Today, I wanted to write about something that Anna, our Life Coach of Blu Hour Retreat, and me have been talking about on New Years Eve. A topic that is close to our hearts and occupies our minds quite a bit lately. How can we balance our goals with the needs of our relationship, our partners?
I want to let you know how I might have discovered a way (maybe only my own) to balance the demands of building a business, having a job and maintaining a happy long-term romantic relationship. As a side note, I was single for a long time. So I was used to live according to my own needs and wishes, fully focused on my job.
Just to be clear, I’m not an expert. I’m not going to tell you that everything is always rainbows and unicorns. I don’t claim to have figured everything out. Not even close.
I think the unique challenges that come with having a partner while still trying to hustle hard to build your dream life are worth talking about. Although this is an issue many other women must face as well, I don’t hear people making any good suggestions to improve their results beyond “try harder” or “he needs to understand”.
So I’ll shed a little light on my own way of balancing my own goals with the needs of my relationship. I hope you’ll find it helpful!
This year will mark our 3rd year anniversary and I’m really happy with the relationship. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs lately as I am super occupied with building Blu Hour Retreat AND working in a regular job.
We were used to have a lot of time for each other when we lived in Costa Rica. Days went by slowly, we worked in the same restaurant 4 days a week and went surfing together. Germany is different. We both work in regular jobs 5 days a week. Additionally I work on my own company in morning before I go to work and in the evening after we had dinner together. What a change!
I’m having the most exciting time. But damn, it is challenging.
Why am I telling you about me? Isn’t this post supposed to be about relationships?
I’m making these points not to highlight my own life, but to pose a question: If I’m doing so much working and creating these days…how can I afford to spend time developing a meaningful relationship with someone I love?
Well, let me start by telling you what didn’t work for us.
I used to try to do everything at the same time. Work on Blu Hour Retreat, spend time with my boyfriend and cook at the same time.
I’d desperately struggle to spend sufficient amounts of time with both my boyfriend and my company whilst working 5 days per week.
I always felt guilty. The guilt of not putting enough time and effort into the relationship. The guilt of not making deadlines because your partner is more important.
On one hand, I knew that the only way I’d be able to grow my business was to work at it tirelessly.
But on the other hand, working at it tirelessly left me with nothing to contribute to the relationship — and as understanding as he is — you can’t check out for weeks to get your website set up properly and not expect any consequences.
I always felt like I was playing catch up with my relationship and I never felt like I would give him enough attention.
One day, we had a fight about me not meeting my deadlines, neither with him nor with my family and friends. He was waiting after me the whole day again because I couldn’t stop working. Not that I wouldn’t realize that I was late already, and I felt guilty about it, but I was torn apart between spending time with my boyfriend and finishing my tasks for today. I felt sad, exhausted and defeated while trying to make the impossible, possible.
I’d been so stressed about trying to divide my time properly that I made appointments I couldn’t meet. But what if I’d gotten it all wrong?
What if it wasn’t about quantity? What if it was all about quality?
We both read The Five Love Languages by author Gary Chapman. It is a book that separates interactions in a relationship in five main languages/category: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. Quality time is – luckily – the most important for both of us. A language of love that focuses mainly on the time spent genuinely with each other as the main way to express love to the other person.
Over the past 4 months, I haven’t had as much time to spend on my relationship, as I’d have liked.
But what I have realized is that it is not about all the time you spend with your partner, it is the time you are present and completely focused on him and the relationship.
Think about it. How many times have you been with someone you care about, but at the same time you’re:
Try this: Next time you’re with your boyfriend, be completely there. Completely.
If you’ve worked for 12 hours, and you only have 1 hour to give them before you pass out, really give them that 1 hour.
And be transparent about it. Say, “Hey, I’m working on a thousand things right now. But I really want to give you my undivided attention now for an hour. Because I love you and you are important to me, even though I have other important project on my own.”
Make sure they know that they’re getting all of you, not by saying it but by doing it. After all, it shouldn’t be that hard to spend time together if you love your partner. If it is, there might be other questions you should ask yourself.
I actually enjoy leaving my cellphone at home, just spending time with my boyfriend.
It’s not always easy to balance a relationship with your own goals whether it’s your own business, a demanding job, or school. But it can be done if you emphasize the quality of your time together, and make it clear on both sides that even though our time together is limited, it is still important to have some.
This is my only New Year resolution for 2019. Spending quality time with my boyfriend. It is important to me to show him that I love him in a way we both cherish.