Are couples with conflicting schedules the new “long distance relationships”?
Whether you work different shifts or different days, it’s becoming more common that couples face scheduling conflicts. It can feel like you’re in a long distance relationship, communicating via text, and not seeing each other as often as you’d like.
Here are my top 10 ways to make it work.
1. Find your passion.
If you’re going to spend so much time apart, make sure it’s for a career you love not a job you absolutely hate. Having a job you hate can negatively affect your happiness and your relationship which may already be tense due to time spent apart. If you hate your job, search high and low for a new one. You’ll be in a better mood if you at least like where you work.
2. Make a plan.
Go back to the drawing board and make a schedule. That’s right, I’m saying to whip out a planner or calendar. Make sure you set up times/days when you both can spend quality time together. If you both work out when chores or errands are done in advance that can also help you both get more time to have date nights or time together.
3. Make traditions.
Sure, you may have heard being spontaneous keeps the spark alive, and in some ways this is true. But having a regular routine can also have its benefits. Whatever small time slot you have in common, maybe a quick thirty minutes every morning, have a routine to look forward to. Maybe do a crossword puzzle together over coffee.
4. Read a book together.
Having something to discuss (other than work and the kids) may help ease the tension of not seeing each other as often as you’d like. You may not get to lay in bed and read it together but you can both read it at your own pace and compare notes when you both have the rare opportunity to collide.
Make time to not only reconnect but make sure you’re sharing affection. Don’t skip the hello and goodbye kisses, in fact prolong them. Actually, kiss whenever possible.
6. Be selfish.
Whatever moment you have to spend time together, take advantage of it, with in reason. Of course, there are some occasions, such as holidays, that must be shared. But try to carve out time when your schedules actually match. If both of you get time off for holidays for instance, perhaps skip the traditional holiday duties and take a trip or hide from the world. Perhaps this may not work for holidays that are family oriented like Christmas or Thanksgiving but could be an option for Labor Day or Memorial Day. I’m sure you can skip a BBQ for a romantic weekend instead.
7. Use your time apart wisely.
During the hours or days you are unable to see each other, use that time to check some things off of your list so that when you are actually together, you get to spend quality time together. For instance, get grocery shopping done or get in your gym time. There’s nothing worse than having a day off in common only to spend it running errands or doing chores.
8. Bring services to you.
In today’s day and age we are lucky enough to have everything at our finger tips. We can now order food or even a massage at a click of a button. You may not have time to cook a romantic dinner, go to a restaurant, or have a day at the spa but you can have it come to you on your own time.
9. You might have to schedule being spontaneous.
Okay, it sounds stupid I know. First of all, let me say spontaneity is great for relationships so whenever you can be spontaneous, do just that. But you may have to plan “alone time”. It may not sound very appealing, but if the alternative is not having time for it at all, that’s even more detrimental to a relationship. It may not be a surprise as far as when you do it but you could always surprise each other with how it’s done!
10. It takes work, but it’s not work.
It may take a lot of work to find time for each other but it shouldn’t feel like work. If you’re overwhelmed, unhappy, or not satisfied, talk about it before it explodes. Seek counseling or professional help. Oh, don’t worry, even if your schedules make it impossible for couple therapy in person, there are online services!