My partner is retired and does not have to worry about finances anymore, whereas I still work remotely to make ends meet. We are on a slow round the world trip, and although we usually talk openly about everything including finances and how to handle them, I sometimes feel stressed that I contribute less financially and at the same time, that I am robbing us both of fun because I need to spend time glued to my laptop to earn an income. How do I balance all this?
First, take a step back and focus on the positive aspects of your situation: you’re able to work remotely while traveling around the world with your partner and share a unique experience few can understand. That’s pretty amazing.
But along with the good comes the challenge: you need to work while your partner doesn’t, and your financial pictures aren’t equal. Each relationship has to figure out how to handle time, money, and how to view things when one person earns more than the other. This can create additional stress if either partner sees the contributions as unequal or unfair.
If your money is pooled, do you see it as belonging to both of you, and therefore available to either of you as needed? If so, can you accept this and practice letting go of your stress around it, recognizing you are most likely contributing in other ways and will continue to do so?
If your finances are kept separately, is your partner happy to cover shared expenses that may be out of reach for you at this time, enabling you to be together and do things you might not otherwise be able to afford? If this is the case are you willing to accept the gift and find ways other than money to contribute? If not, how do you typically handle the inequality? Is it okay for your partner to do some of the more expensive things alone while you work, saving the more affordable options for shared time?
Is it okay for your partner to wander off without you? Are you curious and excited to hear the stories brought back at the end of the day? While it’s not the same as tagging along, it is connecting to have someone to listen attentively to their adventures. And does your partner return the focus, inquiring about your work and appreciating the time you need to devote to doing a good job until you, too, can retire?
Are there times when you’re jealous that your partner can play while you have to park yourself in front of your laptop? If so, is it possible to accept that this is your current, but most likely not permanent, situation? Can you find room to be okay that for now you are missing out on some of the fun while bringing the bulk of your attention to the amazing parts of your journey?
As with riding, we go where we look. Having to work while others don’t have to isn’t as much fun as being able to hang out all the time, but by stepping back to see the larger picture you may be able to relax and enjoy the adventure even in it’s current state.
PHOTO: RTW PAUL