5 Harsh Realities of Dating a Workaholic

5 Things You Should Know About Dating a Workaholic

What happens when a partner’s work infringes on your relationship? Here are five harsh realities of dating a workaholic, along with our advice for recovering workaholic couples.


They are often addicted to work. Many times, people become workaholics because it gives them a sense of identity. Without feeling productive, their self-esteem can plummet and depression or low self-worth can set in. Workaholics often embrace work as a way to escape uncomfortable feelings that manifest during downtime. They may also feel agitated or nervous during weekends and vacations. In some instances, workaholics will even experience a buzz or euphoria while working.


They can feel panicked when away from work. When separated from work due to a vacation or holiday, workaholics can become edgy and distant. In some cases, they can even have anxiety attacks or nervous breakdowns. While it seems reasonable to relax and recharge when not at work, a workaholic may actually feel fatigue, insomnia and restlessness on weekends or holidays.


They aren't always reliable. It's not uncommon for workaholics to break plans for dinner and social engagements. Many times, they will overload their schedules, leaving little room for unexpected problems or opportunities. They also tend to prioritize work above all else, including their relationships.


They have specific personality profiles. While they may differ in many ways, workaholics tend to have common characteristics. According to psychologists, the common workaholic characteristics often include:

  • Perfectionism: While this usually manifests as having high expectations from themselves, it can also be projected onto subordinates, spouses and children. Many times, workaholics may also have a distorted view of their own performances, viewing them as inferior to internal expectations. 
  • Narcissism: Psychologists have found that many workaholics have narcissistic personalities. They also tend to be impatient and compulsive. 
  • Neuroticism: In addition to emotional instability, workaholics also tend to be internally focused and neurotic. Many times, they will also suffer from anxiety, depression, self-consciousness and hypochondria. It may seem strange to you, but workaholics often use work to self-medicate against feelings of distress. When they are engaged in a project, their minds are too busy to focus on the things that bother them. On the other hand, when they are idle, their minds tend to race with troubling thoughts.


They aren't beyond hope. When someone's life revolves around work, it can make loved ones feel less important. That said, while some workaholics aren't worth pursuing, others are good people who are perfectly capable of changing for the better.


If a partner's work is infringing on your relationship, it's important to clearly state your feelings. Let the person know there is a problem and explain how his or her commitment to work is making you feel unimportant. Be prepared for some defensive backlash, and try not to escalate the matter to where it becomes a heated conflict. Look for ways to compromise, so your partner will not feel as if he or she is having to make all the concessions. If the person appears to have underlying issues that contribute to being a workaholic, consider bringing up the prospect of counseling, either by themselves or together as a couple.

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