostly-casual with him in the early days. If you only saw us at StrowlerCon? We were trying hard not to entwine then. But the armor melted away with him. So I can ask him the questions that render me vulnerable and exposed. We can have these conversations, even 800 miles apart. We can explore and grow and be wholly open to each other. And - if it's like this long-distance, imagine us in the same place again!
No, what really gets me is nights like last night: a s00j concert that he should've been at, dammit, that I documented for him with pics and texts, but he should have been dancing with me. It felt wrong to be without him. Same thing with all of the parties, the games nights, the concerts, the shows, Arisia. With him not at my side, I feel like not all of me is there, and I ache for that.
I wasn't expecting that. I mean, a little? But not at this level.
My book contract is in many ways a blessing. This gives me a thing to focus on in his absence, a way to channel my energy, a way to be elsewhere, in a place he has never been which is thus not haunted by his absence.