Marriage Mantras: Time Apart

gareth & kat (185)

I’ve been away from Gareth for three weeks today – the longest time we’ve had apart since I was at University. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really, really difficult. As a couple that spend 99% of our time together when we’re in the same country (!) I’ve missed him terribly. Although I’ve been busy working and having an awesome time with my girls, every night I’ve been going to bed wishing he was beside me.

9. Time Apart

For many couples, spending a lot of time away from each other is an unavoidable fact of life – it might be that one of you travels a lot or works away, or it could just be that you work very different shift patterns and have limited time together each week. So just how do you do it without the relationship suffering as a consequence?

I think the most important thing is that you still need to make quality time for each other. I’ve written about this before in this series but I feel that it’s even more vital when your schedules clash or you have a lot of other stuff going on.

So how do we personally make it work? Well it sounds simple but keeping that communication going is vital. While we can’t speak on the phone when I’m on the other side of the world, daily emails and scheduling in time for online chats has been really crucial (we used to do this for hours at a time while I was at Uni – on MSN Chat, remember that!?) Otherwise, it can be very easy to get into the habit of not thinking about them because they’re not there with you. Daily communication where we share what we’ve been up to, as we would if we were together in person, has made being physically apart a whole lot easier.

gareth & kat (206)

The most important thing is that you both need to be on the same page and OK with the fact that you’re not together all the time. If, like me for example, you are travelling a lot (for work or with friends) your partner needs to support you in this 100%. If not, it’s likely to drive a wedge between you or cause resentment on one side. The one at home could start to feel like the traveller is off having a whale of a time while they have to hold the fort alone, or the one spending so much time away might start to feel homesick or miss the familiarity of everyday life. If you don’t openly communicate these feelings, problems can easily arise.

I personally think that it’s healthy to spend some time away from each other. None of us really wants to become ‘one of those couples’ who can’t function without each other, do we? Being married isn’t about becoming one two-headed monster. It’s about love, respect and complimenting each other, giving each person a safe and happy environment to become the person they really want to be.

It’s good to have different groups of friends and hobbies so we become well-rounded, interesting people. The key to spending time independently is that you are respectful and conscious of your other half’s feelings. Remember, you are still a partnership, even when you’re spending time apart.

This is part nine of my ten part Marriage Mantras series. If you’ve missed any be sure to catch up on the previous articles too.

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10 comments

  1. I struggle with three days, let alone three weeks! I can’t stand watching other people flip out if they haven’t heard from their partner after two days of their ladies cruise/ boys snow trip. Give each other room to breathe, space to grow and time to enjoy their own experiences. There needs to be an element of trust- your BF or hubbie isn’t falling out of love with you just because they’re struggling through customs with three bags, or sliding down a mountain with a plank of wood strapped to their feet.

  2. Gayle Crockford

    I work offshore and being away two weeks at a time can really be difficult. Its the little things that help. A wee email in the afternoon or a quick phonecall when i start my shift and i know his alarm has just gone off. It all makes me appreciate being home with him all the more 🙂

  3. Lynn G

    This is something that is an everyday thing for me and my partner. We’ve been in a long distance relationship for most of our now 11 years together. There are times when it’s so hard being apart but sometimes it’s quite having your own space. It’s always the best feeling seeing each other after months apart.

    I’m lucky that I can go to America for a few months at a time.

  4. Shannon L

    Thank you for this post! It honestly has been a whirlwind of a year for me and my husband, getting engaged, married and purchasing a home, all while both operating self employed businesses and pretty much are opposite schedules (I’m a photographer and he’s a musician). He just returned home from a 50 day tour of which I couldn’t go with, and just left today after 2 weeks home for a 20 day one. It’s tough day to day and I thank you for this article because I know I’m not the only one who has to tough this out day in and day out. You have some great points, and I especially agree with being your own person, and daily communication. Nights are definitely the toughest! Hang in there until you guys are reunited again! <3

  5. Alllison

    My Husband and I live in separate homes due to his mom. It sucks! But we talk a zillion times a day and any spare moment we have we try to spend it together. When it has been several days since we talked and even more since we were together I question why I am I doing this and then his laugh or something else about him reminds me like magic. I try hard to remember that it is not forever. I have it easy compared to my sister who’s husband has been overseas for a year or more at a time. But I still miss him at night and first thing in the morning. It is the little things that get to me.

  6. Naomi

    my partner and I spend a lot of time apart because of his job – sometimes up to 4 months! Yeah, we miss each other, but we always make time to speak on a daily basis and try and see each other for the odd weekend break and this is always an adventure for me! Love and trust is key and always with the long term goal in sight. We’re getting married next year and I can’t wait! ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Kiddo

    We’ve recently spent 5 months apart while hubby was in Afghan, and regularly have weeks apart when he has to go away for work. Communication is the one thing that keeps us going, even if it’s just a text or a quick email, you know you are thinking about each other. The hardest times apart have been when he’s not been able to get in touch, but you just have to stay strong and look forward to being reunited soon. I think it’s healthy to be able to spend time apart, even if you’d prefer to be together 24/7

  8. Tash

    Although not married, (although I’d like to think that one day, it might be a possibility!) my other half and I live over 250 miles apart. Been together for just coming up to 2yrs and can sympathise completely with the daily struggle that is long distance relationships! It’s hard on both our parts at times and some days coming home from work, i’d give anything just to be cuddled up with him on the sofa, watching telly and scoffing down a good meal. We try see each other every 3-4 weeks, but sometimes it can extend to even 2 1/2 months without seeing one another due to our different work commitments. If we’re not working, then we’ll either chat on skype, or, preferably, we’ll talk through co-op on the xbox whilst battling all manner of creatures, monsters and dragons (I need a life!) We both respect that we each have our own busy lives, but it makes it extra special when we do see one another as we’re able to put aside our busy schedules, even if its just for a weekend, and really enjoy each other’s company. Plus, it gives me a chance to kick his ass on the xbox too!:)

  9. michelle

    I think I need it!!!! I just Found out my sister is hearing to Florida to open a new business for herself and she asked me to come because I help her alot and give heR lots of encouragement!! I told my husband i was going for two weeks maybe less. He is so mad at me that i did not disscuss it with him first bit either way he will be Abbey with me. He does not like me to go anywhere. Lately he has always been angry and mean to me. I just think I need a break for a while to dicover what I really want out of life!! Wish me luck!!

  10. Me and my boyfriend have been together for 5 years now and 4 years we’ve lived together. Last two summers we’ve been apart though, because of my work. I’m currently studying journalism and in our city there isn’t that many job opportunities for journalism student, so I had to go someplace else to work. My boyfriend has his job here, so he couldn’t go with me. I visited home almost every weekend but it was still hard to be apart. But at the same time being apart really made our relationship stronger.

    I think it is still important to communicate with each other even when you are apart. Jonathan called me every day and we texted each other good night also. Sometimes we texted more, sometimes less, but there wasn’t a single day when I didn’t hear anything about him. He also supported me 100% and that really is important when we are talking about the whole summer. But I think that if it’s about one single 2 weeks holiday with your friends, your partner actually hasn’t right to be mad at you. Of course you need to discuss about it, but I think that shouldn’t be really an issue 🙂

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