Working With Girlfriend
Q: I've been dating a woman for five years, and we live together. We met at school where we both were in the same counseling program. We became study partners, then eventually lovers. Because we began our programs almost simultaneously, we both went into the work force around the same time as well. She worked at a local hospital doing in-patient therapy, and I worked at a drug and alcohol facility about forty minutes against heavy traffic. Two weeks ago, a job offer came up where I could potentially work in the same office as my girlfriend. What I love about that is the fact that the hospital is literally a three minute drive from our apartment—we could even carpool. Is it a wise choice to not only live with your girlfriend, but also work with her, too? If this doesn't work out, I'd hate to be without a girlfriend and a job. -Charles, 28
Dr. Anna: You're right to be cautious. Spending so much time with one person can be a slippery slope to serious problems in a relationship. Most couples need some sense of separateness to maintain that spark. You're also right that it's a risk to your professional life if things go sour in the relationship. Whatever you do, talk to your girlfriend about your concerns—your taking a job in her office would impact her too. If you're unhappy in your job, it may make sense to keep looking for a job that's a better fit but not so risky to your personal life.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.