Life and Love
Feb 7, 2012

Relationship advice: Don't let a bad boss ruin your relationship

By: Jen Kirsch Author: Elle Canada Credits:

Life and Love
Feb 7, 2012

Relationship advice: Don't let a bad boss ruin your relationship

By: Jen Kirsch
A bad boss no doubt affects you from 9 to 5, but according to a new study in the Journal of Personal Psychology, this negative treatment has effects far beyond the work place, spilling into your personal relationships. People with demanding or belittling bosses are more likely to fight, feel irritated or resentful toward a spouse or partner. In order to minimize the impact of a negative boss on your relationship, follow these tips:

Relationship advice #1: Set work/life boundaries
It’s one thing to talk to your partner about your boss’ ill treatment of you, but it’s another to obsess about it. A relationship works best when the balance of power is equal, so be sure not to overrule the conversation with your work concerns. When you are alone together, try turning off your cell phone – even for just an hour – so your partner can have your undivided attention. Alternatively, have a work phone and a personal phone. After you leave the office, turn off your work phone. It’s a tangible way to keep your work and personal life separate.

Relationship advice #2: Identify the problem
The study suggests that recipients of unreasonable treatment on the job – such as put-downs or angry outbursts – take it out on the ones they love. If you are wound up from your work interactions, identify the trigger. When you are aware of where the issue stems from you can use your negative emotions in a healthy way. Should you want to take it out on your partner, or you notice yourself being short with your partner, take responsibility. Tell them that you had a tough day with the boss and you are going to take some time to wind down. When you make your problem someone else’s, it ends up pushing them away since they get scared you will blow up on them. This, in turn, makes them walk on eggshells, making the relationship seem unnatural.

More relationship advice on creating a divide between work and your love life on the next page...


Relationship advice #3: How to diffuse a situation

If your boss is putting you down at work, decide what you’re willing to stand for. Have a limit so you don’t get caught in a downward spiral. Typically a strong personality type wants to see equal strength in those they associate with. Don’t be afraid to have some bite and stand up for your work, thoughts or self when issues arise. Just avoid defending yourself; it’s not so much about what you did wrong but more so about how you can fix it and ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Relationship advice #4: Ways of coping with it

Of course quitting would be the easiest answer and dependant on the toxic treatment from your boss, it may be something you want to consider. But if quitting isn’t an option, keep your eyes open for other positions elsewhere. Try putting out feelers with friends and on LinkedIn. Perhaps have a set time where your partner or spouse allows you to vent about your boss so you get it off your chest, but have a cut off time so you don’t let it take over your life.

To have a work life and a personal life balance is to have it all. Know your worth and know what is acceptable treatment and what crosses the line.

What about you? Have you ever had a boss who negatively impacted your personal life?

Read more:
Relationship advice: Is having a “work boyfriend” harmless or hurtful?
Can you be too busy for love?
The science behind falling in love

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Relationship advice: Don't let a bad boss ruin your relationship