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Shift work and relationships.

Community Member

My partner and I have been together for 6 yrs.
4 out of the 5 yrs my partner has worked shift work on a rotating roster, and I have been at my same job 9-5 Monday to Friday for 5 years.

A long with shift work, we both have anxiety, I have a disability which impacts my central nervous system so walking really hurts, And I manage this by pacing my self and setting achievable goals to live as much of a normal life as I can.
I also volunteer and run my own business on a casual basis, I go to councelling and am trying to loose weight to help alleviate some pain in my joints.

I run the budgets, take care of 2 dogs, do a majority of the house work while working from home full time in a job that I am under paid for, and am dealing with the union do fight for better pay.

He doesn't clean his room, doesn't do anything around the house on his own accord, constantly asks me to look for things even though they are always in the same spot (under the sink).
He doesn't organise dates or things to do when we do have time off together, it's all on me.
He doesn't sleep in the same bed as me and keeps his room so gross I don't want to go in there.

Our fights are getting more frequent, always about the same issues:
Me following up on him going back to councelling, setting up a bank account so he can help with finances, basic chores, sex or lack thereof, all so I can work around him within my own schedule.
Then he switches it around everytime like I am asking for to much from him and I'm talking down to him ( which is true but it's been 4 years of this) he's called me abusive and said "for someone who helps young people get into a passionate career you have no empathy for others mental health" which hurt a lot.

But lately he's doing less to work towards our relationship, and dropping hints that he won't be looking for new work, because he is scared about change.

I've told him that I will be there to support with education and the change, I spent my bonus on getting us more financially secure so we can look into him studying.

But it's too the point where I think I need to figure out how to leave, and keep the house I saved for and we own.
I can't keep doing this, keeping on top of my stuff and picking up the slack in every avenue of our life together.
I'm so tired, and I now can't speak about these things with out getting emotional or frustrated

I don't know what to do any more.
3 Replies 3

Community Member

Hi TheaRHM.

I can dependently understand that you are feeling very overwhelmed and lost right now.

I'd like to ask you a question to answer your question, what do you feel has changed since you both feel in love?

Maybe you are giving too much?


Hi TheaRHM

It sounds like you are having a really tough time with your partner. This can be a really challenging time so thank you for reaching out to the forums for support. It is a brave thing to share your experiences - thank you.

If you would like to chat to someone you can always try the BeyondBlue phoneline on 1300 22 4636 or the online chat (https://online.beyondblue.org.au/Webmodules/chat/InitialInformation.aspx).

Thank you again for sharing and welcome to the community.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I hope I can help. I'm an ex shift worker. For 7 years I didnt really live life. I was always either asleep, at work or a zombie. My friends didnt come around as they didnt know if I'd be asleep or not, same with phone calls. I was snappy at people and remained in the job only because I needed the extra money penalty rates gave me.

We often talk about the value of a good night sleep here.


I'm so against shift work in terms of its negative effect on relationships I urge people to get rid of that employment before jumping to conclusions about other things like possible laziness and lack of stimulus together. In fact I had 5 weeks a year annual leave and 4 of those weeks was spent recuperating!.

That aside in the early days together was he lazy then? Was he considerate and romantic? If so then you have that memory and you can aim to recoup the past.

Arguements- My wife and I 10 years ago came up with a plan to eliminate arguements continuing.-


That has worked every time for us. But you must both commit to it.

Relationship counseling is a good idea. You might be overwhelmed at the moment but if there is a spark hiding away it is worth seeking it out. His shift work would prevent much of his sex drive and energy to clean up around him. I'm not making excuses, these are really based on my own experiences.

  • Firstly discuss his job with him and ask him if you both can come up with ideas as to alternative employment day shift only.
  • Find a common interest. We like caravanning with our vintage car for example. Camping, evening fire, bbq and marshmellows.
  • Counseling
  • An immediate break for a short holiday
  • Aim for more input from him with chores, but not right now as it serves no purpose at this time. Baby steps.



I'd also like to suggest that you embark upon some relaxation for yourself. Committing to 20 minutes a day will help you.


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