Work-life balance - Don't give love the brush off

17th October 2008 at 01:00
Romance can be put on the back burner when you have books to mark. But your soulmate could be closer than you think, says Lesley Brewer

As working hours increase, most teachers would agree that their job gets in the way of their personal lives. Research by the Teacher Support Network confirms that heavy workloads leave teachers with little time for romance, with 70 per cent confessing that work interferes with their domestic and social lives.

For single teachers, finding the time to seek a soulmate can be a major stumbling block. The key to finding love is managing your time efficiently and opening your mind to new ways of meeting people.

We can't rely on meeting "the one" by chance, so more and more singles are turning to the internet to find a partner. The online dating industry in the UK alone sees 3.9 million people logging on for love each month. By our late 20s, we tend to have established our social groups and rarely get the chance to meet new people outside of work. Unless we make the effort.

But if you're prepared to be more proactive, there are all sorts of ways you can meet people - social networking sites, online dating, speed- dating, traditional dating agencies. However, as a teacher, you have to consider your reputation. Posting your personal details on Facebook or dating websites isn't recommended.

It's important to start by thinking more positively. Build a picture in your mind of what you want and stop dwelling on the negatives.

Dress up, rather than down, for work. People who make an effort get noticed, so think about the impression you're giving to others. Be aware of who is single in your circle of friends. Your soulmate might be someone you see every day but, being so engrossed in work, you may have missed the signs.

It sounds cliched, but joining a salsa class, wine tasting group or rambling club really does open doors. Most events take place on an evening or a weekend when you can make yourself free.

If this isn't for you, look into personal introduction agencies. To ensure your security and your money is going to a reputable business, always use an agency that is regulated by the Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA).

Even those with partners need to be careful that school pressures and extra curricular activities don't impinge on their relationships. For this reason, the majority of single teachers say that they would prefer to date another teacher.

Jack, a history teacher in Newcastle, has been married to another teacher for three years: "I met my wife at the school where we both teach and many of our friends who are couples are also teachers. We have a lot of empathy and sympathy with each other when workloads get heavy."

If workload is causing problems in a relationship, act now. Even household chores can be enjoyable if you do them together. Put on your favourite music and have fun with the feather duster. After an hour, stop what you're doing and go for a stroll in the park or a romantic lunch.

It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and forget to communicate. Why not rediscover the joy of text? It can build up romantic anticipation. Every night, set aside a couple of hours to chat, cook or eat together.

Think about the activities you would like to do, the places you'd like to go and start planning for the Christmas, Easter and even the Summer holidays now. It will give you something to focus on and look forward to together.

Lesley Brewer is a dating expert and founder of The Introduction Company in Malton, North Yorkshire.

How to take action

- Be proactive - make time for love.

- Think positive - it makes you more attractive.

- Be aware of your reputation as a teacher - avoid posting photos and comments about yourself online.

- Choose an ABIA registered dating company. Visit

- Inspect your circle of friends. Is "the one" closer than you think?

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