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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Work: What Happens when your Relationship is in Trouble?

Uploaded: Jul 28, 2016
If your marriage is suffering – if you feel unloved, unheard, misunderstood, lack intimacy and/or sex, are considering leaving your marriage, are having an affair or wonder if your partner is, are worrying about a divorce, your kids, and so on – then what happens at work?

Does your work also suffer because you’re distracted by what’s going on at home? Are you able to stay focused and productive as usual? Or, does work provide a distraction from what’s going on at home? Do you stay at work longer to get away from life at home? Does your current strategy work, or does it backfire?

Do you get more grief at home for how you’re trying to cope? Does your boss know something isn’t right, but isn’t sure what?

No matter how good you are at compartmentalizing, and some of you are very good at it, stress shows up in life. It can be in actions or words, and certainly in the stress hormone Cortisol that becomes toxic to your body when there is consistently too much for too long. Anger or lashing out is often a way men may show their upset (it’s the one emotion men are “allowed” to have). Women lash out, too. Others may try to stuff it, and end up having heart problems or other physical ailments.

Work is often a place you have friends, or even a close friend that you begin confiding in about the state of your marriage. That may be the beginning of an emotional affair with that person as you talk about things you don’t talk to your partner about anymore. You never began with that intention, but over time, you may grow closer and closer. This is a slippery slope. Most people in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area spend way more time at work than at home.

I don’t have the answer to what you are doing or should be doing at work or with friends. You have the answer for yourself. However, once the happy, love hormones kick in with a new person and we feel seen and heard again, it can be close to impossible to turn them back off.

Keep your marriage as your top priority – and have an agreement with your beloved that you will. This can guide you when opportunity comes along. Don’t be or reach for the “low hanging fruit” that can destroy your marriage or make your work suffer.

If you own a company of any size, realize that your employees may be having marital or relationship trouble if their work is suffering. Of course, you’re not a therapist to your employees, but you might have resources in the office that are both readily and privately available for them. As the boss, you may see a turnaround in their work once things are getting better at home.

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Posted by, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Aug 4, 2016 at 7:06 am is a registered user.

Hey Chandrama,

Finding the best work/life balance is difficult for everyone. You made a great point that if someone's personal life suffers, their professional life with be negatively effected as well. Personal and professional lives feed into each other.

Thanks for the insightful post,

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Aug 4, 2016 at 9:05 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

You're welcome, Dennis. Thanks for writing in.

Posted by rich, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Aug 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

I've been hearing companies use the "work-life balance" phrase for probably decades now, or similar meaning phrases, and in my experience, 100% of those companies don't really mean it.

Or at least the right hand does not know what the left hand is talking about and do nothing to support the idea.

I worked at quite a few companies over the decades and between my experience and my wife's and our friends, I have a very long list of companies I know about which espoused such ideals.

Almost always this "balance" concept has amounted to one small group, usually under HR, spewing some remarks, holding some meetings, to make it seem like the company takes the issue seriously, but in the end, nothing comes of it.

The managers all still push people to and beyond their maximum work capacities and any comments or reminders about "work-life balance" or about personal life get treated as gold-bricking excuses to be lazy.

Basically, in 100% of companies I know of, this sort of concept is nothing more than lip-service to seem like a "nicer" company and to attract new employees who will eventually figure out the company was never serious about it.

I can list a dozen companies, that you would recognize right away, which talked a good game, but never followed through at all.

These things must start by re-training of the managers, not lip-service to the rank & file employees. If any company is serious about this, they would start by making the managers accountable in their performance reviews for the well-being of their subordinates just as they do in relation to productivity or meeting a schedule date.

This will never happen.

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