How To Make A Relationship Work While Being Long Time Apart

Those who know me well also know that my boyfriend goes on business trips quite frequently. That is, about 3-4 times a year, anywhere between 3 to 7 weeks. Do the maths and you’ll get that we’re apart for about ⅓ of the year. Now, how does that work? Good question, let me share with you.

1. Creating Quality Time

Before the trip we always make sure we have a lot of quality time together. Even if it’s just an hour for breakfast in the morning, we make sure we’re present to each other and we talk about what’s important to us. Or we go out and have fun. We simply indulge in every moment we can spent together.

2. Having Something to Look Forward to

A part of spending the time together is creating something that we’ll have in the future that we can look forward to. At the moment it’s the vision of finding a new apartment and settling down. This is something that empowers us even when it gets hard. In the end, the relationship is always there and it prevails.

3. Going Separate Ways

Before Andrej went to his last business trip, he bought me a ring and for himself he got a leather bracelet, each to remind us what we want to achieve during the time we spend apart. Going separate ways is an amazing way to discover something new about yourself. When you’re with one and the same person only all the time, it takes away the space to evolve your own “natural” way. Alone, you get to re-discover who you are and what you really want for yourself. It’s the best gift you can give to yourself — after all, you want to be true to yourself in the relationship who is free, not a fake.

3. Knowing What to Expect

Having great expectations of your half, such as “write me at least three times a day”, don’t really work. Rely on these expectations and you’ll end up annoyed, pissed, making him wrong, stressed and in tears – in that order. What does work, however, is knowing what to expect. I asked Andrej to write me every day. He said he couldn’t promise me that. I said fine. Now he does write me pretty much every day, but when he doesn’t, I don’t go crazy about it.

4. Being in Communication

The best thing about the 21st century is the communication technologies we have. Text messages, emails, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Messenger, iMessages, voice memos… we use them all in a different way. I usually send Andrej voice memos every day summing up what’s been going on and what I’m dealing with. Works perfect. Then we have a video call once a week or if we need to speak more, we have an extra one. The point is not to overdo it, but to make the other person present to what’s happening in your world.

5. Managing Sex

Depending on the length of the business trip, sooner or later our needs start taking the place. Three weeks are usually manageable, but more than that and your body asks you to scratch the itch. There are many ways to deal with this – you can resist it, help yourself, or have a special video call. I say, whatever works.

6. Bringing the New into the Relationship

As I mentioned, going separate ways is an amazing way to discover something new about yourself. But this can also be quite shocking. I remember that after one business trip I was so annoyed and irritated by Andrej I almost wished he stayed away. What I learnt from that was that it takes a good week to “tune in” to the other person to get what he learnt and what shifted for him during the time away. Which brings us to –

7. Spending the Time Together after the Trip

What do we do when Andrej comes back? Well, I make him feel like home by cooking and having a dinner together. We talk, have some wine, and then we get lost behind the door of our bedroom. After long time apart, there’s nothing like getting reconnected to your soulmate. After all, even though you may be apart, he’s always here for you.

Have you ever spent a long time without your partner? How did you deal with it?