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Dating a Workaholic

Are you dating a workaholic? Do you suspect you are and are looking for ways around it? First it is important to differentiate whether your partner is a workaholic or just a solid, hard-working individual before getting into ways to alleviate their anxiety for a happier and healthier relationship. Saul (2009) suggests hard workers and workaholics have vastly different perspectives of what the role of work is to them.

To a hard worker:

  • Work is a requirement, and (at times) a pleasurable obligation
  • Work is meant to be kept in check so they can be available to their family and friends
  • Work should not be about trying to meet impossible demands
  • Breaks can be taken from work

On the other hand, to a workaholic:

  • Work is a way to distance themselves from unwanted feelings and relationships
  • Work is more important than anything else in their lives, including family and friends
  • Trying to meet impossible demands is exciting
  • Breaks from work is near impossible- they think about work regardless of what they’re doing or who they’re with

Some other main traits of workaholics consist of:

  • Being intense, energetic, competitive and driven
  • Having self-doubts
  • Preferring work to leisure
  • Working anytime and anywhere
  • Always making the most of their time
  • Constantly blurring the line between business and pleasure, at times leading to major health problems like stress-induced illnesses, chronic fatigue and increased anxiety levels


If you do believe your partner is a workaholic it is important you voice your concerns for them and for the relationship you share. A couple of tips from Canadian Living on how to cope with a workaholic partner include:

  1. Don’t turn a blind eye to the nature of their work- instead understand the pressures that come with your partner’s work
  2. Ease up on nagging- avoid being negative and show consideration for their work, perhaps ask if they can take a break without a sense of entitlement
  3. Don’t compete with other couples
  4. Ask to use your partner’s calendar- help make their hectic schedule as functional as possible
  5. Establish a fixed routine- such as an established non-negotiable family time or date time

If you are the workaholic in your relationship or feel like you may have workaholic tendencies, Your Tango suggests a couple of helpful pointers:

  1. Get them on your side- explain to them your goals and aspirations, help them to understand your reasoning and way of thinking, work together as “teammates” to accomplish mutual goals
  2. Schedule appropriately- do your best to arrange your schedule in advance so you can set aside enough free time to spend together and stick to your word
  3. Give them a job- get your partner involved in one of your projects as this can be extremely healthy in a relationship to reinforce the “teammate” theme
  4. Learn to de-stress- don’t bring your work stress home with you

Always remember that a relationship is a two-way street requiring effort and understanding from both parties. Communicating, being patient, and being honest is key for all relationships, but even more so if a member is showing an unhealthy relationship with work.

Sources: 1, 2, 3
Image source: 1

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