When one spouse or partner travels and the other doesn’t, keeping a relationship can be a challenge. Keeping that relationship long-lasting and healthy when you may be miles apart is an art. It takes mindful effort and the outcome can truly be one of the strongest and fun partnerships you can imagine. I’m very fortunate to be in one of these wonderful trusting partnerships with my husband . . . in spite of some of the thoughtless things I’ve done while traveling. I share my experiences, both good and not-so-good, on what has helped us create and sustain our great relationship.
Recommendations of what NOT to do:
- Buy a Christmas card at the last minute from an airport gift shop … and forget to grab an envelope with it. Give the card to your husband in a white plastic bag in lieu of the envelope. Very mortifying.
- Not listen to what he’s saying when talking on the phone at night. Type loud on the computer keyboard without realizing it so he really knows that you’re not listening to him.
- Overlook telling your spouse anything about your trip, including what city you’re in, where you’re staying and what flight you’re on. (I’ve since found a marriage-saving secret in using TripIt to share my travel details with him.)
- Volunteer to be bumped from a flight on Valentine’s Day. Totally ruin husband’s special ‘surprise’ plans for dinner at a very romantic restaurant.
- Forget your anniversary . . . enough said!
Better recommendations for keeping your relationship strong across the miles:
- Always make time to focus on your partner each day. Call when you’re in a quiet place (no, not the hotel bar!) and ask about their day. Talk about the events going on at home; do not solely talk about your travels and the fun you’re having. Enjoy a long conversation rather than giving the impression that you are rushing out the door to meet friends.
- Call when you say you’re going to call. When out of town for business or pleasure, the days are full and time can escape us. Be cognizant of the time that you agreed to talk. Set an alarm on your watch or a reminder in your email, if needed (although don’t let your partner know that he’s an ‘appointment’ on your calendar!). If your meeting is running late or dinner is lasting long, send a text message. Acknowledge the delay and set a later time to talk.
- Mention names of the people you may be traveling with rather than talk about ‘the guy you travel with.’ Let your husband get familiar with, even across the miles, the names of who you are traveling with.
- Pay attention to details. Email your travel itinerary to your partner; put birthdays, anniversaries and other relationship-saving dates into your calendar.
- Get right back into the routine of things at home once your travels are over. Make travel just an ordinary part of your life together. Keep packing for your next trip low-key and don’t gloat about where you’re going next.
It is very possible to have a great relationship with your partner, even though you may sleep in different beds for many nights.
Share your tips for keeping the bonds of love strong when one or both partners travel. Especially share your tips on what NOT to do! Save the rest of us the heartache and embarrassment!