It’s almost midnight, and you’re still waiting for an “I’m on my way home” text from your guy—and it’s not the first time this has happened, either. When you go on vacation or even just on a date, his phone pings constantly from all the messages he’s getting from the office. He’s canceled plans on you at the last minute because he’s suddenly been called into a meeting. Do these scenarios sound all too familiar to you?
Jobs are easily becoming a notorious relationship killer. If your boyfriend or hubby is guilty of being married to his work, it could be chipping away at the foundation of your relationship. But even long hours don’t necessarily have to destroy your relationship. As the person at the end of the receiving line, here’s what you can do:
1. Identify patterns of behavior.
Is this a one-time or one-project or seasonal occurrence? Or does this happen all the time? Learn to differentiate between the two. For example, anyone who has anything to do with taxes will probably be drowned in work in March and April every year—that’s just the nature of the job. But is your guy just that busy, or is he unable or unwilling to set work aside to focus on your relationship? Say he brings work home with him. Does he set this aside when you want to talk or just want a cuddle, giving you all his attention when you need it, or does he allow even trivial work matters to intrude on your time together?
2. Lead by example.
Learn to find interests of your own. If your boyfriend or husband can’t disconnect from work to go to that party or join your barkada trip to Bora, do it anyway. Don’t let your other half’s work habits prevent you from doing what you want to do and going on adventures you’ve been wanting to experience. When he sees how much fun you’re having and what he’s missing out on, it could just jolt him out of workaholic mode. Even if this doesn’t happen, though, you’ll only make the both of you miserable by nagging him or waiting by the phone until all hours of the night.
3. Don’t assume it’s all about you or your relationship.
Your guy could be working harder than usual for reasons other than the ones your frantic mind may have thought up. It’s not uncommon to wonder if his late nights at the office mean he’s lost interest in you or gained interest in someone else, or he thinks you’re less important than his work. But don’t jump to conclusions. Perhaps there’s really just that much work to do, which is not uncommon when a team is undermanned or there’s a deadline looming. Perhaps there are financial reasons you may not be aware of. Worst-case scenarios can and do happen, but without proof, you shouldn’t rush to assume the things you might be imagining are your reality.[crp]
4. Listen and communicate.
Communication is an essential building block for any solid relationship. If you want to achieve long-lasting love and commitment, you’re going to have to learn to trust and open up to each other. Explain to your boyfriend or husband how his actions and behavior makes you feel. Listen when he tells you why he is doing what he’s doing. Talk, align your goals, and work together. Sure, he might think he’s doing this to earn money for your future, but if this unintentionally causes an emotional vacuum in your relationship, you need to talk it over with him so you can both decide if what he’s doing is worth the cost. Don’t just confront him because you’re fed up; in fact, talk to him before you get to the boiling point. Only when you guys are on the same page can you come up with a solution that works for you both.
5. Make the effort to keep the fire burning.
Keep your love alive and avoid withdrawing because you are no longer in that lovey-dovey honeymoon phase or because things have changed between you. Change is natural in a relationship, and you can’t expect things (and emotions) to be easy all the time. Be supportive, and find ways not only to be together despite his busy schedule, but also make the effort to rekindle any lost passion between the two of you. That could mean trying something new in the bedroom or out of it or just finding new ways to express your feelings and have fun as a couple.
When your partner’s OT cuts into the quantity of time you spend together, quality time becomes all the more important. Decide whether his long hours are incidental to your relationship or if they are a symptom that something else is going wrong. Above all, keep lines of communication open and try to see things from each other’s perspectives. If things don’t work out in the end, at the very least you should be satisfied that you did everything you could to make it work before you called it quits.
What's Your Reaction?
Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.