By the time James and I got married, we had been dating four and a half years, of which well over two had been spent long-distance. One of those was international long distance, and I didn’t have wifi in my apartment, so we did a lot of scheduled skyping and emails. Another two summers of that time were spent similarly, because James had a cell phone plane without nationwide calling. Yes young ones, that used to be a thing.
I think periods of long-distance dating can be really good for couples. You learn to communicate, you have to learn to communicate, or you won’t make it. Your relationship can’t be about dates, cuddles, or proximity, and instead becomes about verbalizing feelings and explaining life to someone. A lot of marriage is also like this, only it happens daily over the dinner table. Long-distance love also forces on you the valuable life skill of being happy or sad for things that have nothing to do with you. If you had a great day, but your significant other had a bad one, you learn to feel genuine sadness for them and they have to learn to share in the joy of something they didn’t do. Long-distance can teach you much.
But it isn’t enough. You learn to love the essence of a person, but not their actuality, not their daily quirks, not their frustrating habits, not them in the flesh. Dating ultimately involves spending quality time with another person. Still, long-distance can also lead to some awesome dating moments because when you do see each other, you are SO EXCITED THAT YOU GO ON ALL THE BEST DATES AND DON’T EAT VEGETABLES AND LAUGH A WHOLE LOT. Obviously, real life isn’t like that either, and I distinctly remember a totally weepy breakdown shortly after our dating long-distance ended and I moved to DC and I wanted to know why those perfectly planned, every-minute-a-date, weekends weren’t happening anymore. Yep, I’m a real gem.
But we aren’t talking about that right now. Because for now, I am back doing this horribly awful but maybe still good long-distance thing, which means that when James was here visiting this past week, we rocked dating. Like, ROCKED it, non-married style, where I turned off the part of my brain that remembers that we share a checkbook now, so lavish gestures aren’t quite as awesome because they mean tighter grocery budgets. Baseball games! Picnics! Netflix marathons (Olivia Pope, where have you been all my life???)! Dinners out! Dinners in!
In the course of our dating over the past week, we also discovered a couple great new places around this city, and as it is RESTAURANT WEEK this week, maybe you local people are looking to try out some new gems. The rest of you, once again, you should just make DC on your “Must Visit So I Can Gain Weight” list.
GCDC- Grilled Cheese DC. We have wanted to go since it opened, but it isn’t in our area of the city and is only opened during the week. But after finally making it, we will be inconveniencing ourselves to return again. And again. (I actually have dinner plans there later this week so I can try the sweet grilled cheeses they only sell at night. ) It is nothing but artisan grilled cheeses – and tater tots, which facilitated me whipping out a Napoleon Dynamite reference like it was the early 2000s – but we were especially impressed with the owner. He was there greeting people, making conversation, and was so proud of his restaurant – with good reason. James got the buffalo chicken grilled cheese and maybe I still think about it.
When he left, James hid gift cards to various local places around the house and gives me clues to find them if I a having a rough day, so I can take myself on a “date” (yep, this totally isn’t our first long-distance rodeo). One of them was to Sona Creamery, which just opened a couple blocks from us, and I saved the card so we could go together. It is a wine and cheese bar that also serves some food, and while the menu is small and things are a little pricey for their size, the quality is perfection.
That iced tea. Lightly spiced, a little sweet, locally brewed and bottled. Hello hipster glory.
See that tasty looking flatbread with heirloom tomatoes? AMAZING. By far our favorite thing there, which is saying a lot, since I got the mac n’ cheese and mac n’ cheese is my favorite food group. We got suckered in and had to know about the artisan cheese on the bread, only to find out it is made from milk from a water buffalo….
… which obviously led to lots of googling of water buffalos at the table…
… and the purchasing of a small brick of the cheese to take home so that we can recreate the meal tonight for dinner.
Sona is having a 3course lunch for 20$ restaurant week special, so if you are nearby, you should totally go. And take me, because I told you about it.
James leaves tomorrow, and it will be mid-September before I see him again. Back to phone calls, emails, and me sleeping starfish style in the middle of the bed. Long-distance marriage is way less fun than dating, with one exception. When you are dating long-distance, you always wonder if it will have changed when you see the person, if you are going to make it through, if you will or should stay together. But with marriage, I know.