Category Archives: marriage

How to Handle Disagreements In a Long Distance Relationship

Don't Leave Me by abhinav.s

Don't Leave Me by abhinav.s

 Being in a military marriage, I have had to learn to handle all aspects of long distance relationships.  One of the most important things to learn in love at a distance is how to handle disagreements effectively.  By ‘effectively’ I mean in a way that allows both people to communicate their grievances and frustrations while also finding common ground to resolve the conflict. 

Airing Frustrations

I have come to realize how very important it is for me to be able to say what is bothering me.  It is also important to me that my husband acknowledges my feelings.  In turn, I realize that it may be just as important for my husband to be able to tell me if there is something that he does not agree with or that displeases him.  Communicating our feelings to each other is the first step in resolving a disagreement. 

When There Are Only Words

In long distance relationships, exchanges may occur only through verbal or written communications.  This may be particularly hard during a disagreement because couples do not have the luxury of communicating an angry or emotional disposition through facial expressions and body language, leaving only words.  Words without the context of physical expressions leave a lot open for interpretation by the other person. 

For example, when a couple is together and the man says something that is upsetting to the woman, she may give him a look of anger, turn her back and walk away.  Without words, she has communicated that she is not pleased.  In such a case, he has the opportunity to express his sorrow by putting his arm around her or kissing her softly.  Conversely, he may express his anger by leaving the room and slamming the door.  This exchange of emotion might all occur without the utterance of any words.

Couples in long distance relationships may not have this luxury.  I do realize that, through video media enabled via the Internet, a couple may actually have the ability to see each other in real time.  Such media would make it much easier to exchange not only words, but also emotional gestures in facial expressions and body language.

But, what if such technology is not available?  Many times in military relationships, spouses or loved ones are deployed to remote areas without the network capability to accommodate video media.  For these couples, there may be very few options for expressing non-verbal expressions of displeasure aside from angrily hanging up the phone or uncomfortable silences on the line.  For these distant lovers, an emotional exchange might only occur through words.

If There Are Only Words, Be Sure to Use Constraint

In a long distance relationship, words should be savored.  They should be used deliberately and mindfully.  In an argument, however, they may be used pointedly, harshly, angrily, hurtfully or impulsively, steering you far away from handling the disagreement effectively. 

Using constraint means taking a lot of the emotion out of the words.  It is certainly appropriate to express feelings of sadness and anger in response to words or other actions that have caused such emotions.  But, exercising constraint, so as not to express overly emotional impulsive responses is important for resolving the conflict.

Think about it.  When are you most likely to empathize with someone else’s feelings?  When are you most willing to listen to their side of the story?  It is probably not when that other person is yelling, screaming or saying very hurtful things to you.  In the same way, your lover will be most willing to work with you toward resolving a conflict when you are able to communicate your feelings calmly and clearly.

Think About What You Want to Say Before Saying It

It is often helpful to take some time, once you have removed yourself from an emotionally charged situation, to think about what has triggered such a reaction in you and how you would like to respond.  After taking time to reflect on your feelings, you should be able to tone down the emotion when you communicate your conflict.  But, doing so, however, does not mean denying that the emotion has emerged.

If you are angry, communicate that you are angry.  If you are sad, communicate that as well.  It is not what you say, but how you say it.  Communicate directly by stating, “I was angry when you. . .” or “when you said that to me, I was sad.”  If you think about exactly what caused your reaction and which emotion was elicited, you will be able to state this clearly and calmly to your lover during your next communication. 

It might be helpful to communicate through a writing, such as an email or letter.  In a writing, you will have the benefit of being able to ‘rehearse’ your communication.  And, if you are not pleased with what you have stated, you can erase it and write it again.  Be careful to use constraint in your writing as well. An angry writing will backfire as it does not give the person reading the opportunity to respond in a timely manner, which can leave that person feeling hostile toward you without the opportunity to defend his- or herself.

Even if you don’t want to send an email or letter, it is still very effective to write down your feelings when reflecting on the thing or things that have upset you.  Writing down your feelings helps you to organize your thoughts.  You might even have your ‘first response’ via this writing, allowing you to include all of the angry emotion and all of the hurtful words that you would have thrown at your lover had you not been using constraint.

