How to Stop Feeling Lonely When Your Partner Works Nights

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So your partner works the night shift, right? It’s easy to concentrate on the loneliness, but your opposite schedules can actually lead to achieving things both for you personally and as a couple, you never thought possible. It may be less than ideal, but let’s show you how to make this thing work and still stay madly in love.

When your partner works night shift, the most important thing is to change your mindset. Embrace this situation as an opportunity to pursue new areas of your life. Make a special effort to be truly present when you do spend time together; put down your phone, engage in conversation and never go to bed angry. 

I have been in your position and as much you want to scream “go jump in the lake” to the night shift schedule, there are a few more productive and effective things you can do. 

If you can’t sleep whilst your partner is away working, this is one of the best sleep aids we have found which actually works. Check out the BonoWellness website here.

My Partner Works the Night Shift. How to Stop Feeling Lonely?

Hang on there for a second. 

You’re feeling down in the dumps because your partner works the night shift and you suddenly find yourself on opposite schedules. 

I get it. 

As a shift worker myself, I have experienced both situations. Being the worker as a rotating ER nurse and being the one left at home when my, now husband, worked the night shift. Permanently. 5-6 days a week. 

As the spouse or partner, night shift makes things pretty weird, particularly when they start a new career or a different job during the night.  

You think all the love you have for each other will disappear and it will start to feel like you live with your college roommate. 

But why do we think that? Where do these crazy thoughts come from? Hollywood rom-com movies, online forums, the work tea room…?  

It doesn’t have to be like this.

In the beginning, I too got a little lonely. Especially when it was raining, cold (yeah, I know girly how this sounds) or when there was a good movie on TV I knew we both loved.

But you know what… I got over it. 

Well actually, I forced myself to get over it and started to think and act in a totally different way. 

I needed to do this in order to stop feeling isolated, lonely, sad… all those feelings you are currently experiencing.

His work wasn’t changing anytime soon and the ability for him to grow professionally was really amazing so the only thing I could really do was to look at myself and reassess my own situation.

With some major mental reassessments on my end, I made those awful, empty feelings of loneliness disappear (almost) completely… and still remained madly in love!

And I want the same for you. 

Women looking at child sitting on kitchen bench top
Pin this post and read it later. You’ll have time 🙂

Here is where I would begin:

Change Your Mindset

I recently listened to an interesting podcast about mindset and believing the things we tell ourselves. For example, if you say you are a horrible cook, you will always be a horrible cook. If you say you’re not a runner, you will never be able to run even a few miles. 

The same goes here. 

If you keep telling yourself you are lonely. You will always be lonely. 

So. Start to think about your nights alone as an opportunity to pursue the things you never had the chance to do before.

This is not to say your partner is holding you back, (which I hope is not the case) but now there is nobody expecting you to do certain things at a particular time. 

You know that age-old saying, you can’t truly love somebody if you don’t love yourself? Use this time to do just that. 

We recently published a post aimed at shift working wives, which gives a TON of suggestions about what you can do when home alone. Despite some of you potentially not being married (or being female!), most of these suggestions will be totally relevant to you too. Check out the post here to get you inspired. 

Hot Tip…
Instead of thinking, “will or can we make this work?” change your thinking to “how will we make this work… despite operating on opposite schedules.”

Be Really Present When You Are Together

Before night shift reared its ugly head, you probably took the time you had together for granted.

It’s okay and totally normal to do. But now you have limited time together, you have the opportunity to show your best self and really use the time you have together wisely. 

Here are a few special tips which really helped me when Dan worked night shift.

