Romance for Workaholics
If there's one thing I'm an expert in, it's being a workaholic. I'm a reluctant workaholic, but a workaholic just the same. But when I reflect on what I want in life vs. the life I'm actually living
, I know that something has to change. One area, in particular, where my workaholism takes a toll is the romance department. So, when Valentine's Day 2013 rolled around (yes, you read that right - 2013
- as in over a year ago!
), I sought out advice from some of my favorite bloggers who are also superwomen - many balancing spouses and children and jobs - to seek out THEIR advice on how to cultivate and KEEP romance going! Specifically, I tapped Alison Gary
of Wardrobe Oxygen
, El Michelle of Tell Me Something El
, Cherkita Williams
of Love Me the Right Way
, and my girl E.B. Davis
of Cupid's Planner
. I also include a few extra tips from Charanna K. Alexander
of My Love Ink
Let's see what they had to say!
First things first - what advice would you offer for someone who has trouble meeting potential dates?
E.B.: For people to be successful at anything they most invest time into it. Relationships or even meeting someone can be very difficult when you are working 50 hours weeks, or two or more jobs. So get creative and flirt. Try online dating, join a gym and wear something cute; check a book out of the library and make eye contact with the hottie at the next table; go to a married friend's house party and asked to be introduced to one of their single friends; go to church and join the singles missionary. It is easier to meet people when we know ourselves, so spend more time doing things that add value to you and you will meet like minded people.
Alison I find the older I get, the more I need to be specific about my interests. Music is something I love, and it has become a hobby of mine. It's a great hobby to have because others also enjoy it and it's an easy way to start a conversation. It's also a great way to meet people, be it message boards, Facebook fan pages, or a concerts and festivals. Also, being involved with music means you're also aware of other current events and pop culture, and it's not a polarizing topic like sports, politics, or religion.
What types of things can you talk about BESIDES WORK when just getting to know someone?
Any fun, exciting, or different date ideas?
- El: When JUST getting to know someone I think it's important to be tactful with what you bring up. I feel like a lot of people are a little jaded or scarred by past experiences with people they've dated and it leads them to have false expectations or to act reluctantly without giving the NEW person the opportunity to show and prove themselves. I would say some safe topics are talking about hobbies and experiences. I love someone I can experience and try new things with, so it opens the mind to seeing possible potential without being too presumptuous.
- Alison: Ask questions! Be it a date or your spouse, ask that person what they like about their job, their home, their church, their neighborhood. Ask what kind of music they like, when they got into music, what was the first album they ever purchased. Ask your husband not just how was his day, but who did he see, what was the best part or the craziest part of it. When we're busy we sometimes get so focused on the fires to put out or the to-do list that we forget to tell the good stories - the house on the corner finally replaced that missing shutter, that crazy guy at work got transferred to the 7th floor, you had the best conversation with a stranger on the Metro, you were congratulated on a job well done for that project that sucked the life out of you last month. Asking questions and sharing the minutia keeps you from being 100% work.
How do you make time for people in your life (without making you feel like it is work to make time for them)?
- E.B.: Traditional dates of dinner and a movie are played out. I suggest that couples do an activity for the first date, a wine and painting, something where the direct focus does not have to be on each but an activity. By doing an activity together there is less pressure of thinking of interesting subjects to discuss. It also hopefully avoids awkward silence moments. My theory is you can learn something from a person by talking with them but you can learn much about a person by playing with them.
Once in a relationship any tips to keep the home fires burning?
El:It's so important to put away everything. Literally, EVERYTHING, and make time for each other. Nowadays work comes home, people miss dinners with their families, people fall asleep at their computers or with their phones or tablets in their hands. We're overcome by technology in our society. It's crucial to make time for the things that matter, from/including dinner with a spouse, to making time to lay it down in the bedroom, to having regular date nights. Even when money can be an issue, date night doesn't have to mean going out. I love making a joint grocery store run on a chill night, coming home and maybe cooking something yummy together, and cuddling up on the couch with some wine and a new episode of Breaking Bad! On the bedroom side of things, it's so important to keep things spicy and different and fresh, no vanilla sex!
Cherkita: Make date nights for just you and that special person. Turn off your phones (work will be there on Monday). Be open to communication, be it text messages, emails, or phone calls at lunch but again it's about making time for you and that person!
E.B.:Communicate!!! It is a very basic concept but it is vital. Communicate your needs, desires, fantasies, and fears. Relationships stay hot when you feel safe to be vulnerable and open; free from judgment of your partner.
Alison: It's easy when you're in a stressful job with long hours and kids to just feel worn out but it's important to have your significant other know s/he still is the love of your life. I invested in loungewear to change into after work that is still flattering and a bit sexy. Our daughter has an earlier bedtime than many of her friends because it gives us time to be alone together in the evenings to have a glass of wine, watch a sitcom and cuddle together on the couch. We taught Emerson that when our door is closed, she needs to knock to enter and that Mommy and Daddy need quiet time together sometimes, just like she gets quiet time with each of us individually. We take the time to touch each other, be it a hand on the back when walking past, a squeeze of the hand when in an elevator, or a quick kiss at an unexpected moment; those little touches mean a lot and are a silent way to say we're thinking about one another and find one another attractive.
Any other advice?
C.K.: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to show your honey some love, try writing a love note. Love notes are a great way to ignite passion and romance back into your relationship. Here are three steps to writing the perfect love note for your someone special. (1) Know your intentions. Are you feeling naughty or nice? What is your desired outcome? Is this note a precursor to a night of passion or do you want your partner to feel loved and appreciated? Your love note should evoke an emotion, feeling or a visual that’s in alignment with your desired outcome. (2) Keep it brief. One to three sentences will do the trick. Surprise your partner and let them know that you appreciate them and their favorite meal will be waiting for them at home; or spice it up and let them know to grab a Red Bull on the way home to prepare. (3) Love note placement and presentation. What you say is almost as important as setting the mood. You can create a mood with the placement and presentation of your love note. Set a romantic mood and seal your love note with a kiss and tuck it in your partner's wallet or purse to create an element of surprise.
- Alison: My husband and I use music to keep us close. Once a month we get an overnight babysitter and have dinner and go to a concert together. This has been the best thing for us, it's something we look forward to, we can dress up, sometimes splurge on an Uber, it really feels like a date and we know our daughter is safe with my mom for the whole evening so we don't have to rush home.
- Cherkita: You must leave work at work. You must make yourself available. Just give one hour to a phone call, a date, etc. to the person you are interested in. Again it's about making yourself available.
- E.B.: This is all about perception. If you have a perception that something is an inconvenience then it will be an inconvenience. In life we have to prioritize. If being in a healthy and successful relationship is important to you, then you should make it a priority to spend time with people who you can build a relationship with.
Well there you have it! Here's to adding a little more romance to our busy schedules!