In my role as a relationship coach, dovetailing goals and plans of two individuals sometimes has its challenges.
Recently I encountered one couple who were at different stages in their lives.
The situation was one half of the couple. We’ll call one Bill.
He was established in his career, was up for a new promotion and was completing further professional qualifications.
The other, we’ll call him Leo, had ambitions to travel and had recently taken a redundancy payout from his job. His new contract wasn’t to start until the end of the year.
Leo wanted to explore Asia and have an adventure, but Bill couldn’t take that amount of time off and had no real interest in spending a long time in the heat and humidity.
They were at a stalemate.
Leo really wanted to go. They were planning on moving in together, but Bill felt Leo leaving his life for five to six months was an end to the relationship.
And this is why they came to me.
Some couples can cope with separation and others suffer with the thought of being apart.
Leo and Bill had been together for nearly three years. It was very clear when they came to me they cared deeply for each other.
Coming to see a therapist was something they both wanted to do because neither wanted the relationship to end.
How did they come to a resolution?
In Leo and Bill’s situation, they made it clear they cared and loved each other and scheduled a contact rotation where they’d regularly communicate and touch base with each other a couple times a week.
At the midway point, Bill would fly out to holiday with Leo at the place he was planning on being at that date.
In this situation, a suitable resolution was gained.
“Some couples consider opening up the
relationship for the duration of the travels.”
So what are the key tips for a relationship to stay together when one goes off traveling and the other stays home?
1. Makes sure finances can cover the joint commitments.
If you are living together and want to take off, you can’t automatically expect your partner to pick up the rent and utility costs while you gallivant off on your adventure.
2. Keep in regular contact.
This does not mean calling or texting every morning, afternoon and evening, but keep in contact at least a couple times a week to check in and share your plans.
Most foreign countries have Internet connections or at the very minimum a phone line.
Regular postcards are a nice touch to show where you are and what you are doing.
Ideally, it’d be good if the one left at home can fly out to visit and share the experience at least once.
3. Have a fixed time frame.
This means there’s at least an end date in sight, like a child counting down to Christmas.
If your travel plans are open ended and you have no firm plans of returning back to your home ground, then it’s wrong to expect your partner to hang around waiting on the off chance of you coming back.
4. Be open to the situation.
Likewise, be open to the situation that either of you may meet someone new. This can and sometimes does happen. Be open and honest about it.
If it does happen, don’t keep the partner around just on the off chance. Things happen and you have to deal with the effects responsibly.
5. Consider putting things on hold.
Some couples consider opening up the relationship for the duration of the travels or completely putting things on hold.
If either party meets a new person, then they can agree to take the risk. However, part company before the travels commence, and if both are single when the other returns, agree to revisit the relationship.
The travel bug hits at different times in people’s lives for many reasons, but the pull of adventures and exploring a different country and culture can be life changing and addictive.
You can have a relationship and be a passionate traveler.
Just make sure you are aware of the pitfalls and challenges that require navigation before you even start booking flights and deciding what to pack.
How have you dealt with travel affecting your relationship?
Photo source: bp.blogspot.com.