Dating someone who works long hours is challenging. You hardly get to see them, and when you do, they’re often tired, stressed, or totally brain dead. This can leave you feeling distant, and chances are, they’re too preoccupied to notice.
So to avoid coming across as nauseatingly needy, you put your feelings, thoughts, and troubles aside to make the little time you two do get to spend together more relaxing and comfortable. Does this sound familiar?
If so, it’s clear that your lover is putting the majority of their energy into work, and it’s important for you to identify why. Try using the eight categories below in order to better understand why the person you’re with spends so many hours at the office instead of snuggling up with you on the sofa.
Some people have an unusually strong work ethic that comes from family tradition. They learned it from their parents, and it’s been ingrained in them from a young age. They don’t know any other way.
Some people work to protect them from the unknown. It can be the fear of having too much time and not knowing what they will do with it, or it can be the fear of dealing with deep issues from the past that can be blocked by distracting themselves with work. It can also be the fear of slowing down. They may be scared that if they slow down, someone else will swoop in and take their place in the workforce.
Sometimes, someone knows they have a major problem in their personal life, but avoids dealing with it by working. They know they aren’t happy with the person they are with, with the place they live, with the people they live with, or — strangely enough — even with their job. By filling up their time with work, maybe even work they don’t like, they don’t have to deal with the problems facing them outside the office. They don’t have to break up with their spouse, find a new place to live, or look for a better job because they just don’t have time.
Some people need to work a lot to survive. That can mean “survive” as in having adequate food and shelter, or it can mean “survive” as in keeping their business alive. Survival as in food and shelter is when someone is working two or even three jobs just to meet their monthly expenses. Survival as in keeping a business alive is when someone is running a business and putting in long hours just to keep it going. It can be because the business is new and they haven’t found other workers yet, or because the company is going through a hard time and they can’t afford to pay other workers.
Working long hours for financial security is for those who have a plan and know exactly what they’re working toward. There is an end goal to these long hours of work, and it could be a number of things, such as sending their child to college, retiring early, or quitting their job to pursue a lifelong dream.
Some people don’t really need the extra money a promotion may provide and everything in their personal lives is going well. But they are working long hours so they can compete for the limited number of promotions within their company — often a company they recently joined. They are working towards establishing themselves in their industry, and they want to be acknowledged for all those extra hours of work.
You can feel, see, and touch when someone is passionate about the work they are doing. It’s in their blood, and every action they perform is in order to pursue this passion.
Working towards power can be identified when someone clearly has more than enough capital to sustain the lifestyle to which they’ve grown accustomed, but still fills up their time with activities that will advance them socially, politically, or publicly. These activities don’t necessarily offer any immediate or long-term monetary gain, but rather position them to have more influence over others.
There’s usually one dominant reason someone works long hours, and in the cases of guys I’ve dated, it’s almost always been passion. However, there can be situations where more than one reason applies. For example, maybe the person you’re dating is passionate about their job but doesn’t make a ton of money doing it, so in order to survive they need to work excessive hours. This would be an example of the combination of passion and survival.
If this information wasn’t able to help you figure out why your better half is working such long hours — just ask them! Your future depends on it.