No matter how long you’ve been with your partner or how secure you are in your relationship, excessive work takes a toll on your relationship. It comes up in my clinical work often; many partners complain they’re married to a workaholic. This causes emotional stress on both partners, one feeling misunderstood and stressed, and the other feeling neglected and abandoned.
The ability to shut work down and unplug is so important for mental health and relationship stability. Despite being a necessity, it’s becoming more of a luxury. When the relationship always falls second to work in priority, resentment starts to simmer. Many people even use work to fill a void that their relationship is no longer filling. If you’re neglecting your relationship because of work, you should begin practicing these five relationship tips so you can restore what’s been missing.
Schedule in times to shut down work at the same time as your partner. Unplugging from work is always good, but it benefits your relationship more when you do it together. It’s easier to begin this step if you have something planned out of the house or a project you are going to do together.
Be realistic about spending time together. When you have children, quality time may be time spent with the whole family. Having uninterrupted romantic time with your partner every night isn’t realistic but having an uninterrupted 15 minutes to talk, touch, or read together is doable.
Refocus your workaholic spirit to the marriage. Workaholics are focused and thorough; when you put that intention into your relationship, you will have an appreciative partner and a close marriage. A good example of this would be doing a chore list together on Sunday evening so when Monday comes around, there is a feeling that each partner is putting in effort.
Understand your partner’s job and appreciate the fact that your partner is passionate about their work. Partners who work too much are often medicating for not feeling understood or useful in other areas. When you tell your partner that you admire their dedication instead of blaming or shaming them, you free them from self-deprecating thoughts. Often, they can self-regulate more effectively when they aren’t using work to diminish feelings of emptiness or inadequacy.
Put the focus back on you. You cannot change your partner, but you can change how you feel about your partner’s habit of overworking. It’s helpful to ask yourself, “What do I need to feel loved when my partner is unavailable to me?” Having hobbies or interests you can invest your time in isn’t selfish – it’s practicing healthy self-care.
Marriages and relationships reflect the people in them. Since the two people involved continue to change, it is a constant balancing act. Being aware of how you feel about your time together and honest with your partner when you’re together is the best feedback for keeping you on track. Feeling passionate about your job and enjoying your work is important, but feeling loved for who you are and sharing a life and family with another human being is a treasure. No job is worth the risk of losing a trusted, loving partner.