I’ve been with my partner for six years and he’s been touring with a band (or two or three) for all of them. I never travel with him, partly because I’m not about to sit in a van with four stinky dudes for a month and partly because (isn’t this obvious?) I have a life. This means that we’re apart a lot, sometimes for just a week and other times for a few months. Over the years, I’ve developed man-on-tour habits that have saved our relationship and my sanity. Want to know how to keep the love alive while living often separate lives? Read on.
Be Honest With Yourself
I think it’s smart to begin with this seemingly obvious point. Can you handle weeks away from your partner? Are you comfortable going solo to family parties, work events and the like? Are you okay with the occasional missed birthday or holiday? If you answered no to these questions, you might not be well-suited to this kind of relationship. And that’s okay. As a wise sage called Oprah once said, speak your truth.
Find Your “Music”
Or photography or sales or whatever. If your partner weren’t totally taken by their choice profession, would they really choose to spend so much time away from you? Hopefully not.
Just like your partner has done, find your passion and follow it. Chasing a dream gives you drive, independence and confidence. Plus, by diving into your own passion, you’re less likely to resent all of the fulfillment and distance that your partner’s work generates.
State Your Expectations
Maybe you need an evening phone call every day, more date nights when your partner is home or a flower delivery every once in a while. Whatever it is, you need to communicate it to your partner.
If you expect certain behaviour but don’t voice your needs, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Tell your partner what you need in order to feel connected and if he/she doesn’t follow through, make it clear that you’ve been disappointed and suggest future solutions.
Don’t think of yourself as “the one left behind” because living away from home and traveling constantly isn’t as glamourous as it sounds. Often, I’ll get an “All I want is to sleep in my own bed and cuddle our dog tonight” text. When your partner comes home, she or he needs time to relax and adjust. Try to let her or him go through the process of getting home, which might mean allowing her some space and alone time.
Cherish Your Friends
I have a good friend whose partner also travels constantly, and we call each other stand-in spouses. This relationship, and ones like it, are essential to my sanity. Even when your partner is home, make sure to touch base with friends as often as possible, and schedule night or day dates. Don’t be that friend who’s up for anything when your partner is away but MIA when she or he returns. If you do that, friends (rightfully) might not be around the next time you’re flying solo.