When I started my business I had this idea that since I was my own boss and able to choose my hours I would end up working a nice 9 to 5 and use the rest of the time doing whatever else I wanted. I was wrong.
When I moved in with my boyfriend after five years of a distance relationship where we saw each other one weekend a month or every other month – most of which we spent juggling activities with friends and trying to spend quality time just for the two of us – I felt a sense of relief and thought of all the time that we would now be able to spend with each other. I was wrong again.
You see, both my boyfriend and I are entrepreneurs. I run my illustration business from a home studio while he develops video games for the studio he and his friends created, from an office not too far from where we live. Both of us are very invested in our respective business and both of us work a lot. In short, we are a workaholic couple.
I’m not glorifying the fact that we seem to be busy all the time, not even close. In fact working so much can endanger a relationship and we have to make sure that we nurture ours on a regular basis.
With this post I want to share a few tips that workaholic couples like us can use to nurture their relationship and stay close to each other even when work do them part.
#1 Create your own rituals
When I moved in with my boyfriend it quickly became obvious that our life together was going to be very different from what I had imagined and as things started to get a bit tense between the two of us (mostly on my end I must admit) we sat down together one morning to brainstorm ways we could get things sweet again. We came up with two ideas that we’ve been keeping up to this date: date night once a week and our weekend breakfasts together. Sometimes plans do change but when that happens we make sure that we reschedule straight away: this is our special time and it is important to us. Create your own rituals.
#2 Be a team
Do things that help you bond and make you feel that you can count on each other. Cook together, go to the gym together (one of our top favourite bonding activities!), when you do the house chores do them together at the same time, take a class together, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or fancy. Just do one activity (or more) where you can be a team.
#3 Take time off (together)
I’m not talking about going on an expensive long holiday somewhere far away (although if you can afford it and can make the time go for it!). You don’t even have to be away from home at all. What matters is that you use that time to do things together, ideally things that take you out of your usual routine. For example, my boyfriend and I rarely take holidays but we both had a big birthday coming up so we decided to treat ourselves and after saving for a year we went on a cruise to see the Northern lights in the north of Norway. Over the course of that trip we explored the ports of call, took silly photos, had our own private jokes, we talked for hours about the books we were reading at the time, shared our opinions on various topics, … Take time off and share moments together.
#4 Turn off your devices
One of the highlights of our cruise to Norway for me is that for the twelve days we spent on the cruise ship we didn’t have the internet. If you’re like me you probably spend a great deal of time on it. I love the internet, it’s a great source of information! It is also a great source of distraction. And since you already don’t spend much time with each other you might as well make that time count. So be in the moment. Turn off your devices and share, connect and be there in real life.
#5 Pay attention to detail
Good attention to detail is often praised as a good professional skill to have. It shows that you care. It is also a great skill to have and to practice in your relationship. It can be little things like complimenting your partner on their looks before they leave home in the morning or wearing the perfume you know they love. Or it can be a little bit more advanced like noticing a frown on your partner’s face and taking the time to discuss what’s making them feel concerned. I love leaving my boyfriend little drawings on sticky notes that I place somewhere he’ll find them when I go to bed before he gets back home. Show that you care. Pay attention to detail.
There are lots of ways you can nurture your relationship when you’re a workaholic couple. These are the top five that my boyfriend and I use on a regular basis and that have brought us closer even though we spend a lot of time working.
What do you do to nurture your relationship? Please share in the comments below as I’d love to know!