What Missing your Significant Other Might Say About your Relationship

Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Wendy McCance

I have a question to pose to you.  Let’s pretend for a moment that your significant other goes on business trips on occasion.  When they are on their trip, do you miss them?  What was the first thing that popped into your head?  Now look at it this way, you are the one that occasionally goes on business trips.  Do you miss your significant other when you are gone?

This question came up in a discussion with a good friend the other day.  It really got me thinking about when people might miss each other, why they miss each other and if it is a healthy response in a relationship.

I think that when you are the one that is away, it is much easier not to miss the one you love.  There is so much going on that is not typical of your daily life.  Your focus is elsewhere and missing someone isn’t something you tend to pine over while gone necessarily.

When you are the one at home, you are used to routine.  Part of that routine revolves around your loved one.  Maybe it is that you are used to the help you receive around the house.  Maybe it’s being used to having the person you love snuggling up to you when you go to bed.  Maybe the house just feels too quiet without your loved one there.

That being said, what about the healthiness of missing someone.  It came up in the discussion that security might play a major role in how much you miss someone.  If you are content in your relationship and the trust between the two of you is strong, I believe that you might miss your significant other less.  You know that they will be back and just as happy to see you.  Life will go on without so much as a nick in the relationship.

If on the other hand, you have had unstable relationships for instance, it doesn’t matter how good your current relationship might be.  The past might still haunt your thoughts and the insecurity will creep in.  You might be more unsure about your future and having your significant other away can bring up feelings of uncertainty you didn’t even realize might be present.

Of course this is a great generalization.  There are all sorts of variables to this topic.  I am trying to make it as bare bones as possible just to get you thinking.

Do you think that if you miss someone it might be a sign that you have some work to do to establish a stronger sense of faith that all in the relationship will be well?

Of course there is the type of missing someone where you just think that it would be nice to get back to your life at home.  I am not talking about that, I am referring to the type of missing someone where you are jumpy and anxious for them to get back home.

I really like this subject because until the other day while talking with my friend, it had never occurred to me.  I have personally formed the opinion that the level at which you miss someone directly aligns with the stability you personally see in the relationship.  I think of it as a gauge to determine where your relationship is at.   It’s an opportunity to see if you have any personal work to do to gain confidence in yourself and create a better sense of trust between you and the one you are with.

What do you think?  Do you believe that my theory is totally out of left field?  Do you think there is some merit to what I am describing about a relationship?  No matter what, I think it’s a pretty interesting topic to ponder.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

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61 thoughts on “What Missing your Significant Other Might Say About your Relationship

  1. I have been with my partner now for 5 years now and he is the one who usually travels. The last time he travelled it was for 19 days and we hardly talked. It seems whenever he goes away… I simply disappear from his life. You are right that the one staying at home is the one who misses more and the one who travels doesn’t have ‘time’ to miss. Was it stupid of me to ask bluntly if he misses me at all and his response was ‘no I do not’? I don’t know if I caught him at the wrong time or what… when he left for his trip, he hugged me/ kissed me and told me he loved me. I’m not sure what to think… can you love someone and not miss them ‘at all’?

  2. My boyfriend is the love of my life. I am in college only thirty minutes away from him and my home. I miss him like crazy. I just want to see his face and that cute smile of his. I think making friends here at college will help me take my mind off things but damn this is hard. A lot harder than i thought it would be. I just cannot wait until we can live together.

  3. Wendy, you may be right about some relationships, your theory breaks down in my case. I found your post because I typed in “I miss my husband”. He died 2.5 years ago. He had an awful marriage for 20 years prior to meeting me (after his divorce). I had never been married before. I had proposals, but always refused. For me it was a simple choice. I didn’t want to enter into a marriage with anyone who I didn’t want to be around ALL the time. When I met my husband, I found the man who I loved being with no matter what the circumstances. We had absolute trust and faith in one another. We worked at separate jobs, had separate hobbies. But we always were happy to come home to a be another. We met each other at the door when one of us came home after work or a class or meeting, with open arms and a loving kiss. “I missed you,” and “I love you,” and “Thank you for loving me,” were not empty phrases between us. Our favorite times were spent together, just us, doing chores or home repairs, shopping, even reading our respective books on the sofa- we were together and that’s what really mattered to both of us.

