On Friday, my fiancee Katia headed to Moscow to produce a new reality show. It’s a fascinating concept based on relationships (HINT: She used to produce The Bachelor) and could help millions live richer, more love-packed lives. It’s the perfect companion piece to the User Manual. (And that’s all I can say for certain for now!)
But she’s gone for ten weeks. Seventy-six days left, for those of us counting. Or 1,824 hours.
That’s a loooooooong time.
Here’s what else can happen in 10 weeks:
- Army boot camp
- Two-thirds of an NFL season–and most of ANY season
- A flight to Mars
Not much of a point there, except Mars seems far.
There’s that old myth that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Esther Perel promulgates a fascinating theory in her smash hit Mating in Captivity that it’s separateness that fosters eroticism and ultimately powers romance. And of course billions of people have overcome long gaps and distances to sustain ridiculously amazing relationships. Ten weeks is nothing for a military family. Life is long. Ten weeks isn’t really that long.
But when I found out Katia was going, I pretty much collapsed for a day and a half. We’re in a euphoric phase of our love–which I hope will never end, but will certainly morph–and ripping away the daily interactions feels like ripping off a limb.
No way around it: it’s gonna be hard.
Not beating cancer hard or fighting ISIS hard or anybody dying hard. But emotionally draining hard, heartache hard. Less energy hard. Lonely hard.
This is the perfect opportunity to revisit our User Manual.
A User Manual will always need updates. We change, our partner changes, the relationship changes, the universe changes. But when should we update?
Sure, we can put a User Manual reassessment on a set schedule, tie it to anniversaries or time changes or leap year or blue moons. That ensures it will definitely get done, so long as we stick to the schedule.
But life can pivot pretty fast. Jobs come and go, people come and go. And sometimes you’re suddenly 6,000 miles and 10 time zones away from your fiancee for 76 days.
When a tectonic shift lands–and this sure feels like one of them–it’s important to reassess what we need. And that’s precisely what we’re doing.
A lot of the instructions are the same. But there are a few new ones. FaceTime every day is an important new rule, even if it’s just for ten seconds. And we have other ideas around being patient with communications, reiterating love, and letting the other person sleep.
Stay tuned as our User Manuals evolve.