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BEYOND LOCAL: How to make sure work doesn't spill over into your relationship

These jobs are linked to high divorce rates — here’s how to keep work out of love

Keeping up with the demands of a stressful job or one that forces you to be away from home can impact your relationship. 

Certain occupations in particular seem to be associated with higher divorce rates, said Toronto-based relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly, who hosts the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast.

O’Reilly spoke on Global News’ The Morning Show to discuss a 2017 analysis of U.S. census data that determined which jobs may strain your partnership. 

The study, which examined data from the 2015 American Community survey, found that military supervisors, dancers and choreographers, ambulance drivers and flight attendants had some of the highest divorce rates. 

“The researchers are suggesting that it has to do with time apart from your partner, so long stints away, perhaps on the road or on tour, or just long hours or working the opposite hours of your partner,” she said. 

While the survey results are interesting — bartenders had one of the highest divorce rates at 53.7 per cent — it’s important to understand that working one of these jobs doesn’t mean you’re more likely to divorce, explained O’Reilly. 

“We have to analyze the data and say: is it a causal relationship, or is it a personality trait that draws you to a certain occupation, or leads you … to struggle with commitment?” she said. “Personality plays a role in whether or not you stay together in a happy, lasting relationship.”

How to manage a tough job and a relationship

Minimizing workplace stress has become increasingly important, as it impacts all aspects of your personal life, said O’Reilly.

A 2018 study from Virginia Tech, an American research university, found that employers expecting workers to answer emails and requests after hours was impacting families, and creating increased anxiety and stress. 

Feeling burnt out at work is a common issue, and it can seriously interfere with your life at home and your sex life, Susan Valentine, a retired psychotherapist based in Toronto, said in a previous Global News report. 

“Work plays such a significant role in our lives that we can struggle to set boundaries at home, especially when it comes to the stress of work,” she told Global News.

“We are either reactive (irritable, impatient, dismissive, defensive) with our partners or we’re receptive (able to listen, validate, understand, be affectionate) to them. Work stress can make us reactive and that pushes away our partner … once we’re disconnected, we’re not having sex.”

To combat intimacy issues, Valentine recommends setting time aside for you and your partner while preventing outside factors from interfering, like putting away your work phone before bed, if possible.

But it’s also on employers to reduce stress in the workplace — as offices with a better work-life balance create more productivity and employee satisfaction, O’Reilly said.

Being happier in your personal life means fewer sick days and less conflict within the workplace as stress from home can spill over, she said. 

“We have this idea that if we arrive first and we arrive first and we leave latest, that we’re doing a good job. Not necessarily,” she said. 

— With files from Arti Patel 

- Global News




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