Work Can Wreck Relationships

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2010


Instead of celebrating Happy Valentine’s Day, many couples will be collapsing under the strain of work. The recession has made things worse by requiring those who are still employed to spend more time on the job. Couples and singles alike can keep their relationships from being wrecked if they put some buffers in place.

  • Accept that Work is a Priority

Make an attitude adjustment. Work-life balance is an admirable goal but, more often than not, work will gobble up most of your time. It’s fine to say “My family comes first!” but most of the people saying this are clocking in 60 hours or more at work! This is simply the nature of jobs these days. You must understand this. But, more importantly, your mate must accept this too. Demands that you be home in time for dinner or make it to a movie on time create undue stress because you won’t be able to meet these obligations all the time. Your job will demand that you absorb more and more until the economy improves, so understand that your challenge is to demonstrate your “value” to your employer, not to get into a power struggle over your right to have a personal life. Remind yourself and your mate that this isn’t the time get put out on the street.

  • Establish a Communication Ritual

When you run a business that operates around the clock or find yourself at work most days of the week, it’s important to have gratifying communication with your mate when you can. The more predictable a pattern you can establish, the more of an anchor it will be for both of you. Some of this communication will be “business” and will deal with the operation of your relationship, such as paying bills, picking up dinner, going over the grocery list, deciding who will drive the kids to soccer practice. But even these contacts help you to “connect” emotionally and to receive a boost or support as needed. The fact that it’s a “ritual” doesn’t mean it has to be often. Some couples talk, videocall, email, or text several times a day and that works well when it is mutually manageable. Others do so once a day, a few times a week, before or after work, or while sitting in airports on business trips and this can be just fine too. The key is that the routine is adequate for both of you. Don’t worry about what other folks are doing. What works for them may not be the ritual for you.

  • Toast Time Spent Together

But even couples with the best communication rituals need quality face time. Again, this doesn’t have to be frequent when the realities of your business life prevent it, but it should be nurturing, restorative, and fun! Get the household business and chores out of the way and then enjoy the time you have to spend together. And don’t spend money you don’t have. Quality time doesn’t have to mean a night out on the town. Bum around, “cocoon together,” enjoy a good meal at home. Nothing wrong with that. It’s spending time together that’s key, so do what both of you enjoy most!

The demands of work have a way of stifling relationships and can ruin them altogether if you and your mate don’t strengthen your links. Take stock of the realities of your workloads and schedules, connect when you can, and make the most of the time you do spend together to draw sustenance and rejuvenation.



About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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