Dear Carolyn: My husband and I have been married almost four years, very happily. We’ve both been working from home for a while now and while I’ve pretty much had to maintain a normal schedule, my husband gets up around 1 p.m. and goes to bed around 4 or 5 a.m. Because of this, we don’t see each other as much as we used to. We are only able to talk at dinner, which is his lunch, then he’s working after dinner until well after I go to bed. I really miss him. I tried staying up later to see more of him, but I have colleagues in Europe and need to be online for my job by 7:30 a.m.

My husband says this is a chance of a lifetime for him to have the schedule that fits his bio-clock but now it looks like we might be working from home for months more, and I feel sad about our parallel lives. Our sex life has suffered — I have to wake up early or miss out entirely — and so has our emotional intimacy. I feel lonely. Is this just something I have to put up with until the pandemic is over?

— Out of Sync

Out of Sync: Not without a real conversation, no.

That is, if you really can't see an end to this schedule. If you both understand it to be a limited-time-only deal, where he's back on local business hours in January or next June or whatever, and if you can adjust to it like couples do when they work shifts or manage deployments, and if you can treat it as not personal — as a face-value chance for him to live his weird way just once in his life — then let it be.

That’s a tall stack of ifs. So, suggested conversation: Say you understand his “chance of a lifetime.” Then say it’s not sitting right with you, though, that he’s so excited about it and (apparently) not missing you. While you are missing him. So you feel hurt right now on top of lonely. Then listen carefully to how he responds.

Something to consider for the future. If he really is a nocturnal creature who only grudgingly performs as a day person, then I think you can reasonably expect him to drift out of sync with you more over time. On vacations, under stress, in retirement. People with circadian mismatches tend to be the best sports about it when the relationship is young. It’s like so many other things that way — over time we tend to stop fighting our natures because the effort of daily life doesn’t leave endless amounts in reserve.

That's why his answer to your admission of loneliness will be so important. If it's in his values and priorities to meet you halfway emotionally, especially when you make yourself vulnerable, then I think you'll feel less lonely, even if you stay out of sync for a bit.

Re: Sync: I so feel for the husband. I am truly nocturnal. The only time I have actually felt rested in my entire life were a couple months of night shift work in college. People with “normal” biorhythms have no idea how hard it is. Tell your husband you miss him … but have a little empathy, too.

— Nocturnal