After leaving the office or work site, you may expect that your boyfriend will leave all of his “work” at work. While your boyfriend may not physically bring home work, he may have trouble shedding the stress associated with his job. This is especially true if he hates his job. In this case, being a good girlfriend may be tough, but you can be supportive of your boyfriend while maintaining a healthy relationship.
Facilitate conversation about his job. He may arrive from work completely stressed and want to “zone out” for a certain amount of time. Let him have some time to himself, but be sure to make him an active partner in your relationship. Part of being a partner is communicating. While work may seem like the last thing he wants to discuss, showing an interest in what he does each day and empathizing with his situation is likely to make him avoid zoning out each day and instead look forward to talking to you. So, ask how his meeting with a client went. Inquire about the new guy in the office.
Encourage your boyfriend to determine what motivates him to go to work each day. MayoClinic.com suggests individuals typically view their jobs in one of three categories: as jobs, careers or callings. Those who view their jobs as "just jobs" may be more financially driven, which may attribute to the reasons why they do not find much satisfaction at work. Those who view their jobs as careers see them as part of the ladder to an ultimate goal. Those who view their jobs as callings appear to be satisfied with doing their jobs each day. Allow your boyfriend to examine his motivation to work as part of finding a solution to his unhappiness on the job.
Take action outside of work, as well as on the job. If your boyfriend is completely unmotivated and uninspired by his job, but realistically cannot quit, suggest finding something about which he is passionate. Developing interests outside of work can improve overall job satisfaction, suggests Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of "Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success." It is important for your boyfriend to develop passions outside of work, but you can also share in his trying something new. Similarly, if your boyfriend enjoys the nature of his job, but hates it for reasons other than the actual work, support him in taking action at work. This could be as simple as serving on a committee at work to ensure that some of his concerns are heard.
Take care of yourself. To be a good girlfriend you need to be supportive of your boyfriend, but you also need to remember the relationship and yourself. If his stress is getting to you, let him know how it makes you feel. To focus on how important your relationship with him is to you, start by acknowledging his stress and giving him time to vent if needed. State that because you do not know the best way to support him, the stress is beginning to affect you, too. Doing this does not put the blame on your boyfriend, but it starts a dialogue about the stress and is a more effective beginning toward finding a solution.
Ashlea Campbell writes about families, relationships and health-related issues. In addition to writing professionally, she teaches writing courses at Collin College in Plano, Texas. She holds a Masters degree in English education from the University of Kansas.
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