Being in a relationship certainly comes with plenty of amazing perks, but oftentimes, keeping your schedule balanced can become a bit of a challenge. Once those love juices start flowing, it's easy to see why spending all of your time with bae may feel like the most natural thing in the world. In truth, the ways dating someone can change your schedule might not be the same for everyone after taking into account differing lifestyles. However, navigating this tricky territory is an important part of keeping up with life's various obligations.
I spoke with Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent dating and relationship therapist in Los Angeles, to get his thoughts on how being in a relationship can affect your schedule and for tips that can make this transition as smooth as possible. "In order to keep your love alive — and growing — you must honor your needs to maintain high priority people and activities in your life, and also schedule enough time to both sustain and expand your new love," Dr. Brown tells Elite Daily. "It's a real balancing act."
According to Dr. Brown, it's important to realize that there are both healthy and unhealthy ways a new partner can impact your life on a daily basis, and being able to tell the difference between the two is key.
The amount of time someone sets aside for themselves is a very personal decision. It's possible that being in a relationship could mean you'll have less time to yourself. Depending on how much "you time" you need, finding the right balance may take some trial and error, explained Dr. Brown.
"The idea is to find some balance between your personal needs and the needs of your partner," said Dr. Brown. "Healthy schedule changes would mean that there is a mutually positive benefit for both you and your partner."
So, as long as you're both satisfied with the amount of time spent together and apart, then that's definitely a good thing.
"If you find yourself leaving for work late or coming home early from school to be with your SO, be careful," warns Dr. Brown. "If you see this happening, it likely means that you could be jeopardizing other important areas of your life."
To ensure that you're spreading your time in the most effective way possible, Dr. Brown recommends making open communication about your respective needs an ongoing priority.
When trying to figure out how to schedule the right amount of time with a partner, it's possible that some issues will come up. If this is the case, don't panic — there's almost always a way to work through these differences.
"Ideally, you can find some ways to compromise so you're not completely absorbed in the needs of your partner — nor are you completely consumed with having it your way," recommends Dr. Brown.
According to Dr. Brown, remaining flexible as your needs start to ebb and flow can also make scheduling less of a headache.
"I also recommend that couples understand that your needs are going to change because each of you is going to change," explained Dr. Brown. "This is going to be true throughout your relationship so you will need to bring in some flexibility in terms of how you can ideally spend your time together."
Ultimately, it's totally normal to have to adjust your daily routines to make room for someone new in your life. That said, deciding which changes and compromises work best for you and your partner requires open and honest communication. If your current schedule isn't working out as well as it could be, don't be afraid to speak up.