How important is quality time in a relationship?
Can we ‘have it all’? Both successful career and satisfied relationship. The truth is, we only have 24 hours in a day and sometimes, it’s pretty hard to manage a relationship while being a hustler. But can we master time management in a relationship? To make sure we still have a happier and fulfilling relationship with our significant others. With Carolina Zavala, a self-love expert and relationships & intimacy coach, the answer is YES. She’s here with some insights and advice for some of your concerns:-
1. “I find it difficult to manage a full-time job and side hustle, as well as handling a relationship.”
Carolina: If you are in a long-term, well established relationship, then it’s a matter of maintaining open communication channels. Making sure you have conversations where you can share what you both need in order to continue feeling loved, supported, cared for and like your relationship is flourishing in the context of a very busy work schedule.
This process involves making agreements that honour everyone’s needs, having back up plans for extra busy weeks and clear expectations on how to handle things if things don’t go according to plan. For example, maybe your partner needs more phone calls and you need more organised date nights. You can meet each other needs (if it feels doable to do so) and also agree to communicate in a timely manner when a week or a day is looking busier than expected which may affect your plans, so the other person doesn’t feel not taken care of.
I always suggest to all my clients in relationship to have a weekly ritual. This may look like planning in advance a date night where you ask each other simple questions such as “how can I be a better partner for you, how can I love you better, what can I do to make you feel more supported in your life?”.
This works like a constructive and bonding ‘state of affairs’ type of activity that can lead to a better connection and deeper intimacy. It’s super important to remember that communicating (both speaking and listening) with vulnerability, compassion, and trust is what will help you navigate successfully your relationship and busy work schedule.
2. “My boyfriend/girlfriend never likes to text me at work. I feel like they are not paying any attention to me at all.”
Carolina: I would suggest having a chat with your partner and addressing the situation from an empowered, healthy space (meaning *not* blaming or accusing your partner of not being caring, thoughtful or loving enough!). Get clear on what exactly you’d like to receive from your partner and then set yourself up for a win. Don’t bring the topic up when you’re feeling upset or triggered. Instead, carve quality time to have a chat where you can share your feelings and needs and make an honest request. This can look like: “Hey Hun, I really value our relationship and I love the way we show each other love and affection. I’ve noticed that I feel disconnected from you while I’m at work. I know this is not true, but I imagine that you are not paying attention to me. I was wondering if you’d be open to have a check in with me while I’m at work via text message. That would make me feel loved and supported, while I’m away at my job”.
From that space, you can open up a conversation that doesn’t make your partner feel attacked, made to feel wrong, or threatened. You’re merely making a bid for connection, you can perhaps create a ritual at lunch-time to do a check in with each other and send each other silly pictures or have a 5-minute video chat.
3, “I haven’t been able to spend as much time with my partner lately due to busy work schedules, what can I do to make sure he/she understands that?”
Carolina: Clear communication, darling! Having an honest chat where you share your current situation, e.g. a massive deadline or a big project at work. Express openly that you acknowledge that this has meant cutting back on the quality time you spend together, followed by two important things: a solution or proposal, for example, “I know I’ve been super busy lately and I haven’t had much time for you and I. I was wondering if you’d be open to having more video chats at night time so we can remain connected”. Or perhaps, plan a date well in advance so you both have quality time to look forward to, which can actually bring up the sassiness in your connection, as you know Thursday night is date night wink, wink.
And secondly, ask your partner how they would feel more loved and cared for in the context of your busy schedule. Ask THEM what they need, maybe they need more text messages, maybe they’d like little written love notes or to share silly memes during the week. Each person has different love languages and needs, so checking in with what your partner needs to feel loved is crucial for a successful relationship!
4. “I’d like to plan ahead for a date but my partner has an unstable working schedule, what can I do to improve this situation?”
Carolina: I’m a big advocate of quality over quantity. Making sure that the times that you both share are times where you have each other’s full presence is vital for a healthy relationship, especially if he or she has a very busy and unstable work schedule.
Full presence means no multitasking is allowed. No checking your phone, watching TV, worrying about your taxes or the laundry you forgot to pick up.
Therefore, even if is hard to plan a date ahead with their particular job load and hours, you will always continue feeding the bond that connects you both.
5. “My partner thinks that I should spend all my spare time with him/her as we are not seeing each other enough, but I feel like I need some ‘me time’ too. How can I suggest this but avoid any arguments or misunderstandings?”
Carolina: A healthy, sustainable relationship is one where two whole individuals come to share life together. This means you’re actively taking the steps for ongoing self-care that ensures you feel nourished, balanced, and centred.
Remember: you are first and foremost in relationship with yourself, therefore, self-care must always be a top priority in a non-co-dependent, healthy relationship. If you start putting your own needs on the back burner, you won’t have an overflowing cup to share with your partner. Even worse, you’ll start building up resentment and suppressed anger, and it’s only a matter of time before that starts eroding your relationship with your loved one.
If your partner doesn’t share the same vision in regards what constitutes a healthy romantic relationship, most probably is a good time to have a chat about it, especially if you’re already in a LTR or considering creating one with your current partner.
The caveat in this situation is to also become aware of the attachment style of your partner. If she/he is more of an anxious type of person, then potentially it can be more difficult for them to understand the need for quality time spent separately. It would be great to ask them what would they need to still feel connected and loved while you are away from each other, and remind them that the time spent apart helps you to refill your batteries so you can go back to them feeling energised and ready to continue loving them, day by day.
Interested in working with Carolina Zavala? Visit www.carolinazavala.com/ to learn more about her unique coaching style to help you transform your life. She has recently opened the doors to her signature program The Sovereign Sensual Woman. Her biggest dream is to live in a world where we all feel empowered, worthy, confident and walking our truth by taking care of our bodies, minds and hearts every day. Follow her on Instagram @carolinaloveslife for more tips and inspiration!