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I am 19 years old and I find myself in a good relationship.

However, I have noticed that ever since I got my girlfriend, I don't wake up before 6 anymore. I don't study 8 hours a day anymore. I don't exercice everyday anymore.

I keep telling myself that she takes up a lot of time that I would otherwise have spent on work.

How can I tell the difference between my own excuses and my girlfriend taking up (too) much time? Is there anything I can do to get back on track without "getting rid of her"?

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I'd like to see a very general answer to this. There's many possible variations of essentially the same question. It comes from viewing spending time with a gf as fundamentally more important than spending time on another fun activity, but somewhere questioning it. It's different from sleep, which you need and makes you feel much better than without it (and it keeps you alive), because you can't doubt that you need it. With GFs you can question it. – Lodewijk Mar 16 '14 at 23:42
I think the simple answer is that this is productive. You put time into a relationship to produce results. How you weigh those results against others is up to you. – Raystafarian Mar 17 '14 at 16:22
Maybe you are an INTP/J personality type. For such people, such scenarios are common. If you haven't figured out your MBTI personality type yet, I suggest you do. – dotslash Mar 18 '14 at 4:23
only time, not money? you got a good deal – Jubbat Mar 18 '14 at 5:25
Significant others always cost time / money / sanity to maintain a healthy working relationship. In return you gain happiness, companionship, sounding board, and sanity. (and many other things) Why do we work? A. we like to? B. Money C. other We typically use that money to pay our bills, stuff our faces, and spend it on stuff that we enjoy to make us happy. Now if she makes you happy at the cost of productivity, aren't you cutting out the middle man on the happiness front? So where do the others stand? on a cold heartless logic based mind, she a plus or a minus there? – RualStorge Mar 19 '14 at 20:59
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Your approach is quite narrow. You are approaching a NEW situation with the mindset you had in your OLD situation.

"I was spending more time for work before i had my girlfriend"

Instead ask, "What is being with my girlfriend bringing me in regard to work".

See, nothing is one-faceted in life - everything has multiple effects and consequences in different areas of life :

  • You may be spending less time for work because of your girlfriend now but you may be able to endure work stress easier
  • You may be spending less time for work because of your girlfriend now, but you may have more inspiration and innovative solutions for the problems
  • You may be spending less time for work because of your girlfriend now, but it may be benefiting a totally different aspect of your life, which would indirectly benefit your work life.

ALL concepts regarding work must be evaluated in this wide-horizon fashion, INCLUDING time-management.

Work is not something simple and directly proportional to time. Sometimes you put LESS time into work but accomplish MORE.

But, one thing stands high and above ALL this :

Life is not "Work". The activity of 'work', is there to create objects, situations, thoughts and events that will supply the necessities of life to effect/facilitate emotions - two things being interchangeable.

If working and its fruits did not effect any emotions and supply any of your needs, you would not be doing it with any chance in hell.

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I think a view centering life around emotions is exceedingly hollow and meaningless. Emotions as a goal in life is.. Well, that's why religions have sins. It's short sighted and egocentric to live for emotions. – Lodewijk Mar 22 '14 at 14:37
Sorry to speak so aggressively. I mostly want to say girlfriends don't always have value, and if they do it's not infinite by any measure. But romance requires us to act as if it is, and for young people (like him and me) those facts can be hard to unify. I want to say: It's possible she's not worth it. If he feels that way, it's possibly true. Changing his life could help, looking at it differently might too, but it just might not be worth it. – Lodewijk Mar 22 '14 at 17:39
About girlfriends having or not having value - it is ALWAYS the RIGHT person that has the value. This does not change for girlfriends, does not change for coworkers, does not change even for your relatives, mother, father : The people who are worth anything, are worth it, and those who are not, are just not. Compatibility and harmony are most important in all kinds of relationships - even with pets. IF, he has found someone who is compatible enough, he should not be hampering the flow of life by enforcing pre-conditioned mindset and beliefs over the new situation. – unity100 Mar 22 '14 at 22:23
I think now that it's explicitly pointed out it improves the answers. Thank you. We are driven by subconscious processes, not necessarily emotions. It is indeed more accurate to say we are emotional being than it is to say we are rational beings, so I agree more than I disagree. Giving in to these "emotions" instead of manipulating them (yourself, essentially) to do things you rationally want is, I guess, what people call sin. Unrelated! The question was answered! – Lodewijk Mar 22 '14 at 22:46
Looking at animals you'll see there's little difference between the two on a functional level. We're capable of manipulating this rational/emotional level for our benefit. Celibacy is an oft practiced form of such manipulation. – Lodewijk Mar 24 '14 at 22:33

Relationships take time. How much time is up to you and your girlfriend.

You need to think about where your time goes and what your current priorities are. Maybe you need to discuss having X nights a week to yourself?

Also, look for ways you and your girlfriend can spend time together on some of these things. Is she in college too? If so, can you study together? (not in the sense of high school students pretending to study as an excuse to get together, but actually study together.)

Can you exercise together? Go for a walk or bike ride. Play a sport.

Look for ways to integrate your lives so you don't view her as a time sink.

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Kind moderator, I would really like to add an answer here but I can't. It's incredibly frustrating considering that I'm already familiar with the SE model. Is there anything apart from searching for a question I can answer and waiting for an upvote that I can do? – Dom Mar 18 '14 at 19:03
@Dominic answering only requires 10 points. You have 101. Maybe you tried before your "linked account bonus" took effect? – Jeanne Boyarsky Mar 19 '14 at 0:06
Oh. The question wasn't protected yesterday. Yes, now you do need 10 points on this site. Sorry about that. – Jeanne Boyarsky Mar 19 '14 at 0:07
OK, well I left a summarised version of my answer as a comment on the question. Thank you for responding. – Dom Mar 20 '14 at 20:20

You are trading work-time for her-time. Only you can decide if it's worth it or not.

