How To Work In More Time For Love

Spending long hours at the office might be great for your career, but where’s the love? Here’s how to fit romance into your busy schedule while you’re still getting the job done.

By Dana Robinson

utting in the extra hours at work often results in cancelled dates, missed phone calls, and general neglect of the person with whom you’re in a relationship — which can, in turn, lead to instantly becoming single again. To find out how workaholics keep the love going, we polled nearly 4,000 loyal Happen readers to see how they make time for their relationships while still wowing
A daily phone call at night will make your date feel cared for and loved.
their bosses. More than 45% of respondents said that they carve out time during the work week to meet up with their partners for lunch or coffee, but we found a few other great ways to put the man or woman in your life first. Read on…

Talk to each other during your daily commute
If the 45 minutes you spend riding the train home from the office between 10:30 and 11:15 p.m. is the only time you have to spare during the day, then fire up that Bluetooth headset and call your honey. “A daily phone call at night will make your date feel cared for and loved,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Rachel Thomasian. “I also like the idea of sending a text or two throughout the day.” Just remember to talk about something else besides work during those conversations: “Don’t waste the limited time you have with each other talking about the thing that keeps you apart,” advises Thomasian. If you simply must discuss your troubles at work, keep it to a quick rant and then move onto another topic.

Use mobile technology to manage your love life
Setting an alarm on their electronic gadget of choice keeps 12% of the men and women we polled from running late for their dates, but just over 8% of respondents use their iPhones to step through the virtual looking glass and into the next level of one-on-one communication: FaceTime. “FaceTime is really convenient,” says Teri Madewell, a high school earth science teacher in Bakersfield, CA. She and her husband of 13 years have been using it to keep in touch whenever he travels, which can be for up to seven weeks at a time during the summer. The couple uses it to go on digital mini-dates together, and their children — Ethan, 9, and Tess, 7 — love being able to virtually visit with their father while he’s on the road, too. “The longer he stays away, the more grateful I am that we have it,” says Madewell.

Scale back on any freelancing gigs for now
You may not be able to avoid spending long nights at the office, but you can lighten up your load by passing up any freelance work that happens to come your way. Professionals of all kinds often try to earn a few extra dollars on the side by taking on additional assignments in their downtime, but staying glued to your laptop 24/7 may become hazardous to your love life. By passing on a few projects here and there, you may lose some surplus disposable income, but you’ll be able to spend more time with someone who could potentially be The One.

Take a “personal day” to go on a romantic adventure together
Sometimes people call in sick to make sure that their personal relationships are in good health — and the payoff for ditching work on the occasional Friday or Monday can be a big one (if done correctly). Michele Velazquez, owner of The Heart Bandits, suggests using that time to take your
You have to put work first. That’s what you’re there for, after all.
sweetheart on what she calls a “big date” — one that requires some advanced planning to pull off, such as a weekend getaway, spa retreat, wine tour or mini-cruise. Velazquez recommends planning one of these “big dates” every few months in addition to your typical date nights, which can range from a nice dinner out to spending a night in watching Netflix. “It’s important to plan big dates,” says Velazquez. “It lets your date know that you’re willing to carve out time for romance and make love a priority in your life — no matter what your schedule is like.”

Bring your date along with you on business trips
Oh, great — you’ve just found out that you’ll be traveling out of town on yet another unexpected business trip. This could either mean enraging your date again by canceling plans at the last minute… or use it as an opportunity for you two to get a little bit closer. “You get major bonus points for even extending the invitation to travel with you,” says psychotherapist Barbara Neitlich. “Any person would be flattered that a date would want him or her to come along on a business trip.” However, before you two embark on a corporate journey together, Neitlich cautions that you should first have a mutual understanding of exactly how much time you’ll realistically be able to spend with each other. “If you exaggerate by saying that you’ll be able to spend about 40% of your time together, but in reality will only able to spend 10%, there is going to be a great sense of disappointment on the other person’s part,” says Neitlich. “You have to put work first. That’s what you’re there for, after all.”

Once everyone’s expectations are set, you’re free to attend breakfast meetings, panel discussions and seminars during the day while your date hits the hotel spa or golf course, digs into a favorite novel by the pool, and enjoys one of the greatest inventions ever known — room service. At the end of the day, you can still make time to see the sights together, hit up a few local hot spots and have the pleasure of eating dinner with someone who is willing and able to discuss something besides your job. It’s the perfect win-win situation… and perhaps the ultimate way to mix business with pleasure, too!

Dana Robinson is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter @DanaRobinSays.
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