Career and long distance marriages
You have heard of long distance relationships, but there are long distance marriages too. Do they work? How do people survive that?
Work takes a toll on the personal life of many in more ways than one. Grueling work schedules often make managing everyday chores nothing less than a juggernaut’s walk. Often you will see people driving to office and grabbing a bite in between. Another compelling site is that of working mothers racing from their offices every evening to pick up their kids from school or day care.
However the worst affected are probably those people who live in different cities due to work leaving their spouses and families behind.
Thirty-two year old Rachna Sharma’s husband is a merchant navy officer. She and her two year old son live with his parents in Punjab. The family is well-to-do and Rachna has maids to help her with house hold chores but the lack of “having your husband next to you” haunts her frequently.
“My son is growing up and I often take him out to parks or to shop. Whenever he sees other kids with their fathers, he starts blabbering ‘daddy-daddy’ loudly as if he misses that male figure in his life,” she admits. She speaks to her husband Shashank frequently and shares everyday tales at length but that vacuum of not having him there at that moment is difficult. “There are days when he is in rough seas, like he was sailing through Somalian waters some months ago. He was unreachable. I was worried about him. Also I wasn’t able to share my everyday stories with him and that was a big letdown for me,” she says.
Though her family is supportive in every sense but they can only be family, and not adopt the role of a life partner. “There are times when the child is sick and then there are family tiffs as well – these happen in every household and I don’t find anyone to share my emotions or sentiments with in such times,” she says. She has her “fabulous times” though when she accompanies him on the ship. “I have been with him to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong and we have had hell of a time together but we also know that this is not the life that we want. How long can you live like this? When the kid grows up, it will be difficult to go on long trips as well,” she says.
Things are tough for Shashank too. There are days when he wants to share his workplace tales or workspace struggles but then family is far away and you can only explain so much over a call or chat. “Besides I don’t want them to be bothered about me,” he accepts.
They have plans of starting a business from the savings and find an alternative means of income so that both of them can stay together and lead a happy life. “I have learnt my lesson, money cannot always make you happy,” she says.
Now lets see what Arun and Neha's story is all about. Arun is a sales manager at a mid-level position with a leading automotive company. Work requires him to travel a lot, often for 12-15 days at a stretch. After that there are company meetings, dealer network functions, monthly sales meetings to attend; making him stay away from home for almost 20 days at a time. Neha has been married to him for the last two years and teaches at a local school in her home town in Chandigarh. She still stays with her family.
“There is no way that we both can live together. He travels so much and I will always be left behind. So I decided to stay back with my family and stay focused on my job,” she says. “The biggest challenge is that he is away and I am worried about his food, health and safety always. Though he stays at good hotels while travelling, "the comfort of home cannot be matched,” she says.
Arun has his own set of concerns. “Travelling takes a toll. There is no schedule. At times I find myself catching an early morning flight and I'm up at 4am. Some days I return via a late night flight. That takes a toll on your habits, food timings, sleep routines, etc. I don’t want to continue like this and am scouting for a job in Chandigarh where both of us can be together”.
Neha too has a set of apprehensions. “I too want to run a proper house, may be even raise a family. Like this it is difficult to manage,” she says.
What would you do if you had to choose between staying away from your partner due to work and staying put?
By Yojana Sharma