long-distance · loving yourself · marriage tips · self-love

Practicing Self-Love while in a partnership

I feel like this topic is very important and I want to show the ups and the downs of being away from your partner. I hope to show you ways that have helped me to cope with it and to look at the positive side of it. Even if you are not personally in this situation this will be great learning of self-love and how to love yourself and be okay on your own even when you are in a committed relationship. Too often we rely on our partner for our essential happiness, but once we lose that relationship then we completely fall apart. What if we could fall in love with ourselves instead? What if we put the love into ourselves that we freely give to others? I have learned that you must love yourself first no matter what. This doesn’t mean it is easy to do and I feel like it is something you have to work on constantly, but it is very necessary.

My husband has a job that requires a lot of travel and sometimes he will be gone for a week, two weeks, or even up to a full month. Sometimes these jobs are international which creates a huge time difference and that can make it difficult to be able to talk often. He isn’t the best with technology like calling or texting so that makes it even harder sometimes. He has had this job since the beginning of our relationship so I knew what I was getting into, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard to accept. When you first date someone you want to spend all of your time with them right? You are so excited and this is when the momentum needs to continue in order for the relationship to keep going. At the time, he was my boyfriend and we dated for 2 weeks before he had to go out on a long job. He went overseas and I remember us texting all the time and it is so exciting, but I missed him. Some time passed by and he continued to travel and some jobs were harder than others. A few months in, I started to doubt the relationship because we would spend time apart and my mind would go crazy. I wondered if he wanted to be with me or if I was good enough, and if I would ever have someone who truly loved me and wouldn’t leave. In my head, he was physically leaving and even though it was for a job I still had these self-doubts and felt like I was being completely left. This comes from a long line of trauma and past experiences. I was so scared to lose this, and in previous relationships, I spent all of my time with them so that is what I was used to. I would spend every minute with them and my identity was them, and when things went south in that relationship I felt completely broken inside. I felt broken for years and it is something I still struggle with having that self-love. From a young age, I felt like a partner completes you and that love is everything. This really sets people up to fail because we think that someone else is responsible for our own happiness, and when that doesn’t happen then we are completely destroyed.

          All of these doubts and lack of self-love have gone into every relationship and every dating experience I have. I always just wanted to be loved and focused so hard on that. The thing is, with him traveling it actually forced us to have hard conversations and to openly communicate about how we were feeling. This is something that was new to me and felt so amazing. I felt like, wow this person isn’t going to leave me and he actually wants to talk through it and work through it? I was so confused! I was so used to breaking up, getting back together, and relationships just being pure CHAOS. We were forced to work hard at it and to work at it every day and we quickly learned a lot about one another. I think the time apart for us was really good for our relationship and it set a strong foundation for us to build on.

          Time went by and we ended up getting married and so you would think all the insecurities would be out the window, right? It is not like I have ever been worried about him being with anyone else, it is more just trying to live day to day life without him. This past year he left for a month on an international trip, and let me tell you this was one of the hardest months of my entire life. I was feeling so down and got into a deep depression. The one person I needed couldn’t be there physically, and because of the time difference, we hardly were able to talk. All of my insecurity came back and I felt completely alone, and was so mad thinking is this how it is going to be forever? I can’t do this by myself and I don’t want to. I was so down that I was even suicidal….. and that is so scary! These feelings were rooted in years and years of feeling alone and unworthy. I went back to feeling alone in life, and that I will always be alone. Even though I have this amazing husband out working his butt off for US and our life, and I am sitting here feeling completely lifeless because I am alone. When he would come home, I would want to spend all my time with him that I wouldn’t even want to leave the house to go to yoga, or dinner with my dad. This is something that I had to work on as well because I have to keep living my life even when he is here. Another thing that is hard is that we have missed each other birthdays, big events, Valentine’s day, and other things because of his traveling. That makes it very hard and I can’t express some of the sadness I have felt during those times. Sometimes I think…”I finally have this amazing guy and love, and enjoy him so much but can’t fully have him around all the time.” This was a really hard concept for me, and sometimes still is.

          After this experience, I started to have a lot of realizations that have completely saved me and saved us in a relationship. While he was gone and when he is home, I started living my life. I started going to yoga more, making more friends, creating a routine, and focusing on me. I realized he can not be my sole purpose and happiness. He brings so much happiness and love to my life, just like I am sure your partner does but it doesn’t mean they should be your entire happiness. That is so unrealistic and it really sets you up to start feeling so alone and in a situation like I was in. I can write this now and say how much happier I have been with myself and in general. I have found ways to cope with him being gone, and I have started to look at the bright side of things. I am not saying it is easy, or ever will be because I love him and miss him but I am saying I can survive and thrive on my own as well. He is about to leave again for a month and I have so much anxiety even thinking about it, but I know I will be okay because I have done it before and I will continue to do it and survive.

