A Life Without Happiness Is No Life At all

I am a single woman, 35 years old. I have been divorced for 8 years and I am raising my 14 year old child alone.
I work full time and have a business on the side so after devoting time to my child and working often 100 hours per week, I have absolutely no time for a relationship.
I’m not even certain I want one because every man I meet cannot handle my schedule, all of my interests, and the fact that they cannot be the center of my life.
 
How do I ultimately find balance and make time for a relationship when three elements: work, business and especially motherhood, place demands on me to the extent that there is little time and energy left over for my own personal needs and desire for a relationship?

~H

Hi H,

It seems you’ve set this up so your personal needs and personal happiness can’t win.
 
First, let me ask you a question. If you met a man and fell deeply in love with him, and he had the commitments you just mentioned you have in your life, would you want to get involved with him for any kind of a long term relationship?
 
What could he possibly offer you in the relationship besides food, clothing, a roof over your head and occasional sex?
 
You say you work 100 hours per week. There are only 168 hours in a week. No one gets any more time than that, whether they like it or not. If you spend 100 of those hours working, and you sleep 7 hours a night (49 hours a week), that leaves you 19 hours a week to eat, bathe, drive to and from work, take care of your child, do shopping, do laundry, go to the doctor, dentist, see everyone else and have fun.
 
Let’s say you’re making $52,000 a year. That’s $1,000 a week. Simple math tells us that $1,000 a week divided by 100 hours of labor a week means you’re only making $10.00 an hour, before taxes. You didn’t mention what you do for a living, and whether or not you’re happy there, but you could easily make more money than that by being a cashier in a supermarket and have more free time (that’s not a put down to cashiers, merely a salary comparison).
 
By saying there is little time left for your personal needs you are saying your personal needs aren’t important to you. And if your personal needs aren’t important to you, how can anyone else’s personal needs be important to you?
 
What kind of a person who has a positive, healthy, constructive self image would want to get involved with someone who, no matter what, would always place them several notches down on their list of priorities?
 
That leaves only the users and abusers. Not exactly the group you want to be involved with, no matter how desperate you are.
 
In life we always make time for what’s important to us. Want proof? If you cut yourself and were bleeding to death, would you make time to go to the emergency room and get the bleeding stopped even though you were supposed to be somewhere else?
 
The message this is giving your child is that work is more important than family because work is where you spend all of your time. Your child will be 18 in four short years and then will leave the house. It’s not a home, only a house, because no family lives there. Working the hours you work, you can’t tell me you live there, because you don’t. You just sleep there and do basic maintenance (eat, shower, change your cloths, etc.). You live, or I should say exist, at your job.
 
If you’re working for someone else, rather than being self employed, you can easily be fired. Not a pleasant position to be in when you are giving your employer your life. As miserable as a slave is, at least they have job security. You have none. The only tangible security you will ever have in life outside of your own talents and abilities is your family. Unfortunately, your family is your job.
 
You ask how to have time for a relationship with a man. With the situation as you have described it to me there is only one way you can have a relationship with a man and that is to find one through or at work. The relationship can only be shallow and based on sex because you have no time for true intimacy, only general communication and casual contact.
 
No amount of money is worth what you are sacrificing long term: your relationship with yourself, your relationship with your child, and your personal happiness.
 
My advice is first, you need to make a decision whether your job is more important than your personal happiness. If your personal happiness wins (and I hope it does) then you need to find a job that will give you time to establish a relationship with yourself. After that, establish a relationship with your child. Then you’ll be able to establish a healthy, loving relationship with the man of your choice.
 
With your current priorities and present work load you don’t have time to do this. Life is an interesting set of choices, isn’t it? Don’t let the good things in life rob you of the best things in life (hint: the best things in life aren’t things, they’re loving relationships with people).
 
Good luck and God bless.
 
Bryan Redfield

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