How Can Being a Workaholic Affect Your Relationship?

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Striking a balance between a professional and personal life is extremely important for a healthy, happy relationship with your partner. However, the pressures of work or looming deadlines can mean that becoming ‘married to the job’ may cause strain in a relationship.


What are some key effects of workaholic behaviour? 

The reality is that work-related stress is increasing around the country and the likelihood of severe anxiety, anger or panic attacks is a flow-on effect of this. The Australian Psychological Society’s ‘Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey’ for 2013 identified that almost half (47 per cent) of employed Australians reported workplace issues as a source of stress in their lives and that this trend has increased compared to previous years.

Similarly, Safe Work Australia (SFW) estimates that such work-related mental stress costs AU$10 billion annually. Work-related stress can seep into personal lives and strain relationships.

“The personal impact of mental stress on workers is a serious and detrimental issue for the employee (and their families) and also for the employer,” said 2013 chair of SFW, Ann Sherry.

Stress from work enters into the home and it’s difficult to switch off from the work-pressures, in turn, robbing couples of spending quality time together, truly engaged in each other’s conversation or sharing physical signs of affection.

Maintaining strong relationships can at times be difficult, but when the professional job takes priority over the personal relationship-building, cracks can start to appear that could be tough to mend later on without conflict resolution strategies. 


Putting things in perspective

Employees with compulsive tendencies to invest a very high percentage of their time on work struggled to stop working even when at home, neglecting their domestic obligations and partner. Their partners, in turn, reported feeling a lack of support and overall reduced relationship satisfaction. This is understandably a trying time for couples, who may start to feel alone as opposed to part of a team or partnership. 

However, another study conducted in 2015, published in the journal Human Relations, found that couples who have very strenuous or demanding jobs actually make the most of the little time they do get together, to make it count.

Online surveys were put to 285 couples to test the theory that long hours at work “dry up” romantic relationships at home. Results found couples compensate for the time spent working by making the most of spending time with their partner, choosing activities that are pleasing and fulfilling for both. Interestingly, results also showed career-focused people were more realistic and understanding about their expectations from their partner on a personal and domestic level. This supportive teamwork actually helps bond them closer, despite the long hours spent engrossed in a job. 


If you feel that you and your loved one are still struggling to separate work and personal lives in a healthy manner, Relationships Australia NSW offer counselling or workplace counselling, coaching and support to help you overcome your personal or professional relationship issues. You can contact Relationships Australia NSW on 1300 364 277 or visit for more information.