Women in the twenty-first century face a unique challenge: we're expected to strike a balance between our love lives and our careers in a way unlike generations before. Part of what makes this issue so frustrating is that there isn't one right answer. We all have our own set of priorities and must determine for ourselves what solution suits us best. If you need help figuring out what you need to do to maintain this balance, consider these five tips from relationship experts:
1. Compartmentalize your thoughts. As they say in "Ghostbusters," "don't cross the streams!" Just because you're a working woman and someone's significant other doesn't mean that you have to be both at the same time. Put mental barriers between your job and your personal life. When you're at work, focus on accomplishing your daily tasks and achieving your long-term goals. When you're with your partner, be the best girlfriend you can be. "It is so important to reconnect in an intentional and focused way," notes psychotherapist Erena DiGonis.
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2. Make yourself a priority. Don't get so caught up in your obligations to other people that you forget to take care of yourself. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you have to make your own well-being a priority if you want to maintain your sanity while balancing your career and romance. OnSpeedDating.com co-founder Amber Soletti observes that "the biggest mistake professional singles make is thinking they only have time for work and dating." She encourages these individuals to take up a hobby and dedicate a portion of their time to something they truly enjoy.
The same logic can apply to those already involved in a relationship. Go ahead and take an art class, rent a kayak for the weekend or just curl up with a good book. Your needs matter just as much as the needs of your co-workers and significant other.
3. Schedule romance. Try as you might to give your personal and professional life equal treatment, there will be times when meetings and deadlines clutter up your schedule and pressure you to put romance on the back burner. During these periods, it's important to incorporate your love life into your calendar to ensure that your partner doesn't feel neglected. Dr. DiGonis suggests scheduling weekly romantic dates, noting that "even during the busiest of times, you can go out for an hour and grab a cup of coffee."
Similarly, Andrew Schrage, co-founder of MoneyCrashers.com, advises couples to schedule time each day to spend time together. "Don't wait to spontaneously do romantic activities," he explains. "Make a conscious effort to set aside one specific night per week when it's just you and your partner doing something together that you both enjoy."
4. Decide what's most important. Juggling a career with a romantic relationship isn't easy. Eventually, you're going to face some difficult decisions, and when you do, it'll be important to know what your priorities are. For instance, you or your partner might be offered a dream job located on the other side of the country. When facing such decisions, it's vital to know what you want. Rest assured that there is no right or wrong answer. Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of lifestyle you want to have.
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5. Be honest. You must have open lines of communication with your partner to ensure that you each understand what the other person wants out of life. The balance of romance and career can only be maintained successfully if you're both happy with the arrangement and willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
Lori Bizzoco is the Executive Editor of CupidsPulse.com , a first-of-its-kind website that takes the latest celebrity news and repackages it to help singles and couples navigate their love lives. She is a sought after relationship and entertainment expert who has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Chicago-Tribune, Working Mother, Woman's Day, Redbook, Parenting, and on Fox News, The Suze Orman Show, WebMD, Match.com, JDate, YourTango, and more. She's appeared in two books: ' No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power' by feminist icon Gloria Feldt and 'Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)' by Andrea Syrtash. Today, CupidsPulse.com has more than one million unique visitors per month.