Thank you to everyone who shared themselves on my post last week. If you haven’t yet, please tell me a little about yourself – it’s been fun learning who is out there reading! One reader (Hi, Elle!) asked how I met Eric – specifically stating “one day you were single and then all of a sudden you were in a long distance relationship.” Yeahhhhh.
One of the tricky things about having a blog is that…people read it. (I mean, that’s the point…and it’s on the internet, sooooo….) I feel like I’m fairly open about a lot of things, but one thing I never felt too comfortable sharing with the world was my dating life. If my blog was more anonymous, I may have shared more, but it’s a lot to put out there for anyone read. (Specifically, the men who I have dated.) If you’ve been around long enough, you may remember that I had a long term relationship with my college boyfriend, which ended about eight-ish months before I moved to NYC.
If you would like a small glimpse into my dating world, here’s a short story. The very first date I went on after breaking up with my college boyfriend was in Manayunk, which is a neighborhood of Philadelphia. I didn’t really know many people in the Philly area, so I ventured there figuring it would be cool to see a new spot. We were sitting at a bar, and at one point someone attempted to order a drink between us. He recognized me and said, “Hey, you’re XXXXX’s girlfriend!” (after a few seconds I recognized him), then I turned and realized that tons of my exboyfriend’s friends were at the bar. Some of them knew about the ended relationship and others didn’t, obviously. The date actually recovered and went well, but we could call that chapter one in my dating story.
Anyway, moving on. Later that year, I moved to NYC. I didn’t know a single person other than some blog/twitter runners, so I turned to online dating to learn more about the city and maybe meet someone. That was in fall 2010. I did online dating (Match.com, OkCupid, and one free week of eHarmony. I’m mostly glad I got out before the Tinder days…) for awhile. I added a few more stories to my book, but mostly I went on a lot of first dates, some second dates, and not so many third dates. If you know me in real life, you most likely know that I’m very introverted and am quite quiet until you get to know me. It can be easy to see how this would make online dating difficult for me, as I don’t get chatty right off the bat, so I don’t blame guys for either not being interested in me or for thinking I wasn’t interested in them. Additionally, I was working night shift (and every other weekend), so it wasn’t the best set up for dating. (“When are you free?” “Tuesday. And Thursday, but only after four cups of coffee. Sorry, I work all weekend. And next weekend.”) I tried to balance my work (3-4 nights per week) with dating and seeing friends who I knew would be around for more than just a couple drinks. It wasn’t easy and dating is quite discouraging by the sheer nature of it – you’re not looking to make a new friend every time, you’re looking for a relationship.
I went through many phases in online dating – I looked for runners (training partners, bonus points for speedy guys), guys who liked to travel, guys who lived in the West Village (I wanted to explore there more, ha. This never worked out.) When I got discouraged, I’d look for something completely different. At times, barring disaster, I made myself promise to give everyone a second chance. (Especially since I know I’m not at my best the first time around.) When I got tired of it, I took a break for a few weeks. I sometimes got set up by people (thank you to my friends looking out for me!). Most of the time, dates just fizzled out, either by myself or the guy. A few times, I’d date a guy for two months-ish, which seems to be the point where you’re either making it a real thing…or you’re not. And it wasn’t, for the most part.
Somewhere early in 2013, I was on OkCupid in the middle of the night (night shift insomnia…) and had noticed a guy who had looked at my profile a few times. (He says he was looking at girls in New York and San Francisco, cities he considered moving to.) He was tall and thin (my type) and liked baseball (a plus!). He wasn’t a runner. (Be open, Susan.) He also lived in Minneapolis. OkCupid tells you how far away the person you’re looking at is, and it said Minneapolis was 2,712 miles away. In my delirium, I decided to send him a message saying something like, “I didn’t know Minneapolis is 2.712 miles from New York!” (It’s not. Obviously. It is 1,000 miles as the crow flies, 1,200-ish by land, but not 3,000 miles. Non-sleep deprived people would probably realize this.) For some reason, the guy didn’t think I was a total moron and messaged me back. If you haven’t realized yet, that guy was Eric.
The internet really does never forget.
In the meantime, I dated a guy in New York for a few months, which ended terribly. (I will keep that off the blog, thanks!) I reached one of my “I’m not dating for awhile” periods, and I certainly wasn’t going to date anyone in New York because I was over the men of New York. (If the men of New York are reading this, you’re not all bad. Some of you were quite great. It’s just dating and sometimes it hurts and doesn’t work and we’re not bad people. I know I could have acted better at times too. Anyway.) In the meantime, Eric and I had been texting a bunch, and Eric said he was coming to New York to “visit a friend” (he stayed with a friend who lived a few blocks from me) and asked if I wanted to go to a Yankees game with him. He’s a big Yankees fan and I like baseball, so I said yes. This was May 2013. We met for the first time on the corner outside my apartment, walked around a bit (while I got a coffee – I had just come off of night shift that morning), then went to the Yankees game. We got pizza after the game, then said our goodbyes. Eric said to let him know if I was free to hang out during the day since his friend was working – I actually was off from work the entire time Eric was in New York, isn’t that magical? (Or Eric knew that and that’s why he came…)
We hung out a bunch, sat and talked on the front steps on my apartment building until 2am multiple times, and Eric said something about going on a date. I said it’d be silly to call going to dinner a date because I wasn’t going to date someone who lived 1,000 miles away so let’s just call it dinner.
