Photo: Getty Images
It's not a leap to assume you got married because you wanted to be together, and not just in the metaphorical 'until death do you part' way. You wed so that you could spend your days and nights with the man or woman you love, so when his or her work takes them from you on the regular, it can drive a wedge between you and distort what you imagined your marriage would look like.
"The distance can make you feel disconnected from your partner," explains Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Plus, without your partner physically in sight, she says, "you can feel unsure about what they're doing and what they're up to, which can make you feel anxious and insecure."
But if you find yourself without your spouse because of his or her job, you don't have to let their travel schedule tear you apart. Here's how you can keep your closeness even when you're far apart.
Establish relationship rituals.
You may not have a daily routine like other couples, but that shouldn't keep you from establishing your own intimacy-building traditions. Rachel Needle, Psy.D, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist based in West Palm Beach, Florida, suggests working goodbye routines and reuniting rituals into your repertoire. "Plan little surprises for your partner when you are away from each other, such as sending flowers or a gift, leaving a love note in his or her suitcase or somewhere in the house for him or her to find, sending sweet and even some sexy text messages throughout the day, or keeping a journal to share with your partner when he or she returns," Needle suggests.
Begin each day with a conversation.
Make a decision that despite the distance you will wake up next to each other and go to bed beside one another via text, smartphone, or Skype, Greer says. "Make a point of remembering some of the smaller elements of your days, so you can share those details and keep each other in the loop," she says, in addition to soaking in the face-to-face time you're missing when you have the time to video chat. Staying in constant contact is important, explains Needle, "because it helps you maintain a connection to one another."
Build anticipation for your next time together.
"Plan your return together time so that you're excited about seeing each other and know how you'll be spending the time together," suggests Greer. "Maybe it's something simple like staying in and watching movies, but know you're going to share that intimate time." Take the time to talk about what you're most looking forward to, suggests Needle, or even send some sexy images to stimulate one another's imagination. "Fantasize about being with your partner again and what you want to do," she says. "If you feel comfortable, you can even share your fantasies with your partner. That can be hot!"