Relationships are hard enough when you’re working 40 hours a week and don’t travel much for work.
But when you’re a lawyer—especially if you’re one of us who’s on the road all the time? You might as well increase those relationship challenges tenfold.
Whether you’ve been with your significant other since law school or you’re only just starting to figure things out, being the lawyer half of a couple (or being in a lawyer couple) can be tough. Thankfully, though, there are ways to make a relationship work, even if both you and your better half have tricky, demanding schedules.
Here are some of the best ways to help your relationship thrive if you travel frequently for work (or struggle to get time away from the office).
Talk Every Day
Whether or not you cohabitate, checking in with your partner daily—via an actual phone call, not just a text—is important if you don’t get to see each other as often as you should. Even the busiest among us has at least a few minutes to spare here or there; put them to use by seeing how your partner’s day is going, or even just venting to one another. If you’re one of those lawyers who’s always on the road … how shall we say this … don’t skimp on the sexy stuff. It’s important to keep romance alive, even if you can’t be physically in the same place.
And like above, do it every night. Unlike above, however, saying goodnight can be via text or email if that’s easier. Seemingly small things like wishing your partner a good night’s sleep each evening can go a long way toward making them feel loved (and not ignored in favor of work).
FaceTime and Skype are two of the greatest inventions of the modern era for busy, traveling lawyers in relationships. While not the same as actually being together, these video calling services allow you to digitally date when you’re away from home, which can be as simple as watching TV “together” from your hotel room at night or eating dinner “together” by your laptops.
Maybe she texts every morning while waiting for her coffee at Starbucks. Or maybe he calls to say “I love you” before he boards every flight. Creating rituals for the times you’re apart can help you feel connected, despite the distance. It reminds both of you that you’re a part of each other’s lives, even when you’re in separate offices, states, or countries.
Celebrate Special Occasions, Even if You Can’t be Together
Let’s say your anniversary overlaps with a crucial case and you’ll be stuck working late or forced to travel out of town. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s not an excuse to throw up your arms and not honor a special day. Instead, make sure to celebrate the day in whatever way you can: exchange cards or gifts, and plan to open them together over Skype, for example. Don’t let work keep you from prioritizing the celebration of your relationship’s milestones.
Schedule (and Keep) Dates
When Friday finally rolls around and you’re worn out from another grueling week, it can be easy to shrug off the dinner date you’d planned with your significant other and opt to stay home instead. Don’t do it! Keeping planned dates is important when your time is limited. Especially if you’re on the road for long stretches of time, your partner can feel like they’re playing second fiddle to your work. When you have the opportunity to make the most of time together, do so.
Always be Thoughtful
Never underestimate the power of a small, thoughtful action or gift. Getting ready to head out of town for a week? Do a few chores your partner hates, volunteer to run an errand for them, or even send a little gift just because. Don’t let your relationship suffer because one of you feels forgotten or passed over in favor of work.
Remember: Communication is key in any relationship, but it’s even more important to check in with your partner when you’re a busy lawyer who’s always on the road (or you both are). Staying open and honest with each other can help figure out the best ways for each of you to nurture your relationship, even if your time together is limited.