The impact of shift work on your relationship
Many of us find it hard to strike the right work-life balance in our relationships when we’re working nine to five, Monday to Friday.
But when one of you is working from 9am to 5pm and the other is working 8pm to 8am, it can feel as if the two of you are living completely separate lives.
As one of you leaves for work, the other comes home, as one gets into bed, the other wakes up.
Working nightshifts isn’t for everyone. For some, it’s a necessary part of their career and offers more opportunities to advance in their chosen field, for others, it’s simply a way of making ends meet during tough times and to cover the rising cost of childcare.
Here, two couples talk about their experiences with working nightshifts and how it affected their relationships.
Marjory and Robert, Edinburgh
‘Robert worked nightshifts for four long, tedious months. During this time we found sharing any quality time together was impossible. Sharing meals together either as a couple or as a family became a rarity.
‘Our children sometimes didn’t see their father for over 24 hours at a time and they had to be kept quiet if he was sleeping. He was unable to help with homework or play and I felt like a one parent family sometimes. I seemed to take on more decision making which made Robert feel left out.
‘We were delighted and relieved when he got a new job and things went back to normal. We really appreciate our time together as a family.’
Helen and Matt, Milton Keynes
‘At first, the excitement of Matt’s new job and the prospects it offered made the situation worth getting used to. But after a couple of months, it became a strain for both of us.
‘Now, we always plan time together – if we both have the same weekend off, we spend it together no matter what. And when Matt is off work and I'm working, he'll come to keep me company while I'm at the gym even if he has already been which is lovely.
‘We make sure we don't make plans with others, unless we are both involved. We have 'countdowns' to our time together and decide what we fancy doing. We make the most of going out to dinner, and we've started going for weekends away. We don't have much money, but we'll save for it!’
If you and your partner are struggling to find time for one another due to work commitments, try out some of our tips on Creating a Work – Life Balance.