We all know a specific person who comes to mind at the mention of the word ‘workaholic.’ Someone who invests way more time and energy into their work than is required. They usually have very little in the name of social life and are often exhausted from accumulated fatigue and insufficient rest. With this person, there is a gray line between work and personal life as well as when a choice has to be made between the two, work takes top priority – every single time.
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If the person who comes to mind is your significant other or someone you once dated, you know that it can be frustrating, to say the least, to have a workaholic as your significant other. It always seems like you come second to their work. On the flip side, dating a workaholic does not have to be all negative. Believe it or not, there are some benefits you could get out of having the typical workaholic as your significant other. Here are a few of them:
The advantages of dating a workaholic
1) You will never be short of ‘me time’
We all know what it is like to have a clingy friend or significant other. They call you several times a day to say nothing in particular and do not understand why you do not want to spend all your free time with them – because they want to with you! The idea that you have a social life outside of them is almost offensive to them. After a few months of dating, you begin to feel suffocated and may feel the need to lie about your schedule just to ‘steal’ a bit of ‘me time.’
When you are dating a workaholic you will never be short of time on your own or time with your other friends. You can go shopping and take all the time you want without having to keep your eye on the clock to make sure that you are not late for yet another date. If you want to spend Friday nights indoors on relaxation mode, no one will ask you why you are not available for a wild night out.
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2) You are genuinely awed by them
Whichever way you look at it, a genuinely hard working go-getter is an admirable person. When you are in a relationship with a workaholic, you may crave a little more time with them but you will also admire them. Love and admiration are a great combination. You will feel a sense of privilege to be their significant other and be twice as proud of them when they achieve something big. When you have a success of your own and your significant other praises you for it, you will feel like you have conquered the world. After that, your drive will gradually increase and you may even enjoy taking up new challenges yourself.
3) You will inevitably push yourself more
Workaholics are usually strong-willed and determined individuals who do not stop until they succeed at what they set out to achieve. If your partner sets out with a seemingly unreachable career goal and you watch them pursue it relentlessly until it becomes a reality, that zeal and determination will most likely rub off on you.
The next time you come across a challenge in your own work, you will take it by the horns and run with it like you saw your partner do. With this kind of enthusiasm, it is unlikely that you would fail. With a workaholic by your side, you will get busy and may not notice how much drive and grit you have developed over as little as a couple of months. You will find yourself achieving goals you never imagined you could. Power couples do not come to be by coincidence. They challenge each other to push themselves in their careers so they both end up getting ahead in their individual lines of work.
How to Make It Work
First of all, let’s dispel the notion that staying in a relationship with a workaholic is easy – it certainly is not. It takes deliberate efforts to keep the fire burning. It is not unusual to feel a little bit jealous of their job because it means so much to them. Nevertheless, once you resolve to do everything you can to make it work, you can succeed in making the relationship work as well. Here are a few tips to maintain a happy and healthy relationship:
1) Always be supportive of their work
A workaholic is not forced to work many hours, they do it out of their own volition. This tells you that they love their work and it means a lot to them. When you are dating a workaholic, it is important that they feel you support what they are passionate about. If you are genuinely supportive, they will know it. It will make them feel even more loved and appreciated for who they are. If you pretend to be supportive, they will eventually see through you and there is a chance that they will choose their work over you – a very high chance, actually.
2) The effort must come from both of you
No relationship can work if one party is not interested in it and the same goes for all relationships, in fact. Where one partner is a workaholic, the relationship is even more delicate than the regular kind. There is a need for extra efforts from both partners. When you realize that the person you are dating is a workaholic, have a candid conversation with them and ask if they really want to be in it. If they do, take some time to observe them to confirm if their actions match what they say. If they do, then maybe it is worth the effort.
3) Take up a little more at home
If you and your significant other live together, you probably spend a lot more time at home than they do. If so, you may find yourself doing most of the house chores because they are terribly exhausted when they get home. This is not to say that they should not have a few chores around the house. You cannot do absolutely everything but you can pick up the bulk of the work as a way of supporting them. They will appreciate it and make an effort to help out around the house when they are not busy at work.
