How to Make it Through Time Apart With Your Significant Other

During this time of year my boyfriend travels a lot. We’ve lived together for two years, and I get used to having him around, so whenever he leaves it always takes some adjusting. When he’s gone, he’s working all the time and sometimes we can only talk for a few minutes each day. Compare this to spending hours at night at home with someone and it’s definitely different.

When we first graduated college and Chris first began traveling for work, I didn’t handle his business trips well at all. He and I did long distance several times when I was in school, but doing long distance as two students is extremely different from doing it when you’re both working. When you’re students you can dip out of class to talk if need be, and you don’t have much going on at night so it makes it easy to Skype. When you’ve both got jobs, you have responsibilities to take care of, meetings, and generally just have more structure to your days. This can make it more difficult to fit in a lengthy conversation.

If I’ve learned one thing about making it work when you’re apart, whether it’s during one partner’s business trip or because of a long distance relationship, it’s this: don’t put so much pressure on each other. I used to get so upset when Chris and I could only talk for a few minutes because he was busy working. Then when we finally did talk, I’d expect each conversation to be super meaningful. I don’t know what I thought we needed to discuss. The meaning of life? Our futures? Who knows. The point is, you have to accept that after long, busy days, the conversations may be more shallow than when you’re home together. If you’re doing distance, you’ll need to work on creating time for substantial conversations, but when you’re just apart for a short period it’s okay to accept this fact.

If you keep putting pressure on yourself and the other person to talk all the time, and have stimulating discussions when you do, you’ll both hang up the phone feeling unhappy (trust me, I used to do it). Instead, it’s better to appreciate the time that you do have to chat, and to enjoy catching up as much as you can.

I first heard Giuliana and Bill Rancic talk about a concept called “checking in.” It’s not that revolutionary, but it’s useful. When one person is away, they will call the other as frequently as they can, even if they literally have one minute to talk. They’ll say, “I just wanted to check in” and they’ll let each other know they love each other, even if they aren’t able to have a longer conversation at that moment. It helps to keep you feeling connected, even if your communication is more limited than normal.

Before, I used to get upset if Chris would call and then would have to hang up after a minute or so; now I try to focus on just enjoying the quick call, and looking forward to seeing him when he gets home. Much less pressure, and much more pleasant for everyone. “Checking in” calls are a good thing. Nothing makes being apart worse than when one person is really unhappy, and this helps to take care of those unpleasant feelings.

How do you handle time apart from your significant other? Any strategies you guys use to make it easier?

Like this post? You're awesome! Be even more awesome and share it!Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Speak Your Mind