Episode 12: Long Distance Relationships from a Male Perspective

 

Happy-endings: we all love them, don’t we? In our new episode of Long Distance short, we are talking about the ups and downs of Dillon Mitchell’s LDR. It took him and his partner nearly 5 years before they could finally start living together under the same roof. Learn his tips about maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship and overcoming struggles. OR you can simply enjoy a nice love story which can light up your day! Everything is possible if both parties make a move. Play now for more details!

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INTRO

Welcome to another episode of Long Distance Short, GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast where we talk to real people about the triumphs and tribulations in all kinds of long-distance relationships. Your host is Ally Winters, an international gift consultant who’s found success in her own long-distance romances and friendships.

And here’s today’s topic:  Long Distance Relationships from a Male Perspective.  Our guest is Dillon Mitchell of Kowabunga Studios here to tell us about his life with his love Lauren, and his personal experience with a successful long distance relationship. Let’s jump right in, Ally!

ALLY

Hello to our loyal listeners of “Long Distance Short,” your long-distance relationship podcast! This is Ally, your host, and our guest today is Dillon, a hero of our times who has experienced a long-distance relationship, and whose relationship has finished in a marriage. How are you today?

DILLON

Doing really well. Considering everything that’s going on, life is still going really well.

ALLY

That’s good! It has always been of interest for me to learn about the man’s perspective on relationships, and on long-distance relationships in particular. Is it something different from a typical relationship for you, or something that requires some additional effort, like an emotional effort?

DILLON

Yeah, for me, having a long-distance relationship versus one when a person lived in the same city, there were considerable differences between the two, and the emotional piece… I think, in some regards, I talked maybe more when I was in a long-distance relationship than with someone in the same city; it’s just that you have to — it’s not like you can wait for that evening to have the conversation. So, in a long-distance relationship, I think the level of communication is just higher. You’re texting, or on phone calls, and just longer interactions, and more frequent through the day, than something in-person.

So I think that was a big benefit, and that side of long-distance relationships… — Obviously, the physical part is (chuckle) not quite there, but I think emotional connection — for me, anyway, — it was just greater because of the frequency of communication.

ALLY

Interesting! 

DILLON

Yeah — I was in Indiana, in Indianapolis, which is in the middle of the country, and she was in California; so, two thousand miles, like a… (chuckle) good plane ride away.

ALLY

Yeah! Okay, let’s start at the beginning: how did you meet? Did you meet online or offline, how did it happen?

DILLON

We actually met at a friend’s wedding; she was the maid of honor, and I was just a friend that came to the wedding. And probably one of the big things that stood out, — I did get permission for the bride to wear these, — but I wore bright-red pants to the wedding.

 

Dillon and Lauren

ALLY

(laugh) Yeah, a memorable thing, I can imagine. So that’s how it started, right? Did you proceed with dating offline, or did you have to split apart at once?

DILLON

I mean, the wedding, that weekend — you know, we spent some time together, and then the next morning we went back, there was a whole bunch of us, group of us that did breakfast the next morning, since we were all kind of friends in that group, and we kept talking; and then, really the next week, I was back in Indiana, she was back in California from the wedding that was in Michigan. And we started talking, and it kind of blossomed from there: from texts and just having conversations, and — really, we didn’t start dating for the next six months; I mean, we were talking regularly and daily, but I don’t think either of us made a full commitment for another six months.

ALLY

But it was voluntary for both of you, right, that you’d be talking online, so [the fact that] there would be a long-distance relationship, — both of you were totally okay with that?

DILLON

Yeah, I mean… (chuckle) I think, to ultimately make it happen, we knew that somebody needed to move, but for the time being and with our work situations, we were okay with what it was.

ALLY

Okay, this is clear.

DILLON

From the wedding, even through that, we’d gone on to some other dates, some other… she was in a sorority, so she had some other weddings [to be in], and I went with her as her date that summer, and then, probably about once a month for the two or three years that we were long-distance, — or the first two years, anyway, we were doing it — once a month, on average, we would meet up in real life, whether that was a wedding, or other long-distance events. So she came in… something to do with Ironman, and Lake Tahoe, or a couple of other big type of events. Whatever it was — a spontaneous trip to Dallas, or her coming to Indianapolis, or me coming to California. About once a month.

ALLY

Once a month, okay. You’ve mentioned that you talked a lot, right; so were there any daily rituals that helped you stay in touch? How many hours did you spend together in a day?