Allow Your Partner to Respond – Listen

Once you have communicated your feelings, allow your partner the opportunity to respond in an unemotional way.  This allows both of you to get to the bottom of your disagreement and resolve the conflict, reach common ground, or agree to disagree.  It is likely that the response to your mindful words will be one with equal constraint.  This kind of communication avoids the sort of emotionally charged statements that can inflict great harm in your relationship.  Hopefully, through discussing your problem in an unemotional manner, you and your lover can understand each other and resolve the disagreement. 

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship?  How would you handle disagreements?

 WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Glimpse

Here is a Glimpse from next week’s schedule:

Make Money Monday:  From Employer to Employee.  I will look at why some are choosing to reenter the workplace after years of entrepreneurship or pursuing alternative income sources.  I encountered individuals that have done this or are thinking of doing this and it comes as kind of a blow to my own psyche.

Techy Tuesday:  Home Office Series: I will continue the discussion on finding the right Internet service for your home office.  I will discuss appropriate speeds and whether you should purchase separate Internet plans for your residence and your home office. 

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: Handling Disagreements in a Long Distance Relationship.  When your spouse is not with you, disagreements can be very delicate.  There are ways to soften the blow and still communicate your feelings. 

Tough Life Thursday: Discontinued Until Further Notice

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day.  I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! .  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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What Kind of Woman Are You?

Today, a girlfriend of mine and I were having a discussion about a couple of women we have known in our lives and how they have conducted relationships and romantic affairs.  I think we concluded that when it comes to relationships, there are quite often three types of women. Which type are you?

The Woman Who Should Have Left Her Relationship Long Ago

This is the woman in a relationship that is physically or emotionally abusive or borderline abusive.  Many times, if this woman is not being physically hurt, she doesn’t even realize that she is being or has been abused. 

This relationship fails to meet up with any iota of a decent relationship.  It is a situation where, for a long time, this woman has endured a man who is noncommittal, disloyal, or generally unsupportive in the relationship.

My girlfriend calls this woman “Cookie Johnson.”  Earleatha “Cookie” Johnson is the wife of retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball star, Magic Johnson.  Throughout their tumultuous relationship, Cookie stood by Magic through his unwillingness to commit, his infidelity, and ultimately in spite of his contracting HIV as a result of unprotected sex with other women.  In a 1992 interview, Magic indicated that he had unprotected sex with so many women, he could not pinpoint who infected him. 

In the same interview, Cookie stated that after they were married and Magic revealed to her that he was infected, she could not leave because she loved him and because she did not want to deal with matters on her own.

As of that interview, Magic was resolved that he was doing God’s work to spread his message and was finally settled enough to be married to Cookie.  Cookie was resolved in supporting this man that she had been building love with for 14 years despite all of his offenses on her. 

Here, there is the ever-present question of whether Magic would have continued to sleep around had he not been infected.  It is quite possible that if Magic has become a faithful man, Cookie had no control or direct influence over that decision.  He essentially doesn’t have much of a choice now.

If you asked me, I would say that it is a relationship that Cookie should have left a long time ago.

The Woman Who Left Only to Pursue the Same Man Over and Over Again

Some women may eventually be wise enough or fortunate enough to leave a relationship with a man that treats her poorly only to find and date the same kind of guy, over and over again.  Thus, even though she has technically left one particular relationship, she effectively repeats that same relationship.

But, she is different from Cookie Johnson.  Although she is fighting the same battle, it is with different men.  It is hard to say who is in the better situation.  Cookie Johnson got her man in the end, but paid such a high price that it could never be worth it.  She paid with her life, her self-esteem, and her emotional freedom. 

At the same time, the woman who dates repeat offenders may not get the man in the end.  To the extent that she continues the same pattern of dating, she is likely to end up embittered and alone.  She has the potential for emotional freedom, but she has to find it.  She can to grow from her mistakes but must first recognize her relationship patterns as mistakes.

The Woman Who Left, Learned from Her Mistakes, and Moved On to a Better Man

Then there is the woman who may have had tumultuous relationships in the past.  But, she has recognized the poor nature of previous relationships, and has chosen to learn from her own relationship choices and pursue a better man and a better relationship. 

This woman recognizes that she only has a finite period on this earth.  She realizes that she can be treated well by a man.  She recognizes that there are men out there that will never make her question her values or her worth.  She knows that she must look inside of herself to determine her own worth and the values she possesses.

It may take most of her life to get to this place, but she is here now.  She is happy and content because before she found any man that was good to her, she found herself.  And since she can be clear about who she is, her new choices in men will undoubtedly be clear. 

