Single and Working: 7 Ways to Balance Your Dating Life and Professional Life

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Somewhere around the age of 27, it may seem like you’re attending a wedding every other weekend.  This new “hobby” can take up half of the free time you have, particularly in the warmer months.  Gifts, questionable bridesmaid dresses, travel arrangements, etc….you get the picture, and let’s just say the effort and dollars add up quickly.

But this isn’t a problem.  You want to celebrate with your in-love friends, and your evolving career with paid time off is supporting the costs as well as your availability to not miss a thing.  But that very career brings up a really good point – as a single person with a focus on your professional success, how in the world do you yourself have time for a little romance?  How exactly did that happy couple whose wedding you’re attending this week get there themselves?

Dating is challenging enough at anytime in life, but when you’re in, say, college, at least the social environment seems to lend itself to meeting new people on the regular basis.  It’s not always the same as a hard-working adult, especially as a number of your peers are quickly marrying off.  You actually have to put forth effort into finding and keeping eligible dates, and the process requires time, effort, and even a little courage.

If you’re finding yourself at this crossroads, here’s a little insight to help you on your dating path, as you navigate through the daily demands of your career:

  1. Online dating can work. We understand if you’re rolling your eyes at this one, but consider a few points.  If you don’t have time to regularly hit up the latest restaurants or something along those lines, perusing others looking to date online can be a much faster route.  Also, according to a 2013 study from the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” individuals using online dating sites tend to be better educated, employed, and have a higher rate of marital success if they find a partner through an online dating service.  Remember, always initially meet up with a first-time online date in a public place; be smart and keep it safe.
  2. Make time for at least one regular activity. Even with a busy work schedule, it’s imperative to your mental health that you enjoy other aspects of your life, as it only boosts your productivity while on the job anyways.  Whether it’s a weekly happy hour with some friends, volunteering, church involvement, a fitness class, or some other social venue, these types of comfortable environments can be a great way to meet possible dates while also doing something positive for yourself.
  3. Consider a lunch date. Do both of you work downtown?  Does one of you work from home?  If hours are long and/or you’ve got a laundry list of stuff to do in the evenings, lunch break may offer the flexibility to meet up for a date.  Better yet, if it doesn’t go well, you have the truthful out of saying, “I have to get back to work now.”  There are even dating services that support first meeting people midday; check out It’s Just Lunch.
  4. Who let the dogs out? Have a furry friend that is cooped up a lot while you work long hours?  Taking your pooch to a dog park on a Saturday morning is not only beneficial to you both, but it’s also a great place to meet other singles.  Men and women who have dogs make particularly good partners, as they demonstrate the ability to care for another being, offer a sense of responsibility, and are able to form emotional attachments. 
  5. Try speed dating! This approach was made for the busy professional.  Kind of like a musical chairs with human chemistry, speed dating is a proven and time effective way to meet a future partner.  At an event, all participants are given a numbered badge, and will rotate around to spend time with everyone there.  When the activity is over, everybody writes down the badge numbers of who they were interested in, and any mutual matches are then informed so that they can go from there.
  6. Having multiple priorities is okay. So maybe thanks to speed dating or the dog park, you met a person you really like and enjoy being around.  In order to spend regular, valuable time with this person to get to know him/her better, something’s gotta give in your busy life.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a sacrifice, but rather a readjustment.  Between work and your daily responsibilities, though, you may be wondering, “When can I even see this person?”  Remember, if developing a relationship is important to you, just like your career is, you’re going to have to make it a priority in order for it to work.  This may mean moving your exercise session to before work, reducing time spent on an activity, or blocking out one evening per week where you are unavailable to work late.  Your whole life is a balance, and you’re doing your company no favor if you’re selling yourself short in other important aspects.
  7. Compartmentalize! If enjoying a healthy dating life and an advancing career would be the best of both worlds for you, the best way to keep these two separate worlds happy is by in fact keeping them separate.  This means when you are on the job, fully commit yourself to the tasks at hand, and when you’re on that date you set aside the time for, make the most of it, leaving work concerns at the office (and that includes not looking at your phone!).

So whether you’re a 20something or not, if you’re a wedding guest for the umpteenth time this summer, remember to keep it all in perspective.  Just like your career, a successful relationship wasn’t built in a day.  It has to be well established and nurtured; the whole process takes effort from the start.  At work, you’ve already demonstrated your intelligence, as well as your time management, cooperation, and creative skills, and these all can translate to also finding happiness in your dating life.  Clearly the trick is keeping everything balanced, and with some of the tips discussed today, it is possible, and maybe before you even know it, that next wedding you’re attending could be your own.