The effects of working night shifts on relationships are hard – often enough to make couples split, or at least drift apart.
If you or your partner currently works the night shift, I’m sure you’re feeling lonely and neglected.
You’re not alone, a lot of couples feel the same.
In this article, I’m going to cover the effects working night shifts has on most relationships, and some tips to help you deal with it!
7 Effects of Working Night Shift on Relationships
1. You Don’t Spend Enough Time Together
This is the most obvious effect when one person is working night shifts and the other is working days, but it’s also the most damaging.
As a couple, you simply can’t spend enough time together when you work opposing shifts.
Even when you are both home and awake, I bet one or both of you are exhausted from work.
It’s hard to feel connected to your partner when you’re barely seeing them. There really is no substitute for spending quality time together.
If you want your relationship to survive, it’s important that you find ways to spend time together, even if it means setting a timeline for finding a new job that doesn’t involve night shifts.
Related – Here is a closer look at how to deal with a partner that works nights!
2. The Time You Do Spend Together Is Rushed
Another issue a lot of couples run into is that when they are able to spend time together, it feels rushed as one or the other is tired after work or waiting to go to sleep.
If you’re both working night shifts, this can be a bit easier to deal with as you’ll have more time during the day to spend together.
But if only one of you is working nights, it can be tough to find time for each other when one person is always exhausted.
For this reason, it’s important to try and make the most of whatever time you do have together!
3. You Miss out On a Lot of Important Activities, Dates, Etc.
When you work the night shift, you miss out on a lot of activities that most couples take for granted.
You miss out on things like catching a late-night movie, activities at your kid’s school, enjoying meals together, and going on dates – all of which are important for keeping any relationship strong.
It can be tempting to just stay in bed and sleep when you have time off from work, but it’s important to try and find ways to spend time together doing things that you both enjoy.
4. You Feel Lonely and Drift Apart Emotionally
Another effect of working night shifts on relationships is that it can cause both of you to feel lonely and drift apart emotionally.
Since you’re not spending enough time together, it’s easy to start feeling like your partner is more of a roommate than a romantic partner.
Seeing each other is one thing, but you also can’t neglect making an effort to connect on a deep, emotional level.
If you can’t confide in one another, share problems and lean on one another for support, you’ll have to find that release elsewhere – and that’s how emotional affairs often start!
5. You Miss out On Physical Closeness and Intimacy
Another effect of night shifts, and I’m sure this is something you’re very aware of, is the lack of physical closeness and intimacy.
In addition, as with spending time with your partner in general, you probably feel pressured or rushed when it does come to being physical with your partner.
Let’s be honest, even having a hug means and lot and feels good, right?
You can’t just snuggle up all night like couples who both work day shifts do, and that’s one of the hardest things to deal with when one of you works nights.
6. You Can’t Do Things As A Couple with Friends
This one is more of an extension of the previous points, but it’s worth mentioning on its own.
Since you’re not able to spend time together as a couple, you also miss out on being able to do things with friends or family as a couple.
Having a social life and doing things as a couple is the backbone of any relationship.
It doesn’t feel good to always hang out with friends and be the ‘spare wheel’, but that’s an unfortunate effect of being with a partner who works night shifts.
Related – How to beat loneliness if your boyfriend works nights and sleeps during the day.
7. Communication Breaks Down
Communication is everything in a relationship, without good communication you’re going to see and feel cracks appearing.
It can be hard to communicate when one of you is sleeping and have different schedules, but it’s so important that you make an effort.
If you don’t communicate about how you’re both feeling, and just how you’re doing in general, things will start to build up and eventually explode!
How Do You Deal with A Partner Who Works Nights?
Living with a partner who works night shifts doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, many couples make it work just fine.
It can be tough, don’t get me wrong, but if you follow the tips below I’m sure you’ll be able to make your relationship work and feel less lonely!
- Talk about how you’re feeling: like I said before, communication is key. If you’re feeling lonely or down, tell your partner! They can’t help fix the problem if they don’t know there is one.
- Find things to do together: it might sound difficult, but try and find things that you can both do when your partner is home from work. A lot of couples take spending time together for granted; put down your phone and make the most of every minute you have together.
- Set aside time for each other: make sure that you set some time each day or week to just spend together, even if it’s just an hour. Creating a schedule might sound silly, but it’s one of the best things you can do.
- Focus on yourself: having something that you’re passionate about outside of your relationship is so important. It’ll give you something to focus on and help you feel less lonely.
- Don’t blame or pressure them: it’s easy to get frustrated with your partner and start putting the blame on them for working nights. But it’s important to remember that I’m sure they didn’t choose night shifts to annoy you, it might be the best thing for their career right now.
Working night shifts can be tough, but if you follow these tips I’m sure you’ll be able to make it work!
If you have any tips or want to share your experience being in a relationship with someone who works nights, please leave a comment below to help others!
Image credits – Photo by C D-X on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.