SolitudeThere’s plenty of information about making business travel better. You can even find ways to bring your partner along as Paula mentioned, or ways to tack on vacation time for you and your sweetheart to enjoy as Nina pointed out.

But in a two-income household, one partner usually has other obligations that keep him or her at home. So what about those of us stuck with the eerie stillness of an empty house and only a cold pillow to clutch in the middle of the night? Where are our handy tips for survival?

Scour the web on this subject and you’ll only find words to feed a lovesick song, much like the ones provided by yours truly above. But there’s no need to be a drama queen about it. Time away from your traveling partner can be quite manageable as long as you keep busy and create the right dose of absence — which truly does make the heart grow fonder — as I’ve learned with my partner Zac, who is an academic and often has to take off for conferences.

Here is a list of 6 out-of-the-ordinary and frugal things I do while he’s away that keeps me happy and our relationship healthy:

1. Watch movies he’d NEVER watch with me: Even after two years together, I still get shocked by how we’re a perfect match for each other. Although, I wouldn’t expect (nor want) my perfect match to actually sit through an 80-minute documentary about the type font Helvetica like I recently enjoyed doing. That would be too matchy.

2. Explore neglected RSS feeds: Who has time to read all their RSS feeds? Call me modern, but sometimes I like to just sit at home on a quiet night with a glass of wine and read up on all the sites and blogs I never have time to read. Once in a while I find a post that’s a real gem.

3. Flock with partners in a similar situation: One of my best friends often has to leave town for family obligations. I enjoyed a rare moment of one-on-one time with her partner while she was away, and we had a blast. Not only did I get to know her partner better, but it was refreshing to hang out with someone who can empathize.

4. Sharpen up cooking and baking skills: I don’t bake (too expensive of a hobby for me), but I love to cook. While Zac is away, I like to experiment with dishes that I’d be afraid would come out awful on the first try and ruin our dinner together. When Zac comes back, we have new and reliably good additions to our rotation.

5. Brainstorm additional streams of income: Well if you’ve got the extra time on your hands, why not figure out other ways to bring in money? Brainstorm, makes some plans, and figure out who you can talk to who can help firm up those plans. You’d be surprised by how much time this actually ends up taking, and you soon realize why you rarely have time to do it when you’re spending time with your partner.


6. More frequent exercise: Again, why not kill some extra time by going to the gym an additional day or working out a bit longer? I find that it keeps my energy up and takes my mind out of a rut. And it adds a boost to your appearance to which your partner will likely not complain.


Of course, you can always catch up with friends; read books; volunteer; enjoy nature; write in your journal and plenty of other things unique to you. The key is to enjoy your individuality while your partner is away. Preserving a sense of individuality is one of the things that keeps freshness in my relationship with Zac. When he gets back from his business trips, it’s a reunion of two highly compatible individuals.

How about your dear readers? Do any of you have tips for staying busy while your partner is away that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear them.