          I think this is important for anyone to do even if their partner doesn’t travel. So often, I hear when my friends tell me their partner is going out of town for a few days and they feel like they can’t survive or don’t know what they will do with themselves. I am like I HAVE BEEN THERE; I GET IT! Although, I hope that everyone can enjoy the time on their own and have fun with it. YOU CAN SURVIVE without another person, and you can enjoy it too. I think movies like Romeo and Juliet have screwed up our generation, and all of the other love movies of people not being able to like to breathe without the other person. This is for you single people out there too! ENJOY this time by yourself and if you really focus on loving yourself, then the right partner will come by and one who will truly love you. If you love yourself, everything else falls into place.

          He and I don’t have children yet so I know that will be a completely different story and one of the reasons we have waited to have kids. I am terrified of having a child and him being gone a lot, especially because I don’t have too much support here in Georgia. I do however have a very highly active and crazy dog so I have gotten a taste of what it would be like, and it is really hard. It is really hard because you start to get momentum in the relationship and have a routine and then the routine is all over the place once the traveling starts. Accept this and continue to do what you need to do even when they are gone.

          The thing I want everyone to take away from this is that please make yourself happy first no matter what. If you can’t make yourself happy then nobody else can, and you will set such high expectations and get let down every time. I promise you the relationship will do so much better if you both have that sense of independence and security. I can’t believe after 15 years of trying to figure this out, that I finally am understanding it. I think this is why this situation was put in my life so I could work through it, and realize the person that I have needed this whole time, was myself.

          If this is something you are struggling with, I am here to talk, but in the meantime, here are some tips to cope that have helped me!

How to Thrive On Your Own

  • DATE YOURSELF! Take yourself on a date and get dressed up. Even cook yourself dinner at home and add some wine and enjoy
  • Keep yourself busy!
  • Therapy- Therapy helps me a lot with this
  • Take care of yourself! Pamper and nurture yourself. Go to yoga, baths, walks, face masks, or whatever else you enjoy
  • Hang out with friends and family! This made a huge difference for me. I started to meet more people and reach out more and it has helped to not be alone constantly
  • Enjoy your time alone and love being with yourself
  • If you are missing the intimate time- then please yourself! Hello, that’s what vibrators are for!
  • Create and get creative- do a project or do something that you can spend time doing and something you enjoy
  • Clean, organize and knock things off your to-do list
  • Binge-watch all your favorite shows and enjoy
  • Get involved- for me Soulful Sunday this event my friends put on has helped me have a sense of community and people to rely on and trust. If you need the church, or any kind of community get together
  • Take this time to make phone calls and catch up with friends and family (especially for me since I am a long-distance from them)
  • Go on a road trip! Take a trip by yourself and enjoy the heck out of it
  • Write about how you feel and get it all out and on paper
  • Learn new recipes and cook more
  • Try out new work out classes
  • Read a new book

How to THRIVE in your relationship from a distance

  • Write letters and put it in their luggage so they can read at different times. Every year on Valentine’s day I write my husband a ton of “open when” letters. He has ones that he can open when he is sad, misses me, stressed out, needs a laugh, needs some love, needs a funny story, etc. I will fill them with pictures of us, and even some coupons he can use when we see each other. This shows your partner how much you care, and it goes a very long way
  • Discuss your needs with your partner and make sure they know what you expect so you can be on the same page
  • Understand that your partner is there for work and not for fun- and he will be exhausted and he can’t always talk (this was a hard thing for me to learn) but for the one who is traveling to understand your side of it too, and to listen to you and be empathetic
  • Spend quality time when they are home
  • Be open and honest about how your feeling so you don’t build up resentment
  • Know that this will not last forever- and it is to better your future and your relationship
  • Make sure to keep the romance alive and send flirty texts!
  • Call when you say you’re going to call- and make sure you see that time as important
  • Trust your partner
  • Continue to express your love for one another
  • Travel with your partner if you get the chance to
  • My husband sucks at technology, but for the ones that are better at it I feel it is important to schedule skype dates
  • Don’t feel like you have to talk 24/7 because that is unrealistic. Appreciate the small convos even if they are short and once a day
  • Go to the airport and pick them up! Even though the airport is about an hour away I enjoy being there when he returns- and enjoy dropping him off. That is the extra time I get to spend with him and he appreciates that I am there
  • Realize that you still have your partner, even from miles away and appreciate that you have a hard worker and someone who loves you

I really hope this helps and if you have any questions please reach out! If I can do this, I know that you can too and I have faith in your journey. Thank you for reading and taking the time to support me because it truly means the world.

Love and light,