You’re in self-quarantine and the upside is you get to spend more time with your spouse (or is that a downside?). Your spouse cannot travel for work, play golf or partake in whatever outside interests they may have. Eight weeks in and you find them less available than ever and the reason is “I’m doing what needs to be done to keep food on the table.” If your spouse is a workaholic, you’re not alone.
Work-life balance is elusive to many people. There is a fine line between an unbalanced lifestyle and a workaholic. Work is, for most people, necessary to sustain a lifestyle. Workaholic types are often rewarded positively with business success while almost every other addiction has very direct negative repercussions. Because work is so highly valued, the family finds itself in the supporting role.
The question becomes how to recover your relationship. Now is a good time to put in the work to rebuild trust and intimacy. Make no mistake, it takes two to get to this place so blame and anger will not help recover your marriage.
Here are some steps to consider when trying to shift the dynamic of your relationship:
- Own where you are and stand for what you believe. If you’re married to a workaholic and finished with that quality of relationship, be clear with what you want. If the commitment no longer seems valid, then be prepared to get out.
- Let go of the other person and accept them for what they are. You can only change yourself. Release your expectation. Be prepared to accept that once you make these changes, your spouse may not be willing to stay in the marriage.
- Choose your path. Learn more about what you have done that allows your spouse’s behavior to flourish.
- Make sure you are fulfilled personally.
- See through your spouse’s eyes. Workaholics are often obsessed with their vision for a business and themselves in that business. However, they are not incapable of love so do not lose hope. Their excitement for work transfers to other areas of their lives.
- Have a conversation. Do not start with “this is a problem”. Talk with your spouse about the interaction that you are craving with them and what might be in the way of obtaining that. Create a vision of your time together and strategize about how to get there.
- Focus on quality time. Schedule time together and make sure it’s calendared. It does not have to be a lot of time but that time together should be the priority and make sure it’s just the two of you.
- Harness the work drive to your marriage. Workaholics are very goal-oriented. Use this trait to build the kind of relationship that you desire. Be clear. Talk about work-life balance together and set a goal.