Romantic relationships come in more permutations than the customizable phenomenon that is the Subway sandwich, and just like no one has permission to tell you that you should choose a BLT over a BMT, no one can decide what your love and sex should look, sound, (and taste) like. You alone are the arbiter of these personal decisions. Honey mustard on meatballs? Why the fuck not? Going bi for a day? Baby, I was born this way. (I.e. possessing malleable desires and the ability to make autonomous choices even after coming to an understanding of one's sexuality.)
But don't think there aren't any rules. If there's one thing you shouldn't do, it's to argue like Your Tango writer Cris Gladly did in her piece We Live 9,349 Miles Apart, But We're Killing It In The Bedroom and assert that long distance relationships (LDR) trump short distancers because she's having sex 42 times in quarterly two week increments while all other relationships are about as salacious as a burnt Flatizza.
From Your Tango:
Let's debunk one myth, shall we? If you're thinking you could never go that long without sex, well, I'm here to tell you that despite big gaps in time spent apart, my boyfriend and I most likely have way more sex than you. Impossible, you say? Well, research shows that the average cohabiting couple has sex twice per week (that's 32 sex acts over 4 months). During the two-week visits with my boyfriend every three months, we easily average sex three times a day. Sure, the daily number of romps is less when the kids are around, but far more when they're not (topping out around 42 sex acts per visit).
Yeah. We all could have that much sex, Gladly, in or out of relationships, but perhaps we chose a life of moderation instead of tying our sex lives to the changing of the seasons.
I don't want to attack Gladly's long distance relationship (ok, maybe I do, but I won't) because that's no better than Gladly attacking her readers'. In fact, I'd like to believe Gladly has given an accurate and examined account of what her LDR actually looks like, in which case, I'm insanely jealous she's having such a sexually satisfying love life while I'm here writing about it. But putting others down for the sake of her own benefit, even somewhat jokingly and with a topic as trivial as long distant vs. short distant relationships, is not helping anyone, so let's use some better judgment to analyze the points that she's making.
On the issue of nonsexual intimacy (emphasis mine):
I'm an ordinary person. He's an ordinary person. But we're building a beautiful relationship together because for us, a life of passion trumps a life of cohabitating proximity. Naysayers always focus on the hardship of time spent apart. We focus on the heartfelt joy and deep connection that comes from time spent together, which (precisely because we haven't seen each another in awhile) is always exciting, full of love, full of romance, and spent exploring new adventures together. Heck, after four months apart, even ordinary moments like grocery shopping or doing laundry together feel sweet and oh-so-romantic.
Gladly wants you to know that Gladly knows about your relationship. Do you think that your "life of cohabitating proximity" is passionate? What a naif. Gladly knows it can't be because the two are mutually exclusive. Do you think you enjoy the quotidian aspects of your relationship like grocery shopping or doing the laundry together? How could you, dunce, when you're doing it every day? Ugh. So tiring. There's no way that kind of passion could last between two cohabiting individuals. I mean when was the last time two lovers living under the same roof were even happy? Oh you mean they exist literally everywhere you look? Ok. Never mind.
On the topic of parenting:
Let's be real, no matter how much your kids like your new boyfriend, they still don't want their time alone with you intruded upon. One of the great perks of a long-distance relationship is that our children have a new loving and nurturing adult in their lives without having that adult invade permanently.
This is just so many kinds of wrong. As a child of a blended family with two sets of parents, I can tell you that as a kid, had my mother brought home a new boyfriend who came around once every three months, the absolute last phrase I would use to describe him would be a "loving and nurturing adult." Again, I'm not attacking Gladly's boyfriend; I'm sure he's a hell of an individual. It's just clear Gladly does not know—or is willingly misconstruing—the facts pertaining to the relationships she's belittling. My stepdad—like many others' stepdads I'm undoubtedly sure—lived with my family before marrying my mother. We got to know him. He came to our school events. He showed us he really loved my mom and was willing to devote his whole life to our family. How Gladly could not see this healthy scenario as a possibility to mention in a piece that raises up LDRs at the cost of belittling short-distancers is unbelievable. Instead she assumes having a new boyfriend who lives in the house uninterrupted would equate to a parent "permanently invading" the lives of her children.
On the issue of relationship security:
One of the biggest relationship insecurities people have is the fear that the person they're with might just be sticking around because it's easy and convenient. Well, ladies and gents, I don't have to worry about that for a second. This is not a worry one has when your relationship is anything but convenient. Attraction, chemistry, or excitement might bring long-distance lovers together initially, but you have to reallllllly love someone to stay in a relationship like ours.
I'm gonna lay a Truth bomb here for Gladly and it might hurt a little: her relationship is extremely easy and convenient. At least in a sense. She fails to mention at any time throughout the piece that this LDR, where the two individuals are separated by exactly 9,349 miles, provides a perfect opportunity for each party to dabble sexually with other people. Far be it from me to say that sex outside of a relationship is something negative, but in the seemingly monogamous paradigm Gladly is discussing, it seems like that's a topic you'd like to bring up. To say that one of the biggest relationship insecurities people have is that their partner is staying with them because it's easy and convenient without mentioning the likely even bigger concern that they are cheating on you is a little disingenuous.
I'm sure that Gladly's LDR is just as amazing as it sounds, but please if you find yourself having some fear over the strength of your relationship—as is clear by the tone she uses throughout the piece—don't just look for an easier target to bash on. It doesn't make you look cute. And a footlong turkey breast is just as good as a six inch ham.