If you aren’t a workaholic, forming a relationship with someone who is can pose a number of unique challenges across the course of your relationship. From struggling to disconnect from their work to frequently focusing their time and energy on their occupation, it can feel difficult to find the time in both of your schedules to address areas in your relationship that you both need to troubleshoot. However, there are some ways that you can improve your relationship with a workaholic to facilitate healthier communication, encourage more quality time, and create a positive environment to discuss and solve problems as they emerge. These are four ways that you can improve your relationship with a workaholic.
Always practice positive reinforcement
No one likes to be yelled at, scolded, or talked down to…especially not workaholics. They highly value their persistence, efforts, and motivation, and they take great pride in the hard work they do to be successful. Being nagged at for working too much will only cause them to feel shame, which will build into resentment and anger over time. Instead of yelling at your workaholic partner, leading to long-term tension on both ends of the relationships, try using positive reinforcement to get them to ease up on their work. Workaholics seem to thrive most when they’re working, but many are eager for an excuse to take a bit of time for themselves in the midst of their hectic schedules. Give them a reason to slow down. Whether it’s preparing a special meal for the two of you on a particularly stressful week or taking them out to a movie to get their mind off of the office, there are plenty of incentives you can put forward to help your partner stop working and start spending more quality time with you. While the effort to spend time together needs to come from both ends of the relationship, sometimes, workaholics just need a little, positive nudge to slow down and appreciate the connection they receive from your partnership.
Commit to device-free dates
In the 21st century, phones, computers, and other devices are a major part of any occupation. When a workaholic brings a device along to a date or a hangout session, they can easily end up glued to their email inbox. In order to be able to spend true, quality time with your S.O., scheduling device-free date days is essential. While the prospect of not having their phone on them may make a workaholic a bit anxious, devices are ultimately distracting from what is in front of our faces, including the positive relationships in our lives. A good relationship can withstand a couple of hours away from cell phones, laptops, and iPads. It’ll make the time you spend with your S.O. not only more rewarding for you, but more genuine and stress-relieving for them.
Establish work-free time in your schedules
Going hand-in-hand with the “device-free dates,” ensuring that there is a scheduled time where your workaholic partner steps away from work can be extremely beneficial in setting boundaries between their work life and your home life. This time may be designated as family time, mealtimes, movie nights, or simply evening snuggle sessions, yet this pre-established work-free time is beneficial for you and your workaholic partner. Scheduling free time into their pre-established schedule helps them maintain “workplace” structure, feel as if though they are being productive, and look forward to something at the end of a long workday, making their work more rewarding for them. Plus, you can eagerly anticipate the quality time that is in place in both of your schedules, ensuring that you don’t end up resenting your partner for working instead of spending time with you.
Apply their skills to your relationship
While you never want your partner to view your relationship as a full-blown job, any good relationship requires some work, effort, and upkeep to remain strong. Luckily, these are some of the things that workaholics are best at. Since workaholics tend to be highly focused on productivity, you can apply their motivated attitude to improving different areas of your relationship. Workaholics will appreciate assertive and eager communication, quick and tactical problem solving, and thoughtful planning to improve certain facets of your relationship. Are you struggling with a lack of feeling connected to your partner? Low intimacy? Wanting more time with your S.O.? Communicating your wants/needs, presenting possible solutions, and discussing a variety of ways to address your problems can help you and your workaholic partner develop a stronger, more productive relationship.