Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Is your Relationship or Marriage Suffering because of Your Job?

"I bust my butt, and it is insane and I come home to trust issues and a hard time!"

This article 11 of the Worst Jobs for a Relationship got my attention. What if your profession is one of these discussed jobs? Is the article implying that you are doomed for relationships pertaining to these jobs? Would not it be advantageous to couple with someone in the same career that you are in (if in these jobs) so that you understand one another?  What if ...
you like dating an individual in one of these careers? Moreover, what if this dating transitions into something meaningful? I truly get the challenges these careers entail regarding the stressors of relationships (and life in general). However, what was not mentioned was the positives.  What if you love your career? What if the person you are dating or the partner in one of the careers mentioned is just awesome? What if the job the person has is a stepping stone for another more life fulfilling career? For example, how many people have used bartending as a supplemental while in college?  Another example is school teachers truly enjoying their career. I have often heard of teachers enjoying the luxury of traveling to exotic places during the year; or using quality time with relatives. I have also heard of teachers using their free time to publish; as well as, becoming hands on parents to their own children during the summer breaks.  An additional question to ponder is the bias of the article itself. Is it implying that you have to be in a relationship to be a part of the community or to be successful? Is the single person ignored in our culture? Is singlehood of value only if one become married? So, is the article indirectly saying that you must be single if in one of these 11 careers?  What about non-romantic relationships? Such as friendships, relations with relatives, and coworkers? Are these roles fulfilling? And if so how do they fit into these 11 jobs?
person holding black framed sunglasses

Hence, the information in the article is a good tool for identifying a potential conflict in relationships based on your career - not your personality.  Importantly, careers that present as relationship enders or poor relationship builder are not the definitive absolute. As a marriage and family therapist in the Los Angeles area many of these above mentioned professions add to challenges in coupling - agreed.  Furthermore, many of these jobs are specific to Hollywood. Entertainers, artists, dancers contain perhaps the greatest population in Los Angeles. Thus, there are other elements excluding the job that make for complications in your marriage (I use this word as a generic term for partnership, union, and committed relationship).  LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) consists of approximately 735,000 students and represents the largest public school system in the United States regarding the number of students. Of note, there are approximately 27,000 teachers in LA county. LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) consists of 10,000 police officers representing the third largest police force in the U.S. LAFD (not including Los Angeles County’s fire department) consists of about 3,200 firefighters. With so many people directly and indirectly employed in Los Angeles County the number of people with stress in their lives is abundant.

man and woman kissing inside yellow bathtub

As a therapist and analyst who works with many of these above mentioned careers I can say that successful unions within this population exist.  If a new client came into my office with a career in a job that was not fitting for a relationship one of the first questions I might ask is what got the couple together. Is there distaste toward the other partner when they are present in the same room together?  I might enjoy hearing what is working and what is successful in the current relationship. I might also encourage identifying if the career (or a career change) is non negotiable; then, what are some domains within the union that are negotiable or what are some items that are worth fighting for?  And lastly, as most couples have difficulty with endings: If the union is to end how do you see it fading? Is the writing on the wall? Is the elephant in the room? Divorce, or breaking-up? How does this ending play out? I sometimes ask the couple (based on the couple’s needs and ego strength) how they would react if they were to see one another in the street five years into the future.  Is it a stop-to-catch-up-and-embrace-in-a-boundary-appropriate-hug; or, is it a sharp turn into the boutique store desperately hoping your ex-partner hasn’t seen you? Good therapy and couples counseling leads to good questions which lead to healthier unions. And perhaps, understanding how your relationship can be maintained through a challenging career.

Photo by Franz Espejel on Unsplash
Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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