  • Don’t take each other too seriously and keep laughing.
    My father in law mentioned this in his speech during our wedding and I have made a point to implement it every day. Lighten up. Have a laugh when the situation calls for it. (or even when it doesn’t…)
  • If you can have dinner together before they leave for the next shift, make this happen.
    If it needs to be a bit later or earlier than usual, who cares? This must work both ways though, meaning they should rise from bed even half an hour earlier to share a meal with you.
  • Put your phone away.
    And close the laptop when they come home from work, when you’re on a date or even just hanging out. During this time, really listen and ask questions about their work or friends even if you don’t really understand what they do. Make an effort to learn and you will reap huge rewards.
  • Don’t go to bed angry by abruptly ending a conversation because it’s late.
    “Sleeping on it” is okay but don’t let issues fester.
  • Turn off the TV when having dinner together and instead put on your favorite background tunes you both love. Set the mood ya’ll!
  • Don’t charge your phones in the bedroom and instead invest in an old fashioned alarm clock if you need to (this one is pretty neat).
    We charge our phones just outside the bedroom. They are far enough away so that we can’t touch it but close enough to hear our alarms.
  • Limit social media scrolling when in each other’s company.
    Leave this for when you are alone.
  • If watching a movie together, actually watch it and put your phones away.
    Remember like the good old days?
couple laughing in grass | How to Stop Feeling Lonely When Your Partner Works Nights
Remember to laugh when you are together and don’t everything so seriously

Use Your New Founded “Free Time” Whilst Your Partner Is on Night Shift

You often hear people saying, “oh I wish I had time to do something like that” after hearing about somebody pursuing a cool hobby. Well, now you have all the time in the world do these things and it’s really exciting.

Depending on when their shift starts and finishes you might be on your own during the time you would normally be having dinner together, cleaning up, then sitting on the couch to binge-watch your favorite Netflix show…

Now, you can either get sad about this, which won’t help, or you can use it to do the things you want like:

  • Take a night class in photography, painting, pottery then open an Etsy store to show off all your creations
  • Sign up for a yoga or pilates class and work on your core, balance, and endurance. This is also great for the men!
  • Cook yourself your favorite meal with all the ingredients you know they don’t like much but you absolutely love.
  • Then cook a meal you know they crave and have it waiting for them in the fridge. You could also make a few snacks which are great not only for your work but also for them to take to a night shift.
  • Instead of rushing home after work, do other things which make you happy like walking around the park in the sun, talking complete rubbish with your workmates, drop in and see a friend or family member, etc.
  • Workout later at night
  • Join a book club
  • Or, find a housemate. This last point may be a little extreme but potentially not out of the question in some situations.

This post we wrote titled, “Husband Works The Night Shift? How To Really Rock The Nights Without Them” is also packed with other really useful suggestions for the ladies.

Despite working opposite shifts, there is a whole new world of opportunities that has just opened up. And I’m excited about what you can discover!

Push yourself out of your comfort zone to stay busy… or simply binge-watch all the shows on Netflix which you love, but you know they don’t. 

Good to know…
This time alone can very be empowering and provide you with a huge amount of personal pride and accomplishment when used wisely

Look at the Bigger Picture Whilst Your Partner Is Working Night Shift

We can all be pretty selfish from time to time. I know I was when Dan first started working the permanent night shift. 

Instead of thinking, wow, it must be really hard for him to work permanent nights, I often found myself thinking about me and how hard it was for me.

I hate even writing that. 

Whenever I got lonely, I forced myself to think bigger. 

  • The opportunity for growth both personally and professionally for him was worth the night shift roster.
  • The financial bonuses available for us due to working nights is helping pay our mortgage and allowing us to go on vacations which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
  • This roster will not be forever, so enjoy the opportunities that present themselves.
Planting succulents | How to Stop Feeling Lonely When Your Partner Works Nights
When you get lonely…Have you considered a class which teaches you how to plant and grow succulents?

Communicate Clearly With Your Partner Who Is Working Night Shift

This word gets thrown around SO much it’s almost sickening but I have learned now it’s for a darn good reason. 

Talking something over just makes everything better. Despite how daunting the conversation may seem initially. 

If you are feeling lonely, does your partner or spouse actually know? Have you told them how you feel?

I know you probably feel awkward but letting them know can strengthen your relationship to places others only dream about.

Most relationships seem great and wonderful until they are tested (such as if you throw night shift in the mix) and then the truth really comes out.

