Perhaps your partner works long hours or often travels on work trips. While the long hours can be difficult, it’s hard to compare that to having a spouse who’s on the road more often than he’s at home with you.
The challenges, with or without kids, are many. Here are some useful tips I’ve gleaned from expats in the know.
While it seems cliché and painfully obvious, taking care of yourself is one of the top pieces of advice people give to help others manage life here with absent partners.
Most partners tell me that taking care of themselves, whether it’s watching their favorite show, working out or taking some spa time, is key to dealing with being alone.
That said, one Facebook friend I talked to, says she joked that it’s better to have hubby traveling: “I personally would choke him out if he didn’t travel!” Jokes aside, my point is this: It’s important to feel comfortable with your own company, whether or not your loved ones are physically with you.
NEXT: Stay socially active →
Some ladies in Singapore take advantage of social groups that go to movies or dinner together when their husbands are traveling. Some attend regular coffee meetings as well or do other group activities outside the home like walking, golf or tennis.
With domestic help, the time needs to be filled up, especially if the kids are at school all day. Even without help, you can only clean so much! Keeping up with friends is a great way to fill the me time.
NEXT: Have a parenting plan →
Single parenting seems to be the worst part of having a traveling partner, as I speak to people here and at home who are in these situations.
Being both Mom and Dad to kids can be daunting – from dealing with medical emergencies to tantrums of “Where’s Daddy?!” – especially if you have kids that are opposite gender. Sometimes boys need their Dads.
Having financial coverage to pay for these things can be the most stressful part. Setting up contingency plans is an important step to planning for a spouse to be away, friends tell me.
In terms of managing the kids, having the helper take some shifts so the parent can get out is key. Without help, moms say scheduling a regular play date eases some pressure and hiring a regular babysitter is a good tactic for avoiding parental burnout.
NEXT: Monitor your emotional health →
Emotional bandwidth also is something that needs to be in place, so take care of your mental hygiene by talking to family and friends about your feelings, and maybe even a professional counselor.
Sharing your feelings in a safe and comfortable setting is important to your emotional well-being. If depression, anger and anxiety are allowed to fester, other problems including over-drinking, over-spending, relationship troubles, or other problems, can start.
If you are having these issues, please reach out to a friend (online or in real life) or seek professional help. (SACAC Counseling, for example, is a counseling service that specializes in expat issues.)
NEXT: Keep in touch →
Overall, partners of traveling spouses believe communication is the number one priority.
One new mom tells me all forms of communication are game: Skype, phone calls, Facebook, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc… gives one no excuse not to be in touch. It doesn’t take a therapist to tell you that keeping the connection with your partner can keep you from experiencing relationship trouble, such as lack of trust and/or feeling isolated and ignored.
On the trust front, if you are feeling excessive paranoia, where you can’t think of anything else or you’re scouring the computer for hints about things like cheating or partying, please consider talking to someone about it, mainly YOUR PARTNER. Of course, keep the lines of communication open and be reasonable about the situation.
Having said that, from my own experience with 12 hour time differences between U.S. trips and Singapore, this can be challenging. Remember this: You’re not the only one in the relationship who’s allowed to feel tired or experience negativity. Compromise is key!
NEXT: Roll with it →
Overall, having a plan between the two of you on what steps you take to fill your time, meet your own needs and those of your family and how to keep in touch can go a long way to helping you manage the out-of-town challenge.
Also, knowing you live in a community of traveling expats can give you an outlet. The more we can connect with like-minded others, the more we can nurture ourselves and learn to roll with it.
Oh, and when your partner’s back, take all your chances to make up for lost time (probably after your partner naps away the jet lag, though)!
NEXT: Take care of yourself →
By Andrea McKenna, September 2017
Like this? Read more living in Singapore stories here,