So, my Recently-Moved-In-Boyfriend (RMIB) announced a couple months ago that he had volunteered to go overseas for 4 months for the company he is employed by to do a retrofit project. He works in manufacturing. He tests things. He comes home and watches baseball on TV. And now, in a new and somewhat fragile relationship, he decided it was a great time to pack a suitcase and fly to the other side of the world.
To me, that wasn’t such a great idea.
In fact, to me, that was a Dealbreaker.
So, the RMIB goes to HR and changes the stay to 6 weeks.
That seemed like it might be reasonable…although I didn’t sign up for a long distance relationship and I didn’t ask him for more money and I don’t like talking on the phone and I hate FaceTime…
When I tell people about this situation they
a.) freak out about how long 6 weeks is (and here it was supposed to be 4 months)
b.) try to console me (they would be despondent if they were in my shoes) by assuring me that absence makes the heart grow fonder
c.) look at me like, “well, too bad for you bitch, why’d you let THAT go down?”
So, after ignoring the pessimists and the haters, I started pondering the notion of absence making the heart grow fonder. It seems to be one of those culturally accepted beliefs, so perhaps there was a kind of universal truth?
Well, here’s what I came up with:
1. Absence, often, does NOT bring out the best in people.
2. Absence is usually accompanied by a feeling of loss or lack.
3. Absence makes you desire to live in the past (which no longer exists) or in the future (that does not exist yet) which keeps you from being in the present moment in YOUR LIFE.
4. So, in sum, I think the idea that absence makes the heart grow fonder is bullshit. Absence actually just means you are alone.
If you are in a relationship, you hope it acts as a container for growth. You want to grow and spread roots that inter-tangle with each other and form a strong foundation for upward expansion.
If you feel like you are shrinking, stifled, or cramming yourself into a container that doesn’t fit, you need to reconsider things.
If you feel desolate, over-exposed, threatened, or clinging to a notion that clearly doesn’t exist, you need to reconsider things.
And THEN, perhaps, take a leave of absence.