DILLON

That’s a really good question; for me at the time, with some of her schedule being independent, we definitely talked about various things throughout the day, we were always texting… We didn’t necessarily do phone calls all the time, since we were working nights for the job, and I was just working really long hours, not to mention that — three hours is not a terrible time difference, but if you’re working fairly late, it can be kind of hard to make that time. If we didn’t text, like, that day, something was wrong, you know. (chuckle)

ALLY

Yeah, I totally understand. It’s very important to keep the communication, at least drop a line, like: hey, I’m okay, let’s talk a bit later. Yeah, we’ve been through that, too. How did the people closest to you react: your relatives, friends, maybe; because I know that you were in a long-distance relationship for five years, right? You mentioned that before — and five years ago, I mean, back then, I wouldn’t say that people were all that prepared for it, especially our parents, because they are more conservative about these things.

DILLON

Well, with her friends, they knew who I was, and I’ve been friends with them throughout, so we both knew each other. So, for her friends, I don’t think it was a big deal; I think the concern, if any, on our parents’ side, was just: how are you gonna make this work, how are you gonna, ultimately, make it happen. And for the longest time, we didn’t know how it was gonna happen — I finally moved two years ago, so out of the five years we’ve been together, three were long-distance. So I think, once I finally moved out here, everybody kind of understood, but it took three years to… (chuckle) to get to that point. I think everybody knew that we were dating, and knew we were in it, I just — there probably were some questions along the way: just… how are you gonna ultimately make this work.

ALLY

And what did you answer?

DILLON

I don’t think they ever said it, there was just That question kind of lingered — it’s one of those unspoken questions.

ALLY

Would you say they were a bit skeptical about it?

DILLON

I wouldn’t say “skeptical,” it’s just: if you’re happy, great, it’s just that, ultimately, how are you gonna make it work. Right? It’s still that lingering question; like: you guys are great together, but you still gotta figure out the distance part.

ALLY

You know, it’s a question that I was also asked a lot, and then you ask it yourself and maybe your partner; so was there something you had to agree on: some future plans, different ways of meeting each other, something like that?

DILLON

As far as, like, the relationship plan, we didn’t necessarily have a set of: we need to do something every month — it just kind of worked out that way.

ALLY

Okay.

DILLON

So that wasn’t too big of a deal; obviously, if we went four, five or six weeks, it was kind of like, you get itchy feet. (chuckle) Like: okay, we need to hop on a plane and do something. So that was probably one of them that we agreed upon; the other thing for us that — I don’t think future plans was necessarily one of them, we kind of figure it out along the way, and that was even… there was some pain there in what we‘d agreed upon, and how we wanted to — mainly in, like, careers, since I had a really good career, and she had a really good job, too, that she was really happy with. So, in our separate localities, trying to find something else near each other became problematic.

ALLY

Uh-huh. So you had different jobs, you were good with that, so I guess there should have been some things that you didn’t agree upon — and maybe those could affect the relationship and bring consequences.

DILLON

I mean, we agreed on, like, the big things — where we couldn’t… The cause of the break for us was that we couldn’t figure our jobs. She’s a geologist, lives here in the mountains of California, and you can’t really up and move a mine. You can’t shift that across the country. (laugh) And I’m an engineer and design buildings, all kinds of stuff for big commercial buildings, and in the rural area, there’s usually not a lot of big commercial skyscrapers or schools going up on a regular basis, so, what I was doing didn’t really translate to where she lived, and what she was doing didn’t translate to where I lived.

And ultimately, this, about two years in, became a big problem with us; and since we couldn’t, ultimately, get that resolved, or find a way to get that resolved, that did cause a break in our relationship.

ALLY

Okay, so basically, that was the cause of your break, and how long was it?

DILLON

It was for eight months.

ALLY

Oh, quite a long time!

DILLON

Yeah, it was one of those where we both needed — and really, through me, to try to see if you can make something else work, right? And we each did that in our own ways, I dated some other people, and just ultimately realized they weren’t who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. They weren’t gonna support me in what I was trying to do, and she was the one. So, in months, we reconciled, and started dating long-distance again for another eight months, before I ultimately quit my job and moved here to California.

ALLY

Okay.

DILLON

The biggest thing that I can say and, really, the reason we got back together is, I did a lot of exercise in the mornings, I would go on a runway, or swim, or lift blades, all that kind of good stuff, and I did it really early in the morning, 6 to 6:30, and after that, I… It may have been that I had a lot of anxiety within me, but I’d start to meditate in the mornings, just in my car, for five minutes using an app like Headspace to kind of guide me through it, since I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Maybe four or five months into the break-up, maybe six, I couldn’t stop thinking about her and how — I was dating some other girl at the time, but my thoughts really came back to Lauren. And that’s really when I just knew: all right, if I’m thinking about that in my subconscious mind, then really, it’s meant to be. So that started me down the path of: do I see this other person really being in my life forever, and do I see them giving me the support, and love, and affection that I need or want, in the ways I wanted, and do I see them changing to be a supportive figure in my life, and ultimately, the answer was “no” for this other person.

