How people think we feel:
How we really feel:
No seriously. As I’ve started telling people, the hardest thing about being in a long-distance relationship is that travel is expensive.
Anyways, I’ve talked a little bit about my marriage before, but this post is dedicated to it 100% because 1. I don’t think I’ve done it yet, and 2. a queer tumblr activist/personality recently put out a call for queer LDR stories and resources and I thought that I’d pitch in.
So, hubs and I met on DeviantArt back in ’08, met for the first time in ’09, and hit it off right away. I flew up to see him in Canadia later that same year, and we’ve seen each other anywhere from 2-5 times a year since then. We got married in ’11, and we’ll be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary later this year. And yes, we are still LDR.
In practice, we’re married in name and on paper only. We share no assets, no accounts, not even last names. I even file my taxes as a single person because it’s just easier that way.
This is difficult to write about, honestly. If you ask a “normal” married person what their marriage is like, they might shrug, list off who does what chores and has what separate hobbies, and eventually perhaps just give up and say “it just is, and it works”. Truthfully, I feel like that, even though, well, we’re 1000 miles apart living relatively separate lives.
Take away my nonbinary genderless identity, my orientations, my paraphilia, my heavy BDSM inclinations, my presentation, and I think we’d still be a queer couple in a way. Just by virtue of being long-distance, and being OK with being long-distance, I think it makes us queer. It certainly doesn’t make us heteronormative, that’s for sure. Let me explain.
Last night he and I came to the quite startling, quite game-changing realization that cohabitation is not really in the cards for us.
It started off as a little bit of a tension-alleviating joke, actually. I’ve spent the past few months doing a lot of work reevaluating my relationship to the possessions in my life and my shopping addictions, and therefore purging a lot of my things. He is a lifelong collector of toys and memorabilia, and my recent journey of self-discovery has us very nervous about our ability to live together peaceably; though he has been much more nervous than me.
“I’m just worried that I won’t ever be able to get rid of enough stuff to make you happy living with me.”
“Well, worse comes to worse, we can always have our own apartments.”
You could seriously hear the lightbulb go off on the phone between us.
“You know… Brandon Graham and his wife do that.”
Brandon Graham is a cartoonist that we both have major squishes on, and it’s true. Here’s his response to an ask about it on his tumblr:
I know by pursuing comics I’m already dooming myself to a certain amount of solitude and loneliness, but I was wondering how you manage your social life / time with your lady? I hope this isn’t too personal. Do you stay up late and draw together? In other words can you be productive but be together at the same time? I’m obviously single and don’t go out often, but do you ever find your commitment to art getting in the way of personal commitments? –Anonymous
I don’t ever think of it as solitude and loneliness. There’s no reason it has to be.
Marian works in the morning and I tend to work mostly at night. We live about a block away from each other in separate places.
I think when I was younger is was a lot harder to find people who were into how I live. I dated some ladies that didn’t like me staying up all night but Marian is kind of a hermit and likes to be alone to do her own stuff most of the time. We go on a lot of walks and draw in cafes some times but we don’t hang out all day everyday or anything. It’s sooo casual.
The internet makes being social with other artists a lot easier, you can just sit with Skype on and draw while talking to people on the other side of the planet. Life in the future.
Or you could even move somewhere like Portland where there is a comic artist on every block.— I don’t think I’d be able to get much work done there. Vancouver has a lot of my favorite artists here but we all seem to be indoor kids.
This attitude? This is what makes our LDR as easy as it is for us. There is no amount of care-package-sending, no amount of late night phone-calls, no amount of falling asleep while Skype video chat runs, no amount of pretending that they’re there with you that will make you survive the relationship past your breaking point. And most folks’ breaking point is counted in months, not years. Love does not conquer all, I’m sorry. If you’re not wired for this, it’ll never work for you.
But we are, somehow. And finding someone who is wired to be OK with this like I am seems to me to be something of a miracle.
I’ve always had this niggling feeling that we were incredibly different than most couples. When I discovered the term “queerplatonic”, I started secretly using that label for us. And last night’s conversation proves it. We’re married, we love each other to pieces, and we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Just, maybe… not under the same roof. When we hung up, we were ecstatic. It’d been a major, breakthrough bonding moment and I couldn’t have been more in love.
He told me that he loves the idea of that kind of relationship structure being a big “fuck you” to heteronormativity, to the narratives of what marriage and love are supposed to be. He was excited about really shaking people up. And I am too.
Why shouldn’t a married couple just be neighbors? Why share everything? Why melt your identities together so completely? A lot of news outlets have been running minor stories in the past few years talking about the idea of couples sleeping in separate beds to get better sleep, to strengthen their relationship, and so on. I love cuddling, but my body is finicky and I get terrible sleep when I share a bed with someone. Spooning when I’m trying to fall asleep is only comfortable for about 5 minutes and then I get antsy and have to push him away.
And then there’s the whole spontaneous sex thing that I’ve never been particularly good at. Sharing a bed has always made me feel pressured to perform (even though most of the time I enjoy it), but I thrive much more in a structured environment where sex is a scheduled thing and I don’t have to think about it until it’s time to think about it.
There are other things, too: our individual decorating styles, our favorite colors and materials, our ideal sleep schedules, our tastes in music… or lack thereof. He said that this living arrangement would honestly be a boon for his tinitis, since my preference for silence is aggravating and sometimes painful for him.
I don’t have much else to talk about in regards to our relationship to be honest. This is our normal, it’s nothing worth writing home about in any extended capacity. We text chat most of the time and talk for about an hour before bed every day. We see each other for about 3-4 weeks a year. We have matching senses of humor, we have matching ethics and values, similar hobbies and physical capabilities. We just happen to be drastically different in a lot of ways that matter just enough to warrant this, but not even remotely enough to make us consider ending things.
As of right now, we still haven’t started immigration, so we could very well continue to be long-distance for another 2 years. And even though we don’t want to be doing this forever, a few more years is doable. And that’s OK.