6 Ways Work Shifts Can Affect Your Relationships
Being in a relationship is one of the greatest gifts that life can give you; however, there is one catch. What if you are unable to spend any time with that person because you work too much or both of you are working to support the family? This is what many people are facing, which is saddening because it is causing beautiful romances to grow dormant over time due to too much work, particularly in countries that have the forty – hour workweek.
How do we combat this? It is simple. We find creative ways to keep our relationships alive through actually making time to spend together and not allowing work to get in the way. Consider these six ways that work shifts have affected your relationships and try to see whether you can make some improvements to your balance between love and work.
1. The Commute
The commute is one of the most problematic aspects of working long hours. For many people, the commute can add on at least two hours to your work schedule daily. For example, if you have a family home in Rhode Island and are commuting to Boston every day for work, that is a two – hour train ride each way! Thousands of individuals do this daily, and it takes yet another four hours from their significant other.
How to combat the Commute
How do you combat this? Well, the answer is twofold, either you can spend time conversing with your significant other while riding the train via FaceTime, Phone or WhatsApp, or you can attempt to interview religiously until you find another position that is closer to home. While the second option is appealing, many individuals do not have this choice, and it takes its toll many times because when the worker does get home, they barely have time to eat dinner, go to the gym, and then get to bed to repeat the whole vicious cycle all over again.
By having a long commute, you are immediately doing a great disservice to your relationship, and if your partner is as well, this can become quite difficult to manage. Additionally, if your job has events after work that you are required to attend for networking, then it can be burdensome to always have to tell your partner an excuse as to why you cannot spend time together.
The way to combat this is to have a give and take in the relationship where your partner can meet you at your event sometimes and stay after when the kids have a babysitter, or you can make the extra effort certain days of the week. This even exchange is what makes or breaks the relationship that is suffering the long commute.
2. The Curse of the Smart Phone
The Smart Phone, while society’s greatest invention, is also society’s biggest downfall because it allows commerce to invade the family in a way that it never did before. Additionally, social media takes up so much time. Think about this. How many people have you seen on their Smart Phones at a $100 per plate restaurant? I can assure you that I have seen many! One way to deal with this issue in your relationship, which my husband and I practice regularly is to turn the phones off and put them in my purse.
There is a no phone rule some nights that my husband suggested. This allows us to be connected to our conversation just as it was in the old days. Additionally, we do not check work e-mails after we leave the office unless we know something urgent is transpiring. This is how you do not let the Smart Phone dictate your life and your relationships.
3. The Power Struggle of Income vs. Historic Domestic Roles
In many countries, women have not only begun to have the same jobs as men, but many even make a higher salary. This can be a major issue in a partnership if there is a power struggle regarding income. Additionally, if there is a day where one partner has a major meeting and needs help with the kids, and the other partner misses an opportunity for advancement with their job, this can create a silent rift that grows over time.
The household that has two working parents can be significantly disadvantaged in the long term if there is not some form of respect and open conversation about what each partner’s career goals are. By having the attitude that each partner’s career is the priority is not effective because people have to see these decisions as for the good of the union, not the individual. This is one area that causes many divorces and will continue to do so for many years unless each member of the relationship has an honest conversation about what the expectations are.
4. The Season of “Peak Hours” at Your Job
Are you an Accountant? If so, I greatly apologize in advance. Accountants have several financial deadlines in the year that cause them to work very long hours. My mother is an accountant, and I have seen the toils that the job entails. When one of the members of the relationship has a job that has a difficult season, it can take a toll on the family. There has to be a limit with your employer.
Even if the industry standard is something else, you have to be direct if you do want to serve the interests of your relationship first. Many couples lose sight of this, and it becomes a problem because they can never spend any time together, which has a very negative impact on their relationship and causes them to ultimately, drift apart.
5. The Two Job Nightmare
For families who have to work two jobs per partner to remain afloat, this is the most tiresome situation that exists in a relationship because when on earth can you see one another? Regardless of your situation, you have to carve time out for one another whether it is seeing a movie or taking a romantic walk to keep your relationship alive. Regardless of the finances, remember to take a step back and to appreciate each other rather than fighting with one another. By doing this, you will be able to be there for one another regardless of your long days at work.
6. The Expected Long Work Day That You Find Out About at 4:59 P.M.
One of the ultimate relationship killers is when you have romantic plans, and your boss gives you one last project for the day as you grind your teeth with anguish knowing that you are in trouble with your significant other. This always seems to happen when your relationship is on ice as well, doesn’t it? What to do? Well, you have a choice as to many to put career or family.
Many choose the former and live lives that are less fulfilling. Remember that you can say no to your boss if you have something planned. The era of being stuck to take on every assignment is coming to an end the next generation is reverting to focus on the traditional family unit rather than the office. What this means is that you should take your extra vacation days for that romantic weekend. You should not live in fear if you cannot accept a file at 4:59 P.M. By doing so, you show your partner that they mean more to you than your job. This fact is the best investment you can make in the long term.
All in all, remember what is at stake with the demands of your job. You have to decide where to draw the line with your job in order to put your relationship and family first. This is no easy choice to make; however, if you choose right, you will be amazed at the joys and rewards that life brings you down the road.