Up All Night

Dear J & J: I’m a banker and I work really long hours. My girlfriend is constantly getting upset with me because I have to cancel weeknight dates at the last minute. I don’t want to, but at this point in my career, my time is really not my own.

B.D.
New York, NY

JACK: Dear Red-I Banker:

It’s called paying your dues. If a career-driven person is not what she's looking for than she can date a waiter. Either way, the added pressure of constant complaints is the last thing anyone needs. Take my advice; if she can't understand the importance of your career, including current time commitments, let her go.

JILL: I see your problem. It’s difficult when the person you’re involved with wants to see you more often than your free time allows. No doubt you want to see her more often, but work pressures are what they are. The problem is more than likely exacerbated by the fact that her schedule is less tied up than yours. I would begin by explaining how much you’d like to see her if you could, but that, right now, you have to curb this desire to avoid getting fired (as opposed to saying it will advance your career, which would make her feel that you put your career first. Which, while true, needn’t be said because it would hurt her feelings unnecessarily). I would also throw in some thoughtful phone calls and phone messages on her home machine throughout the workday. Let her know that you’re thinking about her, blah, blah, blah. Send flowers to her office complete with sweet notes along the same lines. If and when possible, suggest lunches and early breakfast — these are romantic and easier to sneak in than evenings away from the office. Then add good weekend dates to tide her over. See Great Dates. Beyond that, I would begin encouraging your gal to get involved in some weeknight activities. A class to further her own career, an activity with the girls, a book club. All these things will engage her time and convince her that you are the most thoughtful — hard-working — guy in the world.

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