Question/Answer: His Career

Dear Guys,
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year. He’s great in all ways except one. He spends a ton of time at his job. I mean more than most. It seems he lives and breathes his job even when he’s not at work. He’s always answering a text or talking business on his cell, even when we’re together on the weekends. He tells me that he can’t afford not to answer his phone. I’m somewhat OK with it now, but I’m concerned for the future. I know he’s trying to get ahead, make money and secure a good future for himself, and hopefully, US. I work too, but I’m able to leave my job and not think about it until I go in the next day. So my question is, how do you see this playing out if we got married and/or had kids? I’m worried.


Dear Chelsea,
No reason to be worried, yet.

This situation is not really that uncommon. Many men define themselves by their work, or by how much money they make. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what it is. And sometimes work does require a ton of time, especially if it’s his own business.

What men ultimately want is respect. We especially want respect from our peers. In high school we get respect by being a good athlete or for dating a cute girl. But as we get older, what we do for work becomes a bigger factor on how we define ourselves. So sure, your man is trying to get ahead and make some money, but his work obviously makes him feel important and respected in his community of peers.

So here’s what we’ll say. Try to be understanding of what he’s trying to do. It sounds like he’s putting in a lot of time now in hopes that it will pay off later. Be patient and supportive. However, you can absolutely ask that he not answer his phone during dates or the time he’s out with you. Lounging at home is one thing, but out on a dinner date, or any date with you, his phone needs to be off and tucked away. (Unless you discuss and agree on something different before the date.)

Projecting into the future is difficult. His behavior could continue forever. If he’s not someone who can appreciate the here and now, you may be getting what you’re seeing. This wouldn’t be good. But lots can change, especially if you have kids. People change and priorities change. If he wants to be a dad, he’ll want to spend more quality time with his family.

So factor in the whole picture and see if it works for you. That’s ultimately the only way you should make the decision. But before you do, please talk to him about your concerns. Sometimes guys are oblivious. He may have no idea you’re feeling how you’re feeling. It’s time to stop being the good girlfriend and make sure  the relationship is working for you too.

He’ll respect you even more if you sit him down and talk to him “man to man.”

All the best,


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7 Comments on Question/Answer: His Career

  1. I think this question points directly at one of the primary differences between men and women. Men often define themselves by what they do, most often in a career context. If a woman is involved with a career-oriented man, she needs to be prepared to accept that because she will never change it. Too often women this that if they just love a man enough, he will give her his undivided attention. I doesn’t work that way. Better, I think, to be interested in what he does, discuss his career with him and accept its priority in his life.

  2. I can sure relate to this woman’s story–my husband is a total workaholic! But I knew that going in–and his hard work makes my lifestyle rather nice so I cannot complain too much!


  3. I think the guys really hit it-you have to talk to him. From my own personal experience, for me a workaholic is always a workaholic, but I hope in this case that’s not true. Good luck!

  4. Good post, and your advise is great however, I hope your readers are listening my experience, if you are that committed to work, it isn’t going to change it’s a lifestyle however, Melinda is wise in that she knew it and she’s willing to accept the relationship as it is. You guys are very well prepared with your ideas and comments….almost as wise as this old grandma…

    Dorothy fromg rammoloyg

  5. Personally, I like when a guy works really hard. It shows dedication. Now, it does get annoying sometimes, but it sure beats the opposite 🙂

  6. My husband works many, many hours, which is rough but it is what enabled me to be able to stay home and raise our kids. Everything is a trade off, but I think that his long hours are still less of a strain on our relationship than if we both worked a 40 hour week.

    I agree with Brooke about working long hours being way better than a guy who is a slacker and doesn’t care about working hard. That is much worse.

  7. I must disagree with everyone else. I’d turn around and run now. I dated a workaholic and he just ended up working more and more as time went on. My dad is also a workaholic and he is always working, even on vacations etc. I’d much rather have less money and less things and be able to see my bf (or husband) than never see him cuz he’s always at work or doing something work related.

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