How to keep your relationship strong while maintaining a stressful career
Work puts us under pressure. We’ve got to bring our A-game every single day. There are deadlines to meet and we’ve got to respond to the demands of our colleagues, not to mention those of our boss(es). The stress can overwhelm us and take its toll on our relationships. Outside of the workplace, we can become irritable or impatient around our loved ones or maybe we don’t pull our weight when it comes to taking care of our share of the responsibilities. None of it is good for a relationship.
You might think that following your dream would allow you to sidestep stress. It won’t. For instance, take a poker player. Playing the game professionally poses its own challenges for a relationship. The fact players must travel a lot and spend time away from home to attend tournaments is one of them. They’re also under the pressure to win to cover their share of any financial responsibilities. They don’t want the partner to shoulder all the burden.
This article looks at some of the problems playing games for a living can create for a relationship and what you can do to keep your relationship strong if you’re dating one.
The struggles of a professional player
If you’re going to turn pro, you need to be good. The financial pressures are huge, and you need to be able to change if you’re going to deal with them well and make any real money. You might identify one particular type of game you’re good at and stick with it, but as the gaming landscape changes and games that used to be easy to win become much, much harder when there’s a significant amount of money involved. You must be able to adapt and identify the games that will earn you the highest amounts of prize money per hour.
Then there’s the high level of commitment required. Going pro means going all in, heart, soul and mind. The ups and downs of professional gaming can exert a real impact on mental health, which can be hard for a partner to take. To be happy, a player must do other things. That includes spending quality time with their partner; generally, anything else that will have a positive impact on their life. Despite their commitment to the game, life can’t just be about playing.
How to stay together when dating a professional player
The pressures of playing on the professional circuit have caused many a relationship to fall apart, but it is possible to date a poker player and enjoy a happy, healthy relationship. Here are a few tips so that you and your partner can win not just at the tables, but in your own relationship as well:
Support each other
If you or your partner is on the road, make time to call each other. It’s a comfort to know that even though they’re miles away, they’ll still be thinking of you. Let them talk. Listen to what they have to say — this goes as much as for when you’re at home as when you’re on the road. If you have a bad day at work or your partner has a bad day at the tables, sharing the bad moments with them can make the relationship more satisfying and reduce the number of arguments.
Acknowledge each other’s coping mechanisms
There’s no correct way to deal with stress. Everyone deals with it in their own way. Try to understand this and compromise. If your partner comes home from a difficult tournament and needs to wind down, give them the space they need and then, if they wish to discuss the matter, chat about it a little later. If they wish to discuss it the minute they come home, accommodate them.
Perhaps you’ve had a horrendous day at work and your boss has just told you they’re not considering you for that promotion you’ve been gunning for. Meanwhile, your partner has been away all week in some sun-kissed part of the world and has walked away with the biggest share of the pot. Even though couldn’t have gone better for them, don’t compare your own misfortunes to their success.
At the same time, if they’re finding the professional life hard going and start talking about the strain they’re feeling, resist the urge to talk about your own stress levels. Neither this nor comparisons of success will make things any easier. The stress of each of you is equal and valid, and turning things into a competition will just create more tension.
Get active together
Whether it’s going out for a walk, getting your bikes out or going to the gym together, make time to be active together. This is a superb stress reliever. It’s no secret that exercise reduces stress levels. Even moderate exercise can lower them. Being active together kills two birds with one stone by allowing you to stay healthy and to spend time together.
Playing poker for a living is an exciting life, but it’s a stressful one, too. The time spent away from a partner and the general commitment to the game, as well as the financial pressures of the player having to win to shoulder their part of the expenses, can place the relationship under great strain. That doesn’t mean it’s all over for you and your partner. Take the steps above, and you can both enjoy a tremendous relationship no matter where your partner is playing in the world and regardless of what happens on the table.
The editorial unit