I know night shift has forced this strengthening time upon your relationship but it’s better to start the process now to find out the true measure of your bond.

Here are a few more points about communicating worth mentioning:

  • Telling them how you feel provides reassurance 
  • It allows you both to focus more on each other and your needs when you do actually have precious time together (and when you’re apart).
  • Communicating can highlight to them your need to find a hobby or sign up for a class to keep you occupied. They can motivate and encourage you while you are learning a new skill which is vital for you sticking with it.
  • Talk through the elephant in the room question, “what if it’s like this forever?”

Put it all out on the table, and I mean everything and work through it together.

Priceless Love Tip…
When on the same schedule, make a point to go to bed at the same time even if you’re not tired. Wind down with a book or just chat in bed. It works wonders.

“I Can’t Sleep When My Partner Is Working Night Shift”

Sharing a bed with somebody, who doesn’t pull all the blankets off and keeps you warm every night is a special thing. And it really sucks when it’s gone, but all hope is not lost.

We recently published a post about this exact thing titled, “How Can I Sleep When My Boyfriend is Away?(just go with it if you’re actually married or consider yourself partners). 

It’s full of so many suggestions which have worked for both Dan and myself in the past and I think you’ll enjoy it.

If sleeping alone is an issue, I personally found having a mattress, sheets and pillow which I absolutely loved, very comforting and helped me relax.

As this is a thing for me I wanted to make some recommendations on particular products I would totally buy if I was in your situation.

Mattress and bed frames: Nolah Evolution 15 Hybrid Mattress

Pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Supreme PlushOpens in a new tab. (Amazon link)

Sheets:  True Luxury 1000-Thread-Count 100% Egyptian Cotton Bed SheetsOpens in a new tab. (Amazon link)

[VIDEO] – Night Shift Relationships: How To Not Ruin Them

Summary: How to Stop Feeling Lonely When Your Partner Works Nights

You can either stand on the street and scream to the high heavens to make this night shift gig stop… or find ways to make it work for you and your relationship.

Spending nights alone gives you an unbelievable amount of freedom to pursue your dreams, find new talents and really just do whatever you want.

Loneliness can sneak up on you, so keep yourself busy, communicate to your other half when you’re feeling down and get through this together.

Thanks for reading our post on feeling lonely when your partner works the night shift. How do you stop yourself from getting lonely? Let us know in the comments below.


Emma signature |

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

3 thoughts on “How to Stop Feeling Lonely When Your Partner Works Nights

  1. Hey Emma,
    I just want to say I absolutely appreciate this post and new i couldnt be the only one out there that felt this way. Ive found my self on edge and trapped in my own thoughts which lead to more thoughts which lead to fabricated suspiciouns. I know I’ve got a good woman and shes never given me a reason to think she’s untrustworthy. We both work at frito lay but different plants here in town. she got a full time bid and jumped on it. It just so happened it was nights 2 -12’s and 2-8 hour days a week. But she can be forced over any day of the week or be forced in on her days off. My schedule is opposite of her on mornings. We also have 2 little ones at the house. So while shes at work I’m home with the girls then I wake up by the time shes getting home and getting to sleep . I’m up all day cleaning, feeding, washing and occupying the kids. By the time she wakes up shes got to start getting ready to leave again to start another work night. And its just really been eating at me and has got me somewhat depressed. I wasn’t like this before she started this night job and I’m honestly glad to see a different perspective of someone else’s night shift blues. I’m definitely going to be pulling myself together with your tips. Thank you

    1. Hi Rion. You are certainly not alone. I hope this post can ease some of the worries and anxieties. Whilst it’s not always easy, with good communication and a few hobbies on the go I’m sure you’ll “pull yourself together” in no time. Cheers Em.

    2. My husband just started night shift i didnt know how to cop with it i have six little kids at home and I have depression and I didnt know how I would deal with being alone with out him he works 6-6 he works so much to better our life and for our kids but thanks to u I can relax and start doing the things I cant do when he’s home thank u emm and dab

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