How to make your relationship work when one partner travels a lot for work | Rhyme & Reason
10 Ways to Stay Connected When A Partner Travels | Rhyme & Reason

How to Stay Positive When your Significant Other Travels for Work

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
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Edwin is an incredibly talented cinematographer and producer. His job takes him around the country and the world for different productions and shoots. I don’t share how often Edwin travels for work but it is A LOT. We are often in different time zones, often apart, and often missing each other. As a result of the nature of Edwin’s work, his travels often pop-up very last minute, which makes planning and consistency difficult at times. I will be the first to admit that it can be a real challenge when your husband/wife/partner travels a lot of work.

However, in our case, I feel that it is also amazing that Edwin’s career has provided him with so many opportunities to see the world, work with interesting people, and expand his horizons. While Edwin is away working incredibly hard for us, I’ve learned many ways to stay positive at home in spite of missing him! If you have a significant other that travels frequently for work, then I hope this post resonates with you!

How to Stay Positive When your Significant Other Travels for Work | Rhyme & Reason

How to Stay Positive When your Significant Other Travels for Work

Nurture Your Relationship To Avoid Resentment

The truth is that nurturing a healthy and lasting relationship is always work no matter the circumstances. It can be enough work without throwing a spouse in the mix whose career demands travel. The key to this is to provide each other with unconditional support in order to avoid resentment. In reality, the person in the relationship who is left at home can easily harbor resentment because they are left home in “regular life,” they are “stuck” doing all of life’s regular errands and maintenance, if applicable they are home doing everything for the kids etc. On the flip side, the person traveling can easily harbor resentment because they are “stuck” with the tiredness that comes with travel, they don’t get to sleep in their own bed, they might feel that they are off doing all the work, if applicable they miss moments with their kids etc.

Traveling for work isn’t always as glamorous as it seems (early wakeup calls, delayed flights, jet lag, late nights). On both sides, resentment can happen. Instead of this mindset, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to recognize what they are doing for y’all as a couple or a family, either away traveling or at home. When you think about sharing responsibilities and empathize with the other person’s position, the more you’ll nurture your relationship instead of resent the other half of your relationship.

Value Time Together Before Your Significant Other Leaves

When Edwin is about to embark on a work trip, we do everything we can to block off some time together in the 24 hours before he leaves to spend undivided time together. Edwin is often doing lots of pre production before he leaves for a shoot so blocking off time is crucial for his mental health and for my stress because we both can rest assured that we will have time together. This blocked off time usually looks like a meal + a bike ride, a walk, or a few hands of gin rummy. We both cherish it! In the past, we’d be so busy that this would sometimes go by the wayside but we’ve been really honest with each other about what we each need before a work trip and we’ve both expressed how crucial and special this undivided time is for us. Now, we never skip it!

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Create Rituals For Work Trips

My favorite travel ritual that we’ve established is airport runs. Nine out of ten times I drop Edwin off and pick him up at the airport. I love doing it so much! It gives us a few minutes together to talk before being apart and allows me to be the first person he sees when he gets home. I’m always bursting with excitement when Edwin arrives home so I really look forward to the airport run. Airport runs are easy for us in Charleston but I realize this isn’t realistic for certain cities. Another ritual we have is sending videos of our dog, Maybelle. Edwin misses Maybelle so much when he is away so I send him photos and videos of Maybelle every single day. When we have children, I’m sure videos and photos of them will replace all the Maybelle content ha!

Talk Everyday

This might seem like a no brainer but if you have a significant other who travels often for work, then you know it can be harder than it sounds. In our case, when Edwin travels for work, he is more often than not in a different time zone (this in usually within the US but it is not uncommon for Edwin to travel to other countries for work making the time difference even more extreme). When Edwin travels for work, he is always on location for a shoot so he is up early and works 12 hour days on set. He is then up until the wee hours at work dinners, dealing with equipment, on conference calls, in pre or post production meetings, catching a red eye to another location, or sometimes filming more if the shoot calls for it.

This leaves little time for us to be able to talk especially when we are in different time zones. While Edwin is away, I cherish our time to text and talk on the phone. It’s all we have so we do everything we can to make it happen, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day. I’m grateful for any time we have to connect and talk about what we are each doing.

How to make your relationship work when one partner travels a lot for work | Rhyme & Reason
10 Ways to Stay Connected When A Partner Travels | Rhyme & Reason

Take Care Of Yourself While Your Significant Other Is Away

Well, of course. However, I’d be lying if I said I’ve always been good at this. I’d say that in the last year to year and a half, I’ve really put a priority on this and gotten much better at taking care of myself when Edwin is away. I don’t love being alone so, for me, taking care of myself in this circumstance really means managing my stress around being apart from Edwin and creating a schedule that has me busy and not focusing on our separation. It is not uncommon at all for Edwin to be gone for a week and a half to three weeks at a time, which can be daunting.

To manage this, I do a few things… I make a lot of plans for work and with friends. Schedule work coffees and I attend most work events I’m invited to. Make plans with my friends to go to dinner, to the beach, to workouts, and on walks. I fill my schedule with things that get me out of the house and socializing with people. Try to exercise most days, which is a game changer for me. I work on “me time” projects or bigger picture work projects to fill the time when I’m home alone at night. If Edwin were home, I probably wouldn’t be doing them so I take the opportunity to do so. When Edwin is away, I’m often a little more stressed than usual so I make little decisions to do stress reducing activities like reading instead of scrolling through Instagram.

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Let Each Other Recharge After A Work Trip

When Edwin returns home from a work trip, we both need to recharge. I usually want to recharge with time with Edwin and Edwin usually wants to recharge with rest, unpacking, and laundry. I have to remind myself that his time to recharge at home is crucial for him to be able to do the travel demands of his job. As much as I want to immediately hit the ground running together to make up for lost time, I try to give him what he needs. In return, Edwin is really great at bouncing back and blocking off time for us upon his return. When we have kids, this “recharge” will look very differently as I imagine I’ll need a break and he’ll need time with them.

Protect Time Together After Work Trips

Going off of my post-work trip recharge tip, I suggest protecting time together after a work trip. We both try to resist the urge to dive immediately into work or back into the groove of life duties. Instead, when Edwin comes home from work trips, the focus is on each other (and Maybelle!). We schedule time on our calendars if we have to to make sure we get a day date in that weekend or spend a night together at one of our favorite restaurants or cooking something new at home. Scheduling this ahead of time gives us something to look forward to when Edwin returns. It makes us incredibly appreciative of the time we do have together!

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I hope this post was somewhat helpful for anyone who travels a lot for work or who has a significant other who is always on the road! I know if can be challenging but a positive mindset is half the battle!

P.S. My dress and shoes are both old but my adorable stripe purse is available here. I also love it in this neutral colorway.

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3 Comments

  1. Love this post! With me traveling for work and my boyfriend working full-time and going to business school, it feels like we are always scheduling our time together. We do what we have to do to see each other!

    XO,
    Sarah

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