Last week's letter from a town-bound girlfriend who was dreading the full-time return of her Slope worker boyfriend sure got people's attention. Considering the dozens of comments, shares, likes, hahas and wows that poured in, Wayne and Wanda felt it was only right to devote one more column to this apparently touchy topic that so many readers connected with. What exactly did readers have to say?
A surprising number of people assumed the woman is nervous about her man's return because she's cheating on him and will have to give up her side action.
Not surprisingly, all the people who assumed this were men. Seriously, go back through the Facebook comments and you will see: Every person who assumed this woman's angst was caused by her own infidelity? All guys! They actually used words like "ho" and "slut."
What does this say about our Alaska men? You pride yourselves as so independent; can't you guys grasp the concept that -- shocking -- a woman might just like hanging out alone? Or even with other women? It's not all about you, dudes. Sometimes watching a Lifetime movie with a bottle of wine and a bowl of popcorn is a perfect night.
Sadly, I must occasionally use this platform to apologize for a few of the cavemen still dragging their knuckles among my gender. I can reassure everyone that we all don't think or act this way.
Kneejerk, thoughtless reactions like these have more to do with the limited brain power, large insecurities and lack of emotional development in the commenters than providing a legitimate take on this woman and her situation. This writer is anonymous and putting it all out there for us -- you don't think she'd admit to having a side piece as part of the problem? Guys, either give us something with substance and a speck of evidence or stay out of the conversation.
To balance out the slut-shaming men, a few women chimed in about how they really enjoyed the personal time they had while dating people who worked field schedules. They spoke fondly of Lean Cuisine dinners and falling asleep with the TV on. A writer named Opel said, "Time to just be alone is nice. I always welcomed my guy home and was happy to have my time with him but I loved my alone time too."
This is what I'm talking about. News flash: When women have downtime, most of us are not scrambling to squeeze in as many new flirtations and lovers as possible. We're too busy spending quality time doing things like hanging out with friends, watching "Sex and the City" reruns, working out or even sleeping in and not caring about how we look. #bliss
Hey now, this isn't exclusive to women. Coupled-up men live for poker nights, fishing days, uninterrupted ESPN sessions and wing eating tours with their boys. Face it -- we all need breaks from our significant others to maintain our sanity, recharge our romantic batteries and maintain our other friendships. As long as those breaks aren't undermining the relationship, do whatever you need to do.
Several reasonable-sounding readers stated what seems obvious: Being in a relationship means being together. As writer Rodney put it, "If you're freaking out you don't belong in a relationship."
Fair enough. But that doesn't mean that making the transition from essentially a long-distance, part-time relationship to a full-time one doesn't take work, and may not come with some bumps and bruises.
One writer, Mary, said very candidly that it's hard transitioning from part-time to full-time. She advised picking battles carefully and continues to make time for herself and himself. This is good advice for any relationship, really. By coupling up with someone, we are sharing space. This requires compromise and, at times, keeping a sensible even keel and not overreacting.
Rodney, you nailed it, buddy. So many people stay in relationships way too long for way too many wrong reasons.
Sure, we all get a little scared or emotionally excited when facing a big change. But when you're facing change, struggling or just plain freaking out in a relationship, it's always a good idea to ask yourself why you're staying in it. Seriously, step back, be honest with yourself and assess why you are willingly choosing to remain with your partner. If you aren't happy, don't foresee yourself being happy or are constantly making your partner unhappy, it's probably best to call it quits.
Finally, one reader reminded us that this is 2016. Slopers aren't all men, and townies aren't all women. As writer Jo put it, "Not all of us are guys. I'm 55 and I've been working the Slope for a long time." She said her husband is up there, too, as are many family members. This has meant sacrificing, but the family has enjoyed good money and a comfortable lifestyle. "And our marriage never gets old," Jo said.
Jo really humanized this. It's true that long distance of even part-time long distance won't work for everyone. But Jo brought out a bright side too: a relationship with physical distance means you can always look forward to that reunion.
Go Jo! And go everyone who can maintain a long-distance relationship! All those lonely nights can be hard on a heart. But when you have the right partner in your life, it makes the sacrifices feel a little smaller, the distances a little shorter and the time together amazing.
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.