Time Zones: How to Adjust to the Difference

Time Zones

Most people only need to understand time zones a few times a year at most. Whether it is remembering to wish happy birthday to a family member or friend living across the world at an appropriate time, or when vacationing. Either way, time zones are not often considered to be a big or important part of your day to day life. However, a few days into a long distance relationship and all of that will change. You will find yourself thinking in two times; yours, and your partner’s.

Living across two time zones can be difficult.

Living across two time zones can be difficult.

Figuring Out the Time Zones

Towards the start of our relationship, I found that I would have to count backward 8 hours from my local time to figure out what time of day it was for Chelsea. And sometimes I still do. If that alone was not difficult enough, you may come to the realisation that the times of day where both you and your partner are awake do not match up. For example, I typically wake up between 7am-8am (UK time). Chelsea wakes up slightly earlier at 5am-6am (West Coast USA time). This, for me, does not occur until 1pm-2pm in the afternoon.

And, of course, you will find yourself beginning to change your daily routine to align yourself to your partner’s more. This is completely natural. I found that I wold begin my university work earlier in the mornings so that I would have more free time in my afternoons to message or Skype with Chelsea. However, there are aspects of our schedules that neither of us are able to change. For me this comes in the form of lectures and seminars. For Chelsea, shift work in a doggie daycare facility. If it was in our hands, we would both be free at the same times of day. But, unfortunately, that is not how the time difference works. And that is the harsh reality.

Naturally, this can put a strain on your relationship. But not to the extent that affects it, if dealt with correctly. And, of course, every situation is different. For Chelsea and I, this mainly arises due to the fact that my evening (free time to visit friends or family) is during her lunchtimes, or early afternoons, where she is more able to talk. And, if some evenings I am not available to talk, then there is a possibility that we might not get the chance to talk at all.

Always bear in mind the difference.

Always bear in mind the difference.

What To Do About the Difference

So, what can you do about this? Well, the solution is relatively straightforward. Simply be understand of each other. And, moderation helps too. By this I mean that: I understand that it is Chelsea’s prime time of day to be able to talk to me. In return, she understands that I cannot sacrifice the chance to see friends and family every time. This is where the moderation lies.

I sacrifice some evenings with friends to be able to stay in and talk. And Chelsea sacrifices some evenings to go to bed earlier, so she is able to wake up earlier and have more time in the day to talk with me. So long as we are understanding of this, and how a lack of moderation would make the other feel, then it removes any stress & tension from the relationship. After all, we are only human. We deserve each others company, and time to ourselves too.

This may not be the case with all long distance couples. For some of you, the time difference may cause other issues. For example, only having a few hours a day to talk, or working during each others free time. But, as long as you remember the key to overcoming the time difference is understanding that it is the situation at fault, and not yourselves, then there is no reason the time difference should come between you. Give to your partner what you can, and ask only for understanding of the situation in return, and nothing will ever stop you.

– Chris


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Chris Martin

FlexMR Chief Marketing Officer. Adviser to Series A Tech Firms, Host of MRX Lab, Part Time Consultant & Full Time Husband of Chelsea Martin. More at chrismartin.pro.