Letter: Communicating w/ a Commercial Fisherman Pt. 2

(Photo by Conor Sexton)

Hey, y’all! We’re rollin’ deep from last week’s conversation about what is considered “normal” when conversing with a commercial fisherman during the season.

Here’s where we left off:

Christy: Yes, I have a lot of my own life going on, and the independence of the relationship is appealing for sure. Plus, the separation periods and the time apart seem like they might prolong the excitement of the relationship, which is pretty great. Who doesn’t like the giddy, intoxicating feeling of a new relationship?!?

Chris Dabney in Bristol Bay, Alaska the season just before we met. This was taken in 2015, I think, aboard his former boat, F/V Max Power. He sold the boat two years ago, has worked as a deckhand on others, and this fall he’ll begin lobster fishing in Santa Barbara, CA on his own vessel.

(Before we dive in, if you have any questions or thoughts about dating a commercial fisherman, please email me at meganwaldrep@icloud.com or share in the comments below!)

I also should note that selfie photos dominate this piece because they are the main photos I get when Chris is fishing. Turns out, it’s a great way to get an idea of the live/work environments these men and women experience. Just look at the background.

The following has been slightly edited for your reading pleasure. 🙂

Emails continued…

Christy: Late night vent. It’s weird newly dating someone and not hearing from them. 

In “real life,” you hear from someone your dating all the time and if they drop off, it’s an indication they aren’t into you.

Getting out of the “social norms” of a traditional dating mindset is a bit of a challenge. I am sure over the years, you have had to learn to be very secure during those times. 

Thanks for “listening.” Goodnight!

Cordova, Alaska. Chris standing in the kitchen area of a container home the captain of the boat has for himself and his crew.

Megan: That’s such a great point – it’s hard enough not to “girl out” when dating on land and even more intense when, as you said before, there is an ocean between you!

Don’t worry; he wants to be with you. The no service thing is real, and he’s ready to drop into your arms ASAP!

Yes, getting out of the “social norms” is difficult, but it’s part of the lifestyle. (Which is why it’s such a treat to get your email – it shows that there is a community out there and we are not alone!)

I didn’t realize how outside-the-norm dating a fisherman would be when Chris and I first got together almost four years ago.

But looking back, it’s just one of many unusually fulfilling ways this kind of relationship operates.

A Long-Distance Diss

Someone once told me that Chris and I “didn’t have a real relationship” because we were dating long-distance for a year. She said, since we weren’t physically together, it didn’t count.

This gives you an idea of what some fishing bunks look like. Chris once fished for sea cucumbers and the bunks were tight and small, “similar to a coffin,” he said. Whoa. Think this was taken last year.

First of all: BYE, FELICIA!

I was pissed, but I could see where someone from the “outside world” would think this.

The thing is, long-distance dating formed a strong foundation for us to slowly figure out how to meld our lives together.

It’s like getting into a hot bath. First, you dip a toe to check the temperature, then ease in before fully submerging.

Long-distance dating feels like legit, old-school courting, you know? Whatever happened to people just getting to know each other?!

Gettin’ a little scruffier. Look at the mountains in the back!

Anyway, you’ll see the same when your man settles in the “lower 48,” (as fishermen call it up there). My best advice is to let “social norms” roll off your back and stay open (like you have!). It’s exciting to live a way that only a small percentage of us understand.

The best part is when women like us talk connect because it shows how different AND REAL these relationships are!

Christy: Weather has been bad out of Ketchikan, and since they’re not on the boat, there have been lots of texts and even some calls this week, which has been lovely. Nothing like getting to know each other while one is standing on the windy deck of a boat.

The thought of him standing out there…I could hear the wind gusting as he talked to me about literature and his favorite books (he loves Hemingway. Swoon!). It may have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced.

And…we’re full on: Bless this beautiful man’s heart! This was probably week 4 without a shower or shave? Thank you baby wipes! Something we learned from living on a sailboat.

There is an element of serious romance to this whole thing. Like an adult Hallmark movie. Because, let’s be honest, a lot of the texting is very “adult ” indeed! Lol! 😉   

I find myself checking (Alaska Department of Fish and Game) for commercial fishery announcements – who knew that would be something I would ever do! Anyway, that’s my update! Thanks for being my sounding board!

What do you think? Can you relate or do you have any questions about what it’s like to be with a commercial fisherman? Please let me know at meganwaldrep@icloud.com or share your thoughts in the comments below!

Catch up on the full series here!:

Tips for Communicating w/ a Commercial Fisherman

Sex & Dating a Commercial Fisherman

Dating A Commercial Fisherman: Q&A w/ Photographer Bri Dwyer

How-To Long-Distance Date a Commercial Fisherman

[UPDATE] 9 Things To Know When Dating a Fisherman

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