Is nursing ruining your love life?

  1. I am working 12 hour night shifts and feel like I am too exhausted to spend any "quality time" with my husband because work is taking so much out of me. Is there anyone else out there that feels my pain? It was bad enough going through nursing school. the long hours I had to stay up studying and could never come to bed or participate in anything fun, or any family activities. Now that I am working it's no better. I feel like when i get days off i have to catch up on sleep and I am not in the mood for anything. It's really ruining my relationship and my husband is getting fed up. Anyone else in the same boat?
  2. Visit LeLeeFNP profile page

    About LeLeeFNP

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 231; Likes: 56
    Nurse Practitioner; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in ICU, CVICU, Surgical, LTAC


  3. by   shoegalRN
    I am. I recently ended a relationship because I was so stressed out from work and on my days off, all I wanted to do was sleep and not be bothered. I had nothing left to give to a relationship.

    Starting this new year, I'm taking control of my life back. I'm learning to relax and leave work at WORK. Once I walk out of those hospital doors, I will NOT dwell on the night, obsess about what I didnt get done, none of that. Once I hit my front door, I'm a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister, again. NOT a nurse.

    And I'm also getting back to doing things that relieve stress.
  4. by   CABG patch kid
    I feel your pain, working night shift, my first day off is spent sleeping and even when I wake up I'm too tired to spend "quality" time with my hubby too. The best thing I can suggest is to plan for that time on one of your nights off when you are refreshed, take an afternoon nap if you can (it helps me) and also have the mentality that even if you feel too tired, just try to give it a go anyway! You may be surprised! I think that's the extent of the advice I can give you on this site
  5. by   Tait
    ***Edit: This whole plan is based on no children. I have yet, hopefully soon , to learn the joys of working little ones into this equation***

    Change your schedule.

    A possible approach might be to group your days, three on four off, if possible. Talk to you manager and tell her/him the stress you are under and see if it can be done. Three in a row is draining but four off is rejuvenating.

    Pay attention to your sleep schedules.

    Try flipping your schedule on your off days as my friend does. Come home, sleep from 9/10-2. Get up and back to bed around 10pm. By the next day you are up and ready to go by 9am or so. Then a night before you go back to work try staying up no later than 2am or so. This worked for her for years when she had a set T/W/Thurs schedule, however results may vary.

    I know I vary from week to week. We self schedule for the most part so I group my days 3 on 4-5 off each week. Once a month I usually try and schedule in a six day off as a mini vacation. It usually works because I tend to work S/M/T and then the next week I might need to take up a Friday so I work W/T/F.

    If work is really stressful I tend to sleep a lot more, and sometimes have a lot of trouble flipping my schedule. However my husband works 9am to 6pm + commute most week days (sometimes earlier/sometimes later as his whims permit the silly butthead) so I generally have the day to myself to sleep. Then I am usually awake around 3/4pm on off days and have time to be up with him all evening. Then he goes to bed about 11/12pm and I sit up and muck about the house.

    Also try laying down with your husband when he goes to bed. I know my husband is usually snoring in minutes, and then I can go back to reading or w/e I was doing and he appreciates the snuggle time.

    Get out of the house.

    I find we connect and destress when we walk. 30-45 minutes around the neighborhood after dinner is great excercise and it helps open up communication about the day and its stresses.

    Remember his stress

    Our jobs are very stressful, VERY stressful. We spend a great deal of time venting and sometimes that can get overwhelming, especially for those who love us. They want us to be happy, or at least moderately content 80% of the time at work, and I think it breaks their hearts to hear how unhappy we are, and there is nothing they can do about it. I find men to be fixers of sorts. They are our mates and find some odd sense of responsibility in making thins "ok". I think it leaves them helpless when they can't really do anything for you.

    Also sometimes our stresses overwhelm conversations and don't make room for their day to day stress. Your husband may not want to burden you with issues from his day when he knows you are already bogged down, thus leaving him no intimate outlet.

    Address the sex

    I know it sounds cliche but I have learned from my very supportive, loving husband that sometimes the connection first lost is sex. For men sex is a very intimate and important part of a loving relationship. For some of us, myself included, sex tends to be the first thing to STOP when we get stressed, which from some men is the first thing they think about doing when they ARE stressed.

    There are other ways to satisfy and sometimes even intensify the intimate AND get a little destress first. Tell your husband you would love some lotion on your back and legs. It's a mini massage, and gets his hands on you which will satisfy him. Before you know it you are relaxed and he is happy as a clam and one thing leads to another!

    I find this ritual works for us because it gives me time to relax and switch from mental mode to physical mode. Because face it, generally if men try to approach us with kisses or attentions it is akin to opening a cold window on a sleepy night. We wake up irritated we were taken from our thoughts and tend to whiplash with "not right now honey, I am thinking/stressed/tired/headachey etc etc".

    Take it all or take the bits you like, from one night nurse to another, balancing life, love and stress, we are here with you. Running the same race, painting the same scene, learning the same dance steps.


  6. by   BluegrassRN
    I agree with Tait, the only thing I would add is get enough exercise and eat decently. If I'm not getting exercise and eating well, I feel sluggish, tired and unattractive.

