When work stress becomes home stress
The higher stress and higher risk your profession, the more likely your marriage won’t survive.
Does this sound at all like your job? Sure sounds like Jeff Bezos’ – the billionaire and Amazon CEO recently twittered divorce plans after 25 years of marriage to MacKenzie Bezos. With a mantra of “Get Big Fast,” Bezos’ rule over the trillion-dollar retail empire must be a bruising pressure cooker of worry, risks and devotion.
The stress and strain of any job can’t help but spill into someone’s personal life, plus when you spend the majority of waking hours at the office expending a shitload of energy, you’re going to have little left to give at home.
Take it from divorce lawyer and relationship expert Michelle Afont: “Unfortunately, in high-stress careers, especially with so much at stake, including billions, shareholders and much more, your odds of staying together go down tremendously.”
The formula for failure is simple: If the passion for the high-stress career is greater than the passion for the marriage, the marriage will suffer and likely end, says Afont, of michelleafont.com.
Statistician Nathan Yau pulled data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017 and linked professions with a likelihood of divorce. Some jobs are marriage killers (https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/job-divorce-rate-1017), especially those that are stressful and high risk.
If failure isn’t an option, then couples need to be present in the relationship, at least to the extent that works for both parties, says Afont. And they need to share the same drive and passion for the business or respective careers. Bring your partner into the business, if willing.
“100% of one thing will give you 0% of the other. Relationship balance is crucial,” adds Afont, author of The Dang Factor: A No-Nonsense Lesson on Life and Love. “A partner wants to feel as important as the business, and sometimes that is just not possible.”
Letting work worries bleed into your home life wounds intimate relationships. Venting about your crappy boss or a lazy colleague wears thin, and it’s stressful! Being mistreated at work doesn’t give you the right to mistreat people at home.
Prevent work/home spillover by doing two things according to researchers at the University of Florida: exercise and sleep. Sleep-deprivation is linked to poor self-regulation skills, so eliminate taking your anger out on others by practicing good sleep hygiene – unplug from devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
Plug into your marriage by setting firm email and phone habits at home, taking real vacations to relax and recharge, and having a good support network of friends and colleagues so that your work stress isn’t the burden solely of your significant other.
If you’re happily married and killing it in your career, leading infidelity expert and author Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says here’s what to do to ensure that you hang on to both those things at the same time:
• Have weekly check-ins/tune-ups with your partner asking this question forever: “Am I loving you the way you need to be loved this week?”
• Put partner and marriage first and involve them in your work, so you don’t have to choose.
• If you have a deadline or are temporarily neglecting partner, compensate and make it up with an overnight together the next week.
• Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! “You don’t know what you have until you lose it. A night out together weekly and sex and cuddling should be scheduled in as well, or it won’t happen,” says Eaker Weil, of doctorbonnie.com.
• No talk of work, problems or kids during your night out, she stresses. Be sure to add novelty and excitement each week, i.e., a new restaurant, try new flavour ice cream, take a walk with different scenery.
• Keep some mystery and excitement: Do not text each other during the day. No phone calls either so have things to talk about in the evening. You can leave a love note in the morning in her purse or his briefcase/laptop bag or before a trip in their luggage.