Traveling for work has been a big part of Matt and I’s relationship since Day 1. After the first 9 months of dating, we had a 2 year long distance relationship until we moved in together. Since then it has been an additional 7 years that either he has traveled for work or I have traveled for work. 9 years total! 15 years together and 9 of those spent traveling for work.
The majority of our 20’s and now early 30’s have been spent maintaining, nurturing and managing our relationship. We have learned how to do all these from afar but I have also learned how to work on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert! It definitely hasn’t been pretty. But I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on what works for me which therefore works for us as a couple.
I always hear the same comment “I don’t know how you do it”. Well here is how I manage my partner (fiancé) traveling for work…
1.) Communicate..a lot
I like to communicate! Sometimes over communicate. No matter what we talk on the phone multiple times a day. Thankfully we both have jobs where we can pick up the phone whenever. There are always questions throughout the day that need to be answered or just times I need to talk. We rarely text message each other. Texting is great when you cannot answer the phone but it does not give me the same communication I need.
Thankfully I have a flexible schedule. I planned it this way before he took this specific job because I knew it would be next to impossible to maintain our relationship working a typical 9-5 job (realistically 8-6). Most of the time he is home during the weekdays so I always make sure to leave my schedule as open as I can. Sometimes it doesn’t work out but even that little effort to push some appointments around helps a ton. Don’t get me wrong, I work when he is home! But I can work from home or from my phone a lot too.
I couldn’t do it without my family! The only way Matt was taking the current job he has was if we moved back to Michigan. We lived in Indianapolis for 10 years with zero family around. We worked a lot! I knew if we continued with the lifestyle we had and not having that family support system- it wouldn’t work! My family has been a huge support system for me. I love that my family is a few minutes away instead of a few hours. I love that I can call up my mom and Grandma to go shopping or my brother to go to lunch or my aunt to hang out. They are a huge help too! There have been so many times I’ve had to call my mom, dad or brother to help with something that I cannot do by myself.
We have our own rituals while he travels and then when he is home. When Matt is traveling for work, we say the same thing every night before bed to each other. Also he texts me the same thing every time he boards an airplane and every time he lands. It is comforting and just something we “have” to do now. When he is home, we always go to bed together. No matter what! Throughout our whole relationship we have made it a point to go to bed together. We don’t always get to go to bed together because we have been traveling for work for a large part of our relationship so we definitely do not take it for granted!
5.) Go on dates…by myself
It is so important for me to be ok with being alone. I am fine being alone and hanging out with myself. I’ve always felt ok with it but still have to maintain being ok with it. Hanging out at home by myself is easy. I can become quite the hermit so I make it a point to go out. I love to sit in a restaurant by myself and just reflect or go to a movie by myself. Going to the movies by myself is my favorite thing to do..ever! I can go whenever I want, sit wherever I want and watch whatever movie I want. Going to lunch or dinner by myself, sitting at a table alone is a great time to reflect. I love to watch other people with their loved ones and reflect on all the great people I have in my life.
6.) Vocalize my needs
I have no problem sharing my feelings! The only way for someone to understand how you feel is to tell them, right?! If I am missing something or need something from Matt, I will tell him. Recently, we have been so busy when he is home that we haven’t had any time to go on a date. Two months had passed and we still hadn’t been on an actual date. It started to bother me so I told him and the next night we went on a date. We also do date night at home (see one of our date nights here). It is important to vocalize your needs but just as important for the other person to listen to those needs.
7.) Keep Busy
I love to be busy! Being busy keeps me happy which therefore keeps Matt happy. “Happy wife, happy life”, right?! If I don’t keep busy, I get extremely bored and grumpy. There was a few month transition that I didn’t like what I was doing for work and just gave up. I was bored all the time which made me grumpy, annoyed and irritable. I knew I needed to get out of the funk I was in but couldn’t figure it out. It took a few too many fights but I finally gave in and let Matt help me through the process. Now, I’m busier than ever (be careful what you wish for) but love it!
Traveling for work can cause strain on a relationship. It is not easy! Never has been and never will be! Making life adjustments and sacrificing is something that has to be done. Making your relationship your #1 priority is the only way to make it work. I have made a lot of sacrifices but at the end of the day have become a much better person because of it. I’m not an expert but I have figured out what makes me happy and what doesn’t.