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Some Couples Cope with Jealousy When One Commutes and the Other Works from Home

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Dec 13, 2022

What happens at home when one spouse works there full time while the other trudges off to the office? Jealousy, perhaps, Fortune reported.

Such a situation occurred in the home of Hillaire Long and her boyfriend. A residential and commercial construction project manager, Long awakes at 5:30 a.m. to commute to her job, while her boyfriend works for a company that embraces working from home. The boyfriend also finds time to do things such as play golf during the day, while not using the time to cook, clean or shop for groceries.

“I’d be like ‘You could have done that all day.’ It just kind of irritated me,” Long told Fortune.

She is not alone in what Fortune terms “WFH envy.” After Long shared her story on Facebook, Emily Weir of Tampa, Fla., responded to say that she tries to remind herself of the benefits of going into the office, such as socialization and some separation from her partner.

“There’s definitely some envy just because I have to get dressed and put on business clothes, and [my husband] doesn’t even have to turn his camera on,” she told Fortune. At the end of the work week on Fridays, she is exhausted, while her husband is ready to go out and socialize.

Hannah McCarthy of Brooklyn told Fortune that she was “so jealous” of her boyfriend’s work-from-home situation that she got a new job. “I was worrying myself on Sunday planning for the week, putting out clothes, and he wakes up Monday at 8:30 a.m. and just goes in the other room and is able to ease into his week.”

Such couples need to redefine household tasks in such situations, advised marriage and family therapist Michelle Tangeman. One has to consider whether one is jealous of the work the partner does because it takes away from household responsibilities, or if the envy stems from the fact that the WFH partner has more ease and flexibility, and work-life balance.

Ultimately, Long and her boyfriend worked things out. He assumed more domestic responsibilities—“and he still has time to play golf,” she said.

So did McCarthy and her boyfriend. When she found a new job and started working from home, the couple redefined their household tasks once again.

Long does not foresee working from home, but her situation has gotten her thinking more about work-life balance

“I think everybody got an exposure to like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t have to be like this. I can do my job without crying. I don’t have to get so stressed out,'" she said. “There’s a sort of cultural association that if you work hard then you get things you deserve. We feel like if we just keep working hard someone’s going to realize it, but no, not really. That’s not how we’re evaluated in our work performance anymore.”