How Work Affects Your Love (and Sex) Life
Life + Money

How Work Affects Your Love (and Sex) Life


A generation ago, the old nursery rhyme of a relationship’s timeline: “love, then marriage, and then babies in baby carriages,” rang true for many. Today, a more pragmatic version might be needed — career comes first, followed by moving in together, then joint checking accounts, and maybe a marriage license.

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With declining marriage rates, more women in the workplace, and careers preceding, superseding and serving as important criteria for marriage, the intersection of personal and professional life has never been more muddled. The supposed work-life balance seems more like a messy jumble of work, love and life that are all intertwined.

For starters, simply having a job is a large determinant for meeting a future spouse. According to a survey by YourTango and ForbesWoman last year, 75 percent of women said they wouldn’t marry someone who was unemployed; 65 percent likewise said they wouldn’t marry if they were not employed. And a Pew Research report suggests that 62 percent of men and women believe a marriage is strongest when both spouses work.

RELATED: For Richer, For Poorer: The Growing Marriage Gap

But that’s just the beginning. New research has finds that everything from the profession you choose to the commute you take can directly impact your romantic relationships. Here are five ways your work could be affecting your love life:

1. Commuting
Blame it on time suck, sleep deprivation, or road rage, but if your commute is onerous, your relationship may be in danger. In a study of working households Sweden’s Umea University found  that if one partner commute lasts more than 45 minutes, the couple is 40 percent more likely to get divorced, especially within the first five years of marriage.

Couples who commute in opposite directions may find themselves going their separate ways in their relationships as well. According to a study by Chinese researchers in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, traveling in the same direction to work, even if it’s at a different time and using a different method of transportation, increases partners’ satisfaction with their relationships. The study observed working couples in the United States and Hong Kong and suggested that traveling in the same direction metaphorically implies similar goal-directed behavior.

2. Working Toward Love
If your looking for long-term love, marrying a dancer (exotic or otherwise) may not be your best bet. According to 2000 Census data compiled and compared by Radford University, dancers and choreographers had the highest divorce rate of any profession (43 percent). Others topping the list included bartenders and massage therapists (38 percent each), roofers (26 percent) and mathematicians (20 percent).

On the other end of the spectrum, careers in religion, nuclear engineering, public transit and optometry provided the most durable marriage. Only 4 percent of optometrists, for example, divorce. For those looking to increase their chances of finding a mate, career-networking site Excelle suggests personal finance careers for women and publishing careers for men, since each field has a high percentage of the opposite gender.

3. Careers for Love-making
A Redbook survey of married women found that husbands who were artists were the best lovers; however, plenty of other professions boasted their own strengths in the bedroom. Engineers and architects were much more likely to make sure their wives were satisfied and were more than twice as likely as the average husband to introduce a battery-powered toy. Doctors excelled at romance, with 44 percent considered to be “constant cuddlers.” Lawyers, consultants and other finance professionals were most likely to want sex on a regular basis (42 percent), and salesmen were the most likely (14 percent) to do the deed daily.

4. The Stress Test
Stress, whether it’s within the relationship or from external factors, has long been considered a crux of marital dysfunction. Last year, University of Virginia’s Survey of Marital Generosity, found that 29 percent of couples reported the 2007-2009 economic downturn had strained their relationship. Still, a study in the Netherlands by Utrecht University on newlyweds found that the relationship between workload and marital satisfaction changes depending on factors like job satisfaction, gender and parental status.

For example, while the study found that mothers who are busier at work are happier with their marriages, the same did not hold true for men. According to the authors, one reason for this may be that men are more likely help more around the house when their wives work. The study also found that men and women process stress differently. Even at their busiest, women felt fulfilled when they accomplished something. Most men, however, were more likely to let even productive stress impact their personal lives negatively. 

5. With Great Power Comes Great … Infidelity?
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn are just three of dozens of male figures that support the longstanding correlation between male power and infidelity. However, a recent study by Joris Lammers, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands found that women in power, such as CEOs or executives are equally as likely to cheat on their spouses. This survey found that power bred confidence, and with more confidence followed more infidelity regardless of gender. In contrast, the American Sociology Association found that the correlation between income and infidelity did vary by gender. Men who were financially dependent on their wives were more likely to cheat, whereas women who were financially dependent on their husbands were half as likely to cheat as working wives.