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Need advice on relationship with frequent traveler


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I am just wondering if anyone has been or is currently in the same kind of scenario.


I am in a relationship with a man who travels very frequently for work. Right now is his "busy season" so he has been gone for seven days at a time every other week (this is an average). When he's here, we pretty much spend all of our time together when we're not working and we're very happy together.


I have no trust issues with him and he has none with me, so there's no problems there. Actually, I don't even know if I can call this a "problem" per se as much as something I wonder if there's something I can do about.


Here it is: I feel like there are kind of stages I go through when he's gone. Let's say he's on a ten-day business trip: First there is that initial withdrawal for about three or four days where I'm missing him a lot. I try to stay really busy with friends and hobbies when he's gone, so after that first stage, I'm still wishing he was here but it's not like that "pining" sensation I feel at first.


I guess my concern is about how I feel during the last three days or so before he comes home...it's hard to explain. It's not that I don't want him to come home or I'm not looking forward to seeing him. It's kind of like I've just gotten so used to him being gone that I don't really feel it as strongly. I hate to be cheesy but I feel like it's relevant---you know that line in that song "Faithfully" by Journey? "And being apart ain't easy on this love affair/Two strangers learn to fall in love again"? It's kind of like that feeling...like by the end of it I feel so emotionally disconnected from him that it's almost weird when he comes home, it's almost like this shy feeling like I don't know this person and don't know how to act around them or something. Difficult to explain. It feels like all the "relationship progress" we make when he's here is kind of like two steps forward and one step back, you know what I mean?


I'm not sure what I can do to address this or if I should even be worried, but I guess what I worry about every time he goes away is that he's going to come back and things aren't going to be the same between us or something.


We talk as frequently as we can, but his job is very go-go-go and demanding (he often works 15+ hour days), so our communication is sometimes patchy and sporadic.


I feel pretty silly asking this about a ten-day business trip when there are women whose husbands are on deployment for months or years at a time, but actually, if there are any of you out there reading this, I would love to hear your perspective. Do you experience this? How do you confront it?

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My last boyfriend (we're now broken up) traveled all the time. He would be gone for stretches of 5 days or so, and then be home for just the weekend sometimes. That went on for several months. Then it would stop for several months. His travel schedule was very sporadic at times. You just get used to it after a while and can pick back up where you left off. You just learn to deal with it best you can, more out of habit.


I remember it really bothered me that he would play the card of 'I'm only home for a little while' so we had to do what he wanted to do or I had to spend all that time with him only. I started to feel guilty like if I had other plans or whatever. This issue probably had more to do with his personality type and not characteristic of travelers though.

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I was "married to the military" for about 10 years.


And yes, it's difficult. Whether it's a two week deployment, a business trip, or a long deployment, you HAVE to be independent to not mope the time away - and yet, that very independence threatens the give and take that's typical in a normal relationship, because they come home - and voila - you're at the point of having built your own day to day living around their ABSENCE.


I won't say it gets easy - it never really does. And dating, the main "caution" I'd have is it can make the "honeymoon" period last a lot longer, because the nervousness, the butterflies, keep reappearing since as you say, to an extent, you're starting over, and over, and over. What you don't ever really feel you know is what they're like when they're NOT travelling and completely "comfortable" in the relationship - with so little time, it's always romantic - but it leaves a gap.


It leaves the gap of the "comfort zone" that you never QUITE hit. That area where you get easy with dancing in and out of each other's lives daily doesn't have a chance to really take root.


The only thing that really helps is communication, and TONS of it. Write a page of a letter daily, expressing what your day was like, when you missed him or were thinking of him, what you would have liked to do that day and couldn't - and have him do the same. When you're not able to be physically "there" much, it takes a solid effort to feel connected - and the silly little things like "wow, the conferences today felt like wrestling piglets in mud, NOBODY wanted to compromise on anything, and I feel like I've been run over by a truck. Wish you were here so we could order in pizza and a silly movie so I could unwind and tell you about my day, and just relax with you;" take on a much heavier impact than when you're there and can see it. It gives a window into his and your lives while you're apart.


Since it's common now and wasn't when I was in your situation, email would probably give a more "real time" effect to it. And sometimes, that kind of communication verbally can be awkward - so it can be easier, especially at first, to write it down.

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Mesemene...thank you very much for your response. It was really helpful and I really value your perspective as a woman who was once with someone in the military. Your advice makes a lot of sense and I will definitely put it to use. I'm very grateful to the fact that he and I communicate very well with one another.

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