4) Try to understand their work
If your significant other is a chef, for example, it won’t be difficult to understand what they do. On the contrary, if they are a nuclear physicist, it may not be as easy. Either way, make an effort to learn more about their work and understand what it is all about. More importantly, ask them what it is about their work that means so much to them. Why do they feel the need to work long hours? The answer could have very little to do with the work and more to do with the individual. Sometimes all it takes to save a relationship is an understanding of individual motivations.
5) Pay them a few visits at work
Your significant other most probably spends a lot more time at work than you do. When they are at work, why not drop in for a quick visit? Some workplaces are strict on visitors but if it is allowed, drop by their office with their favorite take-out in hand. You do not have to be there for more than five minutes – just hand your partner the food, give them a warm kiss, and then be on your way. This not only communicates your love for them but also says you support their work without being too intrusive. You will be surprised at how much this five-minute gesture can do for the relationship.
6) Plan to spend time together
When you are dating a workaholic, you probably should not hold your breath for random, spontaneous nights out or trips out of town. In fact, you may never get to spend time together if you do not fit it into their busy schedule. If you have to jot down your ‘hang out together’ time in the calendar, then so be it. Schedule it just like you would date night. Once it is scheduled, protect those time slots like you would an important client meeting so you do not end up dropping it for something else.
7) Make use of their time off work to bond
When your partner comes home at the end of the day, they are tired. All they want to do is kick back and rest. You could choose to make yourself scarce and leave them to unwind on their own with nothing but the television for company. Alternatively, you could take advantage of this time to spend some relaxing, intimate time. This is the time to enjoy a quiet meal together, rub their feet or give them a back massage. Sometimes it is the little, thoughtful gestures which make them feel loved and build your relationship.
8) Help them out with their work
If you can help ease a bit of their workload, it will make them feel even more supported. If your significant other is employed, it might be difficult to help. On the other hand, if they are self-employed it may be easier to spend some time at their place of work helping out. This way, you get to spend more time together and get some work done to ease their load. When you help them with their work, they see you as a teammate who understands and values what they are passionate about.
9) When you feel neglected, say so!
A workaholic’s primary weakness is an inability to balance their work and personal life. Even if they care about you a great deal, they are likely to lose balance where time with you is concerned. When this happens, do not be tempted to keep your frustration to yourself. Instead, let them know how you feel. Their first instinct may be to defend themselves but if they really do care about you, they will receive it and make an effort to make time for you.
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10) Do not let your sex life die out
Sex is the backbone of your relationship so whatever you do, you must keep it alive! Even if your partner gets home tired every day, schedule some sexy time into their days off. Even if you do not get to spend enough time together, sex is a powerful, intense way to connect and make you feel like a couple. Do whatever you have to do to keep the flames of desire burning.
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11) Do not postpone date nights
Both of you have to agree to keep this rule. Planned date nights or ‘hang out time’ is sacred. They should not be changed unless a real emergency comes up. One cancelled date night leads to another indefinitely postponed one and another and then another. If you take these scheduled times together too casually, they will become fewer and further in between. One partner may feel undervalued and begin to let them slide on their end as well… and that is the beginning of a slippery slope to the end of your relationship. If something really important comes up and you have to reschedule date night, communicate it to your partner immediately and change it to the very next available time – perhaps the following day if at all possible.
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12) Ask them what they would want
Your partner works long hours and you are both making every effort to make sure that the relationship works. Sometimes, you may feel like you are bending over backward to keep things going – only to discover that your partner does not actually want what you are sacrificing to give them. Do not assume you know what they want. Ask them exactly what they want and need from you. You might be surprised at what they ask for! They will appreciate it when you ask and love you, even more, when you give them exactly what they asked for.
Some Final Thoughts
It takes a confident, self-assured person to date a workaholic and make it work. If you are in this situation right now, these tips will help you tackle every challenge with a positive attitude. It is not all bad, workaholics can help you discover a great side of yourself you never knew existed.