Sex and Dating a Fisherman
Phase 1: The first summer apart, you will feel sexually frustrated
What inspired this series was an email I received this past June from a young lady named Aubrey. (Hey Aubrey!). It was her first summer dating a commercial salmon fisherman and she needed some friendly advice. Happily, I gave it – the good, the bad, the ugly – then I realized how certain feelings have changed since the first summer Chris and I dated while he was in Alaska. (I’m in my third summer now at the time of this writing.)
To remember that first summer Chris and I spent apart, I flipped back through old I Heart stories when dating a commercial fisherman was scary and new.
Turns out the scary part was our sex life.
Or, lack thereof.
(Click this link to read 9 Things You Should Know When Dating a Commercial Fisherman!)
Chris and I first started long-distance dating while living in Bellingham, Washington, and Carpinteria, California. We took turns flying back and forth for several months, but the thought of him leaving to Alaska for the entire summer made this long-distance relationship feel…long as hell. Especially for a 33-year-old woman living in California. During our last days together, I’d look deep into his eyes and think:
Listen, dude. I’m at the prime of my life, and I’m holding out for you ALL SUMMER. I hope you appreciate this shit!
Here’s a sneak peek of a story called, A Relationship Test, that I originally published for the I Heart column in the Santa Barbara Sentinel in 2016. (Chris is known as “Jason” in the column.)
A Relationship Test
About nine months into our long-distance relationship, I had an honest conversation about how sexually frustrating his absence can be.
Not only did he live two states away – our relationship held together by long weekend visits and modern-day technology – but he was also about to leave for Alaska to commercial fish salmon for three months.
Rural Alaska. Where cell phone service is little to nonexistent.
“I know fishing is your livelihood and I respect that,” I said.“But I’m a woman with needs! It’s not easy for me.”
He nodded, slowly registering what I said, then grabbed his phone and began to Google…
To sum it up, we made a homemade dildo mold of Chris, and it wasn’t pretty.
Then, there was the time I ran into a former lover during our first summer apart. And not just any lover. The same lover I was writing about the moment Chris knocked on my office door the first day we met. This lover was seven years younger, Argetininan, and only lived in Santa Barbara for the summers. Rawr. (Author’s note: but not as “rawr” as Chris. 😉) Here’s a sneak peek from the day I ran into that fine foreign man, first published in the I Heart column in 2016:
I admit (to my friend) how hard it’s been now that Jason is working on a boat in Alaska – for three months with unreliable cell service – and how random encounters with good-looking men have become more apparent. The fact is, I am a woman with needs and there’s only so much I can do for myself. I confess my eye has wandered just a little bit…And that’s when I see him. (Catch the full story here: Test of Faithfulness)
Phase 2 of By the third summer apart, alone time will feel like a vacation
Comments from the last three blog posts and Instagram, have opened a door to a community I didn’t really know existed but secretly hoped for: outspoken women who can relate to dating a commercial fisherman.
Like me, many of us out there don’t have many friends who date men in the industry. It can feel isolating as you wonder if others think the same as you, or if you’re an a-hole for thinking certain things. (i.e., sexual frustration one year, coveted alone time the second year.)
Not holding back on what will really save a woman in her position, here’s the number one piece of advice for Aubrey in How-To Long-Distance Date a Commercial Fisherman. (Author’s note: The piece was originally written as an email to her):
1. You’ll miss him very much, and that goes without saying. But my best advice is to harness that energy and embrace a new life without him. I mean this in the best way possible. Think of it as, being single without dating. You now have the freedom go to yoga, hike, or hit up happy hour or a juice bar, or eat cereal for dinner without the need to check in to see if he’s down for it, too. (I should reiterate that everything I mention, I mention with lots of love. But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! Like watching marathons of Sex and the City [or insert favorite indulgence here].) And by year three, you will still miss him but it will kinda feel like you are on vacation. Kind of like, your own summer camp.
I was so comforted to know that I am not alone (or an a-hole!) for these thoughts! Here’s an Instagram comment from Tina Salmon @highdesertdreamer that sings a similar tune:
“It gets easier, I promise…and as terrible as this may sound, someday you may be looking forward to that alone time 😂. I love my fisherman to the moon and back, but yeah…it’s great to be apart sometimes so you can come back to each other with fresh new stories and experiences AND hot sex ….but really 👉the house is SO CLEAN! 😂“
Also, here is one of my favorite takeaways from an interview with photographer Bri Dwyer whose husband, Sean, was a star on the TV show Deadliest Catch:
“The best part about dating a commercial fisherman is the time we spend apart. I know that seems like it would be the worst…but the time we spend apart makes us both love and appreciate each other more. I’ve always been pretty independent, so I appreciate my alone time. But, more importantly, he knows that I can take care of what needs to be done while he’s away. I’m his strongest support and nothing makes me feel more proud than being able to be that for him.”
Phase 3 of Sex and Dating a Commercial Fisherman: Summer’s Finally Over
Today, July 31, 2019, Chris flies from Bristol Bay, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington, and eventually to Santa Barbara, California where he’ll build lobster traps for the upcoming commercial fishing season. (In Southern California, the lobster season starts in October and runs through March.)
Right now, I’m on the East Coast, researching places to live out West, and preparing for our new life in California. The last time I saw Chris was the morning after our engagement when he boarded a plane to Alaska at the end of May. I’m excited to see him, but I’m not in a huge rush.
And I mean that with lots of love. 🐟
What do you think? Have you ever dated long-distance or date a commercial fisherman? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share in the comments below!
Want more advice on dating a commercial fisherman? Catch up on the series:
[UPDATE] 9 Things To Know When Dating a Commerical Fisherman
How-To Long-Distance Date a Commercial Fisherman
Dating A Commercial Fisherman: Q&A w/ Photographer Bri Dwyer