Being on different schedules can cause a huge array of problems. If not handled correctly it can and will make space for many things that can go wrong, no matter how much you love each other.
I’m a strong advocate for communication skills, believe me when I tell you this. Strong communication skills are necessary in any relationship and it’s difficult to maintain that communication when you’re on differing schedules.
When you and your partner are on different schedules or even time zones, making an extra effort to reach out to your partner might just be the one thing that saves your relationship.
Keep the following tips in mind for maintaining a strong relationship:
Deal with conflicts the moment they arise. When you’re on opposite schedules, it’s important to deal with conflicts immediately, because otherwise they begin to fester. It’s tempting to just wait until a more convenient time, but many times that time never comes.
With precious little time together, your instincts might be to ignore the conflict, but it’s better to deal with it before it turns into something larger. If you can’t discuss it face to face, arrange to talk on the phone. It’s better to resolve it some way than not at all.
Concentrate on quality time. When you’re together, do your best to make this time count. Discuss your thoughts and do things that make you both Avoid wasting the time away by discussing bills or petty issues. What do both of you enjoy doing together? Going to a movie? Having deep thought provoking discussions? Whatever you consider to be quality time, now more than ever it is vital that you bring this ingredient into your relationship.
Split chores. When you’re both busy, it’s hard to decide who should be responsible for what around the home. When things are laying around, or beds aren’t made or washing hasn’t been done it can really turn from a little annoyance to a huge fat pain in the back side. This will corrode your relationship. Decide on how you’re going to split the chores ahead of time.
Stick to an assigned schedule so there won’t be any future arguing about who didn’t do what and when. If both of you are too tired to deal with chores then considering getting outside help would be a good place to start. But if you are doing it yourselves, make sure that both of you understand that each of you play a role at keeping your relationships healthy.
Besides the time you have together you want to spend doing better things than fighting about the trash that wasn’t taken out. (Roles eyes) Last thing you really wanna do right? I’d much rather spend it snuggling up to my partner.
Help each other. If you have the extra time, go out of your way to help out your partner. This action will show them that you care about them deeply. Being on opposing schedules is daunting at times, so every little thing you can say or do to communicate positive feelings to your partner is a good thing. I always urge my clients to ask their partners “What can I do today to show you how much you mean to me?” Then when they tell you, do it. That right there is brownie points that will keep your partner appreciating your thoughtfulness for a very long time.
Leave love notes. These notes don’t always have to be romantic or profound. Maybe you can just let your partner know that you made a special dinner for her when she comes home. It doesn’t really matter what you say, only that you’re adding one more way of talking to your partner when you can’t physically be there.
If you really want to take it a step further – leave little post it notes all over the house with little drawings or with little quotes or messages. There are so many things you can do with Post It Notes.
Go away together on a vacation. When you find some time to yourself, sit down and plan out your family vacation. This can be a fun activity even if the vacation is taking place several months in the future. It allows you to picture a time when the whole family will be together without having to worry about the scheduling conflicts. I would actually say that this is mandatory – MAKE the time to go away. Family is so important, the time spent together is precious. If you have children, make sure to be an example to your children what a relationship is all about. Remember they will mirror your relationship patterns.
Make time for intimacy. Intimacy doesn’t always mean physical intimacy, although it can. Being on opposing schedules is tiring and it may feel like you have more of a roommate than a partner. Holding hands, even just sitting on the couch kissing or being playful will go a long way. Having deep loving talks, winking at your partner, or just staring into each other’s eyes will make them feel appreciated and loved. The list to this is endless.
Little Gestures go a long way. Sending your partner some flowers while they are work will make them feel extra loved and extra special. You can also cook a nice meal and set the table with a candle for them with a love note on their meal. You can record them a message on your phone and send it to them. Use your imagination, it’s truly rewarding doing things like this for your partner.
Find a way to remind your partner how you feel about him or her. You may only have a few moments together, but you can make the most of those moments. Any small thing will act as cement for your relationship and it is always remembered. I still have all the roses my partner has given me, and I have a special box full of letters and cards that I treasure. I have photos and trinkets from every trip we have taken together.
Be there for each other. While you can’t always physically be there, figure out a way to be there for your partner when they’re going through a tough time. They may need to lean on you more often, and you don’t want them to feel alone. You can send frequent emails, video messages or text messages, and make time for frequent phone calls as well.
Boundaries. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure there are clear cut off times, in other words – if you’re home, you’re home and not to be disturbed by work stuff. Work business is work business and should be conducted in the time that is your work hours, it should not impose while you’re with your family.
How to negotiate a healthy couple “deal:”
- Be open about your expectations.
