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Episode 22: Building Better Balance in Your Relationship

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Do you struggle with finding balance in your relationship?? Whether it's balance with work, life, and romance, balance with money, or balance with giving and taking, you've got to have the tools to pull things back into alignment when they fall out of equilibrium.

And establishing this stability within the tumultuousness of 2 entrepreneur's lives is something my boyfriend Bryan and I have deep and intimate knowledge of. 

So in today's episode of Life Unleashed, we're covering:

  • Exactly how we created work/life balance within the storm of my workaholic...ness, after it nearly tore us apart.
  • How we handle finances when one of us is having a stellar month while the other is scraping by.
  • And how we navigate creating a healthy space of give and take between 2 recovering people-pleasers. 

Here's what we had to share:

Work/Life Balance

It's no secret I like my job. I take that back. It's no secret I love my job. And it's incredibly easy for me to go overboard with diving deep into projects and not coming up for air for weeks at a time. 

Not only is this not a healthy or sustainable practice for my business or my own wellbeing, it's an even less healthy tendency for my relationship.

But there was a long time where I held the belief, deep in my bones, that in order for me to reach high levels of success, I had to hustle every chance I could. I kept my head buried in my computer and phone until all hours of the night, disengaged with non-work conversations, and honestly was largely ignoring the needs of my partner. 

Luckily, after a break up, a long span of honest communication, and a happy reunion, Bryan and I got our groove back. How? 

The 'Yes, And' Mentality.

This mentality comes from the improv community and it's extremely effective when having a conversation about needs with your partner. 

It's the idea that you never negate what your partner is saying. So as opposed to the knee-jerk reaction of, 'Yes, but I need this," which invalidates your partner's needs and presents your own as superior, you say, "Yes, and I need this," which allows space for both of your needs to be met. 

With this communication tool, Bryan was able to ask for more time with me without making me feel broken for wanting to work. 

Remember, it's not about 'winning' the argument. You are in this together, searching for the solution that will leave you both feeling loved, fulfilled, and understood. 

Sacred time, space, and rituals.

Even in our busy seasons, Bryan and I have sacred rituals in place that always guide us back to our relationship. 

Whether it's 2 hour walks along the Katy Trail with Starbucks in hand, or an adventure day where we wonder, discover, and experience new things together in our neighborhood and beyond, or a Stay-In Sunday where our only goal is to not leave the apartment or accomplish anything other than enjoying each other's company. 

These rituals are our due north, and they help us stay connected even when life tries to get in the way. 

Me Time.

Yes, part of finding a healthy work/life/love balance includes having time to yourself. Bryan and I spend almost every Monday apart. 

We both get to recharge and not worry about choosing dinner, or a tv show, or an activity that we both want to do.

Bonus for me, Monday is the one night per week where I will let my workaholic flag fly. I'll work until 3 am if I want to, which then allows me to end the rest of my work nights at a reasonable time to spend with my man. 

Money Balance

Finding financial balance as 2 entrepreneurs, with semi-unstable, and often mismatching, incomes was something Bryan and I spent a lot of time (and continue to spend time) figuring out. 

Here are 3 rules we live by:

Communicate Before It's a Problem

Almost every month, Bryan and I will share with each other where we are financially. Tight months are a natural part of entrepreneurship, and the second it looks like that's where things are headed, we say it.

So it comes as no surprise when one of us might want to go out and the other says, "Sorry, not this time." 

That openness means there are no surprises, and no resentments.

Don't Pretend You're In a Place You're Not

Nothing can be more damaging, more nerve racking, and more panic inducing than trying to pretend you're in a better financial place than you are.

Don't try to take your S.O. out to a fancy restaurant when you're struggling to make rent. Be honest, upfront, and find other ways to show you care. 

Set and Respect Budget Boundaries

Understand, your financial goals may not match up with your partner's financial goals. Your budget may look different than your partner's budget. And that's ok. 

For example, I'm fortunate enough to have had some hard-earned financial growth in my business over the last year. But I have big goals for my future and for my family's future and so my budget is often much tighter than it 'needs' to be.

But that's my boundary. My priorities put saving over going out to dinner and that often means I'm saying no to nights out, even when I technically could afford it. 

This is a fact Bryan had to get used to, and thankfully, fully respects and supports. 

Remember, it's not your place to judge your partner, it's your place to support them in their goals, financial and otherwise.

Give and Take

When Bryan and I first started dating, we both were deep in people-pleasing territory. We both have dealt with some seriously dysfunctional relationships where we were made to feel broken, small, or unworthy if we did anything but agree and appease. 

However as the years passed, there grew a discrepancy between our people-pleaser habits. I started regularly setting boundaries, choosing to say no, and candidly asking for what I wanted.

But we all conquer these demons at different paces and Bryan admits he still struggles with feeling like if he doesn't stay one step ahead of my needs, if he doesn't say yes to everything, and if he asserts his needs in the relationship, it will end. 

Obviously, this dynamic between a people-pleaser and relatively recovered people-pleaser can spell disaster for the give and take in a relationship. So what do you do to re-establish that balance?

People-Pleasers: PracticeThat's right. Practice saying no. Practice asking for what you want. It seems like it should be more complicated than that, but it's not. You may feel uncomfortable, you may feel scared, that's ok... do it anyway. 

And the more you practice, and see that your relationship doesn't fall apart, the more empowered you'll become.

And by the way, if your relationship does fall apart because you stop placating their every need, thank your lucky stars that you are no longer tied to someone who is solely there to benefit from your lack of boundaries. 

Non-People-Pleasers: Give them space to say no. When they say no, respect their decision and don't make it a big deal. I promise they already spent days making it a big deal in their own head. 

And regularly ask them, "What do you need?" It's hard for them to come out and say it, so hold the space for them to do so without judgement. 

The safer you can make them feel, the more free they'll be to let down their walls, and the closer you'll become. 

Do The Thing

Use this episode as a template to start an open dialogue with your significant other about your expectations, wants, and goals for your relationship.

Trust me, a healthy, happy relationship does not happen by accident. You don't get to be passive in the pursuit of a great partnership. You have to be intentional, honest, and open and take your ego out of the equation. Communicate to learn and understand. Fight together for the relationship, not against each other. 

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And don't hesitate to let us know if there are any questions or topics you'd like us to cover in future episodes. The Life Unleashed Show is for you and I take all suggestions to heart!

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