Recently, I spoke with a woman with a very successful and exciting career. She travels around the world doing business with all sorts of people and cultures. She also has had a very satisfying personal life with a healthy and happy partnership—until recently. Lately, her travel schedule is causing tension between her and her partner. He doesn’t always feel comfortable with where she goes and what she does, and being separated is getting old…
This is not an uncommon scenario for couples with successful careers that entail heavy travel.
So, the question is—what should this woman do? Should she get off the road? Should she change careers? Should she leave her partner? Or, can she find ways to adapt and care for the situation so she doesn’t have to compromise too much of her career or love relationship?
I believe its possible to have a successful career and healthy, happy love relationship but it takes effort and intention.
Here are 3 ways to do that:
Create a plan of action. Look at the calendar, create a schedule, and mark blocks of time where you’re going to be at home and when you’re on the road—and stick to it. When you’re home, go over the schedule with your partner. Get their buy-in on what kind of schedule you’ll both keep. Discuss where you need to make compromises or sacrifices to meet the needs of your relationship. At same time, go over your schedule with your boss, colleagues, and/or stakeholders. Get their buy-in. Like you did with your partner, ascertain where compromises might have to be made so that you can meet demands of job.
Involve your partner. Create opportunities to fold your partner into your travel life. Speak on the phone in evenings and mornings. Use Skype or Facetime to encourage more intimacy. If you can, take them traveling with you. Create a separate budget for them to join you on trips where you can explore exotic places and new cultures during the times you aren’t working.
Set a long-term plan. Talk about your hopes and dreams for the future. Then, create a plan for what that looks like and how to operationalize it. This will make you and your partner comfortable that you won’t be separated forever and will one day enjoy everyday life together.
Tension often builds when couples are apart. To cultivate and maintain intimacy, follow these 6 tips while on the road.
1) Send loving texts to each other every day.
2) As you see reading materials you like, send them to your partner.
3) If you’re in a cool location, send pictures of food or the sites you’ve seen.
4) If your partner enjoys public shout-outs, express kudos over social media.
5) Make plans to look forward to, like a dinner or a show.
6) Carve out time for romance when you’re physically together.
If you travel a lot, it’s so important to reassure your partner as much as possible that they and your relationship are a priority. You can have it all—but it requires patience and communication.