Next week, the Not Boyfriend begin his drive across the country. After he camps in a few state parks, fills up the gas tank a bunch of times and slowly winds his way through the Badlands, some steep passes, long stretches of cornfields and rush-hour traffic, he will end up in my city. Once the moving truck arrives, my city will become his home, too.
In the nearly three years we’ve been dating, we’ve spent a handful of weeks together. Most of our quality time has been packed into 48-hour visits, Skype calls and texts. The number of hours we’ve held hands, lingered over dinner, been each other’s plus-one, hiked and laughed and lazed around in bed has been rivaled by the number of hours we’ve spent on airplanes, waiting through flight delays and in security lines. Cab drivers and TSA agents have been on our relationship scene more than many of our friends and family members.
Next week, that will all change. This week, we are both a bundle of nerves and excitement. We talk a lot about being open to what this last bit of transportation will bring along with it. How will we be, dating in the same city? How will we handle seeing each other almost every day? How much space do each of us really need?
And, of course: How much money will we save?
Flying is expensive. And so is the eating out, seeing concerts, ordering fancy cocktails and other kinds of showing off we do as we pack a month’s worth of boyfriending and girlfriending into one little weekend. There’s also the cost of cabs and parking and a new dress or pre-visit rush to the salon to consider. Although we won’t be sharing rent (just yet) and we will (still) be wooing each other with dinners and lingerie, I’ll happily trade in my premier airline status for the cost of enjoying pizza and a movie together. I won’t stop desperately covering up gray roots before I see my love or never again hop a cab with him, but the short-distance place our relationship is going won’t involve pouring out buckets of cash the day before a little long-distance love anymore either.
Here’s the budget I tallied for our long-distance arrangement (supplemental therapy sessions, late-night calls to girlfriends, time-lost due to crabbing about not having a date for a wedding not included):
- Airfare $450 (Sometimes we were lucky and scored tickets under $300 but there were times we coughed up $600, too.)
- Hair cut and color $200 (I KNOW! Why can’t my amazing stylist work at Hair Cuttery?)
- Wax $80 (Friends, I am signed up for the Date Night Specials. Until I am lady enough to brave a DIY Brazilian, this is the best deal I can get.)
- Mani-pedi $70 (I am a sucker. But the Not Boyfriend oohs and ahhs over my girly piggies and I am far too impatient to paint my nails in a lovely manner myself. Plus, anything other than no-chip is a waste of cash for a maniac hand-washer like me.)
- Cabs $80 (No drankin’ and drivin’, even when it’s just a monthly date night.)
- Some surprising clothing $50 (Or under-clothing.)
- Cleaning services $60 (This is so he believes kids really do put away Legos and never knows most of my shoes live in the front hallway.)
- Dining out $300 (It’s pretty equitable spending here.)
- Groceries $100 (Standard bagels, way-too-expensive organic aged cheese, breakfast stuffs to whip up at noon, anything beyond the reserve of goldfish crackers I always have in the cabinet.)
- Flight amenities $25 (People mag, pre-romp hydration bucket of water, post-weekend refuel bucket of coffee, Altoids.)
- Thank-you card $5 (Plus, sexting is way hotter in handwriting.)
That totals $1,420.
And sure, I wasn’t throwing down the debit card to United every month or buying every single sushi roll or never doing the cleaning myself. There also were incidental expenses along the way each of us handled and helped each other out with as we could.
But that’s fifteen-hundy for one long-distance love meet-up a month.
Over the course of three years, factoring in 9 weekends per year on average, we’re looking at a cross-country relationship bill of $38,340.
Will we still hop on planes and in cabs and on Skype to spend time together? Of course. And is any expense we had or will have worth it to have such a phenomenal man in my life and now, just 10 minutes away? Absolutely.
And after the budget for the long-distance loving we done, are we going to hold an economic summit to figure out how to live more just on love (and goldfish crackers)? Probably.
What do you spend to see your long-distance love? Are there any expenses I left out?
Read more of Jessica’s adventures as a single mom in the city at Sassafrass.
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