    So two independent strong people who are deeply interested in one another, love and devoted to one another will miss each other when they are not there to share an experience with each other or to hold or talk to or simply cuddle up with.

    Now, I hate coming home because he isn’t there to greet me. I resist going to bed because he isn’t going to join me. If he were on a business trip, I would miss him just as much, but maybe with less pain, since he would come from a trip.

    “I miss you,” isn’t a statement of lack of faith or trust. It is an acknowledgment that our lives have been entwined and each partner in the relationship is aware when the other is absent. We may function perfectly well and go about our daily grind, but “I miss you,” simply informs the person we miss that while we are fine without them, everything is better when they are with us.

    Sadly, when death is in the picture- we may not be fine without them, and the everything in the universe would be better if the person we miss simply came back home.

    • Hi Sally, thank you so much for your comment. I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish I had the words to ease what you are going through, but all I have is that you are so very lucky to have had the opportunity to touch true love within your lifetime. Take care.

  4. I found this because my fiance goes on business trips more and more. I trust him a lot. He tries to talk to me as much as possible. Now I just left for a week on a business trip myself and he and I feel the same way. In the beginning, I had never been on a plane and I watch the news too much and see planes go missing and crashing all the time. So I started this with an irrational fear of him not making it back home. It was so unhealthy that I would track his flight to make sure he got there safe. I still worry but since my trip to Asia I worry less about the flight but crawling into our bed without him always upsets me. It does feel different when it is a strange bed somewhere else. Now I feel very secure in my relationship. I don’t think he will leave or cheat. It’s is the whole in my daily life that is left when he is not here. We always have an amazing week after the other person returns home. I hope this helps if not I feel better sharing this. Goodluck

  5. I’d never experienced truly missing someone until my current boyfriend. We miss each other whether we are apart a few hours or a few weeks. I analyzed this feeling a lot on the beginning because it was new to me. What I realized is that we miss each other simply because the world is a better place when we are together. Nothing stops because we’re apart and I don’t mope or become depressed. I trust him to the ends of the earth and have no doubts on his feelings for me.

    I think your theory can be expanded to 4 reasons for missing someone: insecurities either with yourself or the relationship, the change of routine, mourning the loss of a partner, and sometimes just an acknowledgement that this person holds a special place in your heart.

  6. My boyfriend travels for his job. For me, the first few days after his departure are the worse. He is a part of my routine and when he leaves, everything feels off balance. But then a new routine begins and I’m okay. I miss him, but still enjoy my life at home. It has taken time for me to understand his feelings on going away. I had the idea that he was off having grand adventures without me and I would get angry and jealous at times. But over time I realized that although I “was the one left behind ” I was lucky too. At home I have the comforts of home, my family, my friends, etc. I had my support system. I realized that when he leaves, he loses that. During his last trip he had a difficult time with housing and transportation. It occurred to me that he was facing this horrible dilemma alone. He wanted more than anything to just “come home.” The cons go both ways. We miss each other while he is away, but it’s his job. I think communication is key. It is nice to have that special someone at the end of the day. It’s just sometimes that special someone isn’t physically there, but they are just a phone call away.

    • Hi Brandie, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I think ou hit the nail on the head when you talked about routines and how different things become when your boyfriend is gone. I can truly relate to that. We have 3 kids and we both work. There is a delicate balance in play, plus the comfort factor of being in it together. Good to hear you are able to adjust and enjoy time on your own as well. Take care!

  7. I miss him simply because he is not here. If I didn’t miss him, well, not a good relationship at all. Can not wait to feel his embrace and his mine. When I return

  8. There’s definitely unhealthy “missing.” If you feel incomplete or fearful, that’s probably a bad sign. On the other hand, there’s simply wishing to be with someone. You go to say something to someone and they aren’t there. You laugh and know they’d enjoy something. It isn’t heartbreak and it isn’t desperate . . . it’s more like homesickness for someone you’ve found home within. I think it’d be a bad sign if you didn’t miss someone, and a bad sign if you missed someone too much. You should be independently capable and confident, but if you go long periods of time without thinking or longing for someone at all, you may be going through an unhealthy distance. That being said, everyone loves differently.

