While most couples would love if they had endless time together, that type of lifestyle doesn’t usually result in an income. In fact, most households in the United States depend on dual salaries to pay bills, support families, and live a happy life. The only issue is when your relationship and your career clash with one another, or you aren’t able to effectively balance both demands.
On average, career expert Wendi Weiner says most professionals spend 40 to 60 hours a week at work and far less time with our significant other. Each camp will need your attention, but all too often, Weiner says when we see our personal life as something we don’t need to worry about, our partners are left feeling neglected. “Ultimately this can negatively impact the relationship because there is much less nurturing for the personal relationship when in fact it needs that nurturing,” she shares.
Here, some signs that your job is ruining your relationship — and how to recover ASAP.
You are avoiding the realities of your relationship
You’ve noticed your partner rolling his or her eyes at you lately. Sometimes, they even shun you in the bedroom or give you a cold shoulder when they’re usually upbeat and supportive. Instead of addressing these concerns or asking how your partner is feeling, you avoid the discussion and zero-in on your inbox instead. When this is happening, Weiner says it’s obvious you’re not being truthful about the state of your relationship. If this person — and your life together — is important, it’s time to set clear boundaries that give the 1:1 time he or she deserves.
“If you are working until 10 p.m. every night during the week because of work deadlines, prioritize your relationship by creating a mandatory date night one of those nights, and focus on you and your partner,” Weiner recommends. “That means put the phone away, close out the email, and just enjoy the time between the two of you.”
Your significant other is begging for change …
… or rather, demanding one. Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking says when your partner is giving you ultimatums, or actively expressing their concerns, it’s a clear indicator that they need more of your time. Most people won’t start threatening to end a relationship until they’ve reached a breaking point, which likely means you’ve been setting them second fiddler for a while.
“No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who is never there for them. You need to make changes quick,” she explains. “Talk to your boss about the after-hours calls, or the last-minute project requests. Take your scheduled time off. Find another job that works better for you.”
You can’t find a balance
Raise your hand if you feel like you have little control over your job. If you’re like many people, you’re terrified to stand up to your manager or to go too long without responding to an email. Or, you’re an entrepreneur and you feel responsible for every last part of your budding business. Thomas Edwards, Jr., dating coach and transformational coach says many times, people make excuses about work since they often feel like they ‘have’ to work all the time. In reality, you could still be productive and log less hours.”
If you find yourself overworked, chances you’re spending too much time at work and not enough time with your partner,” he shares. “The way to solve this problem is by taking an inventory of your time and see clearly and factually where it’s going. After that, start planning ahead and blocking out specific time for your relationship. Having these dedicated blocks of quality time that can’t be taken by work will show your partner they’re important to you and you’ll get time to stay connected.”
Work is depleting your energy and your attitude
You were in back-to-back meetings from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Then you had to actually — ya know — do your job. Especially for those executives that spend the vast amount of their working hours talking to clients, assistants and others, by the time you make it back home, you have very little energy left. Weiner says when you work in a negative environment where your boss treats you like garbage and your co-workers are toxic, you are left even more depleted, and oftentimes, negative.
Though it is totally normal to see your partner as a sounding board, a listening ear and your partner-in-crime, if you only bring home the bad stuff and never focus on the good, you are bringing down the morale of your dynamic. The solution? Setting a time limit.
“If you find that your negativity about work is bleeding into your personal life, set aside ten minutes to vent to your partner, and then clear out the energy to focus on the good things happening in your personal life,” Weiner suggests. “Venting about the day may be very necessary to clear your mind and shift your attitude focus. But, don’t allow the ten minutes of venting to become ten hours.”
You never see your partner
It can be trouble in paradise if you and your partner are both overachievers, according to Trombetti. When you’re both working like crazy, have opposite schedules or aren’t focusing on your connection in the least, it’s hard to know the person you sleep next to each and every night. Never seeing your significant other is a real problem but Trombetti says it doesn’t have to be.
“Happiness requires personal relationships to feel whole, and to become strangers over time is not normal,” she explains. “Get out of your office and try to have lunch with your partner and at least check in on how they are doing throughout the day.” In whatever way you can both be more flexible about your work, the better and more sustainable your relationship will become.
Work is creating more stress at home
When you easily anger or you’re constantly taking out each and every angst on your partner, it could be a sign you need more alone time. You simply can’t go from the office to your home, where you fight with your one-and-only, sleep poorly, and repeat. Thomas says it’s essential to find a way to detox your stress so you aren’t sacrificing your love connection in the process. Give your diet and your exercise patterns a long hard look, and find areas where you can release your anxiety without arguments.
You should also explain to your partner the space you need to be your best self, and thus, a better match for what they need. “Carve out time to do whatever it is that brings you joy, outside of your relationship. No matter what it is — reading, cooking, video games, painting — giving yourself the chance to feel that joy will keep you connected to why you take on the responsibilities you do and feel like you have a life that stands alone,” he explains.
You aren’t making your relationship a priority
Trombetti puts it best: a job is how we make money to live, but we don’t live to work. And if your job comes before anything and everything, your significant other is going to feel like they hold not spot on your priority list. Even if they can’t be first all the time, they should always be on your mind and factored into your decisions.
When in doubt, have those long, hard talks with your partner about what you need, what they need, and how you can work together. In the best of situations, communication is healthy, frequent and most importantly, effective.