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Two and a half months down, two and a half to go

Two and a half months down, two and a half to go. As I mentioned in November, Stephen and I knew it would be tough living apart, but we’re making it work.

In December, the House of Commons only sat for two weeks, so I only spent those two weeks in Ottawa. Stephen and I had been together nearly two years at the time, and this was our first time apart. It was definitely the hardest length of time so far. We chatted every day by text message, but we didn’t video chat much at all in the beginning, perhaps because we thought we would miss each other more if we did. After those two weeks, I was back in Toronto for Christmas and only returned to Ottawa for a few days between Christmas and New Years. I spent most of December and the first two weeks of January working from the constituency office in Cambridge, which meant living with Stephen in Toronto and commuting each day.

After the first couple weeks of January, I went back to Ottawa to get ready for the new parliamentary session. I’ve been here since. I make it back home every few weeks to see Stephen and family members, but I miss everyone a lot still. On average, I’m able to return to Toronto to visit every 2-3 weeks. It’s been hard, but I know in the end it will be worth it. Ottawa is a beautiful city, I have a job I love, and I know Stephen will like it here too. We found a great apartment in an awesome neighbourhood up here, and I start moving in the beginning of April. Stephen will join me at the end of April.

As cliché as it may sound, I believe our time apart is making our relationship stronger. Being apart is making us excited to see each other and talk to each other. Now that we’ve spent time living together and time living far apart, I know that our relationship can survive a lot. Here are some of the tips that have made it easier for us, and actually strengthened our relationship:

  • Share the little things: we’re constantly in contact. Even if it’s just a little text (“I made x for dinner today and it was so good!” or “I just ran into x in the hallway!”), feeling like you’re in the loop helps you forget the distance.
  • Chat every day: every night (with a few rare exceptions), we chat before bed. Sometimes it’s a video chat (thanks, Google Hangouts), sometimes it’s just a phone call. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, sometimes it’s a couple hours, but it’s an opportunity for us to tell each other about our day, just like we would if we were together. It’s also an opportunity for us to say goodnight before bed.
  • Get excited for the little things: looking at the end game (us living together in Ottawa) is a good motivator, but sometimes you need something more tangible. We look at our time apart in small chunks. Instead of looking at us being apart for 5 months, we look at being apart for two weeks before being together for a weekend. We look forward to that weekend and try not to think about the three weeks apart that comes afterwards.
  • Don’t lose sight of the end result: breaking the time into chunks and celebrating the small things is a good way to get you through the day, but don’t forget about the end result at the end of all this time together.

These are some of the things we do to make it easier for us. It’s still hard, of course, but when it gets really tough I just think about all the reasons I know that Stephen is the one. Mostly because when I told him that we needed to travel over 5,300km to see JK Rowling’s new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play the same season it came out, he didn’t ask why.

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