Snapshot: When you’re married long distance

by singlemomseeking on May 6, 2010

Many of you are dating long distance. (Yeah, I’m talking about you, T, and your Rascal, along with Momma Sunshine and her Canadian Bald Guy!)

When you imagine your future, surely these questions come up: Would one of you be willing to move? How about your kids? And what does this mean for your kids’  “other parent,” who might be very involved?

So, when I heard that Deesha Philyaw — co-founder of CoParenting101.org and one of “my” former columnists at Literary Mama — was getting remarried, I asked her to please share her story:

More than three years ago, Deesha met a wonderful man whom she refers to online as “TechBoo”  (I was so honored to hear all about him via email when Deesha first started to gush back then!) Deesha lives in Pittsburgh with her two daughters, and TechBoo lives in the DC Metro Area with his two daughters. Yep, that’s 240 miles between them.

As Deesha puts it: “That’s a four-hour car drive, or a 35-minute flight. But who’s counting?”

Just listen to what amazing  planners these love birds are! “TechBoo and I see each other at a minimum two weekends a month, and more often during school breaks, summers, holidays.  He has a never-ending honey-do list in both cities.  I’m in charge of minimizing household chaos and other ‘inside jobs’ in both cities.  I take my bonus-daughters to the dentist.  He helps all the girls with school projects.  We have separate and joint bank accounts.  We have social lives, favorite haunts, clothes, and toiletries in both cities.  We are passionate, best friends wherever we are.”

They bring their daughters together “as often as we can.  They get to enjoy summer camp and vacations together, along with random weekends and some holidays (depending on the custody calendars).  We’ve vacationed just the six of us, as well as with my ex and his wife.”

In March, they got married in a small, family ceremony “during a two-hour sunset cruise aboard a sailing yacht in the Gulf of Mexico. We said ‘I do’ right at sunset at the boat’s bow, while holding on and trying not to go flying overboard as the photographer snapped away — and our daughters alternately giggled, teared up and read poems about friendship and blessings.”

Here’s Deesha and her man during their wedding, a.k.a “sweet life on deck”!
sweet life on deck2

“Our girls  boogied on deck to their own songs of celebration, yelling at every passing boat and to people on shore: ‘They just got married! We love you, Key West! Our six-year-old, always marching to the beat of her own drum, announced boldly to sky, sea, and to the world: ‘They’re married…WE’RE married!’ ”

Of course, I wanted to know how their daughters — who range in ages from six to 13 — have bonded. “The girls get along like sisters, and by ‘like sisters,’ I mean they love each other and…they tolerate each other.  They have a ball together…and they get on each others’ nerves.  But mostly, they miss each other when they are apart and are thrilled when they can spend time together.”

“This process was not at all instant.  We told the girls, ‘This is going to take some time.  Sometimes, you might not want to deal with each other, and that’s okay.  That’s human.  But at all times, everyone must feel safe and respected.’ ”

~~~

After the wedding, Deesha and her daughters went home to Pittsburgh — and Techboo and his girls traveled back to their home near DC. “This will be our arrangement until my youngest bonus daughter graduates high school…in about seven years,” explains Deesha. “Both TechBoo and I have shared custody of our respective children from previous marriages, and neither of us wishes to parent from a distance.”

Now, your turn:

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, how do YOU make it work? Does either of you imagine moving someday to be closer to your new love?

If you’re dating another single parent with kids, how do your kids get along? How do you deal with the fear and resentment that must come up sometimes?


~~~

Please visit Deesha at CoParenting101.org, which she co-founded with her ex-husband! In addition to writing — from Essence to the Washington Post — Deesha teaches as an adjunct writing instructor in Chatham University’s Master’s of Professional Writing program. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics, and from Manhattanville College with M.A. in Teaching.

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