By Patricia Jackson, psychologist and relationship expert
Juggling a career and a relationship can be hard work, especially if you are dedicated to your professional success.
However, if you want to nurture a healthy personal life, it is vital to learn how to balance them.
Were you in a long-term relationship when your career took off, or were you still using dating sites? Odds are, if you have ever dedicated a lot of time to your job, you have probably noticed certain aspects of your relationship beginning to slip.
Even if couples have been together a long time, when one or both partners’ careers take off, this can strain the dynamic. Similarly, single people with demanding jobs may struggle to find time for dating or notice that romantic relationships fizzle out quickly and cannot be salvaged.
Whatever your situation, here are five ways you can help protect your love life without sacrificing your professional success!
Five ways to balance work with your relationship
1. Discuss your priorities
Whether you are dating or are in a long-term relationship, you and your partner need to understand each other’s priorities. If you plan to put a lot of time into your career or know that you will have to work hard over the next few years, tell your partner about this.
Being upfront about your goals while still emphasizing that you love your partner is one of the best ways to maintain a successful relationship. Honesty ensures that your partner will not take it personally when you spend long hours at the office and can help them understand your goals and share your passion.
2. Schedule time for each other
In modern societies, many relationships are made up of two partners who work long hours and have lofty career goals. Although it may not sound very romantic, one of the most successful relationship tips for this situation is to schedule couple time consciously.
Modern careers can be exhausting, and employers can expect employees to be on round the clock. Agreeing to some time with your partner when you both turn off your phones and focus on time together can be beneficial for your relationship. The same applies to you spending that time vegging out on a couch after your hard week’s work.
3. Think long-term
When you want to balance your relationship with your career, it is important to employ long-term thinking. Sure, you may be focused on work currently, but what will this lead to in the future?
If you are in a phase where you need to work hard to establish yourself, remember that this will not last forever, and remind your partner of this. You also have to remember that, while you might be career-focused at the moment, things may change later depending on your partner’s career path.
Try not to think of the time you sacrifice as a waste but as building towards something: a house for you and your partner or financial security. This will help you to avoid compartmentalizing your career as something separate from your relationship. Although they are different facets of your life, finding a balance between them will help you have a more fulfilling life all-around.
4. Show gratitude
When life is busy and hectic, it can be tough not to let stress get on top of you. You might wonder how you will ever be able to juggle your relationship and your career. When you are stressed, it can be hard to avoid getting snappy, especially if you feel your partner is not working as hard.
However, when you feel like this, you should try to remember all the things your partner does for you. Perhaps they do many chores while you are at work, or they are flexible and forgiving when you frequently cancel dates. Showing your partner gratitude is a great way to boost your mood and help your partner feel supported and loved. Even something as simple as thanking them when they do something for you or putting aside half an hour to chat with them after dinner can go a long way.
5. Manage your time
Yes, your career is important. Yes, it may take hard work and sacrifices. However, if you want a healthy balance between your relationship and career, you sometimes have to learn when to say no. If your employer is making unreasonable demands, remember that your success does not rely on single incidents. You can work hard over years and months, building up your CV and experience.
Do you think this is all going to change because you turn down one evening of overtime? One of the most underrated keys to a successful relationship is knowing how to value yourself and your own time properly. Once you can do this, relationship management will feel a lot easier.
It is not easy to have it all. If you want to have a successful relationship and a high-power career, emotional work is necessary. When you get the balance just right, however, it is worth it.
Do you struggle to manage your career alongside your relationship? What sorts of problems does this cause? How do you and your partner deal with it? Let us know in the comments!