Whatever the cause, our careers often affect our personal relationships.
aybe you’re a workaholic and spend 80 hours a week at the office. Perhaps you come home every night wanting to complain about your micromanaging boss or annoying co-workers.
Whatever the culprit, our careers often affect our personal relationships — and in extreme cases, they can even ruin marriages.
“Because we spend the majority of our waking hours, Monday through Friday, at the office, our jobs tend to easily spill into our personal lives,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, leadership coach, and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.
“And it’s natural, for instance, to come home wanting to vent,” she says, “but this kind of thing can wear thin on your partner over time, as they may feel helpless.”
She says that frequently bringing the office into your personal life can be stressful for both of you, and it’s important to know if your job is affecting your marriage.
“You want to recognise red flags early that your work is impacting your marriage, so you aren’t blindsided by your spouse before it’s too late to make any changes,” adds Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of The Humor Advantage.
Here are 15 signs that your job is ruining your marriage:
1. You put work priorities ahead of your relationship
If you find yourself opting out of activities you would normally engage in with your spouse — such as going to a movie, visiting friends or just enjoying time together — you could be placing undue pressure on the relationship, Taylor says.
2. You’re too tired from work to spend time with your spouse
If work is sucking all of your energy out of you, your partner will be affected and take note.
3. Your spouse has become your career therapist
If you find yourself constantly seeking advice from your spouse on your next ‘move’ at work, you could be hurting your marriage, warns Taylor.
4. You have nothing to talk to them about except work
If you literally have nothing to talk about with your spouse other than work, then this is a bad sign.
“If you have trouble compartmentalising work and personal life, you likely will go into discussions about people and projects without even realising,” Taylor says. It’s a habit that you have to make a conscious effort to kick.
5. You arrive late to important personal events or frequently cancel because of work
This can create a slow build-up of resentment from your spouse and create the impression you are choosing your work intentionally over your personal commitments, says Kerr.
6. Your partner clams up when you ask them about their day
If your spouse feels that they’re taking the brunt of your office worries, then they may withdraw and seem unusually quiet, not wanting to add to the drama. “Or, they may feel that sharing their own struggles is futile, because the topic will ultimately bounce back to your office dilemmas,” Taylor says.
7. You argue more with your spouse
If you are carrying home stress with you from the office, then you may become more irritable and end up taking it out on your partner in totally unrelated areas, Kerr says.
8. Your spouse’s body language appears defensive
If your spouse reacts to your work discussions with crossed arms, little eye contact, or poor posture, then that may be a clue that they are quietly suffering, as your relationship may be, says Taylor.
9. You argue about new things
If there’s some sort of change to your work life — maybe a new role, a new boss, a new salary — and you’re suddenly fighting with your spouse about things you never argued about before, then it’s probably no coincidence.
10. You have less patience with your spouse, and vice versa
If your spouse if starting to resent your work, then they may not always open up about it because they want to be supportive of you — but the resentment might manifest itself in other areas, such as being less patient or more irritable, Kerr says.
11. You don’t feel like socialising
If you’re beginning to feel that your mind is in some far-off place, then your spouse probably detects it. “If you’re preoccupied with work once you get home, or even into the weekend, you may feel that you need to keep to yourself,” says Taylor.“You may deprive yourself of normal social activities with your partner.”
12. You spend little time with your spouse because you’re always busy with work
If you’re staying at the office later at night, going in on weekends more frequently, or bringing work home with you more and more, then these things will likely cut into the personal time that you’d normally spend with your partner. And, chances are, this will put a strain on the relationship.
13. You notice he or she doesn’t listen to you when you speak anymore
A spouse who’s sick of hearing about you “feeling trapped” at work or how you were admonished again might offer less eye contact or keep busy with another activity as you speak to mitigate the stress, says Taylor.
14. You start making more sacrifices to make everyone happy
Are you getting up two hours earlier each morning so you can come home earlier at night? Are you giving up personal hobbies or exercise in order to achieve your personal and work goals? This may eventually cause you to break.
15. You realise that you are happier at work than you are at home, and feel more engaged with your work colleagues than with your spouse
If you look forward to the end of the weekend or even stay an extra day away on your business trip because you realise it’s easier or less stressful to be at work than to be at home, then you’ve got a problem on your hands.