Don’t overlook what travelling brings to your relationship; in our stretched lives, when one travels, it quickly seems like one more thing to deal with. In fact it is more than that, it changes the dynamic in the household, and everyone has to adjust.
The adjustment is different whether she or he travels. In Part 1, here, I will talk about the situation where he travels, and next week, in Part 2, I will address the counterpart, when she travels.
Forgetting that in change there is always an opportunity for growth, we all find unsettling our partner’s business trips. And the longer they are the worse it gets.
When one in the relationship travels for work, the changed dynamic can bring tensions.
The only time travelling does not break the rhythm is when it is recurrent every week. So it is integrated into a routine.
For most women with children, when their husband travels, they are overwhelmed with negative feelings towards the one that they perceive being the cause of their emotional imbalance. Consciously, they know how untrue that is. He travels because he wants to provide for his family. The chaos created in her life is such however, that the natural reaction is to blame him for it.
This is exactly what Mia from New-York expressed in her email: “ I can’t help being resentful. When he returns, he expects me to be normal and take care of him, when all I need is a break.”
What is interesting here is that Mia mentions her need. That is what traveling does to your relationship: it brings each of you on their knees, and claiming needs is the only thing that counts.
Needs for him:
Resting, unwinding, and relaxing
Needs for her:
Letting go. Handing over all the responsibilities so she can reconnect with herself and relax.
When we are at a need level there is urgency and a lack of empathy attached to it. You can easily understand why tension builds up.
Being in need is close to being in survival mode. I know it sounds dramatic: It can be, on a small scale. A mother who has to deal with it all, and is not used to it, will feel an unprecedented level of stress in order to adjust to her new condition.
Cutting corners is the only way to get things done, and women in general hate cutting corners. They have to choose between what they view as Charybde and Sylla: cutting corners and doing nothing correctly, or missing out completely certain tasks.
As usual, there is always something to learn from being unsettled. Women, providing they are not over stressed will notice, that certain corner cuttings make their life easier without bothering anyone. If they can accept that, the trip then gives them the opportunity to improve their efficiency and therefore decrease their stress level.
So, try to put your resentment aside for a few minutes, and think about how you have cut the corners in such a way that it made your life easier with a sense of satisfaction. Don’t you think it would be a great addition to your daily routine?
How I handle that situation:
When my husband travels I put on my athlete cap, and obey to a strict personal schedule: I eat healthy, I sleep early, and I question everything I plan to do three times:
- Is it important?
- Is it urgent?
- Is it the right time?
If the answer is yes to all three I do it. Otherwise I leave it for later.
The hardest for me is to deal with other people’s requests: play date here, project there, party here.
My kids know that when I am alone, their social life is reduced to the minimum. This is the only way I can keep my sanity. I used to feel like a failure. I don’t care anymore: I know what my energy level can cope with, and most importantly, I am the one who pays with the consequences if I go over what I can handle.
The priority is to lower my stress level, so when he returns, I am not on the edge of collapsing.
- I therefore get extra help whenever I can
- Everyday I find some time for me only
- I practice mindfulness as much as I can by simply breathing and being aware of it.
Hope this helps!