Most importantly, if she makes another mistake about the man she has chosen (his timing, his infidelity, his failure to be supportive in the relationship), she is not afraid to make a quick exit to stay on course to finding a better man, and ultimately the right man.

Have you encountered any of these women in your life?  Are you one of these women?

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Things They Share Are Cherishable

Today is my mom’s birthday and my stepdad is taking us to a baseball game this evening.  It will be a gorgeous night and I am looking forward to spending the evening with them. 

I will miss them both very much when I leave. We’ve been a close-knit bunch for a good part of my life. 

As a child growing up, my mom reared me as a single parent until I was in high school.  For the first part of my life, she was both mommy and daddy.  She taught me how to be an independent woman. Although a little later in my life, she has also shown me some cherishable things about married life. 

My stepdad entered my life when I was a teenager.  At that time, I wasn’t used to having a man around, but he soon became a fixture.  He married my mom and we became a family.  In hindsight I am thankful to have him and his extended family as part of our family.  But, I was a reluctant teen and slow to fully accept his presence in our lives.

Theirs would be the first marriage that I would live within.  Although my grandma is still alive, my grandpa died long before I was born.  So although I’d often hear my grandma speak about life when he was around, I would never experience my grandparents’ love or marriage in real time.

Once my mom got married I would witness for the first time what it meant to live inside of marriage.  It would be my first lesson in marital support and compromise.  It would be the first time I saw marital love. 

Through all of my teenage awkwardness and growth and maturity as a young woman, I now know that there are qualities about their relationship, in addition to love, that are rich and abundant and should be cherished. 

They have humor.

My mom has always had the gift of delivery and timing in humor.  Her sarcasm and dry humor are never dull and will always keep you on your toes.  She certainly keeps my stepdad on his toes.  Sometimes he is sharp enough to match wit and return fire.  Sometimes. 

They have support. 

Their support is mutual, complementary, and cherishable.

He contributes to maintaining my grandmother’s quality of life. He’ll bring fruit or get her trash or move her television.  He’ll also perform countless other tasks whenever requested by my mother.  His support for my grandmother is certainly support for my mother. 

She provides for his children and grandchildren as her own.  She’ll throw a party or babysit the grands or make personal gifts incorporating photos of our whole family.  She will also do countless other tasks whenever requested by my stepdad.  Her support for his family is certainly support for him.

He provides for me, her daughter.  He will secure a grill and chairs for a party at a moment’s notice.  He will provide extra tickets to a basketball or baseball game.  He will arrange complimentary rounds of golf for my husband and I.  He will also provide countless other things for me, at the request of my mom.  His support for me is certainly support for my mom.

She supports his business.  She will provide administrative assistance, such as typing a letter or sending an email or making a call.  She will also give her time to welcome participants in his charity golf tournament.  Her support for his organization is certainly support for him.

They are kind to each other.  He gives her flowers, sometimes just because.  She makes him coffee in the morning, to start his day.            

They have companionship.

While they each live very full individual lives, they always take the time to come together for family and for themselves.  They watch movies together, play golf together, and attend sporting events. Together.

Today, they will attend a Nationals game for my mom’s birthday and they have invited me to come along.  It will be a gorgeous night and I am looking forward to spending the evening with them. 

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Vitamins and Supplements for Preconception

Yesterday’s post explored pre-conception from both the woman’s and the man’s point of view (well, the way I saw it anyway).  Today, I want to provide a brief rundown of recommended vitamins and supplements for women trying to get pregnant.  These tips are from Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couple on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception by Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., and Lisa Mazzullo, M.D.

Most prenatal vitamins will contain these and other essentials for preconception periods.  The following are recommended vitamins and supplements for healthy, well-nurished women.  Always see your doctor first about the proper regiment for you. 

Folic Acid (Vitamin B)

Folic Acid is a vitamin B supplement.  It is known to reduce the risks of such fetal and birth defects as spina bifida, and anencephaly, which is incomplete brain development.  Folic acid supplements should begin at least one month prior to conception to ensure effectiveness.  Women are recommended to take 400 mcg (micrograms) daily for preconception.

Other Vitamin B Supplements

Vitamin B1 plays a role in converting carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for proper function of the nervous system.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception.

Vitamin B2 assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception. 

Vitamin B6 promotes amino acid and protein metabolism and a healthier nervous system, immune system, red blood cells and cardiovascular system. Women are recommended to take approx. 100% of the daily value for Vitamin B6 during preconception, while never exceeding 100 mg.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal red blood cell formation.  It also needed to help maintain the nervous system and cardiovascular health.  B12 is especially important for vegetarians.  Women are recommended to take approx. 2.4 mcg daily during preconception. 

