Making A Relationship Work When Your Partner Works Away

4 months ago
“I don’t know how you do it.”
 
I hear this all the time. My partner and I have been in a relationship, officially, for four years. But we’ve spent a lot of that time apart. His job requires him to travel, and he can be gone for weeks at a time. Our relationship certainly has its own unique set of challenges, and many of my friends have told me that they wouldn’t be able to manage. Many of my partner’s co-workers changed careers in order to salvage their relationship. Everyone wants to be prioritized by their partner, and having them away feels as if it devalues the relationship. With a little change in attitude, relationships like these can not only succeed – but thrive.
 
Setting Healthy Relationship Standards
My partner is a truck driver. He’s been doing this job for a long time and worked hard to get where he is. He is highly skilled in his career, but his skills aren’t necessarily transferable to another industry. His lifestyle is also pretty important to him. Truck drivers can earn a pretty good income, and there is a lot of room for growth. Today, wages are currently up to $75,984. For him, his career supports almost all of his passions and goals. But it’s hard to consider this from an outsider’s perspective. Many people think about all the time they spend with their partner, and that is significant to them. But asking your partner to give up their career implies that you don’t value their priorities.
We have this idea in our society that love should come before everything. We romanticize the idea of finding the perfect person – somebody who is a perfect fit for us. We want to meet all of their needs, and they should meet all of ours.
 
The problem is that these standards are not only unhealthy but also unrealistic. It suggests that a relationship is defined by exclusivity. Monogamy is important, but we can’t apply this concept to every priority in someone’s life. It’s healthy for your partner to have passions outside of your relationship, and it doesn’t devalue the bond that you share.
 
Making the Most of Your Time Together
When you look back on your relationship, what moments do you value the most? There might be a few important milestones that stand out, the most important thing is that your relationship is constant. Whether significant or simple, we share all of our life experiences with our partner. When they work away, you might feel as if you’re living two separate lives. But there are some advantages to this schedule that might not be obvious at first.
There is only so much you can get done in a weekend. But when you work a shift, you often have a week or more off. When my partner comes back from work, we can accomplish a lot more. We’ve traveled to foreign countries, enjoyed multi-day hikes, and taken courses together. To me, this is very significant. These experiences have shaped me as a person, and I had someone to share it with. Sure, in previous relationships I got to see my partner every night. But what did we really do? Often, we were so tired from work that we just made a quick meal and watched TV for a few hours. In retrospect, I wouldn’t consider those moments defining.
 

The Value of Compromise
We all have an idea of what we want in life. At first, challenging our goals seems like giving up. But when you restrict yourself to a certain lifestyle, there is a lot that you’re missing out on. We live in a global economy, where resources can easily be shifted on demand. This means that staff is expected to be mobile. Because this lifestyle doesn’t fit within our societies idealized model of a relationship, these jobs have very high rates of divorce. Even though there are unique challenges, there are also unique benefits. With a little change of mindset, you’ll be able to embrace the advantages.

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