Business trip: an additional stress for the relationship
Don’t overlook how business trip affect your relationship. In our stretched lives, when one travels, it quickly seems like one more thing to deal with. In fact it is more than that, it changes the dynamic in the household, and everyone has to adjust. The adjustment is different whether she or he travels. In Part 1, here, I talk about the situation where he travels, and in Part 2, I address the counterpart, when she travels.
In change there is always an opportunity for growth. Yet this kind of temporary change can be sometimes a burden sometimes a relief. We all find our partner’s business trips somewhat unsettling.
And the longer they are the worse it gets. When one in the relationship travels for work, the changed dynamic can bring tensions. The only time traveling does not break the rhythm is when it is recurrent every week. So it is integrated into a routine.
For most women with children, when their husband travels, they are overwhelmed with negative feelings towards the one that they perceive being the cause of their emotional imbalance. Consciously, they know how untrue that is. He travels because he wants to provide for his family. The chaos created in her life is such however, that the natural reaction is to blame him for it. This is exactly what Mia from New-York expressed in her email: “I can’t help being resentful. When he returns, he expects me to be normal and take care of him, when all I need is a break.” What is interesting here is that Mia mentions her need. That is what traveling does to your relationship: it brings each of you on their knees, and claiming needs is the only thing that counts.
Each partner has different needs
Needs for him:
Resting, unwinding, and relaxing
Needs for her:
When we are at a need level there is urgency and a lack of empathy attached to it. You can easily understand why tension builds up.
Being in need is close to being in survival mode. I know it sounds dramatic: It can be, on a small scale. A mother who has to deal with it all, and is not used to it, will feel an unprecedented level of stress in order to adjust to her new condition.
Cutting corners is the only way to get things done, and women in general hate cutting corners. They have to choose between what they view as bad or worse. Whether they have to cut corners and do nothing correctly, or they have to miss out certain tasks, none gives a sense of satisfaction.
Seeing the big picture: notice how optimizing serve your life
As usual, there is always something to learn from being unsettled. Women, providing they are not over stressed will notice, that certain corner cuttings make their life easier without bothering anyone. If they can accept that, the trip then gives them the opportunity to improve their efficiency and therefore decrease their stress level.
So, try to put your resentment aside for a few minutes, and think about how you have cut the corners while he was away. Did that make your life easier? What about the consequences for others? If only you are bothered by the fact that you did not do this the right way (according to you) consider adding it to your routine.
As a result his business trip has given you a chance to be more efficient and find some free time.
Organisation that suits my needs
When my husband travels I put on my athlete cap, and obey to a strict personal schedule: I eat healthy, I sleep early, and I question everything I plan to do three times:
- How important?
- Is it the right time?
If the answer is yes to all three I do it. Otherwise I leave it for later.
The hardest for me is to deal with other people’s requests: play date here, project there, party here. My kids know that when I am alone, their social life is reduced to the minimum. This is the only way I can stay sane. I used to feel like a failure. I don’t care anymore: I know what my energy level can cope with, and most importantly, I am the one who pays with the consequences if I take more than I can handle. The priority is to lower my stress level, so when he returns, I am not on the edge of collapsing.
- I therefore get extra help whenever I can
- Everyday I find some time for me only
- I practice mindfulness as much as I can by simply breathing and being aware of it.
Hope this helps!