International business travel has its perks. You get to experience new things, immerse yourself in different cultures, and you become an excellent packer. That being said, when you travel all the time for work, you spend significantly less time at home, and that can have a big impact on your relationship. Long distance love affairs have gone on for centuries, with mixed success, but those who have been the most enduring are ones where both partners put in the effort to stay connected. Whether it just a one-off event for an important trip or you’re spending more time abroad than not, here are some ways you can ensure the strength of your relationship, even when you’re thousands of miles away.
Communicate Regularly… But Not Too Much
It can be tricky to navigate the balance between too much and too little communication when you are long distance. It’s important to check in regularly with your partner so they know how much you care and you can keep the flame of your connection burning. That being said, you don’t need to have your phone glued to your hand so you can text them constantly, and because you are traveling for work, you probably can’t do that anyway. A good way to make sure you are communicating enough to stay connected is making a point to say “good morning” and “goodnight” every day. You could text or talk on the phone while you get ready for your day, then spend some time on video chat before you hit the hay.
It’s easy to feel upset when you have to spend a lot of time apart from your partner. You miss their physical touch, the sound of their voice, and just spending time in their company. You could focus on all the things that are wrong with the situation, or you could rejoice for the positives of a long-distance love. If what you have is real, spending some time apart will not tear you apart, but will ultimately strengthen your bond. When you are maintaining a relationship from far away, it means that you find other ways to communicate your love to each other than physical affection or quality time. You can spend more time having conversations and learning things about each other you would never have otherwise. On top of that, spending more time apart means that you learn far more about yourselves than you do when you spend all your time with a significant other. Think about the benefits of long distance more than the faults, and it will be easier for all involved.
Set Clear Expectations
If you are traveling for work, it’s especially important that you and your partner have realistic ideas about what that means for your relationship. How often will you be communicating? How do prefer to communicate? What is or isn’t acceptable for you to do with other people? Set standards before you leave on your trip so no one feels disrespected.
Do Things “Together”
You might not be in the same space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share experiences. Try reading the same book, watching the same movie, or listening to the same music while you are apart. This way, you have more topics you can talk about and you experience similar things, even miles apart.
Prioritize Honest and Open Communication
Now more than ever, it’s important that you communicate honestly with your partner. Be upfront about your moments of jealousy, anxiety, apathy — whatever you feel, don’t try to hide it. This will only cause a wedge between you and your loved one. Don’t hold onto these feelings and try to cope with them by yourself; working through it with your partner will bring you closer together.
When you are on the other side of the world, it is especially important to be mindful of your partner’s schedule. Knowing when they are busy and when they are free will not only make you feel closer, but it will be easier to coordinate when you will talk while you are gone. This ensures that they won’t video call you while you’re in an important meeting, for example. With different time zones, it is particularly crucial that you are on the same page with your schedules.
These days, no one sends snail mail, so there is nothing quite as exciting as finding a personal piece of mail in a pile of bills. You can make your partner feel special and like they are a part of your trip by sending them a postcard from your location. Over time, as you travel to more locations, they can put together a whole collection of international postcards from you for a cherished memento.
Video Chat Whenever You Can
Video calling changed the game in long-distance relationships. This is the closest to being in the same room you can be from thousands of miles away. With video chatting, you can look into each other’s eyes, have a real conversation, and even watch a TV show together from your hotel room. If you have an Apple device, you can use FaceTime, or you can use Skype.
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