I received this question in the comments section of a previous post, but it raises a point that many of us POCFs go through – how do you carve out quality time when they’re home for a short while but still have to work? There are so many layers to this, so I dove in a little deeper with questions. That is, after I got Chris’s opinion, too. And now I understand both sides; precious moments together are fleeting, yet fishers have boatyard/harbor work to do until the next run. With that said, it kind of breaks down into, How can we be “functionally” loving each other when time is limited? Are there ways to make it work? Let’s find out. For more letters/advice, search the “Tips & Advice” menu under the Partners of Commercial Fishermen tab. (Photo by Bri Dwyer)
When I met my boyfriend 6 months ago, he was on a boat that went out for 7 to 10 days and was on land for 5-7 days. I didn’t mind that at all because I’m very independent and got used to doing my own thing when married to a special forces pararescueman. However, now he is on a new boat where he’s gone for two weeks, home for 3-5 days. My main concern is not time apart, it’s the limited time together only because when he IS home, he has a ton of other things he “needs” to get done, so I’m afraid we will lose the loving, deep connection that we share right now.
I guess I’m just wondering how in the hell we can make this work? What’s the balance here?? He’s been home for two weeks, and the first few days was about us but quickly turned to him working on his boats ALL DAY and paying minimal to no attention to me, and by the time we are relaxing, he’s too tired to hold a conversation or be intimate. I love this guy, he’s brought such a light to my life, but I feel loved when a man can give me quality time and touch…so, any advice on how to do that with only a few days together at best?
Thank you for asking this deeply personal question! I have pondered this since you posted to make sure I give the best answer. However, I have a few questions before we dive in:
- Is he in a seasonal fishery, or is it year-round?
- Are you able to help him take care of errands before he gets back so you can juice out more quality time?
- Are you able to help him prepare for the in-between trips? (For example, I’ll help Chris with traps and buoys and things like that so we can spend time together while working.)
- Have you communicated your needs with him?
You don’t need to feel selfish about the latter. To be the best partner you can be, you have to get what you need out of a relationship. And what a plus that you’ve already got the independence part down. Of course, being with a commercial fisherman means sacrifice on certain levels, but if you feel your relationship is slipping away, you’ve got to be honest with him and see what he says. Then, whatever his answer is, think about how this can or can’t work for you. I know it’s a scary convo to have, but you gotta look out for yourself, you know? Otherwise, resentment kicks in, and everyone loses. Plus, it makes a gal feel icky.
Recently, I had to carve out a quick QT moment for me and my hubby and it made me think of your letter in a totally different light. Since Chris and I both had been busy with separate projects for a week, we agreed to a 7 pm dinner & movie night in bed. It was fun to look forward to a creative date night that we’d never intentionally done before, and being in the privacy of our bedroom turned out to be a great way to catch up on random conversations with family and work and life in the way that really ups the intimacy. It’s simple, cheap, and somewhat easy to accomplish as long as you both can agree on a time. (I hope this helps!)
Thank you so much again for writing! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and finding a happy medium that works for you both!