Gracie Carroll - Keeping The Spark Alive When You’re 5 Years In and Busy AF - eHarmony

For what felt like the longest time ever, I was the girl who never had a boyfriend. Although I was 18 when I met the boy who would become my first real boyfriend (we dated for nearly four years), and 18 seems like a total baby age to me now, at the time it felt like I was doomed to be a spinster.

That boyfriend followed me to New York City, and later I followed him to London, England. When I eventually moved back home to Toronto, I decided it was best for us to part ways for good and I had no plans of going back. I was tired of our hot and cold relationship, and our personalities constantly clashing.

When we broke up I was certain that I would be single for the next ten years, and I was totally okay with that. I’ve never been afraid of being single, and considering how long it took me to find someone I liked enough the first time, I thought it was inevitable that I would be single for a very. long. time. afterwards.

Quite the opposite happened. When I wasn’t looking whatsoever, I met the man I would start dating (and keeping dating up to present day) only a few months after returning home. Now, it’s been five years, we own a house together, we have a cat (Hi Emmy!), and enjoy a very full life together. Life with Josh is very good.

As you can imagine, our lives and relationship have changed over five years together. When we met, I was still a wild young thing with a vision of starting an epic blog and had literally zero dollars in my bank account. Hit fast forward on our half decade together and we’ve reached a point where I’m now the breadwinner in our household, I travel more, and work keeps me away from him, a lot. Say hello to the realities of that #GirlBoss life.

It ain’t always easy, but I am always grateful to have a partner who is my biggest cheerleader and always has been. To have someone who understands how important it is to me to build my career and be successful. Who always greets me with a big smile and warm hug no matter what time of day (or night) when I get home. Who never gets mad at me for sometimes (okay, very often) having to put work before us, and always has a shoulder for me to cry on.

When online matchmaking service, eHarmony, asked me to share some of my advice for keeping the spark alive when you’re in a relationship, I realized that so much of what keeps us going has to do with me making sure I prioritize working on my relationship as much as any other type of work I give my time to. Since so many of you are badass boss babes too, here are some of my tips for keeping the spark alive when you’re busy AF.

Gracie Carroll - Keeping The Spark Alive When You’re 5 Years In and Busy AF - eHarmony

Schedule Time Together

  • My entire life revolves around my Google Calendar and ALL of the reminders. The last time a friend got a look at my schedule, he LOL’d so hard and then all he could say was “OMG.” If something isn’t in my calendar with a reminder, it doesn’t exist to me. I will 100% forget about it. For this reason, I schedule ‘Time w/ Josh!’ just like I schedule my meetings, fitness classes and events. If I don’t, any gap of time quickly gets scheduled with new commitments or seeing friends. It’s easy for me to forget that I haven’t carved out time to spend time with him, so I put it in my schedule to make sure I do.

Find Little Things You Love

  • Thanks to the job I built for myself, my life is pretty damn amazing. I get to do extraordinary things almost every day. Does that mean I also want a larger-than-life, The Bachelorette-worthy relationship too? Absolutely not. When I have time off, I am OFF. It’s our little routines that often bring the most joy when Josh and I are hanging out together. Walking up to our favourite neighbourhood and visiting our favourite shops and restaurants, binge-watching shows on Netflix, cooking a great meal together or enjoying a nice bottle of wine together. Simple things can a go a long way, especially when you’re busy and tired. Seriously, it’s nice to relax and do nothing together so embrace it!

Go On Dates

  • As much as hanging around the house and doing nothing together can be wonderful, it is important to get the hell out of the house together too. Is there a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try? An old one that you both love? Go there. I’ll admit that sticking to a consistent date night is extremely hard with my incredibly inconsistent schedule, but, going out on a fun date together always reminds me of the ‘early days’ of our dating. And no, bringing your partner to a fancy work event doesn’t count. Do them a favour by giving them your full attention when you’re together.

Get Dressed Up

  • That fancy work event I just mentioned? There’s still room to bring your partner, just don’t use it as a sad excuse for “date night”. The fun thing about work events is that if it’s a glamorous affair, it gives you two an excuse to dress up and dine on someone else’s dime (an exciting thing when you have a mortgage to pay for in Downtown Toronto). Dressing up together isn’t something many of us get to do often, but who doesn’t want to enjoy their partner looking like they’re red carpt-ready for a night?

Spend Time Alone

  • When personal time is limited, I’m the first one to try and cram in everyone at once. There have been too many times when I’ve turned time I was supposed to spend with Josh into a dinner party with a bunch of our friends. As fun as that can be, it’s not the same. I really think that spending quality alone time together (no phones allowed!) will help remind you of why you love each other, and just how much you get along. Kiss, touch, feel like no one is around, because they aren’t!

Go On Vacation

  • Completely shutting off isn’t easy for me. I’m normally a constant ball of stress that is always worried about one thing or the next. Honestly, I don’t know how Josh deals with it. For this reason my absolute favourite thing to do together is go on vacation or mini breaks. During the summer, we try to get to my cottage as much as we can to shut off, together. Being outside of the city is an amazing way to relax, and I love getting to say goodbye to my work life (even if its only for a few days) to worry about nothing except being with him, on a beach.

So there you have it. I’m no relationship expert, but this is what works for mine. Ultimately, the most important thing to have is someone who loves you, and who compliments who you are, and everything you do. The same needs to be true about you for them.

Although I feel lucky to have found someone as special as Josh through a chance meeting in person (I went up to him when he was DJ’ing a party and then stalked him on Facebook which miraculously lead to him asking me out), if I were single today I know I wouldn’t have time to waste on dating duds. I appreciate the effort that eHarmony puts into helping people find love with someone who is truly compatible with them. If you’ve been too busy to meet anyone (or have been struggling to find the right person), maybe it’s time to give eHarmony a try? It’s worth a shot!




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