Q: "I'm really close to getting a promotion at work, but I'll also be putting in a ton of extra hours. Now my girlfriend is jealous. How can I deal with her and the job pressures?"
A: I know your girlfriend’s behavior is seriously irritating. (What’s with all the whining and jealousy, right?) When you already have enough stress in your life from work, the pressure she’s adding puts you over the top. But get this: I’m going to venture a guess that your girlfriend isn’t totally aware of the way she’s acting.
Women tend to get passive-aggressive when they feel like their needs aren’t being met (i.e., when our boyfriends are sadly MIA all the time). We get lonely seeing our girlfriends go out with their guys, and we wish you were around, too. When this happens, we naturally assume men can read our minds, and our relationship gets sucked into the Black Hole of Zero Communication. You’re too busy to slow down and talk things out, and we’re simply not talking because we’re so annoyed.
Before I go any further, let me apologize on behalf of women everywhere. Our behavior is notably ridiculous. So, please, sit your girlfriend down and paint the big picture. “Let her know that she's important to you, but that your career success can make or break your relationship,” says dating expert Julie Spira. “Ask her to think about it: Does she really want to be with a guy who can't hold down a job? If it gets serious, does she want to marry a guy who can afford to take care of her and a family?” Easy answer: yes. She'll suddenly see the light, and understand that your long hours at the office are necessary—for now. She may get defensive at first, but realization will dawn.
Women like men with ambition, drive, and passion. You are all these things. (Go, you.) So don’t stop being that guy—it’s likely what drew her to you in the first place.
Still, Spira suggests trying to strike a better work-life balance with a little play in the midst of all that work, lest you totally burn out or forget you're even in a relationship. Set aside one night a week during that hectic pre-promotion period, and make it date night. Tell her Saturday is all hers, every single week. She will love knowing she isn’t completely forgotten. Then, plan something fun: “Decide together on something amazing that you'll do together to celebrate this new promotion, when it happens, so she feels like she's a part of the plan and has something to look forward to,” says Spira.
Kudos to you for killing it at work, and considering your girlfriend in the midst of a crazy process. Sounds like you’re a quality guy. A quick conversation should eliminate some of that crazy, and if she doesn’t understand, you may have to reassess the potential for this relationship. Just don’t slack off at work to accommodate your lady. The right woman will love that you care about your career.