A Swedish study, reports the Independent, has revealed that long commutes can have a bad effect on people’s marriage and long term relationships.
Work distance becomes love distance
A long commute requires more physical and mental energy. The result is added stress that can negatively affect the relationship, as such commuters have less available resources to deal with the demands of the relationship or family life. The trade off is, of course, better jobs and more opportunities to further the career path, but practicalities often mean it’s men who take on the longer commute. Women then take the responsibility for looking after the kids, taking local jobs for less pay. Those women who do commute longer distances risk greater pressure to reconcile family and work life and report less satisfaction.
Interestingly, another study has reported that commuting in the same direction is actually beneficial to a relationship. Both men and women reported being more satisfied with their home life as a couple when both partners travelled in the same direction to work. The researchers put it down to the abstract, almost metaphorical sensation of “heading in the same direction”, though personally, I wonder whether it’s more about practicalities such as sharing a train to work, car pooling or being able to meet up after work more often – all things that allow partners to spend more time together outside the home as part of their daily routine. In this financial climate, when many people are hard pressed to find work and may find they need to commute further, it’s worth keeping these things in mind, if only so that you can account for them in the way you relate to each other at home. Even accommodating a period of rest when your partner returns home before expecting them to do chores, discuss problems, etc. can greatly reduce the stress levels between you.