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.
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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