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  10. I miss my husband every day while he’s at work, but I honestly have absolutely no worries or trust issues in our marriage. I know he misses me too.

    I think you have an interesting point, but it is far too generalized. I think sometimes missing your SO speaks more to your own life than to your relationship. I miss him a lot less when I’m busy (or I miss him still, but it hurts less? Or occupies my mind less because I have other things to think about?). I think for some of us, deeply missing your SO can be helped by finding things to do that make you feel empowered and important. For stay at home moms, or like me, a work from home wife (later to be a work from home mom), there can be a sense of loss of purpose when the SO isn’t around. They are your purpose, taking care of them and loving them and walking through life with them. Now when they go off to work to fulfil a different purpose, what are you left with?

    Hobbies, volunteer work, friendships, work.. All these things can help you feel like you’re achieving and progressing, even without your SO.

    When I’m busy, I still love and miss him, but I’m much happier and less lost without him.

  11. It’s interesting to me how much easier it is for people to believe the bad things about themselves, or to feel like something is wrong with them. I have been on both ends of the spectrum of missing someone that I was in an unstable relationship with, and missing others that I have a stable relationship with. It does not stem from insecurities or lack of things to do, but rather a change in lifestyle. As people exolore and grow there is change that follows. All of the factors listed above affect the way we connect with people we love to change as well. Missing another person does not mean your in emotional turmoil. It means you aren’t connecting like you used to, and this is what you are missing. Not connecting in the same way does not make the relationship meaningless, less real, or always lead to feeling insecure. On the contrary it may mean some of us are better and more aware of our connections with others, and that is the foundation of building strong relationships.

  12. The wide variety of comments on this is interesting. When my husband and I live apart, there were times out of the blues when I would miss him terribly. I was missing being able to share how my day went or holding his hand. However after reading your post, I can see the other side point of view for some people. ?

  13. Here I was worried because I don’t miss my girlfriend that much, and she has been away in Europe for 2 of her 3 week long trip. In the past I would anxiously miss girlfriends when they were away for a couple days, and I was worried it was some sort or “moment of truth” that I am fine to go about my day.

    Thus article really put things into perspective.

    • I too feel sometimes like it is a moment of truth whether or not I can find happiness going about my day alone. I am worried that if I get too adjusted to being alone, then I will not be able to return to the same happiness of being around someone so often. Being a student, I have periods of only seeing my SO at weekends, and periods of seeing them EVERY DAY for a whole week. I find that when I have more control over when I see my SO in the summer… I am more able to stay away from them happily. If I can just reschedule our meet for the next day after a party or whatever then that’s fine by me. However being at school, if you are busy on your only chance to see them then you have to wait another week.

      Right now I am having a battle in my head trying to decide what to do. I feel like my friends and family have been distanced from me in the 9 months I have been with my partner. Today I was invited to a party with all my friends this weekend, meaning that I will only see my partner for one night. I have to decide to see my partner all weekend, like I normally do and miss out on the first chance I’ve had to see my friends. Or, sacrifice half of the weekend with my partner and catch up with all my old mates. There is a chance I will have to leave the party early, so I am worried if I chose to go to it and it gets shut down I will be sat at home missing my SO wishing I hadn’t gone.

      I know I need to go to this party, and I am just trying to find a way to make it all okay in my head so that I can take the step I need to towards bettering my confidence being alone again. I may ask my partner to see me after the party, which will be difficult but I know that will help me make this baby step towards missing him less easier. I believe that missing your SO is a case of lacking their presence… as what you get used to will stay in your subconscious making you unsettled when it changes.

      • When you are young, it is a time when you should be working on yourself. Figuring out who you are and learning to enjoy yourself even when you are alone. A relationship can only be as good as the confidence and understanding about ones self that is brought to the table. Be your best self before worrying about becoming a couple. You attract what you are and for the best chance at having a superior relationship, you need to be able to find that good compromise of being alone and sharing time with someone else. You also need to be with someone who shares these same ideals. Hope this helps. Wishing you the very best!

