“Is loss of connection and intimacy an inevitable outcome of our harried lives?” asks Offra Gerstein, Ph.D., a psychologist and columnist in Santa Cruz, Calif. Not if we become aware of the impact of work, family, and stress on our relationships, she says.
“Couples who are both employed outside the home encounter work demands and expectations that deplete their energy and capacity to seek connection. They often dream of sleep and rest more than they do of sharing their work stresses or even becoming amorous,” Gerstein notes. “When you add children to the mix, the balancing act becomes even more daunting.” She explains that with two jobs, a home, and children to take care of, such couples are managing four individual businesses. “Having only two people responsible for juggling all that these jobs entail use of so much energy that none is left for personal care, social life and interpersonal intimacy,” she says.
The result is that partners are unable to offer appropriate attention and care to the relationship. “That leaves mates feeling unsupported, unappreciated and perhaps even unloved. The chance that this pair will be embracing each other tenderly soon is greatly diminished,” Gerstein says, adding that something can be done to reverse the trends.
Consider career change – such as flexible work scheduling and seeking out new positions.
Understand that being overworked, tired and frustrated makes you a less compassionate family member – Taking a moment to recognize the transition back to the home at night can help tired workers be more available and present, she says.
Remember reciprocity – “Your mate is equally stressed with his/her daily work and looks to you for support, soothing and appreciations,” Gerstein advises.
Good greeting – She suggests telling your partner how happy you are to see him, embrace, and refresh yourself with the support of each other.
Say thank you – “Kind words are very effective de-stressors,” Gerstein says.
Off-task togetherness – Making sure you have time together that does not involve completing a project, according to Gerstein, can increase connection and replenish couples for the next day at work.
To read more of Gerstein’s relationship advice, visit http://www.relationshipmatters.com/