By Julie Tabash Kelsheimer
Having been in an eight-year long-distance relationship with my spouse prior to our recent marriage, I, like many performers, have experienced several ups and downs that come with maintaining a long-distance relationship. To put it simply…. it’s hard! At the same time, separation creates a sense of independence that, ultimately, can foster an incredibly strong, trusting, and meaningful partnership. While every couple is different, here are a few things I’ve found to be helpful while maintaining a relationship on the road:
1) Say good morning! A simple good morning call or text to your partner can get your day off to a great start. It gives you a chance to connect with the person you’re missing the most, and it allows him or her to know that you’re thinking of them from afar.
2) Call more often than you text. I was lucky to have started dating my husband during a time when texting was not as popular as it is now. To this day, hearing his voice brings me a bigger smile than texting ever could. Talking to your partner allows you to get a better idea of what kind of day he or she is having, and vice versa. When my husband can hear that I’m not having the happiest day, he knows just what to say, or not say, to make my day brighter!
3) Have positive conversations. Unfortunately, I have often subconsciously used conversations with my husband to complain about the parts of my day or life that aren’t going exactly as I hoped. While it is important to vent now and then, the limited conversation we often get with our partners should not be negative in nature. Even if the conversation needs to be serious, it doesn’t need to be negative. If you choose to spark positive conversation, chances are you and your partner will be laughing, or at least smiling, by the end!
4) Acknowledge your partner’s achievements and activities. Does your partner have a performance or a presentation at work? Perhaps he or she had an important meeting that day, or maybe he or she took an important test. Be sure to remember and acknowledge the things going on in your partner’s life, rather than simply focusing on you. Wish your partner good luck, congratulate him or her, and remind him or her that their accomplishments bring you joy, too!
5) Dedicate yourself fully both to work and time off. Developing an understanding with your partner regarding where your priorities lie is incredibly important. When I am rehearsing, teaching, or at work-related dinners or gatherings, I rarely, if ever, simultaneously text or call my husband. Conversely, when I am not in a work-related environment, I put work aside and focus on conversation with my spouse. Of course, unexpected situations arise and those worlds must cross now and then. However, being fully present either at work or in conversation with your partner typically leads to more fulfillment in both.
6) Be yourself. Being on the road often brings pressures regarding where and how to spend our time and energy, most specifically outside of rehearsals or performances. If work is done for the day and you feel like grabbing dinner or a drink with colleagues, go for it! If you’d rather head home and call your partner to catch up, do that instead! Never let guilt be the driving force behind a decision you make regarding work or your relationship. Taking care of you and being confident in who you are allows you to give your best self both to your work and your partner.
Each couple has its own way of handling long distance. Regardless of how you choose to handle your time apart, consider allowing communication, positivity, and balance to find their way into your everyday life on the road and at home!