What to Do About a Workaholic Mate

If you're in a relationship with a workaholic, chances are that you have grown tired of all the stresses and complications a relationship like this brings. You probably never see your partner. If you have children, they may not even be aware that two people are raising them. It's easy to become a workaholic, especially if money is tight or if someone is pursuing a dream career. The partner of such a person, though, might find that it's a difficult situation to cope with.

If you want to enjoy a better relationship, learn what you can do about a workaholic mate. Fixing the problem isn't likely to be easy, but rest assured there are practical steps you can take.

Communicate how you feel

Never assume that your partner knows that his tendency to be a workaholic negatively affects you. Find the right time and place to sit down quietly, without any distractions, and have an open and honest conversation. Talk with your partner about how you feel, and describe the negative consequences that come from his behavior. Discuss how your home lives are suffering, and tell him what isn't possible as a result of this conduct. Some examples might be fewer quality vacations, lack of time spent together as a family, or feelings of loneliness and eroded trust. Sometimes, just opening your mate's eyes to the consequences of being a workaholic can shock him into doing something about it.

Understand why your partner works so much

Behind every workaholic is a driving force. It may be money or stability. It could be power or authority. Or, it could just be that your mate loves her role at work. Understanding what drives your partner is the key to offering support. If your mate feels under pressure to earn more money, identify ways you can reduce your outgoing costs or share more of the burden in bringing in income. When you understand what makes each other tick, the possibilities for solutions are endless.

Occupy your time in other ways

Be sure that your resentment for your mate is not because you have too much time on your hands. Can your partner realistically give you the attention you are looking for? A relationship with a workaholic can also fail if the other partner doesn't have a separate outlet for attention. Finding ways to occupy your own time more actively can relieve some stress or divert focus from a workaholic's ways. Try joining a social group, taking up a new hobby or finding new ways to earn money from home.

Set boundaries and make commitments

Workaholics are often unreliable because they tend to put work before everything else. This causes problems when it comes to keeping important commitments. If you need your partner to attend a specific event with you, give plenty of notice and set up reminders. Ensure that he has committed to attend and that he understands why the event is important. If he doesn't show up or cancels on you, let him know immediately how this made you feel. Criticizing your partner for simply "working too much" may fall on deaf ears, but offering specific examples of how he let you down is much harder to ignore.

Involve a third party

An impartial third party can often help mediate the situation. In some cases, the intervention of a close, mutual friend can help. This can complicate the situation in other ways, though. A better choice would be to see a counselor or therapist with specific skills and experience to help couples resolve such issues. Suggesting such a resolution might seem extreme to your partner, so don't be surprised if she resists at first. Acknowledge that you both need to talk through the issues with someone. When you get in the room with the professional, avoid the temptation to turn it all on your partner (even if that is how you feel).

Workaholics often endanger their health and ruin their relationships, and the behavior can be difficult to change. Above all, work with your mate to understand and resolve the issues. If you cannot come to a mutual solution, chances of relationship success may be limited.

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