    I do have kids, and maybe dh and I don't get to have mama/papa time as frequently as we would like, but minimum of twice a week (TMI for some, sorry) and we go for quality over quantity. I generally group my work days and flip my schedule on the 3-5 days at a time I have off. My first day off, I only sleep 4-5 hours, and then I go to bed at noc with my husband, and then stay on that schedule until it is time to work again.

    Sex doesn't have to happen at night before bed, either. And you don't always have to be in the mood, honestly. I find that, if we start very slowly, I'm usually in the mood after a few minutes. When I'm tired, though, a quicky/sex for the sake of sex is NOT going to work for me. I'm not 18 any more, I'm not into that!

    Another thing that dh and I do a couple of times a year is to schedule on day off, when the kids have school (dh never calls in sick, so he has somewhere around 6 months of time off he has available...). We go eat breakfast at a big, nice, fancy restaurant, move to a local coffee shop/bar where we have coffee and cocktails, then we go for a long walk, and spend all day together. We don't get on the computer, we don't watch tv we just talk and enjoy each other's company. It's a day of leisure and renewal.

    Work is difficult on a relationship, no matter if you work 3 12 hour night shifts, 8 hour days five times a week, whatever. A lot of people have stressful jobs and long hours. You need to nurture and care for your relationship as well as yourself. Any decent relationship takes a certain amount of effort, and your marriage, your primary relationship, is going to take a large amount of effort.

    Good luck!
  7. by   StudentGrace
    Thanks to all of you for these great suggestions! I am not a nurse yet but about to start nursing school next week and have all kinds of questions/fears running through my head on how school will affect my relationships/family as well as clinicals and getting into the "real" world of nursing and how to make it all work. I have a son and a long time boyfriend that we are all very close and I know this is going to be hard on all of us. Thanks to you who share your personal lives to help the rest of us as we try and figure it all out.
  8. by   zuzi
    Real nursing life is not a smoothy life and the first that will react at it will be your personal life, love life.

    Before to start any measures to prevent or improve your love life related to your work life, asses first where you are NOW.

    The actions are different based on different scenarios. You are marry or you are single, you have a boy/girl friend in a longterm relationship or you just start the relation. Everythink is different. You have kids or not. How much support you have? Family relatives. How supportative is your hubby/friend? How your relation is going?

    Tait has perfect right! In normal situation without kids and with a supportative hubby is true, is how is need to be! and the actions are PERFECT!

    Reallity shows me that many of us we are not in "the average" class of families.

    So asses first! Think and just after you know where you are.....act!

    And please don't ask him for a massage if you just start the kids custody or other creepy staff....... is worthless....and you don't want to land on ER, lol
    Last edit by zuzi on Jan 2, '10
  9. by   nurseinlimbo
    Nursing can and does ruin your relationships, as well as any outside interests that you might plan to have. This is why I stay prn or casual. I set my own schedule, work in 2 different places, one with 8 hr shifts and one with 12's. I work some days, some nights and can group them however I like. I find if I work 8's exclusively I feel like I never have time to myself, especially when I work mostly nights. If I work 12's exclusively, same thing, because the shifts are so long they don't allow for a life before or after work. So, a mixture works for me, allows me to work fulltime, while feeling like partime, and sometimes I can take 6 days off in a row without noticing it on my pay stub.
    This year I do plan to slow down to 3/4 time though, as I am now in the pay category where FT hours go largely to taxes after 8 shifts and we are in a position where I am able to earn a little less, as hubby recently got a promotion and is earning more.
    As far as the sex/dating/family life, I still find sometimes I am too exhausted to care. I am in a special situation because I also ride and train horses for competition in my 'free' time, so am also stretched thin from fitting that in. I find though that having an outside interest completely away from work makes me feel like I do still have a life, which in turn makes me easier to live with
  10. by   Medic/Nurse
    Wow - some great advice.

    I guess I have a different problem - my DH is so "germ phobic" that when I work, I have to undress (out of those uniforms) outside (we have privacy - acres of land, no neighbors and a screen porch, thankfully) and find that I am in varying stages of naked as soon as I show up at home.

    Just try it - add some lacy, racy bra/panty sets and men being the visual creatures that they are --- well, you will be good to go.

    Maybe this is too much info - but, heck - it works.

  11. by   Johnston
    I know exactly how you feel and that is why I went to day shift. I lived in my PJ's, was grouchy, and a hermit when I worked nights. I work 12 hours days now but I did do a stint where I worked 8 hours shifts. I hated the 8's worse then the 12's because I went home and worked for 6 more hours. I felt like I was working 14 hours a day 5 days a week. It is hard to balance a "normal" life either way you look at it. When I did move to day shift, almost immediatly I felt mentally better. I wasn't depressed and in my PJ's on my days off. I needed little recovery time from the days worked and I actually felt like spending time with family and friends. I do get stressed but it seems better now that my body is on a normally sleeping pattern. Good luck to you, nursing is an awesome profession!
  12. by   NurseLoveJoy88
    I understand how u feel op. There are days when I come home and don't do anything except eat, shower and sleep. When hubby is In the mood he usually finds me knocked out asleep amd not wanting to be touched. I make up for it on my days off though.
  13. by   SlightlyMental_RN
    Wow, OP...I was having the same thoughts last night. Thanks for all the great advice, especially to Tait.
  14. by   kocheli
    I am also going for my first job,will it affect me too?I don't want to spoil family life.I was not knowing that such things are hidden.Thank you for this post