This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of Ashley and Peter and how they’ve made their Canada/Texas relationship work for the past 3.5 years.
Ashley: Hi, I’m Ashley, a 29 year old life coach and I currently split my time between Texas and Canada. When I’m not helping women figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives + find the confidence and courage to actually go through with it, I’m training for marathons, obsessing over The Voice, and experimenting with new green smoothies recipes (apple cinnamon is my fav, so far).
Peter: I’m Peter. I’m from Canada. I’m a writer. And you should never ask a gentleman his age.
How did you two meet?
Ashley: Back in 2008, I had a personal blog where I mostly wrote about bad dates and fun nights out with friends. I remembered finding Peter’s blog through a mutual friend and thinking he was “so popular.” It took almost 6 moths for either of us to leave a comment on each other’s blogs (he had so many readers and I thought he was too cool for me). After a few years of commenting, we began emailing and gchatting as friends.
Peter: A mutual friend had linked to Ashley’s (long ago) blog and called her “my blog crush.” And since I think I should be everyone’s blog crush, I went to check out this Ashley person. It wasn’t long before I understood the crush. I loved how open and honest she is with her writing. I actually heard her speaking voice on her blog before ever seeing her pretty face. I had a voice crush!
What was your first thought when you realized how far apart you were? And when did you think that it might be worth it to make a go of it?
Ashley: I knew he lived in Canada from the beginning, but I didn’t think about it too much. Although I did make him ask for my phone number twice, just to make sure he was serious. After a few months I was all-in. It helped that I love to travel and I wasn’t committed to staying in Texas forever, so I always assumed I’d be the one to move eventually.
Peter: Early on the distance didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I felt the connection and I just needed to get to know her better. I had to find out if we’d hit it off. It was only once I was completely smitten that I realized how far away Texas is. Our feelings grew quickly and grew big. She was always worth taking a chance on.
Tell us about your first in-person meeting!
Ashley: I went up to Canada for a few days to stay with him. It was strange because we had been friends for 3 years and dating (via Skype and the phone) for a while, but I was still so nervous. My stomach was in knots and I was shaking. We hugged for a while and then kissed. It was better than I had ever imagined. After about 30 minutes, the nervousness went away and it was like we had always been together.
Peter: I was mildly surprised at how composed she was in the face of my spectacular good looks. Actually my feelings went like this:
“Wow. She’s gorgeous.”
“I get to make out with her soon!”
“My heart is beating really fast.”
“I should make out with her right now.”
How often do you talk/write/skype each other? And how do you stay ‘present’ in your day-to-day life when you’re apart – instead of just thinking about your far-away partner all the time?
Ashley: We talk every day, and probably a lot more than most couples. Since we both work from home, we’re able to be on Skype as much as we want, whenever we want. Sometimes we’ll have to go longer periods of time without talking, if one of us has guests or is out of town, but we try to talk at least once a day. It was a struggle for me to be present in the beginning, but now I’ve relaxed a bit and I know he’ll always be there, so it’s easier to enjoy the moment when I’m out doing things and not talking to him every five seconds, ha.
Peter: We’re on Skype as much as humanly possible. And when we’re not, we’re on gchat/google hangout, Whatsapp or the phone. With the technology at our disposal, there is no excuse for not keeping in touch. Sure it’s not nearly as good as in person, touching, but we do our best to feel like we’re in the same room.
I’m sure a lot of people would struggle with trust issues having their partner so far away. How have you dealt with that?
Ashley: It’s crazy- this hasn’t really been a big issue for us. From the beginning, we made it clear that we were in this together and on the same team. When we go out with friends, we’ll send each other a text and try to keep them in the loop as much as possible. I want him to feel like he’s important and part of my life, even if he can’t physically be here with me all the time.
Peter: We trust each other. We’ve never given each other any reason not to. We communicate well. We check in. We have had jealous moments. But we’ve done our best to make sure they are small and infrequent. And we’ve allowed each other to be jealous, and feel comfortable admitting it. It’s all about communication.
How do you deal with the, um, intimate aspect of your relationship when you go three months without seeing each other?
Ashley: With so much technology, we find ways to make it work, if you know what I mean. It’s not the same as being in the same room, but it works for the times when we’re apart.
Peter: Yes and Yes girl, you’re naughty! My word. I wonder if I type “SKYPE BOOTY!” if Ashley is going to delete it before emailing you. We’ll see. I guess I would sum it up by saying that I am a writer who is very good at describing details, and Skype does nothing to take away from Ashley’s remarkable hotness.
What’s keeping you from being together full-time? Do you think that will be resolved anytime soon? How long are you willing to keep up the 3 months together/3 months apart arrangement?
Ashley: Being from different countries makes it challenging. With just a passport, we’re only allowed to visit for 3 months at a time. Plus, we’re both building our own businesses, so that’s our top priority at the moment. Within the next year, I’m planning on applying for a visa so that we can spend more than 3 months at a time together.
Peter: Citizenship stuff. Work stuff. We’ll resolve it soon enough. Then I’ll continue my Canadianifying of a Texas girl. Eh, y’all?
What are the benefits of a long-term, long-distance relationship? The drawbacks?
Ashley: The benefits are that you really get to know the person on a deeper level, because there aren’t as many distractions like superficial dates watching Iron Man. Plus, it allows you more freedom to live you life how you want, without always accounting for your partner. I can eat s’mores and watch The Holiday on Saturday night and he won’t care. And I don’t have to shave my legs as often! The drawbacks are that it’s hard being apart for so long. Your family asks questions, especially around the holidays. You don’t get hugs whenever you want. Plane tickets are expensive. And you can’t curl up in bed with your love after a long day.
Peter: I think the drawbacks are obvious. No touching. No kissing. No hugging. Benefits are harder to find. I think in the beginning, it made us have to get to know each other. We couldn’t just hop in the sack. We talked. We shared. I courted her.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from this that any of us could apply to our day-to-day live?
Ashley: Everything worth having is worth fighting for.
Peter: You gotta work hard to make any relationship work. LDRs are no different. But if it’s the right person, it’s worth it.Thanks so much for sharing your story, guys! Are any of you in long-term, long-distance relationships? How have you made them work?