Writing a blog is a curious balance. How much of your personal life do you share? Do you want to share that? Would anyone even care to read it?
Before this blog, I had two previous blogging incarnations, both craft/creativity based and I was very firm about that content. There was very little of the me outside of what I was making. And, frankly, that's why they didn't survive. While 'how-to-blog' posts are full of tips on creating pin-worthy content or how to write the most retweeted post, I'm actually more interested in some basic human interaction.
Yes, this is the internet, but who says that building an online community or friendship can't be based on the same rules as in real life - where you share what's actually happening in your life.
So today, I'd like to talk about long distance relationships. Rich and I have been doing the long distance thing since late October last year. It hasn't been very long and, compared to some long distance relationships, we aren't that far apart (he is in Portsmouth and I have to return to London every week for work). But it is hard.
I didn't know much about long distance relationships before I found myself in one when we first got together - he was in Portsmouth for university and I was teaching in London. We made it work and it was fine, it was all we knew after all. And when we finally moved in together a few months later, it was that extra bit sweeter because of it.
Now that we are in our second round of long distance, it's very much harder. Now we go into it having lived together for years; we are much more invested now that previously and I don't just mean that we're saving up for a house together!
While a lot of the tips online will tell you that you need to enjoy your alone time, it's hard to enjoy crawling back into bed in the middle of the night, with tile chilled feet and no pair of toasty calves to warm your toes on. I also saw a tip that suggested that you shouldn't talk too much in case you look clingy, which is probably the daftest thing I've ever heard, because our texts, cards and daily evening chats are what actually make this easier.
In fact, the online tips will leave out a lot of the pathetic elements of being in a long distance relationship - from the ridiculous investment you put in cards and little tokens to the fact that remembering silly habits can make you burst into tears. (Take it from one who has cried that there is no one to bring her chocolate milk on his way home from his friends).
Long distance is messy. It can make you realise just how much you love another person, which can be pretty scary, and it can challenge your idea of yourself as a tough and completely independent person.
I did consider putting together a tip post on this, but this is not about clicks or pins or any of that. And, besides, your relationship is yours alone. You know what you need so ask for it and be open to what they need. No amount of tips can make it easier, you just have to know that it's worth it.