  14. I am in a foreign country, only away from home for two days with 15 more to go, and I googled ‘how to be happy when you are traveling away from loved ones’. This blog entry was the first result.

    I’m sort of surprised…I was hoping for insight as to how people cope when they really miss their loved ones at home, not just whether or not they miss them and what that might mean. My job requires me to travel internationally approximately three months per year, each trip being between 10 days and three weeks long. I have had this job for years, but I’ve only been with my wife for five years. Prior to meeting her, I loved traveling by myself. I was also somewhat of a loner then. But when I met my wife, I discovered a happiness that I never dreamed possible. I’m 47… not a spring chicken. We have a two-year-old at home, and I live for the emails, photos and FaceTime calls we make every day.

    I made this Internet search because I’m trying to decide whether or not to change careers to find one that won’t require me to travel. I am so fortunate to make a lot of money doing what I do, but it’s a niche job… I don’t think I would be able to make nearly what I’m making if I change. The money is not for an extravagant lifestyle, it’s for my family’s future. It’s a tough choice when you have to decide between how well you will provide for your family’s future versus remaining in a job that causes you to miss 25% of the time you spend with your loved ones. Do I stick it out until I’m 66? Or do I change so that I can hug and kiss my wife and baby every day? And until I can decide on that, what can I do while I’m away to not be so sad when I’m not with them….

    • Hi Darren, I’m sorry this article didnt give you the answers you are looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t think any article will. It’s too personal a decision. I think the best thing you can do is ask yourself a few questions to help you make your decision. !. If tomorrow was your last day, would you be happy as to the decisions you made and how you led your life or would you have regrets? 2. Is there any way you can find a job that will provide enough income for you and your family to make the decision of no longer travelling acceptable? 3. You only get one life. What do you want to experience the most within that life? Hope these questions help you to sort out your decision. Wishing you the very best.

    • I believe time is more important than money. It is more valuable. If you were to die tomorrow (we all die eventually) will you regret something? Would you wish you would have been there for your family more? Life is a lot more than just making money. That is my opinion:)

  15. So you are saying it is normal to have moments where you miss your SO when they are away for a long work trip but it might mean you have an issue in your relationship if you just miss them after you leave them to go see a friend or something?

    Just want to clarify, my boyfriend just left 3 days ago to work on a rig for about 40 days and I just started missing him being home to cook dinner with me last night ( that is something we did together a lot) I just want to make sure my feelings are normal. I think for me my missing feelings come because I am starting to realize how long he will be gone and am getting used to a routine by myself we live together. I never missed him before he left when we were apart for small periods of time. I thought it was normal to miss soem one you love when they are out of town ?

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Each person’s relationship and the feelings they have associated with their relationship is personal to them. What one person feels might be different than what another feels. I have missed my husband when he is at work for a few hours before. Nothing wrong with it. I guess it comes down to the extremes. If you never miss your SO, you might want to question why. Same goes for intensely missing them the moment they aren’t around. Hope this clarifies things for you. Sounds like you have a lovely relationship.

  16. I think it also depends upon the way you left things when they left, where they were going and for how long. And if you are going to keep in touch and how often. My SO left for his native country to take care of some business. I haven’t spoken to him in 20 days. I can say yes, I definitely miss him a lot.

  17. I agree with you and it took me a long time to figure it out; I wish I found your blog earlier! I’m in a long distance relationship and the first year was the hardest primarily because I missed him more than he missed me. It’s not that he doesn’t care about me or doesn’t think about me, because we would still talk regularly, and enjoy visiting each other, etc. I later realized that it was more because I was really insecure about our relationship and felt almost like I was incomplete without him, whereas he felt more secure and feels that we aren’t really apart because we’re still connected by email, chat, etc (we’re still together in spirit). In fact, in a way, I feel like it’s ideal to not miss the other peron because it shows that you truly love and care about them - without wanting that personal return of love and care. Giving and loving without expecting anything in return. (In my definition, to “miss” means to want something in return and feel sad that it’s not there). That was the hardest thing for me to realize and understand, and I’m still working on it today but I’ve been so much happier and secure since I made that realization.

