You’ve finally done it. After years of hard work, you’ve reached the pinnacle of success in your company, and you’ve finally got the big salary and all the perks that go along with it. Sure, you have more responsibility and more pressure, but that goes with the territory. You are riding high. So why is your relationship foundering?
1. There’s an imbalance of power.
When one partner is more successful than the other, it’s bound to put a strain on the relationship. The successful partner has more money, more recognition, more influence, and more satisfaction. The financial burden may be falling mostly on the successful partner, so the other partner doesn’t feel like he or she is contributing much in that regard. Even though he’s making an effort to treat you as an equal, you often feel out of the loop and like an insignificant other. He talks about his work, his colleagues, and “the business,” while you feel at a loss to compete. Your lack of self-respect for what you contribute can be lethal to your relationship.
2. Ego gets in the way.
She’s a big shot at work, and she knows it. Deals revolve around her expertise, and everyone looks to her for direction. She calls the shots, and her coworkers line up behind her. Unfortunately, while relationships are about compromise, she’s used to getting her way, without question. Sometimes you feel more like her personal assistant than an equal partner, and it’s starting to take its toll. If she doesn’t get off her high horse, there’s little hope that your relationship will make it in the long term.
3. You don’t have any time.
You work long hours and feel that putting in a weekend now and then is necessary. When you’re not at work, you’re always available by cell phone, and it seems that time with your partner is constantly interrupted by matters that you feel can’t wait. You know that people at the office rely on your input, and you feel pressure to be there when needed. You are an indispensible piece of the puzzle at work, but your relationship is slipping farther and farther down your list of priorities. No wonder your partner’s getting fed up.
4. Your priorities shift.
You used to look forward to weekends, when you and your partner would hang out with friends, enjoying a casual night out or watching a football game together. Along with your new success, however, has come a list of new priorities. Playing golf with potential clients, going for after-work drinks with colleagues, and hobnobbing with industry insiders suddenly seem much more important than those old friends and recreational pursuits. Your focus is on your continued advancement, and maintaining a stable relationship seems to require too much effort and time that you don’t have. Your bond with your significant other is in big trouble.
5. Your options change.
No one paid too much attention to you while you were climbing the ladder of success, but now that you’re a CEO, members of the opposite sex find you irresistibly interesting and attractive. You find that you have more in common with colleagues than with your partner, who seems less desirable than younger or more business-savvy connections who openly admire your expertise and continuing success. You are in la-la land and are completely taken with your new options, so you aren’t sure that your relationship is worth saving. In your opinion, it’s time for your partner to shape up or ship out.