Traveling for business can be stressful for both members of a relationship, but with all of the technology available now, staying connected has never been easier. Here are some suggestions on how you can stay connected with your partner when they are traveling for business.

1. Know where your partner is. Create a shared calendar via Microsoft outlook or Google and keep your travel plans up to date. It’s reassuring to know where in the world your spouse is. On the flip side, use the same calendar to mark important dates such as birthdays, recitals, and family time. Make a sincere effort to respect family time by scheduling work travel around these important dates.

2. Make use of video conferencing. Research in neurobiology emphasizes the importance of making eye contact with your spouse. Whether it’s Skype, facetime, or another application, say good morning and good evening face to face whenever possible.

3. Like airplanes, relationships also need smooth take offs and landings. Develop routines for home and for travel, and make an effort to start and end your day together. While travel makes this all the more difficult, a quick phone call to say good night and I love you to your partner helps create a secure and loving connection… as well as a better night’s sleep.

4. Maintain shared interests despite the distance. Read the same book or keep up with one another’s favorite television show.

5. When possible, consider traveling with you partner. Turn business trips into short getaways, and take advantage of visiting new places together. Or, take advantage of your accumulated miles and take a true vacation together.

6. Ensure that the partner at home has adequate support in your absence. It’s not uncommon for the home partner to feel abandoned and overwhelmed by the responsibility of maintaining the home, children, and pets. Utilize your support network; call on family members and friends to help out your spouse or consider hiring a cleaning service to lighten the burden. For the partner that travels, make sure you express your appreciation for all the other does to keep the home fires burning.

7. Appreciation goes both ways; partners who travel often may not enjoy doing so, or may feel the responsibility of providing for the family financially. Remember that you are a team and express appreciation for their hard work and sacrifice as well.

8. Transition home smoothly. The first 30 minutes upon arriving home from work are prime conflict time for over stressed couples. Give each other some decompression time to relax and collect themselves.

9. Schedule check ins. Frequent travel can create the illusion that there’s no good time to talk or discuss what’s going on within the family. Create a dedicated time to sit down with one another – preferably face to face – to check in on the general health and well-being of the couple/family. Use this opportunity to address potentially conflictual topics in a respectful and open manner, and as a team.

10. Remind your partner you’re thinking of them. Reserve text messages and emails for short and sweet communication; save other topics for face to face time.

Dr. Anne Malec
Chicago Therapist