I am haunted by the words of the Godfather of Metal, Lemmy Kilmister, at the end of the documentary about his life, "Lemmy." I am paraphrasing, but he basically "philosophizes" about long distance romance.
He says there is no way it can work unless both partners are in the same line of work and/or both travel. His glass of Jack half empty, he states that even then it doesn't usually jive. He says the non-traveling partner can't come along on the road because that inevitably ends up disastrous and they can't stay at home and work or raise the kids, because resentment just builds up directed at the partner who is away.
Is Lemmy right? Are relationships rocked by distance unable to survive?
I live the exact scenario Lemmy describes and in fact, profession specific. My husband is a touring bass player. We are separated at least six months and sometimes/usually more each year. I just got him back for an all too short three week stretch after an extra long, three month stint of him away on tour. And somehow (and not without ups and downs) we've made it 13 years.
In my husband's line of work, the female companions tease and switch our monikers from "rock wives" to "road widows" when our loved ones depart on tour.
Whether your partner is a traveling musician, in the military or they just have frequent business trips, separation in relationships can be a challenge and raise the brows of so called "normal" couples.
Recently and quite honestly for the first time, a virtual stranger, who learned what my husband did for a living, asked me if we had an "open relationship" to cope with the distance.
The question of fidelity probably goes through a lot of people's heads when they meet someone like me, who spends a good deal of time apart from their spouse.
But, my closest friends have never begged those details. Not even in social situations lubricated by alcohol. Perhaps they assume they know the answer, but the square in me was truly shocked by this person's very personal question (which was not in any way an "invitation" for those of you wondering.)
Since the situation is so typical in musical romances, artists from every genre have sonically commented on these types of trysts. A variety of viewpoints have arisen that should be considered.
I mean, are we and should we just be living separate lives?
Cue Phil Collins' "Separate Lives:" for a musical interlude to this blog.
Please enjoy the '80s deliciousness of this video:
OK, so that's way dramatic and is more about a breakup than long distance, but I know you totally loved the Mikael Baryshnikov/Jeffrey Hines cameos.
Rock icons, KISS tenderly nailed life with one partner on the road in the song, "Beth."
Please enjoy the "unplugged" version here:
I can honestly say I've had the exact conversation Peter Criss balladeers a couple times over the years:
"You say you feel so empty
That our house just ain't a home
And I'm always somewhere else
And you're always there alone."
Interestingly, and accurately is Ozzy Osbourne's "Mama I'm Coming Home" which Lemmy actually co-wrote and was inspired by Ozzy's line to Sharon at the end of each run!!
Take a listen:
"I've seen your face a thousand times
Everyday we've been apart.
I don't care about the sunshine, yeah
Cause Mama, I'm coming home ..."
Perhaps, there IS a sentimental side to the metal legend, Mr. Lemmy Kilmister?
Of course, the previous tunes were all written before the advent of Skype, which has helped long distance couples around the globe cope with the miles. All you need is an Internet connection and a camera to keep the flame alive.
Personally, I think the time apart keeps our relationship fresh and exciting. I love having my own space and time to focus on me while he's away and then, when he comes home, we have another version of our life we live together.
I've been apart from my hubby since April ... a longer stretch than usual for us. Although I never stop being a "rock wife" even while we're apart, there is a sense of relief that comes with the end of each "road widow" phase and a sense of excitement and urgency to jam all the life that people usually spend on a day to day basis together into a condensed period of time.
I don't think anyone describes this lifestyle better than Journey as expressed in its wedding playlist favorite, "Faithfully:"
I'll let Journey explain why we work so hard to keep it together.
Here are some lyrical highlights I think say it better than I ever could.
Please feel free to sing out loud – especially the "Oh, oh, oh ... part.
"They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And loving a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be ..."
"And being apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you..."
"Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
I'm still yours
I'm forever yours
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