It might be possible to frame or "schedule" your relationship, but it might not work for her (or you two).

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+1 Only you can decide if it's worth it or not. You only have a limited amount of time. If you can't spend the time "jointly" with her (Studying together, exercising together, etc), you have to decide what is worth more to you - or what is the proper balance between the two. – WernerCD Mar 18 '14 at 13:03

I was sort of in the same position. I work 7-15 and then I usually go home and work on personal projects or meet friends. But when I got a girlfriend the personal projects didn't get enough time. So I figured that I need to find the time.

What I did is meet her about 2-3 times a week. Usually I meet her about 17 o'clock so that I have about 2 hours of personal projects everyday. Also I set my Sunday as my "holy day". That day is usually only for personal projects.

For friends I usually find time in between everything but they are usually more patient than girlfriends. Also be sure that you girfriend backs you up on the things you do ! That's really important (for me at least)

Here is a link to a good story called 'the professor and the jar'.

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Very good link, quite an interesting story. – gaborous Mar 17 '14 at 9:43
Eventhough it's based on personal experiences, I feel like this is a really good answer +1 – Jean-Paul Mar 17 '14 at 22:26
Neither students nor the professor ever heard about fractal dimensions. :) – oakad Mar 18 '14 at 3:25

Everything in life takes up time. So do relationships.

You find yourself in a good relationship because you have spent time building it. Think of it the same way when it comes to exercising and such. If you train a lot then you get good muscles, if you over train yourself then you end up a cripple. Relationship is same, if you train it properly then it is good, if not then it is bad. Same will apply to when you have a family. IF you want your kids to adore you and respect you then you will have to spend time with them. The quality of everything in your life, is how much time you spend on it.

So if you love her and you do enjoy time with her, then there is nothing wrong. If you would like to exercise with her, then you can suggest that. Like for example I went running with my girlfriend to exercise. But do not expect too much. Exercise is one thing, and relationship is another, and you can not spend every day exercising together, since that is not how relationships work.

Hope this helps.

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Your girlfriend isn't dragging you down. Posing the question in this form seems rather thoughtless. You might have asked "Is having a girlfriend dragging me down". And there, the answer is that your priorities have changed. And they should have changed, because you are now in a relationship. If you don't like it, get out of that relationship and end up being successful and lonely.

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Well you cant make more hours per day. Those that manage to speend more time with a gf/bf while not taking time from something else are those that share their work time with their partner.

Traditionally humans have lived in close communities where they have worked together, their survival have been dependent on that. You and your partner where both part of the same community and your work where therefore shared.

Families (the primary group) where part of the secondary group (the community), and work was either part of the primary or secondary group agenda. Both in hunter-gatherer times and in farming times work where centered around a common theme: Get food, build protection etc.

Because of this overlap in family time and work time humans where able to do more of both than you do in your situation, and its natural to assume that this have been going on for so long that we have it encoded in our genes, and that our brains are adapted for that way of living no matter if we do live that way or not.

Now in modern society members of primary groups are members of different secondary groups or work independently on different things. Assuming that your brain are hardwired to try to have time with your gf while NOT sacrificing work time, its easy to figure out that it does not add up...

In other words either find projects you can do with your girlfriend, or find a girlfriend that you can do your projects with. Unless you make gf time and work time overlap you will have to sacrifice one.

As a result of this there are plenty of evidence that relationships that start at work are more likely to succeed. Here are one source.

If you want the current relationship to last my suggestion are that you find a way to create a common workplace so that you can share that time with her. Or you will grow more and more dissatisfied and eventually end the relationship yourself. That either directly or indirectly by showing an increasing amount of resentment towards her (in other words you will start behaving like an asshole until she leaves you).

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I'd say it's perfectly normal to spend a lot of time with your girlfriend in the beginning of the relationship, and part of this is that you neglect some of your other interests/hobbies/duties.

You will see the pattern with everyone. My daughter has a new boyfriend, and her grades dropped a little in her studies. Nothing to worry about, as long as it is not a long term development.

If you enjoy the time you spend with your girlfriend, you should not bother too much.

I find it however worrying that you even think about this. Maybe there is something in the relationsship you don't like?

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The study shows - Men in committed, romantic relationships have lower testosterone The testosterone level might be affected your behavior, and training and sleeping habits.

There are many research reports about affect of the testosterone to the male behavior. For example this one:

"Medical research suggests that testosterone has positive effects on mood (thereby reducing the chances of depression), and social science research finds testosterone to be related to antisocial behavior, risk behavior, unemployment and low paying jobs, and being unmarried--factors known to be positively related to depression."

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Please show us a comparison of testosterone test results of when you were with your wife, and of when you were without her for a significant period of time. Or at least a link that shows that whatever activity it is boosts testosterone. – Lodewijk Mar 19 '14 at 2:12
@PeterTeoh The referred study showed the difference in testosterone level only for romantic period of relationship. The married men have same level of testosterone as unmarried. – alex Mar 19 '14 at 2:25
Sir, these are all statistics. And there is no known biochemical or pathological knowledge of the relationship between testosterone and human behavior - YET. – Peter Teoh Mar 19 '14 at 7:02
@PeterTeoh You can find tons of scientific studies just google "testosterone behavior". – alex Mar 20 '14 at 14:19

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