When intoxicated by new love, couples tend to see only their similarities and to let disappointments slide. It’s a huge mistake to assume you are on the same page about how you define cheating. You can’t mind-read. Your partner won’t know what you expect unless you talk about it. Communication is key to all of this. If it happens that you’re in a situation that is difficult and there is some resentment building up. Seek counseling or the help of a professional soon.
An example is when you’ve decided to move to another country, and your job is in the evening and his during the day. Make sure you’ve gotten counseling, moving is high up the list next to grief and anything can go wrong. Longing for home can open yourself up to infidelity. Coming back from something like that is truly difficult for many people. If your schedules are different it means the chances of infidelity is higher. Don’t take a chance. Make sure that you keep your relationship healthy any way you can. It’s okay to bring in help from a 3rd party. In the long run it will save you lots of heartache.
- Be willing to talk about reservations.
It is neither healthy nor useful to bury reservations about the other in the name of love. It is neither healthy nor useful to bury reservations about your own willingness to meet the other person’s expectations in the conviction that time and love will conquer all. Shoving doubts aside only means they will grow teeth and claws. Eventually one of those doubts will come out to bite you on your tochus. It’s healthier to put reservations on the table so the two of you have a chance to try to work through them.
- Be vulnerable.
Opening ourselves up to someone else can be scary, but so liberating on so many levels. Some people, especially people who have been hurt in prior relationships, avoid discussions about their fears and frailties. They don’t talk about their expectations because they don’t want to be hurt again. That almost always guarantees that the relationship won’t last. True trust comes from revealing vulnerabilities and finding that they are treated gently and never used as a way to control or hurt the other. If you have been hurt in previous relationships, I highly recommend you find someone to help you to resolve the past hurts. You don’t want to bring that baggage into a new relationship. We don’t realize how the past can affect the present in a very negative manner.
Patterns and such.
We learn all kinds of things about love and relationships through media and from our family units, they aren’t always right or healthy. Be aware what yours might be, were you taught to think about money, husbands, wives, moms and chores in a certain way?
Were you taught that it’s bad to discuss your pain? Were you taught that relationships were normal if you manipulated your partner, or used tears or mean words to put them down? These things will kill off your relationship. You don’t want to add that stress. If this is you – You know my advice by now.
- Understand that everyone has a right to some privacy.
Trust does not require sharing every little detail about past relationships and encounters. It’s enough that each of you acknowledges having loved and lost before and talks about what was learned from it, it’s not okay to bad mouth your ex – no matter what happened. My opinion is – you loved that person at one stage, now you’re not together anymore and you’re badmouthing them.
- It means you can do it with your current partner that you’re so willing to die for. Don’t &$(%*Y ing do it. Repeatedly pressuring for details is an indication of insecurity and distrust. Trusting partners will trust that they are each sharing what is important for the other to know.
- Be trustworthy.
The truth is that the world is full of people who are attractive in different ways. A trustworthy partner is someone who honors the contract of his or her relationship, especially when it is tested. Each person generally does his or her best to be the kind of person he or she would like to live with. If you have a problem with being faithful to every partner – find someone to help you figure it out.
If your partner works night shift, he will be tired when he gets home. Still sex is such an amazing thing for men. They thrive on it, if they don’t get regular sex they get depressed. And please spare me the “men are horny goats”, I find it distasteful that women have been conditioned in such a manor. Mechanically we are different, males don’t have much of a choice. Nature dealt them the card of always being ‘ready’.
If your man is sleeping then I advise you to wake him up gently by stroking him and by initiating sex or sexual actions. He will be pleased beyond words and it will keep your relationship alive in a most magical way.
- Communication. Communication. Communication.
Love is a feeling. But trust requires thoughtful discussion as well. You and the person you love can only negotiate a clear relationship contract if you know what each other is thinking. If you don’t know how to communicate then make the effort and time to learn.
It will save you many years of pain and hurt. It will spill over in the rest of your life too. You’ll be able to communicate in a more mindful way with everyone around you, this in itself is very powerful.
For any love relationship to grow and deepen, there has to be trust. You need it. Your partner needs it. All the love in the world won’t compensate for its lack. When a couple has trust as well as love, both people, and the relationship, mature and thrive.
While being on opposing schedules can present a challenge, it doesn’t mean that your relationship has to be on the rocks or even difficult. The two of you can still lead normal and perfectly happy lives. Every relationship that I know requires some form of work, some form of compromise with the right attitude and the right intentions you can succeed. Besides it doesn’t mean that the two of you will be on different schedules for the rest of your lives, this may very well be temporary. Use these strategies to help bring you that closeness, even when your schedules keep you apart.
To your Love, Success and Happiness