So, you all know that I have two rabbits with my housemate/past partner. Their names are Thunder and Mason-Dixon. They are both rescue cases, they are bonded for life, and the are in love.
Its actually a little painful how cute they are together.
Well, rabbits are very curious creatures. And there is no such thing as a good rabbit. They are all naughty.
One day, after classes, I returned home to find that one of the rabbits (probably Mason) had hopped onto my bookcase and knocked a basket full of condoms, lubricant, and reproductive health pamphlets all over the floor. The condoms had nibbles in them, and the HPV pamphlets were chewed so much that only a small corner of the brochure was still intact.
There is no such thing as a good rabbit.
As I was cleaning things up and checking all the condoms for holes, I couldn’t help but laugh with Steph about how it was only a matter of time until my family and my work collided, and that this was a pretty funny way for that to happen.
Which brings me to today’s topic, work and relationships. And how to combine the two worlds.
A quick disclaimer: I am still very young and am still figuring this out myself, so if any of you read this and are like “um. no. THIS is how you do it.” please, I am begging you, email me your grown-up life suggestions.
Its important to find ways to wind down after work. Its important to not just jump from one stressful sphere to another. And for those of you who do not find relationships stressful at all, awesome, congratulations, how do you do it?
One example of how to create a transition from work to home is the car ride home. Turn on your favorite music. Drink a latte. Windows down, just rolling with the punches of traffic. Or take a shower when you get home, or drink some tea. Take the dog on a walk. Call your sister. Paint your nails. Go on a run. Do whatever you need to do to feel better and recharge.
Find at least 10 mins to do a bit of self care to wind down after work. That way you are not placing all the stress of the day onto your relationship/family. Its nice to not want to tell your partner about everything awful that happened at work ever when they ask “how was work?”. If you take some time to yourself, there is less of a chance of you spreading your stress.
Just let it go.
Its also important to know when to shut up about your job. As a sexuality educator and someone who does a lot of work with sexual assault survivors and prevention, my job is usually not dinner conversation. I like when it is, because I believe that the more I talk about it the more people realize how important it is that we have, fund, and support sexual health and education.
But I have a hard time shutting up about it. I use a trick where I remind myself to “speak up, speak down”. This exercise allows me to to use my words wisely, and leave room for others who may want to talk about their lives.
Discuss with your partner(s) how they would like you to make time for them outside of your job. Find ways you both can invite each other into your work lives and still feel like you have your own spaces. Be independent, and choose to be together.
This could look like going to work parties together, or meeting each other for lunch twice a week in between meetings.
Its important to remember that your partner is not your therapist.
I’ll say it again, its important to remember that your partner is not your therapist.
Some work stress is okay to discuss with your partner, but again, its important to create separation between the two. If something is getting to the point that either one of you becomes uncomfortable or feels like there is a power imbalance or dependency, go see a therapist.
Or a best friend.
Someone who you are not sharing a bed/bank account with.
Good luck, and Godspeed. Relationships are hard work, work is hard work.
And a hurricane is hitting Massachusetts on Sunday.