Balancing Love and Labor: Navigating Workaholic Relationships for a Lasting Marriage

From your RAFT Counseling Team

The divorce rate for couples where one or both partners are workaholics is two times higher compared to those working a routine work week. Living with a workaholic over the long run of a relationship can have severe impacts. The psychological toll alone can be detrimental to your dynamic and intimacy.

Workaholic behavior at the workplace can easily be interpreted as motivation and dedication. At home, however, workaholic behavior isn’t the most desirable. 

Here are some tips for navigating this behavior and having a successful marriage

Discuss Your Concerns

For many workaholics, they may not even realize their behavior is a problem. The key to any relationship is open and honest communication. If you’re in a relationship with a workaholic and you have concerns, don’t be afraid to express these concerns to them. 

When having this conversation initially, make sure you remain calm and reassure them that you’re supportive. Try to avoid any negative moves, nagging, or starting an argument. They will only work against your goal. 

Set Boundaries

When you have a partner who’s a workaholic, creating boundaries may be necessary. Establish a list of non-negotiables and rules that aren’t to be broken within the household. Do this together  in a healthy discussion to formulate what is acceptable behavior and what crosses that line. 

For example, set dinner times where your partner should be home by. Have a time when phone calls should end or limit the amount of phone calls taken. Keep phones out of the bedroom and limit use during specified, planned activities. Create ground rules that apply to your own home setting. 

With any rules should be a “consequence” for breaking them. Otherwise there isn’t anything to prevent or reduce the behavior from happening. If you have an activity planned and they’re going to miss it, you should follow through with the activity regardless. Boundaries can be tough at first, but over time will help shape effective and healthier behavior. 

Understand Their Job

If you don’t know what exactly your partner does day to day or why their job brings them satisfaction, it can be hard to understand their behavior. If you don’t understand these things, it also makes it easier to become resentful. 

Ask them questions and learn what you can on the basics of their job. You’ll be able to be a good listening ear for them when there’s work stress. You may be able to provide some outside advice or encouragement when it’s needed. And remember it’s a two way street. They should understand yours as well. 

Find Mutual Hobbies

Workaholics have a need to keep themselves busy. It’s why they work so much and why they feel they need to continue working so much. But it doesn’t have to be work that fills their schedule. 

They aren’t good at sitting around and relaxing, so if you’re trying to encourage your partner to slow down at work, you’ll want to explore some hobbies that you can do or make plans for activities. This should help reduce the working behaviors while also increasing the quality time you both spend together. If you have kids, it’s great way to make family memories. 

Set Priorities 

When it comes to outside of work social life, calendars can fill up quickly, especially at certain times of the year (think summer and holidays). While you want to attend everything and would like your partner to be at every event with you, that may not be the most realistic.

Create a priority list with your partner of the social events that are the most important. Couples who create memories and do quality time together are less likely to end in divorce, so keep them on the schedule. 

If the challenges of balancing your relationship with a workaholic partner persist, seeking professional guidance can be a transformative step. Reach out to us today for valuable insights and support tailored to your unique situation. Providing guidance and hope, RAFT Counseling offers in office sessions and online sessions are available. Together, let's navigate the path towards a healthier and more fulfilling connection in your relationship.

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