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The Pros and Cons of having a partner who works away occasionally

Updated on December 10, 2010
We always have a lot of washing up to do.
We always have a lot of washing up to do.

I hope no-one reads too much into this hub. It's merely a whimsical bit of fun, not aimed at seriously criticising anyone, or at analysing my own relationship too deeply. Just some observations, that's all.

My partner, Kev, doesn't work away very often, maybe once or twice a year. The first time he was away for a week I was a bag of nerves in the days leading up to his departure, and even cried when he left. That seems completely pathetic to me now. Most of the time I don't even remember that he's going until I see him ironing shirts and packing his bag the night before. It's not that I don't care, bless him, it's only that I look forward to a week of being organised and having structure in my days.

I do it automatically now, without planning or even thinking too much about it. I get up early every morning when Kev is away. I have the kids out of the door in plenty of time for school every day. Meals are ready nice and early, homework is done properly and efficiently, children are bathed and brushed before 7pm, bedtime stories are read in abundance, and my evenings belong to my smug self. Now what I need to do is keep hold of that organised and motivated Linda when Kev returns home. She always seems to slip out the back door as soon as his taxi from the station pulls up.

Pros and cons of being alone. I wonder if I can keep it balanced?!

Pros of partner being away from home

  • Tidier house. Clich√©, yes, but the men I know really do make as much mess as children.¬†
  • Less washing (laundry), and all remaining washing is small!
  • Less food to buy - marginally, my little gannets do eat a lot.
  • Bathroom to myself in the morning - heavenly, as we have a tiny bathroom.
  • For some reason there is less washing up to do, even though Kev only uses one cup, one plate and one knife and fork per day. Strange.
  • I am motivated and full of energy - this is likely to be out of necessity. But then it is also necessary for me to be motivated and full of energy when he is home, I'm just not.
  • Peace and quiet in the evenings. Not that Kev is noisy, quite the opposite. But I really, sincerely enjoy being along in the evenings. That is not a poor reflection on Kev, so please do not think that there is anything wrong with him. I just enjoy my own company so much; I'm sure you can imagine how scintillating it is. Something to do with my vanity probably.
  • Period drama. When I'm alone in those evenings I love to put on a couple of episodes of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, or perhaps a little Vicar of Dibley, or if I'm feeling very nostalgic, then The Waltons. Can't do that when Kev's home, understandably. But I bear him no resentment for not enjoying these treasures, it's just nice to enjoy them myself when he's elsewhere.
  • I'm a nicer person when he's away. Now, don't see this statement as the harbinger of doom for our relationship. Like I said, I need to work on keeping this Linda around when he's home.

Cons of partner being away from home

  • I have the bathroom to myself in the mornings. I know I listed this in the pros, but it can be a little lonely in there. I usually do a lot of thinking in the shower, and then have no-one to download my musings to if Kev's away. It's all nonsense, my morning thoughts, and a lot of the time, Kev can't get up the energy to respond to my ramblings, but talking to him is marginally better than talking to a brick wall.
  • No-one to make a cup of tea for me. I'm perfectly capable of making my own brew, of course, I'm thirty-three years old. But it's nice when it's not your turn, you know?
  • No-one to share washing up duty with.
  • No-one to share children's teeth brushing duty with.
  • No-one to help field children's incessant, though adorable questioning about Everything. I love answering my children's highly original queries, but it's nice to share the experience with another adult.
  • No built in babysitter if I want to go out in the evenings. This is a lame con because I rarely want to go out.

I'm finding it difficult to achieve balance, I'll be honest. There are more pros to Kev working away than there are cons. I'll admit it, I do enjoy it when he works somewhere else.

But there's another pro to him going to another city for a week:

  • When he comes home he's missed us, and is eager to do something special and fun with the boys. We're always pleased to see him, and that's a feeling we would miss out on if he never went away.


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