If you’ve started using your iPhone while having dinner with your partner, stop! This kind of behaviour can be seriously damaging to your relationship. Here are five signs that your job is taking over (and what to do about it).
You use your electronic devices over dinner
Using your iPhone/Blackberry/Android/tablet over dinner can be an easy habit to slip into. Unfortunately, it’s not a healthy one for you or your partner. Aside from generating an emotional disconnect, it can also start a vicious cycle whereby whoever isn’t using their electronic gadget feels annoyed that they’re being neglected and ends up using their own device as a way to pass the time. Then you have two people at the dinner table, neither of whom are talking to each other. Also, consider this: Checking your phone while you’re sharing a meal with someone is rude. You (presumably) wouldn’t do it to a friend, so why on earth would you do it to your partner?
The fix: Even just 15 minutes at the dinner table talking about your day without any distractions is a hugely valuable way of reconnecting with your partner, so make (all) meals a device-free zone. Even if you have to physically confiscate the electronics, you won’t regret taking the time out to just “be” with one another.
You’re cranky (a lot)
We’ve all probably snapped at our partner at one time or another because we’re tired or stressed out from work. After all, no-one is in a good mood all the time and those cranky moments are part and parcel of any normal relationship. It’s when the crankiness becomes a constant that you have a problem. A major warning sign is if your moodiness is becoming an issue in itself. For example, if you’re beginning to have fights over the fact that you’re “always” angry/moody at home because you’re stressed about work.
The fix: Stay attuned to what’s going on in your relationship. If crankiness due to stress and anxiety has become par for the course, it may be time to seek some professional help. Contact your local GP or head over to Beyond Blue to read the facts and get support.
You’re too busy… for anything
Okay, so you’re really busy at work. Really, really busy. You’ve neglected to spend, ahem, intimate time with your loved one because, let’s face it, who has time for that? And just catching up for an evening? Forget it! You have emails to reply to, important documents to prepare! If this sounds like you, then “busy” has become “too busy” for your partner and this is a major relationship red flag.
The fix: You need to take a serious step back. Figure out what’s important to you in your life. Is your high-flying career worth the demise of your relationship? Is there anything you can do to improve your work/life balance? It may be that you keep your job (after all, it is your career) and find more efficient ways to manage your time so that work doesn’t impinge as much on your private life. Or, you may consider making a bigger change and looking for a position that affords you better hours. When making your decision, be sure to ask yourself: What really matters to me, at the end of the day? You may be surprised by the answer.
Learn the power of saying no >>
You don’t bother to talk to your partner about your day
If you’ve started responding to the question “How was your day?” with grunts or the occasional “fine”, then it’s time for a drastic change. Sure, you may be tired. You may also think that your day contained absolutely nothing of interest, so why bother talking about it. But that’s not the point. The point of sharing your day, boring or not, with someone you love, is to let them into your life.
It’s about taking time together to open up and share what’s happening in your lives. If you shut your working life away from your partner, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. Chances are they’ll have no idea that the reason you’re so cranky is because your boss has been giving you a hard time or you’re stressed over a deadline.
The fix: This is an easy one: Talk to your partner. Even if you’re both tired, even if you feel like you just want to forget the whole day ever happened, try to share with them what’s going on in your world. This may be as simple as letting them know that you had the best lunch ever, or that you’re annoyed because your desk has been moved and now you’re miles away from the nearest loo. Your partner will appreciate being “let in”, and making that extra effort to open up will set the tone for your time together after the working day is over.
You text your partner because calling takes too much time
So you’re on your lunch break and you’re looking forward to finishing off your panino in solitude. Pausing mid-bite, you send your partner a quick text to see how their day is. After all, it’s easier than calling and you really want to eat this sandwich and read a chapter of your book before dashing back to your desk. Okay, so there’s nothing strictly wrong with this, but remember when you first started going out and you couldn’t wait to hear your partner’s voice?
The fix: No matter how busy and important you are, there’s no reason why you can’t take five minutes out of your day to pick up the phone and say hello to your beloved. Sure, your partner may be busy at work also, so why not leave a voicemail saying “I love you”? Even if you only do this once a week, it’ll mean way more than an “I luv u” text followed by a heart emoticon and a smiley face.