You’re on vacation or at a friend’s wedding and you FINALLY meet a great guy. He has all of the qualities you want in an ideal partner except one. Unfortunately, Mr. Wonderful lives in another state and is therefore “geographically undesirable.”
Popular media including the Huffington Post and a recent episode of the hit HBO series Girls portrays classic examples of a choice faced by many millennials in particular. In her popular HuffPo column, writer and millennial Nadio Cho, bemoans the downside of long distance relationships. Yet Cho also acknowledges that two young people with separate career goals will likely find themselves separated at some point. In Girls the main protagonist Hannah, is accepted into a top writing program in Iowa while her boyfriend has just gotten his first big break on Broadway.
Many women still think distance is a deal breaker for a relationship. But more and more couples are choosing to live apart for days or weeks at a time for reasons including jobs, family and finances. These super commuter couples demonstrate that successful relationships CAN and DO work with the right attitude, a lot of love, and a bit of creativity.
If you find yourself daydreaming about that perfect guy 1000 miles away, it may not be just a dream. You don’t have to give up your dream job or graduate school to invest in this new relationship. You can instead become a super commuter.
In her new book Super Commuter Couples: Staying Together When a Job Keeps you Apart, therapist Megan Bearce provides pragmatic and actionable guidelines for those couples navigating through a super commuter relationship. Bearce, one half of a super commuter couple herself, demonstrates how love can survive and thrive despite distance. In fact, for an independent young woman distance can have some very strong benefits, including more time to spend with your girls and keeping your living space the way YOU want it.
If you decide to go for Mr. Dream Guy, there are a few ways to keep the romance alive. Here are a few tips from experienced super commuters:
- Focus on why you want to be with each other. Make a list of why your relationship is great and read it when times get tough, or you feel lonely.
- Be open about expectations. Each of you needs to be honest about what you want from the relationship while apart. Is it a daily phone call? Flowers? A date night, just the two of you sans friends, when you first are back together? Revisit these, as feelings and responsibilities may change.
- Plan staycations. If one of you is traveling back and forth on the weekends on a regular basis, it’s hard to find time to get connected in that particular city. Plan a weekend to stay there and be a tourist. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into each other’s lives and for both of you to take advantage of life in a different city.
- Get creative. Snapchat or text hints of what might await your next rendezvous. A photo of the edge of your pillow and a silk scarf? A reservation at your favorite restaurant? Find out what gets his motor running!
With estimates as high as three million, super commuter situations are becoming more and more common. Finding a good partner is hard, don’t let geography rule out the one that may actually be THE ONE.
Megan Bearce is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the author of Super Commuter Couples:Staying Together When a Job Keeps You Apart (Equanimity Press, 2013). Ms. Bearce is a sought-after speaker and writer on topics including workplace trends and families, gifted girls, and women’s issues. Ms. Bearce lives in Minneapolis with her super commuter husband and their two children.
**Special Thanks to our media partner, Bonnie Harris (Wax Marketing) for press release!