Long Distance, Does it work?

For those of you who don’t know the story or maybe didn’t get all the details, I’m going to tell you exactly how I met this amazing woman and got to date her . Because, as some of you might know, Abigail wasn’t planning on or expecting to be in a serious relationship at that point in her life. (Nor was she prepared to meet a stud like me) So I am counting myself very lucky to be the one who actually got to marry Abigail Van Patter!

It all began on a cold day in Alaska, when I was skyping my cousin Natalie B. (a friend of Abigail’s from Grad School). Abigail and Natalie were together when I called.

Some might say we met online…

The conversation was short and it was mostly formalities.

But I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t immediately look her up on Facebook after the brief conversation.

Natalie, Cousin and orchestrator of all of this…

Months went by, and I forgot about that brief “hello” with Natalie’s friend. Summer moved in, and I planned a two week leave on the East Coast. Natalie’s show (which Abigail directed) was conveniently playing during that time, so I was in the audience. At the same time, Natalie sneakily made plans to get me and Abigail to meet in person.

So I walked into the theatre, totally oblivious to this life changing event that was about to befall me.

As I entered the theatre, I was immediately greeted by this beautiful woman at the door, who handed me a program. My thoughts? “Wow, she’s pretty. Gotta go find a seat now.”

I didn’t recognize that it was Natalie’s friend Abigail who I had met on Skype a few months ago. I also did not know that Abigail had conveniently placed herself there to greet me when I walked in…..just kidding….but I would like to think that she did. (Though I’m sure she’ll deny it to the grave.)

Anyway, after the show was over, Abigail came up to Natalie’s family and introduced herself to everyone.

So we shook hands, exchanged names, and she walked out into the lobby.

Then it dawned on me. That was Abigail Van Patter! Natalie’s friend, who I had met on Skype! I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by. So I was on a mission to go and talk to this girl before she left and it was late!

Walking out into the lobby area, I saw her.

“Perfect”, I thought, “I didn’t miss my chance.”

I’d like to think that I casually strolled up and laid on all my charisma and charm, but the truth is I was SO NERVOUS. And I probably looked like it too. I managed to tell her that we had actually met before, and that I did not recognize her because her hair was different (“stupid thing to say Kooiman”). But then we immediately got to talking about ourselves and time just flew by. We were interrupted when Natalie (the sneaky matchmaker) exclaimed, “Hey Abigail! You should join us for lunch right now!” And I said, “YES!! Of course she should!”

During that lunch, something drew me to Abigail.

She was absolutely captivating. Leaving later that day with Natalie’s family, I exclaimed, “Abigail is amazing, I am going to stay longer in North Carolina just to get to know her.” And I did. The next several days were wonderful. Getting to know such a beautiful woman was truly life changing. Needless to say, I left to go back to Alaska with a new girlfriend and a long distance relationship.

One of our first pictures together. He surprised me, almost gave me a heart attack!

Our long distance lasted almost a year. We had a short engagement where we were finally together in the same place at the same time, and then we married.

We tell this story, because due to our jobs, we have spurts of long distance that come up here and there. A month.. 2 months, and we are asked often, “How do you do it? How do you make long distance work?”

I laugh, “a month? that is nothing next to a year, 5000 miles, and a 4 hour time difference!”

Long distance works if you make it work. It is hard. It can be lonely, and it hurts inside and out, but it doesn’t have to be “the end” of anything. There are very sweet moments to be had in distance.

Foundation is vital.

We are partners.

More on this topic to come.


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Him and Her. Life and Narrative. Married, partnered, friends. Simple and sweet. The ups and downs together. Be kind, be caring, be loving. A theatre artist and a military officer. Living in Georgia, often long distance. We explore, we write, we share. We love to travel, eat, listen to music, try new things, be present each day, and live a minimal lifestyle.

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