Those who put their romantic strain down to seemingly endless work commitments may be forced to rethink this if a new study is to be believed. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, research has found that there are surprisingly few negative associations between long working hours and happy relationships.
The study looked at 285 dual-career couples over the course of six months, and found that couples who both worked longer hours actually tended to spend as much time with their partner as they could, as opposed to a lot less, to make up for that lost time spent in order to try to create a sense of balance.
It also said that those who do devote long hours to their work are all too aware of the trade-off they’re making with their personal life and are conscious that they can’t have everything in life, but they, at least, try to use their remaining energies on connecting with their partners. The authors also found that couples who don’t have as much time to spend together due to careers may end up closer as they tend to participate in more shared activities as a way to utilise their time together.
“Our research questions the assumption that working longer hours is hazardous for all romantic relationships,” said the study authors.
Noting there wasn’t a massive amount of participants in this study, this obviously doesn’t mean that all relationships won’t be affected if couples are working every hour under the sun; it depends on the individual pairing, and how they deal with the issue, should it arise. There are many downsides to being over-worked, as we all know – studies also show that there is, in fact, little to suggest that those who put in more hours achieve more than their peers – though this will always be subjective. It is better for your physical and mental wellbeing to have an even work/life balance though this, unfortunately, isn’t always possible. So the research does present something positive for the workaholics among us, who perhaps contrary to popular belief, try equally hard to maintain relationships.
“Our results show that it’s not so much the time you spend at work that matters for your relationship, but how you spend the remaining time with your partner,” the study’s lead author, Dana Unger, Ph.D., explained. “But this doesn’t always mean you have to think big; watching your favourite TV shows or having dinner together on a regular basis can be just as important.”
In other words, if you really want to make something work – be it a relationship or binge-watching Making A Murderer – you will be able to find the time, regardless of what else you have going on in your life.
The study can be viewed here