How to Handle Your SO Working 12-Hour Shifts

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

….I have a phone full of these kinds of messages. The only time Taylor has a chance to talk is late at night but I have to go to sleep early because I have to go to work early. I text Taylor for maybe 30 minutes in the morning and then I get the message that he is leaving for work.

I absolutely hate getting these messages because I know what it means: another 12 hours of not talking.

…Which sucks. He’s my best friend and all this stuff in my life is happening and I’m sure he has a lot on his mind and I can’t tell him any of it because he is always gone. This frustrates me, infuriates me at times even. But over the past few months, I have learned a thing or two about dealing with this…

1.Find the balance between not taking your frustration out on him and letting him know you miss him

When bad things happen to me, Taylor tends to blame himself for not being able to physically be there for me. So, when I’m feeling frustrated and sad I am beyond careful with the words I chose. No “you” statements. No “you are frustrating me” or “why do you always have to go to work?” or anything of that nature. I never want to make him feel bad because, really, this isn’t his fault.

Instead, I’ll simply state that I am sad and it is because I miss him and because we aren’t able to talk like so:


And then when he gets off his shift, I’ll maybe suggest that we Skype or talk on the phone later or plan a day to do those things. That way he knows he is missed but it’s not because he is being negligent and it’s not his fault. Always suggest something to fix it.

2. Keep yourself busy

This is literally my tip for everything. Feeling sad? Get up and go do something. Sad because you have to leave your boyfriend tomorrow? Stay busy. Make memories.

There are exciting things in my plan for the day even if they are just small such as trying a new Starbucks beverage or reading this book I’m excited about, etc. It really is the small things in life. Embrace that and fill your life with them often. That’s how you keep busy.

3. Tell someone else about what is going on in your life

Two of the greatest therapies in the world are writing and talking. So, talk! Talk to your mom, your dad, your best friend, even your dog! Never bottle in your feelings.

4. Write down the things you want to tell them later

Sometimes I’ll be randomly doing something and realize, “Oh jeez! I forget to tell Taylor about that thing that happened that one day!” or, “Holy hell, Taylor would totally laugh at what is happening right now.” Write it down! Most of the time, I’ll use the memo pad in my phone or I just text him right then and there about whatever it is. That way I don’t always feel like he is missing out on my life because I am constantly updating him on it.

4. Realize that this is not forever.

I always try my best to realize and remind myself that he won’t be working 12-hour shifts forever. Hell, he’s not going to be in the Navy forever either. It might be for a long time or many years but not forever… so relax and enjoy the ride.

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