Dating is complex. Popular media (and social media for that matter) might depict effortless romances and perfect pairings, but real relationships work differently. They’re complicated, fueled by fluctuating emotion and sometimes less than ideal circumstances. And it’s especially true for relationships where one partner isn’t always physically around. If you’re someone who prefers proximity to your significant other, or if you’re dating someone whose love language happens to be quality time, then constant travel can put strain on your connection.
The silver lining is that, like with every other area of your relationship, a little bit of effort can go a long way—a busy lifestyle doesn’t mean that your love life has to suffer.
Here are five dating tips that can help you maintain a healthy dating life, even if you’re constantly on the go.
1. Be present with your partner.
When it comes to spending time with your partner, be where you are. Set aside time and give him or her your undivided attention. One hour together can be more substantial when you’re completely involved in what’s happening. It’s one thing to sit at a restaurant table with your head buried in your phone and another go on a date where you are completely engaged with the person in front of you. The next time you plan a date, eliminate the distractions and allow yourself to fully experience the moment with your significant other. It will demonstrate to your partner how much you cherish the time you have and it will make your limited time together special.
2. Communicate more than you think necessary.
In an ideal world, your loved one would express unwavering confidence in your connection. In the world of dating, emotions cause us to act a bit differently. Frequent travel means infrequent contact, unless you make the effort to enhance your communication. If you need a hint for what to say, a recent study shows that words of affirmation are the strongest form of communication that leads to satisfaction in relationships. Short texts and thoughtful messages go a long way to affirm your interest. It may mean sending a message in between meetings or a phone call during a layover, but it will have a positive impact on your relationship. Not to mention good communication can have a reciprocal effect—What’s better than hearing your significant other’s voice at the end of a long day?
3. Share the small details.
FOMO: There might not be anything more detrimental to a budding relationship. A Texas A&M study links the fear of missing out to feelings of dissatisfaction. If you’re constantly going on trips without your partner, it’s an emotion that can have an adverse impact on your connection. Whether these trips are for leisure or business is irrelevant. The point is you’re away having a new and separate experience from your partner. One way to combat impending jealousy is to make your partner feel like he or she is included in some way. Tell your partner about your trip, and not just general info about how it went, but all the quirky details. Share the funny stories, describe the special moments, mention the little things that occurred throughout your day. Sharing the small details will strengthen your connection, whether you’re in person or away. Don’t let your partner miss out on the little moments, make him or her feel a part of them.
4. Show interest in your partner’s life.
Be just as intent on staying in the loop of your partner’s life as you are on sharing details of your own. Remember that you’re not the only one with news or stories to share. Your partner has a life too. Let them know that you want to hear about it. Express genuine interest and ask questions. Dig for the details. Take the initiative in getting to know more about your partner even if that means probing a little. Eventually he or she will feel more comfortable opening up and you’ll both be on your way to a building a firm foundation.
5. Plan spontaneity.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, planned spontaneity is actually perfect for your busy lifestyle. Since your schedule doesn’t exactly allow for off-the-cuff surprises, you’ll have to create them (and your partner doesn’t have to know how hard you worked to make them happen). Send her flowers while you’re away, ask him to meet you somewhere when you get off the plane, plan a dinner at the restaurant she keeps mentioning, or bring him home something special from your trip. Whatever it is, thoughtful actions go a long way in showing how much you care and surprises help maintain the spark that attracted you two in the first place.
Your dating life isn’t doomed just because you travel frequently, it just requires a bit more intention and effort than the average relationship. Make these tiny shifts and watch your love life flourish, no matter where you venture in the world.