Being somewhat of a public figure, I find people are a little more interested in my private life than I’m accustomed to. Which of course, goes with the territory, and is totally fine.
However, there is one aspect of my private life that some folks have a little trouble getting a handle on. Plus, the more I’ve talked to friends in similar relationships, I find the questions I get aren’t just relegated to z-list celebs like me.
The matter at hand is this:
People who choose to travel without their significant other. This even further delves into those who choose to travel with their children – without their significant other.
Yes, this happens – and guess what? It’s totally okay. There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case and contrary to some of the negative things I’ve heard, it is not an indicator of trouble in the relationship and it’s not a red flag for bad parenting.
Before I go further, let me make it clear – there are some families who take every vacation together. When I was growing up, mine was one of them, and I completely respect and love that. It just doesn’t work for my particular situation now.
In our case, I own a travel business, (www.strange-escapes.com), make appearances and occasionally, film for TV. This means I typically travel at least once or twice a month. Since my daughter isn’t in school yet, any chance I get to bring her along, I take. My spouse, (Jimmy is his name), who happens to work two jobs, can’t just jaunt off on every little trip I take and I would never expect him to.
The other reason he doesn’t come with us? Sometimes, he doesn’t want to. Those who know Jimmy would know that a trip to Disney, or a week on a cruise ship would most likely be torture for him. It’s just not his bag. Now when we go to the Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire? Or I have an event at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO? He is much more likely to come to something like that. He’s more of a mountain man than a touristy resort type person. Well, really, he’s like a normal person who can only take a vacation once or twice a year. But when you see photos of me bouncing all over the country with or without my daughter, no man in sight, it’s easy to imagine there is trouble brewing.
I could force the issue. I could tell him he is missing out on making memories with his daughter. But I wouldn’t do that to him either. I just have no desire to and it’s not so important to me that I would create an issue in our relationship over it. He makes plenty of memories with her, he’s an amazing Dad to her and partner to me. Him being miserable at Disney with us for a week is not going to be the deciding factor as to whether Charlotte turns into a decent human being as she gets older. If anything, that time apart is teaching her that as a woman, you can have a solid relationship while maintaining your independence.
But don’t take it from me. I wanted an expert opinion on this, so I turned to my friend Damona Hoffman, an online dating coach and relationship expert. She has some super helpful suggestions on how to make it work when couples travel apart, either by choice or by necessity.
“As a TV host and speaker, I spend many weeks out of the year away from my family and my husband works as a TV writer and is often on set. With two young children, many times it’s not practical for us to travel together.
There are many tools that make it easier for people to stay connected while their love is away. My husband and I like to use the app Glide which allows you to send video text messages and see your sweetheart even when you’re in different time zones and on different schedules. Apps like What’s App allow you to text for free even if you’re out of the country. Then with Skype you can have a video date when you need to make a more meaningful connection.
Rather than focus on the time spent away, it’s important to make your partner a priority when you’re together. From Twitter, to Buzzfeed and blogs we now have so many things vying for our attention that the real crisis is not how much time you’re spending apart but rather how much time you are actually connecting when you’re together.
In my work I see that the couples who give technology a rest when they’re spending time together and make regular date nights a priority are more successful, even if they must spend time apart for work.”
I love her advice on making your time together really count. I think that’s why our family has been so adaptable given our different occupations and interests. And technology has made being apart so much easier, hasn’t it? We often utilize FaceTime or Skype while I’m away.
You can find my talented friend Damona hosting #BlackLove on the FYI network, and please, check out her web site. She has a trove of relationship advice and a successful radio show as well, www.damonahoffman.com
So, what about you all? What are some things you and your spouse tend to do apart and does it work for you?