Time management skills are important in everything we do in life, especially romance. When you’re in a long distance relationship it’s even more vital you manage your time well as the difference on the clocks can really hinder your sense of normalcy.
At any given time Jenny and I are 12 or 13 hours apart. This is dependent on whether it’s Daylight Savings Time or not. In the summers it’s an easy 12 hours apart with the unluckier 13 hour difference coming in the winter.
It’s not the worst kind of time difference though. We’re not chasing after each other because of time. If we were six hours apart by the time I got home from work she’d be going to bed. Since we are half a day away from each other, when I wake up she’s usually coming home from work and vice versa. Not ideal, it is manageable even if it means sneaking to the bathroom at work a little more often than a normal person to communicate. The only negative to this is everyone thinks you have a sensitive stomach. For two people who enjoy their privacy, Jenny and I don’t really mind this false assumption.
Jenny and I manage our time with routine. We’re both Nazis about order. But we’re the kind of Nazis who end up getting lazy and lose the war. Jenny doesn’t exactly demand I give her time and I refrain from doing the same with her. As I put it to her early on in our relationship, we’re just having one big long conversation that picks up where it left off whenever we have the time.
I feel a big reason why relationships fail is because one person does not give the other the attention they desire. Whether it’s an illusion of the one person or not is subjective. This is a challenge for everyone whether you live 8,000 miles apart or in the same household. You need to give your partner attention and the best way to do this is to surrender your time to them.
In our case, Jenny and I know what works best for us. My nights and her mornings are when we make sure we give each other attention. She’s much more of a morning person than I am anyway which means we’re far less grumpy when we talk. This does take practice for people who are not familiar with structure in their lives. Since I’m used to writing on certain days at certain times and following an exercise routine (if you’ve seen me shirtless you’d never guess I’ve even touched a barbell let alone know it’s one word) finding time for the woman I love is easy.
Keep in mind just spending time with the person is not enough. Sometimes I do get distracted when I should focus more on Jenny. When I visited her in October though, she had my attention almost fully; except in the mornings when the ALDS and NLDS were televised on FOX Sports Asia. Even then, Jenny understood I was enjoying the baseball game because it’s one of the few things her partner really loves. She also knows I love her even more and there are ways to steal my attention away from the game other than “accidentally” knocking over the television when I go to the bathroom.
The Lesson to Learn
My advice to anyone in a long distance relationship is to set some kind of structure to when you devote time to each other. Don’t force it either. Don’t get disappointed when things fail to work in your favor. You need to remain flexible with your time. If this was a very black and white process then there’d be nothing to manage. Life is full of grey areas and your goal in a relationship should be to navigate through any of the static that shows up. I’ll never give Jenny the time she deserves because my mind is focused on so many subjects. She accepts it though and my awareness helps me focus on her during those moments we get all to ourselves.