What It’s Like to Date a Workaholic

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Dating Chi Ming is the closest I’ve gotten to dating Elon Musk. Not because he has a billion-dollar net worth or a fleet of rockets – he’s just a workaholic.

An accounts manager by day and an exhausted boyfriend by night, Chi Ming is the poster child of productivity.

He’s always replying to emails before the movie starts or calling someone while queuing for food.

He was so dedicated to his work that I caught him editing presentation slides after his grandmother’s funeral.

Like I said, very little comes between him and work.

Workaholics are restless and reliable beings. Loved by bosses and loathed by slothful colleagues, they’re fuelled by a purpose to bring order and efficiency in their work.

When it comes to dating workaholics, there are pros and cons. Seeing a bespectacled Chi Ming on his laptop is sexy, but it can also be annoying when he’s too distracted to notice my new outfit.

If you’re in the prospects of dating someone with the work ethics of Jeff Bezos or Joel Neoh, here’s a list of reality checks you should know.

1. Cancelled dates are normal

When you’re in a relationship with a workaholic, cancelled dates are normal.

Back in the days, if I didn’t schedule dates with Chi Ming, he won’t remember it.

Once, we planned to attend a friend’s housewarming party. When the day arrived, he came home late and completely forgot about it.

“Oh no, I thought its next Friday!” he said.

Strangely, I wasn’t surprised by it because I knew how busy this man is.

Just a glimpse into his leather-bound planner is enough to make me feel unproductive. Neon post-its, morning meetings, and financial report deadlines are everywhere.

To save yourself from the frustrations of cancelled dates, schedule it.

With Chi Ming, I’d schedule our dates two weeks in advance and wait, that’s not all – in the days leading up the date, I had to drop subtle reminders that we’re meeting up. You know, just to be safe.

Short texts like “Hey, I can’t wait to meet you this Friday!” or “Two more days!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll remember this time,” he said. I know without the reminders, he won’t.

It felt like an extra effort on my part, but it’s better than waiting in disappointment for a date who forgets to show up.

The reason why he spends less time with you is because he’s prioritising other things in his life.

2. He prioritises his work

Clearly, whoever came up with the advice to ‘find a man who puts you first’ has never dated a workaholic.

Expectedly, we argued numerous times about not spending enough time together.

Our most heated argument was when he cancelled our dates three weeks in a row. After a series of silent treatments later, he told me bluntly that his work will always come first.

As someone who was used to weekly dates and late-night phone calls, I can’t help to feel unimportant after being told to take the back seat.

Personally, I don’t know anyone else who enjoys being second place in their partner’s life.

I never liked this part of our relationship, but I pretended like I was fine with it.

Every time he excused himself to answer an important call or had to leave early to finish up his work, I let him.

Once, he chose to spend the night doing cash forecasting than being with me. Despite how upset I was, I forced myself to say, “It’s okay, maybe next time.”

There were moments in our relationship when I felt rather unimportant. Why did he choose to be in a relationship when he doesn’t have time for me? It remains a mystery to me.

Since work ran the course of his life, it also took a toll on his health.

3. He’s always exhausted

Since he works day in and day out, he prefers chilling and cooking at home on Sundays. That was how our weekend dates were spent.

At first, it was nice hanging out in the comforts of his home, but eventually, it gets boring.

As the weeks went by, the only exciting thing about our homely dates was our choice of movies. Even with a good movie picked out, he would doze off in my embrace thanks to his lack of sleep.

Strangely, I felt more alone with him in my arms than without.

For a long period, I convinced myself to be appreciative and grateful. I told myself that at least, he was there next to me. But deep down, I knew I was being emotionally neglected.

On the bright side, dating Chi Ming has its positives too. In some ways, the relationship did bring out the good in me.

Before meeting him, I have a laid-back attitude about everything. Most of the time, I was too carefree and free-spirited to take things seriously and that contributed to my lack of focus in my work.

One of the upsides of dating a workaholic is the positive influence on my work performance.

1. He helped me stay productive

Whenever I spend my weekends at his place, we would do this thing called ‘work dates’.

Basically, it’s just the two of us working opposite each other while exchanging the latest updates about our lives. That was how much of a workaholic my boyfriend was.

We normally have plenty of work due on Monday, so it was easy to dive into work mode during the weekends.

Furthermore, it was easy to feed off his good energy while working opposite him. Seeing him working hard motivated me to hustle just as hard.

We’d normally spend the entire afternoon immersing in our respective work until I started whining about being bored and hungry. I can’t sit around and write all day.

And here’s the second upside of dating a workaholic.

2. Ambitious men are attractive

It’s impossible to deny this, but there’s something very attractive about dating an ambitious man.

Most women are attracted to men who are driven by his goals and do whatever it takes to get there. Chi Ming’s immense focus and determination were some traits I loved about him.

Of course, stealing glances at him while working is my favourite pastime. I can’t help myself.

The work date wasn’t a bad idea because I benefited greatly from seeing him in his natural element.

It was the little things like seeing him biting his lower lip when lost in his thoughts. Sometimes, he would intentionally let out a deep sigh as a cue to make him feel better.

It’s clear that the ambitious workaholic knows what he has, and I loved how Chi Ming was never afraid to use it.

3. He’s independent

What’s great about Chi Ming was his independence.

Unlike my other ex-boyfriends, he doesn’t complain nor whines from the lack of attention. Workaholics are generally strong and self-reliant and would occupy his time with anything that matters.

Whenever he’s busy with work, I learned to do other things to keep me occupied as well. Instead of waiting for his texts or phone calls, I would hang out with my friends and do the things I love to do.

It feels empowering to not rely on my boyfriend all the time and instead, focusing on the things I can do outside of our relationship.

Dating a workaholic has its ups and downs.

As you would expect, our relationship didn’t last because we wanted different things back then.

Spending quality time with my significant other was important to me, and Chi Ming wasn’t able to provide that. Eventually, we grew distant and became emotionally disconnected.

Furthermore, being bogged down by routine wasn’t for me. There are many things to do and sights to see outside of work. I know our relationship would have benefited greatly if he wasn’t caught up with his devices.

I’m not shutting down the idea of dating a workaholic.

To maintain a successful relationship with a workaholic, one must be able to match or work well with their partner’s drive, focus and ambition.

When workaholics found their match, they strive better from a relationship that motivates and inspires them. We definitely can’t support our partners and be couch potatoes at the same time right?

If you’re eyeing on a workaholic in your office, we hope these reality checks will help you decide your next step.

Have you ever dated a workaholic? Tell us about it in the comments below!

For more articles by Cheryl read The Secret Struggles of Being Single When Everyone Else is Married or My High School Boyfriend Invited Me to His Wedding.

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After being raised on a steady diet of chic flicks and Mum's spaghetti, I've decided to do the things I love most. So I bade farewell to my desk job, moved back in with my parents, and started my freelancing career. You can either wish me luck or read how I'm coping with taxes and annoying aunties on In Real Life.
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