1. It really is a three-way relationship with you, them, and their phone.
Whoever invented texts and emails and apps and the whole nine was really just enabling an entire generation of a workforce to never really be out of the office. And some jobs demand that, and some people love being able to know what’s going on at all times. Really. That’s why they’re checking email at dinner, and while you’re both just mainlining a Netflix binge, and during se.. okay, if they do that, there’s something definitely wrong here, but any and all other moments will be, in their minds, fair game. Sometimes, it’s justified, but sometimes you’re going to have to tell them to put the phone down. Remind them that they’re often only as accessible as they make themselves to be. And while they might not believe you, or pay attention at first, they need someone to help them remember.
2. Any and all plans are subject to being rescheduled.
And not because they don’t want to see you — but they will constantly say that something came up at the office, or that there’s another project that needs to be completed by x day, or Saturday really needs to be spent at the office because… whatever it is, they’ll justify it. Or they’ll try to, at least, and while being ambitious and driven is great, you also deserve your plans to be treated as concretely as their meetings. Schedule it into their calendar, give them one free pass a month otherwise they’ll get fined — but it’s important that they understand that life can, does, and should happen outside of the office.
3. Often, it’s not just their own personal drive that’s causing them to be this way.
There’s typically an equally-as-driven boss or a super-demanding client or a really lazy coworker for whom they have to pick up the slack or parents who expect great things out of them by the time they’re 30 that revs them up even more. Chances are good you will hear about this other person a lot. Chances are good it will feel like the person you’re dating is dating the person they’re orbiting around.
4. 9 times out of 10, they are so type-A it hurts.
And like, to the point where even if you feel like a perfectionist yourself, you’re suddenly going to feel… wait for it… normal. Sometimes being so type-A is great, because they’ll plan amazing dates and give really thoughtful gifts and go the extra mile for your happiness — that is, if and when you can see them — but sometimes it’s just exhausting. You will be exhausted for them. You will be exhausted for yourself for dealing with them.
5. You will find yourself taking the initiative more often than not.
Like, forcing them to leave the phone at home, stealing them away for a weekend (and checking with their Google calendar to make sure that they can’t worm their way out of it), and telling them (again) that it’s time to take a break. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, remember? But because you’re often the one who is initiating…
6. Sometimes you’re going to wonder if you’re the one who cares more.
Because if they cared as much about you as they did about their job, they’d make more time for you and focus less on the job, right? Not necessarily. It’s very likely that they’re just so hardwired into working that much that they don’t know how to make the swap into balancing a relationship and their relentless pursuit of work excellence. Still, though, there’s going to be that nagging feeling in the back of your mind, and it’s going to suck more than a little bit.
7. Your texts will take a backseat to ones from their boss.
Or they’ll be in a meeting until 9 p.m. and you don’t get a response all day, and even though you know that nobody in this society does not have their phone more than an arm’s reach away from them at any one time, how are they honestly not texting you back? But the fact of the matter is, sometimes people do OTHER THINGS beyond answer their phones, and so it’s really a lesson for the both of you — that they should maybe keep in mind that other people are trying to reach them, and for you to remember that just because a text goes unanswered for a few hours does not mean the very foundation on which your relationship was built was a lie.
8. If you ask them to dream up plans, their go-to will involve sitting and relaxing.
Not that they are the Most. Boring. People. Ever. (though there are a few workaholics whose jobs are their whole personalities, and that is a can of worms in and of itself) but they’ve been going nonstop, and working upwards of 60-hour weeks. Sometimes this was a voluntary choice and sometimes it wasn’t, but once you hit hour 50 or so, the thought of having to plan an event date sounds like a literal nightmare. There will be a lot of sweatpants in your future. There will be even more Seamless. There will be very few hikes through the Appalacia (unless, because they are type-A, you both decide to plan for a marathon together. Don’t question how they find time to train in between their work schedule. They will. And they will do nothing else).
9.Their propensity to snap at little things is borderline clinical.
If you make a small change or question something, they tend to get super irritable. To you it seems like they’re just being a jerk, but they’re just been dealing with hundreds of emails, messages, and rearranged deadlines (most of which they probably didn’t have to deal with at all but did anyway so they knew it would just get done) so you think it’s just moving dinner up an hour, but to them, they now have to restructure everything they’ve been working all day to fix. Tell them to cool down. Remind them that the world does not revolve around their email inbox, and what was a dumb question to them might have been a legitimate concern. But also, commiserate sometimes and tell them that people are stupid. They’ll feel better, and like their stress is warranted. (Believing that you’re allowed to be stressed is scientifically proven to alleviate stress.)
10. But most of all, they’re doing this for a sense of pride.
It could be rooted in some childhood issue they never resolved, or some fiercely competitive streak, or anything in between. Whatever it is, though, if you remind them that you’re proud of them just for, y’know, being them — no career trajectory, no awards, just for who they are — they’ll melt a little bit. And they’ll feel more at ease and comfortable with themselves and you. And who knows? Maybe they won’t take on that extra project, just so they can spend that much more time with you. And that’s when you know that what they feel for you? Yeah, to them, this is real.