Attitudes towards work can vary significantly from person to person, even in a relationship. While one partner might value their work-life balance and stick to standard 40-hour week, another might thrive on long hours. Sadly, this is a relatively commonly cited reason for break ups, and research from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte even suggests that divorce rates are two times the national average for workaholics.
It can be understandably frustrating if your partner seems to be prioritizing their career over you, but you and your partner don’t have to become a divorce statistic. In today’s post, I’m going to talk specifically about things people can do to improve their relationship if they believe their partner is a workaholic.
Advice for Those in a Relationship with a Workaholic
Talk with your partner about their work habits. There are a lot of different reasons why someone might work long hours. In some cases, they might be trying to get a promotion in order to better support their family. In other cases, they may have entered into a career that they’re passionate about but that requires long hours. If your partner grew up in a family of overachievers, they might feel they need to work their hardest to be successful. You won’t necessarily understand the reasoning behind your partner’s work habits unless you sit down and talk to them about it. Don’t be accusatory; simply let your partner know that you’re trying to understand how they feel.
Set aside time for the two of you. Research has found that workaholics perceive time differently than non-workaholics and are more likely to let work bleed over into non-work hours. If your partner is working from home long after their normal hours on a regular basis, talk to them (again, in a non-accusatory way) about setting aside work at a designated time so that the two of you can do something together. It doesn’t need to be anything big, just give you two an opportunity to reconnect.
Set some ground rules. Work with your partner in order to come up with compromises so that you can both enjoy the time you have together. For example, agree not to guilt trip your partner about the time they spend working if they set aside a certain amount of family time every week andturn their phone off during dinner.
Don’t compare yourself to other couples. Don’t let yourself become bitter just because you’ve noticed your best friend spends more time with his or her partner on the weekend than you do with yours. All relationships are different, and if you and your partner are able to figure out what works for you, you shouldn’t feel like you need to “compete” with others.
Be supportive. In order for your relationship to succeed, you and your partner need to find ways to be supportive of each other instead of bitter about your different work styles. If this is something that has been hard for you, consider scheduling a session with a Houston marriage therapist. I would be happy to meet with you at my counseling center.