Dear Dr. Darcy:
My partner and I both have very demanding jobs in New York City. We get home and we’re absolutely drained at the end of the day. It’s usually after 10 at night and as we eat dinner together, we each have our laptops or iphones out and we’re finishing up end–of-day work. By the time we’re done, we’re both ready to pass out. The next day we wake up and do it all over again. I know at some level that it’s sucking some of the intimacy out of our relationship but I feel powerless to change it.
Sucking some of the intimacy out of the relationship? What intimacy? You are too exhausted to be intimate and what’s worse, you are trying to win a rat race that no one wins. If there’s anything that this economy has taught us it’s that careers and money are two variables that we have little control over. The one thing that we can control is our priorities. Yours need some shaking up.
The behavior that you describe above is a recipe for relationship disaster. Keep doing what you’re doing and soon you’ll be writing about your ‘past’ relationship. That’s right. It can’t survive on the course that you’re on.
Unless you come home by 6:00 p.m. at night, here are the new rules: You walk in the door at night, the electronic devices go into their respective chargers and are not touched until the next morning. Nighttime is for connecting with your partner, friends and family. No work. Why? Because it never ends. And there is something profoundly f%c#@d up about postponing intimacy for a to-do list that is literally endless. So stop the madness today.
What this means for you, NYC Workaholic, is that you only have to control yourself for a couple of hours a day because you don’t come home until 10:00 p.m. However, I’m here to tell you that this is step #1 in what will become a series of relationship rescue steps if you truly want to repair your relationship. This step is the equivalent of giving a cardiac patient oxygen. That’s what you’re sucking out of the air every time you break my rule and glance at your iphone or laptop at home. So start with this baby step and once you’ve mastered this, shoot me an email so I can get you guys connected with a skilled couples counselor.