So I started down the road of… Well, once you know that, you get a few things in order, you make the break with them, and then follow back up to: hey, I’m done, I’m ready to be back with you, so there’s no overlap necessarily between the two. And that, for me, was one of the biggest things — getting back together was… I just couldn’t see my life without Lauren, even when I was dating somebody else. So there was no, like, behind her back, no texting or anything like that — I was just like: okay, I’ve made my decision, and now I can make transition, to be fair to both parties, really.

ALLY

You need to be strong, right, to admit it, to say it to yourself out loud — I honestly really respect this. And I think that Lauren, your partner, had also thought the same, basically: I guess, at the end of the day, you came to the same conclusion?

DILLON

Yeah, once we started having the conversation, — she was dating somebody at the time, — she broke it off pretty quickly once I was like: hey, I want to be back with you.

ALLY

That means a lot!

DILLON

Yep.

ALLY

So I guess that break only strengthened your relationship? Was it like that?

DILLON

Yeah, ultimately, it did. During it, it was definitely hard at times for each of us. After we’ve talked about it, now, two years later, that it was really what showed both of us that we were better together than we are apart.

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ALLY

Yeah. Since you’ve been in long-distance for five years, did you have any problems with trust, or maybe you were jealous at times, or something like that? Was there something that you were struggling with? Because I know that a lot of couples do struggle with this.

DILLON

I mean, maybe in the beginning, before we formalized anything, but at that point, we were not formally together. And to me, it was: hey, we’re gonna be together and this is what it is, and if I’m jealous or find some untrustworthy things, then it’s not meant to be. You become always on the edge when you’re not fully in a relationship. So I don’t think we really had too many problems with trust, our track records were pretty good on that side of things. We were always fairly trusting, and it was just: you’ve got problems — say something. I probably took a little longer to say something at times than she did, but we didn’t have too many struggles along the way. It was only just reconciling that we want to be together, that we make this happen and still make a living.

ALLY

Sure. And did you maybe have any rules? For example, me, in my relationship, we had this rule: we should always tell each other the truth, like, no matter what. And that probably helped us achieve trust — maybe you had something similar?

DILLON

That is a really good rule! Something it’s obviously harder than it sounds to say…

ALLY

Oh yeah! (laugh) Certainly.

DILLON

…To say the ultimate truth. I don’t know if we had any rules, or if that was completely spoken; it was… What you said is great, to speak the truth, and I think for the most part we were able to do that, and say what was on our minds. Sometimes it took a couple of drinks to get out of you, but… for the most part, it played out pretty well.

ALLY

Okay. I’m very happy that it turned out to be a very successful relationship, because a lot of people tried and maybe didn’t succeed for some reason; but yeah, it’s totally great. And since you had your experience in that, and you know what it is, maybe you have some advice for the other couples in similar relationships? Just for them to feel support, for them to use your knowledge and expertise?

DILLON

Sure — the biggest thing I can say is, communication is the biggest thing that you can do. Communicate probably more frequently than you think you should, or even the smallest, little things. I’ve found that there might be times that, even when you’re having a conversation, they may or may not be listening — or you feel that way at times, but then you’ll be in a conversation maybe with some other friends, maybe at dinner, and that thing that you thought they weren’t listening to, comes back up. So they were actually listening, and you just need to say it — get it off your chest, and not keep it bound in. You want to say it, and you know that for the most part, they’re always gonna be listening.

And then have a little fun with it, too — maybe plan some trips; it doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing, but, you know… hiking is pretty cheap, or… whatever it is that you like to do, find that thing — like date nights, or dinner, whatever, — when you are together, and make that journey to be together. But when you are apart, I mean, communication is everything — in whatever ways you can make that happen: email or texts, you know, FaceTime. They all matter.

ALLY

Certainly. All right, thank you so much for being so honest with us, Dillon, it is really, really appreciated. And thank you for sharing one more success story — I hope it will be a big support, and will inspire a lot of people to proceed with what they want to do in their lives with their better halves, in an LDR or not in an LDR. Thank you so much for coming, I hope that everything will be all right! And we’ll see you, our listeners, in a month’s time, as always. This has been your long-distance relationship podcast, “Long Distance Short.”

Thanks for listening to “Long Distance Short” — GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast with real people in real long-distance relationships. Make sure to subscribe, and keep tuning in for a new episode every month. If you have any questions or ideas for a future podcast, make sure to drop us a line at [email protected] — that’s [email protected].

_____________________________________

Connect with our guest!
 
Dillon A. Mitchell, PE

 

541.661.5503
 
Dillon’s Website – https://kowabungastudios.com/

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