    • I’m so glad you liked the post. What you realized about”missing” someone I never did understand until I had that aha moment after hearing about another view about spending time apart. I’m still working on retraining my brain as well. 🙂

  18. Wendy I think this is an excellent question. Personally, I agree with your theory. If you are feeling insecure in a relationship becuase of past experiences with that perosn or someone else, it doesn’t matter if they’ve left for a trip or just the office, you’re going to worry or feel anxious. However, I feel very strongly that the level of “miss” is directly related to what type of individual lives you and your partner have created. Meaning, what kind of life do you have OUTSIDE of your spouse.

    I was often teased (which I interpret as judged but people feel better if they make it a “joke” and think I don’t get that they are judging me) because I have always had an active social life since I’ve been married, and especially since having children. I was careful to balance that with my family life of course- trying not to miss bedtime more than once in a week, making time for datenights with my husband, etc. But when my kids were very small I was meeting friends for coffee or dessert or even a trip through Target 3-4 evenings a week. I’d wait til the kids went to bed then head out. I ALWAYS checked with my husband first to make sure he didn’t have plans for himself or us. But I am lucky, I have a man who knows that I am an introvert and I am fed by interactions with others- especially women in my season of life.

    Over the years, as my kids aged, this connection with others morphed into a monthly book club and fewer nights out because my needs changed, but I have always had a healthy and active social life outside my family. My point being, this makes being seperate from one another easier because we both have lives in addition to the life we have together.

    Of course I miss him when he travels or I’m gone. But he has a healthy and active social life as well- his bucket is filled from things other than me just as my in filled with things other than him
    Just my thoughts.
    P.S. I think this would be a great question to pose to mothers as well. Do you miss your kids when you’re away?

    • I don’t understand why people would judge you for having a social life. I have always envied friends who have a lot going on outside of the home. I have tried it, but I really just enjoy alone time more than group time. It sounds like you have a very nice balance in your marriage.

      • I always find it interesting when women judge each other at all, to be honest. When the job of mothering and wifing is so difficult, why do we make it harder by judging and whispering and having opinions about things that have nothing to do with us? I always found that so frustrating and saddening at times.

        I found that people questioned whether or not my husband was “really ok with it.” If I spent so much time with a life away from him wouldn’t I grow away from him? How silly. It’s not like I came home and went to sleep without speaking to him. I shared about my time with my friends- what we talked about (as long as it wasn’t private), how I felt, what i got out of it. I’m lucky in that I have a husband who recognizes I need something that he can’t give or isn’t in need of as well- community and social time. And he is fully supportive of me finding it.

        We women can be crazy creatures;)

        • i love this. I never understood people judging each other or puffing themselves up when comparing themself. We should just live our lives happily and take care of each other. The end. Great comment.

  19. My husband has gone away without me a few times to see a mate who I can’t stand and did I miss him well yes and no it felt different him not being here but I wasn’t overly worried about it. Did I worry about him while he was gone a little but not much. Now I have never been away without hubby and I do wonder how he would be if I wasn’t around for a few days and he was here on his own……….

  20. I never go anywhere without my “other” but we always have fun when we go somewhere. When he goes on business, I do miss him, but that’s usually at night. He tends to hog the covers, he has to have the TV on till he falls asleep and the cat sleeps right up between us when he’s home… but not when he’s gone, she’s at the foot of his size of the bed. She misses him though, looks out the front window and wails through the house if she can’t find him…LOL. She seems to have a thing for him…LOL 😀 Good write!

    • My husband and I used to work together. We would see each other 24hrs. a day. People would tell us they could never do that, but we had so much fun together it was nice. Now we both have other jobs and there are times I wish we were back working together. 🙂

  21. I think this is a very interesting topic. My husband and I live apart, not by choice but because of work. There are times it just hits me out of the blue on some of the busiest of days that I truly miss him terribly. I miss him for not being there or having the opportunity to hold his hand and to talk about normal everyday stuff. Just my thoughts… 🙂

    • I really thought I would get comments that would be all over the board. Surprisingly, people seem to be fairly in sync. It’s refreshing to hear how many people have good relationships. There’s a lot of love out there. 🙂

  22. I don’t miss my guy when he leaves…AT ALL. When he leaves, he’s with his friends. Guy time! It’s necessary for both of us. When I leave, I’m with the horses. No, I don’t miss him and it’s because we have our own lives and personal experiences to attend. He does not make me whole, I am a whole person. I love him. I want him. But I don’t need him.

