The first thing you need to remember is to NOT let your time go to waste—use it wisely by living the full life you want, too! Here are several suggestions.
1. Meet-up with friends
When we first get into a relationship (especially during the “honeymoon phase”), we often forget to hang-out with old friends. They might be understanding of our situation, but at some point, we need to include them back in our lives to retain their trust. So if your lover goes on an unscheduled overtime, call up a friend and catch up on old times. Invite them over for tea or simply chat them up online.
Again: it’s perfectly normal to feel disappointed at first because you were expecting them to be by your side. Just don’t forget there are other people in your life who are just as important.
2. Go out and move
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as going out the door. Angry because your weekend camping trip is cancelled because of a board meeting? Was she late for your Friday Netflix movie marathon? Walk it off. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), even just five minutes of physical activity is enough to release endorphins in our body. These chemicals are natural painkillers that reduce stress and improve sleep.
Take a quick jog around the park or walk briskly towards a nearby coffee shop. You’ll get your daily dose of healthy exercise, plus you’ll feel better, too!
3. Get back into a hobby or develop one
I am in one of those relationships that presents double the challenge: not only is my partner away from me, but we’re both super busy most of the time. Believe it or not, what keeps us close are our individual hobbies (he’s into keeping aquariums and I love baking).
Doing stuff that you enjoy—whether or not it’s the same with your partner’s—is a great way to ease off feelings of being burned out, and keeps us productive. Sometimes, we’re just overwhelmed with everything in our lives (yes, including our relationships). Our hobbies act as a healthy way to recover from that, while providing awesome topics to talk about.
4. Keep a journal or blog
My career usually requires me to work longer hours. My boyfriend often comes home early and waits for me until I can call. During this time, he likes to write his novel and then later tells me his progress. Of course, you don’t need to resort to writing full-length pieces, but a simple journal or online blog should keep you busy while you wait for your partner. Write down your thoughts, fears, date ideas, experiences, and dreams.
If you want, you could even share them with the world so that other people could learn from you! Speaking of date ideas…
5. Plan exciting dates
That’s right. While your significant other is busy, use this as the best opportunity to prepare surprise date ideas. Go ahead and scroll through Pinterest without fear (because they won’t be looking!). If a birthday or an anniversary is on its way, use this time to plan ahead. Create a list of things you want to do together but haven’t found the chance to do so. Then start making calls, booking rooms, or buying tickets. Once they’re back from their alone-time, they’ll be thrilled with your surprise!
If you don’t keep yourself preoccupied, you’ll just end up feeling bad and sulking at home. Who wants that? Every person is different, but we each have our own levels of need for a little “me-time”. Learn to accept this and be patient in finding out what works for both of you.
My boyfriend and I, for instance, are okay with set schedules so we have time for each other as well as our hobbies. On Sunday mornings, I usually let him write his novel while I experiment with baking. But by the afternoon, we should be ready to spend time together on Skype. Every couple is unique: and the fun lies in discovery!
6. Extend a Little Understanding
There is no secret to lasting relationships.
Sometimes, plans change. People change. You may feel frustrated now because your lover wasn’t so busy before. Or you’re probably wondering why she seems to be taking up too much time away from you. These are to be expected in relationships—especially long-term ones. However, if you’re really in love, you would understand.
Cliché as it may sound, but this is when communication and an open mind becomes vital. Talk to them: what are their priorities now? Do they still intend to include you in their future? What are their plans? If they love you just as much, they would be willing to compromise with you so the relationship remains stable. If they explain that they’re aiming for a better career or that they’ll be busy due to business, then be understanding.
Think about it: if you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want to be understood in the same way? Perhaps the best gift we could give someone, is the confidence that we’ll always be there for them—no matter what they choose.