Niacin (Vitamin B) assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources and is essential to maintaining a healthy nervous system, skin and digestive tract.  Women are recommended to take 14 mcg daily during preconception.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B) is necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates.  Women’s recommended daily dosage during preconception is 5 mg.

Biotin (Vitamin B) is also necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrates.  30 mcg is considered an adequate dosage of daily intake during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A assists with the maintenance of healthy bones, skin, and gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.  It also plays an essential role in maintaining vision. Women are recommended to take 2300 IU (international unites) or 700 mcg RAE (Retinal Activity Equivalents) daily during preconception.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D strengthens bones and teeth by assisting the utility function of calcium and phosphorus in the body.  Women are recommended to take 200 IU daily during preconception.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties.  It works with Vitamin C to protect cell membranes from damage.  It is not well-established that Vitamin E can reduce the risk of miscarriage or age-related decreases in fertility.  Women are recommended to take 15 mg (milligrams) daily during preconception. 

Vitamin K

 Vitamin K plays an important role in normal blood clotting.  It also assists with placing calcium into the bones.  Women are recommended to take 90 mcg daily during preconception.  

Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Selenium, Other Minerals

Iron helps our immune system and assists the oxygen-carrying compounds hemoglobin in red blood cells.  Women are recommended to take 18 mg daily for preconception. 

Zinc promotes metabolic processes, growth, immune system function, tissue health and a healthy appetite.  Women are recommended to take 8 mg daily during preconception. 

Calcium maintains bone and teeth strength.  It also helps to maintain muscle-contraction, blood pressure regulation, and immunity.  The safe and adequate intake of calcium is 1000 mg daily during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.  

Selenium is an antioxidant working in conjunction with Vitamin E for the protection of cells.  Women are recommended to take 55 mcg daily during preconception. 

Other minerals and their recommended daily doses for preconception include:

Phosphorus: 700 mg.

Magnesium: 310-320 mg

Iodine: 150 mcg

Copper: 900 mcg

Manganese: 1.8 mg

Fluoride: 3 mg

Chromium: 25 mcg

Sodium: minimum of 500 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Chloride: minimum of 750 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Potassium: minimum of 2000 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Both Sides to Pre-Conception

There are about three or four pregnant women in my office right now.  I also just found out recently that a girlfriend of mine is pregnant.  I am surrounded by pregnant women, which is making me sort of baby crazy.

I started thinking about what goes into making a baby.  I mean aside from the obvious actions.  During the period before conception, which I will call pre-conception, what is the emotional cycle experienced by both the man and the woman?

For the woman…

There was a short period of time before my husband left for deployment during which we had made the decision to try and conceive.  I stopped taking contraceptives and started paying closer attention to the timing of my cycle. 

I soon realized that, for a woman, trying to conceive is bound to cause some anxiety and disappointment.  Even though I knew that I was unlikely to conceive in the first month or so after discontinuing contraceptive use, I still felt the disappointment.  The things I’ve read say not to fret if it doesn’t happen right away.  It can take anywhere from 3 months to a whole year to conceive. 

I was also dealing with hormonal changes that go along with the discontinuance of birth control.  Women who are going off of the pill should be aware that you may notice emotional and hormonal changes in your body as the hormone levels in your body rebalance.   I experienced a mix of depression and emotional instability.  It didn’t last for too long and it was a relief to understand that it was very likely due to the change in the hormone levels in my body.  

Mostly, I felt excited.  I was excited about finally planning to get pregnant.  I was excited at the thought of having children with my husband.  I was very excited about the prospect of being a mommy. 

For the man…

What is a man feeling while his woman is trying to conceive?  I have been trying to gain some insight into this question.  If I were to try and answer for my husband, I’d say that he can feel nervous.  He can be impacted by the emotions of the woman. He doesn’t want to see her disappointed.  He wants to be ready.  He wants to feel spontaneous, not lobbed into strict routine involving the taking of temperatures and ovulation testing. He wants to feel wanted for his prowess not just for his sperm. 

I would say that often man’s state of mind is lost on his woman’s emotional state.  His disposition is downplayed.  But, I’d also say that a man can be just as excited and just as disappointed as his woman.

I can only guess what my husband is feeling and thinking in this time of pre-conception.  I know that at times, he just wants to tell me to relax and have faith that things will fall into place. 