Well, I guess you can see where that led.
Eric went back to Minneapolis and then, as I like to say, spent the next three months convincing me to date him. I was against this because, as I said, I wasn’t going to date someone who lived 1,000 miles away. I was 29 and wasn’t getting involved in a long distance relationship that might not work. (Been there, done that, I suppose.) However, Eric was quite persistent and asked to come to New York again. (After inviting me to Texas. And to California as his wedding date. H and N, I’m sad I missed your wedding.) I’m sure I told him not to, but he did. (He also made me promise to stop dating other guys. So I did.) So he came back to New York in mid-August, then I went to Minneapolis for the first time a couple weeks later. I’m still not sure why I did, although I suppose I liked him and I like to see new places.
How can you not like a guy who sends you this birthday card??
During my first visit to Minneapolis, I had an 18 miler to run. Eric took me to the Greenway, and I figured I’d just run 9 miles out and 9 miles back. Instead, Eric rode his bike next to me for 18 miles…it was handy to have someone hand me water and chews. (We have not repeated this since…….but maybe we should.) He’s a keeper for sure.
Thank goodness for this quick bathroom break.
I wasn’t sure how the relationship was going to work at this point, as I was heading to Germany (Berlin Marathon and Oktoberfest) and Poland (history!) a few weeks later, then I had something I needed to be in New York for, and somehow it was going to be that we wouldn’t see each other until maybe November. Which is when Eric asked if he could come to Europe with me.
Sink or swim, my friends.
So a few weeks after we officially started dating, we headed to Europe for two weeks together. (Thanks to Chris, who didn’t ask too many questions when I said a guy was coming with me, and could we please add one to the Oktoberfest reservation?) People joked about our romantic European getaway, to which I said, “I spent three days hobbling around post-marathon, and then we visited Auschwitz.” (I’m not trying to joke about Auschwitz – but it’s certainly not on the romantic getaway itinerary.) But it was a great trip.
We took our first picture together when we were in Berlin, which is what most normal couples do, right?
Once we got back, we spent the next year-ish flying back and forth between New York and Minneapolis or meeting in other places (California Baseball Road Trip!). Our relationship is mostly thanks to our jobs being quite flexible – I work three shifts per week, and Eric could work remotely. (I’m thankful I no longer leave immediately from night shift to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I’ve never fallen asleep on a plane so quickly in my entire life.) It wasn’t the best situation, but I can’t complain given how much we were able to see each other.
Minneapolis and the California Baseball Road Trip!
The obvious question was what the future would hold. I don’t know how it actually came up in conversation, but if this all worked out, Eric would move to New York. I never thought about moving to Minneapolis, and I don’t think Eric ever wanted me to. After lots of planning, stress, some tears (on my part…apartment hunting is hard), we moved into an apartment together in November 2014. The leases on our apartment (mine in NYC, his in Minneapolis) ended at the same time,which was convenient because there was no way we could have lived together in my 10’x14′ studio apartment. Eric didn’t see the apartment until he moved in, which required him driving from Minneapolis to New York. (With stopover with my parents in Chicago and my uncle in Pennsylvania.) His stuff (ALL OF IT) arrived a week later, and we attempted to settle in to living together.
I cried when I came home from work and was greeted with this.
I’ve never lived with a guy before, and I can’t imagine that moving in with a significant other is ever free of challenges. But going from 1,000 miles apart to living together in a 550 sq foot apartment certainly has some added challenges. We went from both living alone with a lot of “me time” on our hands to being around each other constantly. On my end, Eric worked from home (his company allowed him to work remotely, which was a blessing in transition, but also a source of stress for me) and didn’t know many people in NYC, so he was always home. Don’t worry, I love Eric, but I love being by myself, so it was hard to not be alone. We also had to deal with all the living together things, like figuring out what to eat for dinner, how the dishes get done, AND WHERE DO WE PUT ALL OUR STUFF. We have 1.5 closets, so we’re actually still figuring it out.
I don’t think relationships are ever easy, and it’s certainly been quite the ride. If you told me I would meet someone who lived 1,000 miles away and that this whole thing would work out, I wouldn’t believe you. But somehow it did, and that’s our story.
I would like to thank my mom for not getting too mad at me when I didn’t tell her I was going to Minneapolis and for not calling the phone company regarding the bazillion text messages I was receiving from a Florida number. It wasn’t spam, it was Eric.