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Dating and Working: Managing a Healthy Balance Between the Two

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Gone are the good ol’ days.

Have you found recently that the lines between our working lives and our personal lives have never been so blurred? Many of us have found ourselves responding to a work email late in the evening or answering a client call when spending time with family. The day doesn’t end at 5 PM, and the weekend isn’t free from work activities. 

With these two worlds becoming more and more entwined, how can we find the time to date? Love it or hate it, dating can almost become a second job. Swap work emails to dating site messages, client meetings to romantic restaurant dinners; it becomes easy to see just how much time and effort you may need to find someone special.

So, we asked 5 full-time working single women how they successfully juggle their careers and love lives.

Katie, Graphic Designer

“My new partner and I have a number of rules that help keep work from interfering in our relationship:

No electronics in the bedroom, no exceptions. It’s scary just how many times we check our phones for a work-related reason. The bedroom is an electronic-free zone; all phones are kept in a different room.

The first 30 minutes after work is spent together. This one sometimes gets difficult to maintain, but we’ve been working hard to make sure we do it. This stops us from just continuing Work when we get home; it encourages us to spend more time together. We say 30 minutes, just so it sounds manageable with our workload, but we find we have so much fun or so comfortable that it quickly becomes 1 or 2 hours.”

Glenda, Business Owner

“Yeah, when I first started up my own business, I didn’t have a single second to go out on the dating scene. I dedicated all my time to work. My business partner and I were setting up a number of hairdressers across our local area, the days were long, and we never had time to ourselves.

It wasn’t until I had a panic attack that I realised something had to change. I was at home, very relaxed, and then suddenly started struggling to breathe; I didn’t know what was happening. I thought it was a heart attack. The doctors told me it was likely a panic attack due to the stress I was putting myself under. At that moment, I decided to make a conscious effort to find time to enjoy personal things, seeing friends, family, and, of course, dating.

It was very difficult at first, but after a while, I found ways to manage both my work life and my social life. One which may seem a little drastic was I bought a second cell phone. 

I was always checking my emails on the few occasions I had free time. One time I had a date walk out on me. When I texted him after asking why he left, he said I kept looking at my phone and ignoring him – I didn’t even realise! I now have my work phone and my personal phone, if I go out, I leave my work phone at home. My colleagues know they can only call my personal phone in an emergency. It might seem a little strange, but it’s surprising just how much I’ve been able to enjoy and be part of my social engagements.

As an A-Type personality, I always like to give everything 100%. I think that was one of the reasons why, at first, I was struggling to date while working. I saw dating as this huge commitment that every message online had to be responded to; every date offer had to be accepted just in case this person was the one! Things became a lot easier when I took the stress out of dating. I allowed things to fizzle out if it took too much energy to keep them going; I gave myself a higher bar about what was working and what was not. I saw dating as a casual endeavour, not something I had to work tirelessly at. I soon found dating to be fun, which naturally led me to find more time to do it.”

Charlotte, Financial Strategist 

“One tip I have to make juggling dating and working easier is to stop thinking that dating is all restaurant or bar dates in the evening. Learn to love lunch dates!

I was a bit cautious at first when someone recommended I take a new potential partner out on a lunch date. It took me a while to realise I was nervous about dating in general and the romance and (honestly) alcohol of an evening date makes things easier. I don’t know what it is, but dating in the evening makes things feel less awkward.

I work with international clients, so I’m working till late evenings quite often. This makes dating difficult, which is why I decided to brave the lunch date. I’m so thankful I did; sneaking off for a quick date at lunch has been so amazing! It’s made the workday more exciting, I’ve managed to meet so many new people, and I still have the same amount of free time. The hour time limit helps when the dates don’t go so well too! A small change, but something I’d highly recommend.”

Anonymous, Chief Technical Officer 

“Work was my second relationship. I would spend countless late nights at the office; I’d constantly be on the phone with work; also work would cause me stress or make me really excited, Work would be all I talk about with my friends. It was my husband.

However, when I turned 40 I reconsidered that relationship. I wanted to figure out how I could still dedicate myself to my job – which I love – but still have time for an actual relationship. The few relationships I had had at that point were only people from work, which always became messy and wasn’t sustainable.

I had to focus on exactly what I wanted from my social life. Was I really using what small time I had well? One way in which I saw myself “wasting” my time was with social media. I was obsessed with work, but I was also obsessed with social media. I would spend countless hours mindlessly scrolling through my feeds, thinking I was being social, when in actuality I was just wasting time. I went cold turkey, cut out all social media and diverted that time in actually being social – both with friends but also with dates.

Over time, I worked on improving my work/life balance. I forced myself to ask ‘am I enjoying this’ when I was doing anything – both at work or at home. I realised how little time I had in a day and if I wasn’t fully invested in something, I wasn’t going to spend my time on it.

One thing I found that was essential whilst dating was to find someone who understood your situation and was actively looking for the same. As a busy person, there might be big periods of time where I don’t see someone I’m dating. I’m ok with this and can maintain a healthy relationship despite it. It’s essential I find someone who feels the same. The few relationships I’ve had where the other person tries to convince themselves they can make that work eventually fail. They start to resent the time not spent together and things fall apart. Make this the most important dealbreaker of your dating preferences.”

Sarah, Property Manager

“I’ve always struggled with balancing work and love life. I think I’ve gotten better at it as the years have gone past, but I don’t think I’m totally out of the woods.

What has worked well for me is scheduling? Not only in my work life but in social life, everything is scheduled. My Google calendar is my everything. It has every work meeting, every scheduled hour of some activity, every social event, and every date. If I’m in a relationship at the time, it has every date night or just a block of time to spend with my boyfriend, however, we decide to spend it. Granted, this won’t be for everyone, but a tight run schedule works wonders for me. I know exactly what’s happening when, and it allows me to put sufficient time into finding someone.”

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