Additional insight…

Here are some resources providing additional information for couples trying to conceive:

Check out Mason Brown’s hilarious rendition in Trying to Get Pregnant.  Trust me, it is the funny that is missing from this post.  I cried laughing.   

The ThinkBaby website also provides great information on conceiving, giving birth, babies and parenting.  

Tomorrow I will be discussing things that a woman could and should be doing now with her body and her lifestyle during pre-conception. 

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Finding A Home In An Unfamiliar Place

Yesterday, I started my search for a house in Gulfport, Mississippi, where I am planning to move in July.  My husband is stationed there and will be returning from Kuwait in August.  Ideally, I will have found a place for us to live and will be completely moved in and set up by the time he gets home.  Once there, I will also be setting up a home office so that I can continue work with my firm from Gulfport.  I will write more about setting up a home office in another post. 

Even though I hadn’t officially started my house search before yesterday, my husband had started sending me listings from Craigslist a couple of weeks ago.  The houses were gorgeous, but I decided to wait a while before seriously pursuing property.  At that time, although a few of the listings excited me, I was powerless to take any action.  It was too far out for me to make a commitment and I was not prepared to travel to Mississippi at that time to see any of the properties.  So, my excitement was futile.  I decided to just wait until the beginning of May to begin my search. 

I will also plan to travel to Gulfport at the end of May or the beginning of June to look at properties.  By the first part of June, I might be ready to make a commitment.  I might even decide to move a little earlier if the right place comes along. 

If you are planning to find housing in an place where you’ve never lived, here are some things you can do to stay on track.  This may be especially useful for my fellow military families who are moving to the next duty station in an unfamiliar area. 

Visit Before You Start Considering Property

If it is at all possible, I would definitely recommend visiting the place to which you intend to move before you start looking for a place to live. You will get a much better feel for how it will be living there, if you’ve seen it for yourself. You can also plan to visit different communities in search of one suited to your interests and budget.

I have only been to Mississippi one time in my life and that was back in February of this year when I went to visit my husband right before he deployed to Kuwait.  It was supposed to just be a visit to spend some time and say our goodbyes. 

Luckily, with limited things to do in Mississippi, we kind of planned on the fly to drive around in search of desirable communities for living.  At the time, we thought we might want to try and buy a house (well, really it was me that wanted to consider it) so we were actually looking at new houses for sale.  But, we ended up finding a couple of really nice communities and these became our target communities.  I will look at these and other comparable communities when trying to find a home. 

While in Mississippi, my husband and I were also fortunate to have had a waitress in a restaurant that lived in the same area and was able to tell us which areas to stay away from.  She had bought her house right before Katrina hit and was able to offer us some great insight into living in that area.

Property Listing Websites: Craigslist, Military by Owner

If you intend to find your own housing, as opposed to going with a real estate agent, websites offering real estate listings are a great and convenient tool.

Yesterday, I started with Craigslist (Craigslist.com) and Military by Owner (Militarybyowner.com).  On both of these websites, you can specify a state and an area for finding property, as well as other criteria such as the number of bedrooms and rental price range. 

Once I found a property I liked, I sent an email inquiring about whether the property was still available and whether it would be shown.  In some cases, I requested additional information, such as a street address or community designation and more photos. 

Since it is important to my husband to be only a short distance from the base, I also used Google Maps to determine the location of a particular house and its proximity to the base. Google Maps has a great satellite feature that allows you to view the street where a house is located.

Plan to Go and See Properties After You Have Made Some Selections

If it is possible, plan a second trip right before it is time for you to move to go and see the properties you have selected.  You will definitely want to do a walk-thru of the property to look for defects and things that were not represented or were not represented accurately in the property listing.  These things will be red flags that you will need to use to weight and rank your selections. 

In case you are not able to see the property yourself, maybe you can make other arrangements if you have family or friends in the area.  Recently a work colleague of mine moved to Washington state.  Since he wasn’t able to travel out there to see properties for himself, he got a friend to go and look at the properties instead.  It is always a good idea to have someone’s eyes on the property, someone that you trust, before you make any commitment.

I will continue to search for properties over the next couple of weeks and will then plan a trip to Gulfport to see these properties for myself.  Even though my husband will not be home to visit with me, he will participate in the selection through the internet and by email.  He will be able to see the properties online and we can discuss our options on the phone. 

Have you ever had to move to a place where you have never lived or even visited?  How did you find a place?

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.


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