Quality over quantity: making time for your significant other

Kara McIntyre

Frank Cruz and Kara McIntyre.
Frank Cruz and Kara McIntyre.

How did you transition your priorities from your best friend to your significant other?

Frank: Well my priorities did not fully transition from my best friend to my girlfriend. Jeff (my best friend) understands that there are going to be certain times that I’m going to want to hang out with my girl, as well as her understanding the time I want to be with my best friend. They’re both priorities for me—it’s just about respecting the time I need for each of them.

Kara: I don’t think either of our priorities completely changed in regards to our best friends. I actually met Frank because of my best friend Rachel, so she is especially understanding of my time with him. Rachel and Frank have known each other for about four years now, which makes it easier for me because sometimes I’ll hang out with both of them together. But it comes down to balancing time between the two of them.

Has falling in love made your priorities change? For example, your plans for after college—are you thinking of following the other’s plans or making a new plan together?

Frank: Falling in love has changed a few priorities. It was really unexpected, but it happened. After graduating college, my dream, goal, and priority is moving to California and working for World of Dance, but honestly if her dreams are what she wants and what she’s killed for, I would drop what I have and follow her.

Kara: I really never thought I would fall in love at 20 years old. For a long time, I didn’t even think I wanted to get married or have children, but then I met Frank, and my priorities changed. He told me how excited he is to be a husband and father someday, and suddenly I wanted to be a wife and mother. So yeah, I guess you could say my priorities changed. But I still put my career as a top priority, because I’ve worked too hard and dedicated too much time to not chase my dreams, you know? And same goes for him. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever met, and I’m not going to be the reason he doesn’t go after something he’s wanted for his entire life. If I end up finding a job in California, great. If not, Frank and I will cross that bridge when we get there.

Have you ever expected the other person to drop spontaneous plans to spend time with you, but you find it hard to do the same? Or vice versa?

Frank: No, I’ve never expected her to drop her plans to be with me. I’ve been on the side where that’s happened to me, and I would never want her friends or family to feel negatively toward her or me because she “ditched” them for me. I respect her time that she has with family and friends.

Kara: Yeah, I have. Guess that makes me a little bit crazy. [laughs] It’s unrealistic to expect that, I know. I just tell my inner crazy girlfriend to calm herself down and understand his need to see other people besides me. 

How do you balance time between friends and each other?

Frank: Well I don’t often get to see my friends, mostly because I tend to be working, studying, or having meetings for the different organizations I’m in. When I have freedom from all of that, I usually hang out with Kara and we just talk about everything and anything, even if it’s for a short period of time.

Kara: It helps that he’s friends with almost all of my friends, so sometimes I can integrate the two and get time with both my boyfriend and my friends. But again, it’s about finding time for both. I’m really bad at telling my friends no, though, which I’m working on. It’s a learning process.

What do you two do when you get a chance to see each other?

Frank: We tend to talk, mostly. We tell each other about our day or our week, depending on how long it’s been since we last saw each other. We (and all of our friends) like to joke that we’re an old married couple already, because all we really like to do is talk, lay in bed, and watch Netflix together.

Kara: Like he said, our friends joke around that we’re the old married couple. I think because we were friends for almost a year before we started dating, we were already super comfortable with each other, so we didn’t go through that whole awkward “getting to know each other” phase of relationships—we started our relationship at a deeper level than most people, hence the “married couple” nickname. We both have packed schedules every day, so when we do have the opportunity to be together, we usually end up napping or laying in bed watching Netflix. He got me started on Rules of Engagement. See? Such a married couple show. 

What’s some advice that you have for other couples with super busy schedules?

Frank: Just continue being patient with your significant other. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing your partner do what she or he needs to do in order to make their dreams come true. Sometimes it’s stressful, but I do promise you that at the end of it all, you will enjoy something so beautiful that you created together. It’ll be treasured for the rest of your lives.

Kara: Time management, communication, honesty, sacrifice, and respect are the top five qualities for a successful relationship in my opinion, especially when you’re both incredibly busy. When he has an office shift or I have office hours, we’ll go visit each other, even if it’s just for a little bit. He’ll come to the grocery store with me, or we’ll go to the library and do homework together. I live for those moments in my busy life—he’s just a little reminder that everything is going to be okay.