#025–Do couples who live & work together have a work-life balance, & how do they do it without going crazy?

(Title edited because I forgot how to count)

This is a question that’s been bugging me for many years. In the age of sexual harassment seminars and iffy rules on dating in the workplace, it still amazes me that some people do date someone from work and may eventually get married. I guess when you’ve got that connection and that attraction, it’s just going to happen.

But when two people work in the same place, around each other most of an 8-hour day, then go home and be around each other all night…how the hell do they stay sane?

I made it a personal rule never to date anybody I work with. For one, I could be accused of flirting with everyone. “Chatty” is part of my handle for a reason. If i was dating a co-worker, but stayed my normally friendly self to every other co-worker, that could bring up some problems by a guy who turns out to be a possessive idiot (and I’ve seen women do the same at other jobs, so it’s not just on the guys here).

And then there’s the work-life balance. When I leave my job, I don’t want to hang out with a bunch of people from work. No offense, but we’ve seen each other all day, and as the internet age has proven, even off-the-clock behavior can get you in trouble if seen by the wrong people. If we happen to bump into each other outside the workplace, I wouldn’t mind sharing a table, but otherwise, no.

My idea of work-life balance right now is “work is work, home is home.” Except for a few cellphone photos or emergency calls to take care of, home should stay home and not bleed into the workplace.

arugument-quotes6I don’t know how a couple working at the same company or floor, or even job, is supposed to work. I mean, what if that couple has been fighting lately? How do they go to work the next day and not resume the fight? Or something happens at work, whereby one hurt the other because of something on the job? How does that workplace disappointment or anger not bleed over into home?

Or does it and they figure out tactics to get through it ASAP?

Maybe I’m so used to being single that I just can’t get it, but honestly, I love my freedom and I love good conversation right now. I don’t know what a conversation would be like with someone I’ve already been at work with all day. You can’t really tell decent workplace stories–they work there and probably already know them. Same for an “at home” joke or story brought to work–and that could be embarrassing, too.

And not to mention, because if you’re in the “workplace couple,” from what I’ve seen each time, every damn person is in your business… anything to feed the scuttlebutt like you’re the best chance they’ll have to see a live soap opera.

That’s why, at least for me, I could see myself with somebody who worked in a different job or different place, but not the same. We’d have more to talk about because we’d have different experiences, and wouldn’t know all the same people (so minimal-danger of rumor-spreading because a hurt spouse’s words hit the wrong ears). We’d also have that objectivity, so that if there was a problem at work, we could help each other out by understanding what’s so bad about the situation.

But couples that work together–I just can’t wrap my head around that. What do they talk about or do when they’re not at work? I suppose it depends on the ages of the couples, too. I made my decision a rule after watching one particular couple. It felt, to me, that they were only together because they were too broke to be apart. They had one car to go to and from work together, were in the same small offices all day, and went home. Apparently she had her crafts and he his man cave. They didn’t refer to each other with any affection or kind words that I could discern–it’s like they were talking about a roommate when the other person came up in conversation.

And they looked like the most miserable married couple I’d ever seen. Nothing was there anymore. I suppose that’s how things go when people are living with someone just as broke as they are with no chance to advance–how the hell do you end the cycle?

I remembered a scene in a documentary about a family getting evicted. They interviewed the sheriff who had to enforce it, and he commented about how times were tough, but when you live with somebody just as broke as you, how are you supposed to get ahead?

I think that’s a valid question, and I kept remembering that scene when I looked at this particular married couple.

I admit, the idea of being with the person I love 24/7 kinda creeps me out. I mean, I’m my father’s daughter and like my space (admittedly because I’m used to it, I’m sure). Maybe that’ll change when I get into that spectacular relationship on the horizon, but not now. I don’t want to become a human suckerfish-thing who can’t stand if her man does something without her. I like my space a couple of hours a day–I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t want the same for him.

We should be each other’s best friend, but not the only friend.

The last thing I want is to be that woman who bawls when her hubby’s away from her for a weekend fishing trip with the guys or something, and cries in happiness at his return. I’ve seen THAT relationship in my family, also, and it’s disturbing to me because I wonder how many friends they lost getting wrapped up in their own world.

But if the fellas visit a strip club after the fishing trip, then I reserve the right to yell.

So, I can’t see how a couple can work together and live together at the same time without (1) having a flat, drab, roommate-like relationship, (2) going crazy and bringing home-drama to work, or (3) resenting each other at work when that bleeds over into the home life.

On the other hand, you know of anybody who’s done it well? I’d love to know how they do it–because that’ll give me hope that not all humanity is a bad sitcom waiting to happen.

3 thoughts on “#025–Do couples who live & work together have a work-life balance, & how do they do it without going crazy?

  1. Andrew says:

    I met my wife where we both worked 17 years ago. She was in customer service and I was in IT security, so no where near each other in the building. We carpooled together once we decided to move in and eventually get married. I’ve never had trouble turning on the “work” switch when I walk through the door no matter what happened before going into work. There were a few car rides that were tense and anxious, but usually about something really stupid that we were both stubborn to be the first to budge on. After only a few years, I moved on and we’ve never worked in the same place again. It works for us, but I can’t say the same thing about other couples as I’ve seen it go sideways for some.

    Liked by 1 person

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