Your relationship is fantastic. The two of you have a steady, predictable schedule: home-cooked dinner on weeknights, cuddles at bedtime, and a whole heap of quality time throughout the day. But everything’s thrown off kilter when your partner starts packing for an extended work trip. Overnight your routine’s been thrown into disarray and you’re looking for ways of staying connected.
Having a partner who travels long-distance for work can be challenging—but a few simple measures can help the pair of you maintain that all-important emotional connection until you’re back together again.
1) Get creative
If correspondence is growing stale, you need to find ways to spice it up so checking in doesn’t become a chore. Mix it up: don’t just FaceTime, but send funny videos, gifs, and memes at random points in the day, too. Just to let them know they were in your thoughts, that you’d been wishing they were with you.
2) Show an interest in what they’re doing
Even if your partner’s work doesn’t titillate you—or just baffles you entirely—still ask about how things are going. If they’re travelling for work they’re probably doing something important—and that has implications not just for their career but also for the future of the relationship. Another benefit of checking in is it prevents you from forming a romanticised version of what they’re up to. It’s easy to let your imagination run wild picturing them having fun while you’re holding down the fort. And remember to keep them up to speed with what’s going on at home, of course. That way you’re both equally visualising one another’s experiences, and staying close.
3) Communicate about how you want to communicate
Talk to your partner about what you need from them before they leave town. Some people find texting throughout the day laborious, even with their partner, whereas others feel the need to check in frequently. To keep your temporarily long-distance relationship healthy, it’s crucial to delineate how much communication is expected.
4) Take yourself out on dates
When you’re in a long-term relationship, you don’t struggle to carve out time for your partner—so why not extend yourself the same courtesy when they’re away? After all, you should always strive to treat yourself once in a while, regardless of your relationship status. So ask yourself: What do I enjoy doing that I can’t normally do with my partner? Is there a new exhibition at your local gallery you’ve been eyeing but you know isn’t their thing? Or a new seafood restaurant but your partner hates all things fish? Now’s the time. Look upon your partner’s business trips as built-in periods of interdependence, in which you get to fully and unapologetically return to ‘the old you’, able to do what you want without having to accommodate anyone else.
5) Actively listen to your partner
Seeing as the two of you aren’t going to be speaking as often, you need to really drink in their words when you do. Consciously set out to absorb your partner’s news. This validates their experiences by making them feel truly heard. Savour these conversations, and be attentive. This brings a certain mindful presence back to the relationship.
6) Surround yourself with different dimensions of love
Your romantic relationship shouldn’t be the only personal dynamic that brings meaning to your life. Don’t stay home in your PJs when your partner’s away—go out. Reconnect with family and friends. Attend social events. Proactively seek these experiences, too—you’ll create a more holistic sense of being, especially when you’re missing your partner. With a strong support system around you, you’ll be reminded that you’re more than just someone’s other half.
7) Form pre-travel rituals to see you through
The anticipation before your partner goes away can be sad, but you can alleviate those feelings by starting a shared routine. Help them pack, and leave little post-its or treats pressed between their clothes for a mid-trip surprise. Choose a book or show to get into together so you retain a shared experience, despite your drastically divergent schedules. This romance goes a long way to sustaining your connection in the interim.
8) Communication is key—especially when you’re far apart
A work trip is probably exciting, but remember it’s not all fun and sun for your partner while you’re stuck at home waiting for their return. They may be travelling for work, but they’re still living out of a suitcase, sleeping alone in a strange room every night. It’s only natural that feelings of sadness, resentment, and even abandonment can bubble up on both sides. But as long as you lay your feelings on the table, talk things out, and always make up, you can keep the love alive and true until they’re back in your arms.
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