Ask an Expert Question: Can you be in a relationship and still be your most productive / career-driven self in your 20’s?
My boyfriend and I (24y/o) are doing a long distance relationship for 1.5 years. He’s my 1st major love.
We make a plan to live together after my PhD is done and his business settles. I’m happy with him (he’s very supportive). However, I’ve lost myself as I put so much energy, time and efforts into us, instead of investing in myself. I’m not as productive or disciplined as I was.
I don’t know how to balance myself as this is my first boyfriend. I’m not sure if a relationship is good for me or I’m ready to be in one since I’m starting out my career and I want to focus on myself.
What’s the best step for myself? Is there a way to be in a relationship and still be your most productive / career-driven self in your 20’s?
Ask an Expert Answer
Wow sounds like a very busy and exciting time for both of you in your lives at the moment and I think it’s fair to say it would be difficult to manage it all at the same time. You know one of the most difficult things people are struggling to manage today is what we call the work life balance.
What is definitely true is that it is impossible to give all of yourself to everything all of the time. In fact, there is not one human being one the planet today who can accomplish that. And so, all of us have to learn how to manage multiple things in our life and relationships is one of those things.
You have mentioned that your boyfriend is very supportive. Let me tell you that is a major plus and is very important in any relationship. But what that also says to me is that he would probably understand if you needed to put a little more time into your PHD at certain times of the year. If he is building a business there are times that he needs to just focus on that and has less time to focus on your relationship.
How about having a chat with him about what you believe you need in the relationship right now or you could ask him does he have any ideas for you both to manage your competing interests and your time spent talking with each other? One of the most important things to learn to do in a relationship is to talk openly with your partner about what’s going on in your mind.
It’s something I see a lot of in my work with couples, partners hide things from each other for fear of upsetting their partner or not wanting to rock the boat or a variety of different reasons. What I also see is that once they say what’s worrying them, they often discover their partner has similar worries. What happens next is the couple can then work together to find a solution. That’s what relationships are all about. Being a team and working together.
In closing, my answer would be yes you can still be productive and focus on your career and still be in a relationship. However, you need to manage your time with each other and time spent on your career interests. Remember though your partner is not a mind reader and neither are you. So, you need to talk to him about what your thoughts are and encourage him to do the same.
Jacqui Christie is a registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist with a Masters in Psychology who blends insight and intuition with evidence based scientific research to strengthen and enhance individual’s lives. Jacqui has broad experience in treating adults with a variety of conditions from everyday concerns through to disorders.
Jacqui began her psychological career over 20 years ago in the field of Family Violence where she began working with men who were violent, abusive and controlling towards their partners. In addition, Jacqui began to work with and treat women who were currently or had been living in an abusive relationship.Jacqui has worked with men individually and in groups specifically facilitating Behaviour Change Groups for many years.
She has developed and implemented a number of other programs including anger management, behaviour change, parenting, stress management, mindfulness and depression.She is a relationship therapist and trained in clinical hypnosis which is used in a therapeutic way with clients as an adjunct to therapy.
Jacqui has recently trained in the US in the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) method which is focused on adult attachment styles and how these impact on intimate relationships.Jacqui is a mentor and has mentored CEO’s managers and other professionals as well as provided clinical supervision for psychologists and counsellors.
She has been highly regarded for her easily approachable and non judgmental style and ability to see beyond the masks. Jacqui has written articles for Women’s Health, Cleo and Girlfriend magazine on relationships and family violence. She is also a speaker on the topic of relationships. Jacqui has worked as a consultant and in corporate settings and is currently in private practice where she is also the Director of a wholistic health centre. She is also the author of Rewire Your Relationships and an expert at The Love Destination.
About Jacqui’s Book Rewire Your Relationship
Do you feel like you are going around and around the merry go round in your relationship? Do you both keep arguing about the same old same old things without any resolution stuck in a pattern of Groundhog Day.
Everyone is biologically and chemically hard-wired for connection and whilst your partner frustrating behaviours, the ones that you have been trying to change for many years now, may feel like they are designed just to push your buttons they are fact entirely unintentional, part of his or her make-up or what Jacqui Christie terms, the hard-wiring.
So if that’s just the way we are and at times it feels like we are just not right together, how do we “Rewire Our Relationship”? Understanding who and why we and others are, is the critical step to building relationships that flourish.With a deeper understanding of your own and your partners complex attachment styles you have the perfect platform to deepen your relationship because for perhaps the first time, we can equip you with the right tools and communication style for your unique partnership.
In this book you will discover Rewire Your Relationship has so many practical relationship tips, tricks and techniques to bring you closer together, revitalise your relationship and create that deep connection you have been craving.