I’m in love with a workaholic
Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 15:04
There are times in our life when we're not sure whether the problem we have with our significant other is our problem or their problem.
Such is the case when it comes to workaholism.
Yes, it is a real affliction that is often compared with alcoholism and other addictions. But to call them addicts when they are trying to make themselves successful can cause others to hold off on pointing the you've-got-a-problem finger.
My significant other, for example, was raised alone with his workaholic yet loving father while his siblings were raised with their mother. He lied about his age early on in life and has worked since age 12. After making the decision to stop working in order to go to school full time, he is now addicted to his school work and the small business he started while in school.
He is an obvious workaholic, though he is conflicted as to whether he is making the right decision in allowing his future career to become his main priority.
The advantages are obvious as he has maintained a high grade point average and was recently accepted to an Ivy League school. The disadvantage is that he has yet to grasp how to shut off his work psyche and transition to his personal psyche when he is home.
One of the biggest challenges a workaholic has is finding balance in his or her life. Of course balancing life's struggles applies to everyone. However, workaholics specifically are unable to balance work life with family and social life.
The term "lonely at the top" describes this affliction perfectly. The workaholic may want to be in a relationship, but their success will always be their priority. The people around them slowly get tired of the lack of proper communication and the glassy eyes that stare back at them when they attempt to carry on a conversation.
If you are dealing with a workaholic mate, you may fear talking with them about your needs since they are technically not doing anything wrong. You may want to scream, "Work less, study less and love me!" Guilt inevitably follows because you would never want them to resent you for not taking a certain path in their life.
So what do you do? How do you begin opening the lines of communication?
Workaholics Anonymous provides a list of 20 questions to help people identify whether someone is a workaholic. If the answer is "yes" to three or more of these questions, the organization suggests seeking help.
I suggest paying extra attention if you answer "yes" to questions 1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17 and 18. I consider some of the other questions to be too general and can apply to most people. My significant other scored a 14 out of 20, so go figure.
1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can't?
3. Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation?
4. Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
5. Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
6. Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
7. Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts?
8. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
9. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won't otherwise get done?
10. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
11. Do you believe that it is OK to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
12. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
13. Are you afraid that if you don't work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
14. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well?
15. Do you do things energetically and competitively including play?
16. Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
17. Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?
18. Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking?
19. Do you work or read during meals?
20. Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life?
The best thing to do when dealing with a workaholic mate is to establish whether the person wants to change or compromise. If the answer is no, then the decision now lies in you. Can you be a silent and supportive partner? If not, then the answer is clear.
If your mate wants to come to an accord, the best thing to do is to attempt to establish a new schedule. If your mate can control the amount of time he or she works, have he or she cut down on hours or allot specific hours of the day as work time. After work time is over, personal time begins. He or she must now put the cell phone away and dedicate their conversation and time to anything not related to work.
Accept your mate but do not allow them to become a shell of a person in your relationship.
To all those dealing with the glassy-eyed mate, good luck. And to all the glassy eyes, be aware that you're not fooling your mate, only losing them.