    When one feels half of them left just because they walked out the door to play or work makes me wonder what holes they are filling in with the other person. Alone time is great for reflection and epiphanies. But if you’re afraid of being alone with yourself without another to distract you from who you are-that would be frightening.

  23. Hi Wendy,
    A healthy marriage, and/or relationship, allows one to miss that special person in one’s life, because of that deep rooted love for one another. I don’t need her at my side because of so called insecurities. I want her at my side because I love her to be near me. When I’m away from her, I miss her sweet smile, approving looks, her inner strength, which in many ways tells me that she has my back. I also miss her overall presense.
    We have shared so much in the 46 years we have been married, that when I am away from her, I will say to myself, “She would really enjoy this place, or that particular store, or that particular restaurant.” Be in love, and stay in love. Miss that person when you are away, but for the right reasons. Love is grand, when it is reciprocal. Blessings

  24. The missing you’re talking about is different. It could something else. My wife and I are both complete without the other person around. We function fine, but we miss each other without it being provoked by an experience. It isn’t about being worried or needy though. We trust each other. We just want to be together more than apart. I had to travel by myself, for 4/12 days. Sadly it was for a funeral. Perhaps it was because of that sitution, but it sure was good to see her at the airport on day five.

  25. When I’m away on business it seems I am constantly reminded of my significant other by various things on my trip. I agree with Ned and always think, “man, she would really like this” or “I should buy this for her”. In most cases I come home with a bag of 5-10 small things that kept her so close in thought while I was gone. I think it’s nice to know you’re on someone’s mind.

  26. Hey… its a nice topic out here & here are my views:

    1)To me ur concept sounds good - We miss when we have stable relationship.. wen we have dependencies..wen we wait to share each & every big/small thing together.. wen we feel “Complete” only wen we are together.. Its then wen we miss being apart..being away.
    Also, if one is on business trip or elsewhr, thn probably work, meetings, change of place and several other things are there that eat up ur time & attention & leaves less tym thinking & missing. But, its not tat they don’t miss, in their sub-conscious they always miss & finds room to think about their special half & its only the busy & tired schedule tat they don’t have time to express that.
    The other one who is left with the same daily routine, miss more, think more, express more.

    2) For the other concept - “Insecurity of unstable relationship” .. i won’t give it a word of “Missing”.. it is actually fear of loosing, anxiety, being possessive.. & none of this is love..none of this is care…none of this is concern.

    If u really miss someone out of love…u also allows freedom to tat person.. u r ready to sacrifice ur happy moments together.. u r understanding enough & u r confident enough tat distances won’t fade away ur love.

    So, my one liner for above is:
    And its not this… its not “missing” actually.

  27. I think Ned expresses my feelings as well: when I’m not with my girlfriend (we live together) I’m often coming across experiences I think she would enjoy and things she’d like to see. I don’t think missing her is a sign our relationship could be stronger or that I have subconscious fears about it lasting, though if those thoughts aren’t on the surface, I guess I might not know about them, right? 😉

    I think your theory certainly is thought provoking and might be something good for all couples to talk about, thanks for sharing.

    • I think the missing that you are describing is still possibly different. It’s related to a specific experience that you would share with your girlfriend typically. What about the unprovoked missing. The type when something hasn’t occured, you are just away from each other. I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking too deeply. It does fascinate me though. 🙂

  28. In addition to being a columnist, I’m also a firefighter. Because of that, I attend trainings out of town every couple of months or so. Usually just a couple of days. But I do miss my wife, even when I’m the one away on a busy training. It’s mostly because we have so much fun together, and I’m always thinking, “Oh man, Alicia would love this.” We truly enjoy our time together, and sharing things with her always feels more meaningful. When we first started dating, we’d watch movies together — some of which we’d both seen once or twice already — and we always picked up on things we’d missed before. I guess I know that when I’m away, I not only miss her, but also the some of the things I “miss” because of what we share.

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