Loving my job is destroying my relationship

Question:

Ever since I got this really great job, my boyfriend has said I’ve become addicted to work. Before this job, I spent all my time with him. We had a great time every weekend. We hung out at bars or friends’ houses every night, or stayed at home watching sports on our flat screen.

Now when I get up in the morning, the first thing I think about is work. At night, I lie awake mulling over work projects. When we’re watching sports at home on the couch, I drag over my iPad and focus on work projects.

I try to cover up my love of work because everyone I know has a negative attitude against workaholics. When my boss gives me assignments that require weekend work, I groan, pretending to be unhappy. Secretly, however, I’m excited because I love my work. When I think about whether I’d rather go out to a bar or complete an assignment, I’m more interested in the work project.

My boyfriend is ticked off all the time. He says it’s no fun when I’m on my iPad while he’s watching sports because I’m not watching with him. We still love each other, but I’m afraid I’ll lose him.

Answer:

Your work gives you a sense of accomplishment and likely fulfills other needs such as making you feel important and ensuring your future by progressing your career or earning raises.

Unfortunately, if you prioritize work above connectedness with your guy, you allow work to consume too much of your life. If you want to overturn work’s hold on your life, you need to give more time and attention to your guy – including thinking of him when you first wake in the morning.

Meanwhile, your guy needs to loosen up. If you look up from your iPad during critical plays as you cuddle next to him on the couch, what’s the problem? Does he truly want a life in which he spends every evening at a bar or friends’ houses, or would he like to find something that creates a sense of accomplishment for him?

Your route forward is to decide what you truly want for your life and have an honest conversation with your guy. If you do, you may find work’s pleasures pale in comparison to the rewards you’ll find in a great relationship. At the same time, if your boyfriend can’t allow you to enjoy work as well as him, and if your friends force you to cover up what you enjoy, you may realize they aren’t what you need or want.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com

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