Barking at My Zipper – When Work Interferes With Dating

Steve Harvey is a noble man on a mission. After writing Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man he discovered his God given talent for bringing people together in healthy relationships. He was smart enough to use all of his assets, his likeability, good humor, and insight, to create a top ranking talk show.

One of the best features on his show is the “Ask Steve” segment, in which he takes questions from his audience and generally gives good advice. Sometimes the questions asked make you wonder if people really get themselves into these situations, or do they make it up just to get on the show. Nevertheless, Steve always has an answer, though it may be somewhat unconventional.


In this clip, Barking at My Zipper, Mary Ellen asked Steve how to handle bringing dates to her home where she also has her business. She owns a pet care service in which she offers an alternative to boarding your dog at a kennel while you travel. Her business is unique in that it allows the dog to stay in a nurturing home environment, rather than being primarily caged with only an hour or so for exercise each day as most kennels do.

Some men were put off by the behaviors of the dogs when she invited them to her home. Her dates have complained of the dogs jumping on them or barking incessantly while they were there. She feels that she has sold a service to her clients based on the dogs having the freedoms that they would have in their own homes. She wanted to know what she should do in order to continue dating and run her business in her home.

Steve’s advice was to put the dogs in a cage while Mary Ellen’s dates were there. He very humorously pointed out that men do not want a dog barking at their zipper. He felt that she needed to adjust the priority to the needs of the human, rather than the needs of the dogs. This is good advice for those who have just begun dating, but it will not serve her well in the long term.

Mary Ellen has a problem that is common to a lot of people. Her job has demands that impact her personal life. It would be nice if we could all just leave work at work and never have it interfere with our personal lives, but that is just not realistic for many of us. Some have jobs that require them to be called away at a moment’s notice or have to stay until a job is complete.  There is any number of reasons that you may be tied to your job outside of normal business hours.

While you may love your job, these things can be difficult on a new dating relationship. It is understandable that you would want to hide the nasty details of just how much your work follows you home. Initially it could be well advised to schedule dates when work is least likely to interfere, but when your work lives in your home that could be impossible.

If the relationship moves beyond a few dates and things are looking good, at some point you will be stuck with two options. You can either come clean about the nature of your work or find a new job. If you feel like this new person in your life could be around for a while, then part of that decision has to be finding out if they can handle the level of intrusion that your job brings.

For instance, Mary Ellen would be wise to have the dogs contained in a cage or separate room when she first has any guests over. Even though her service provides a more natural home environment, the fact remains this is not the dog’s home. No matter how friendly the dog is with you, there is a level of uncertainty when introducing these dogs to strangers in a strange environment. This is especially true if she does not know in advance how the guest will feel about the dogs. Not everyone is as enamored with dogs as she appears to be.

With that said, you would think that in Mary Ellen’s search for dates, she would find some way of tattooing “must love dogs” to her forehead. This could be in the form of including this in her profile on dating sites, posting pictures of her regular dog clients on social media sites, or answering the question “what do you do” honestly when she first meets someone. We all know that most people Google your name before going out with you. Including the love of your job in online interactions is a good clue for those whom you may invite to your home. Not to mention the fact that if you provide info about your business on your personal profiles, you are likely to gain more clients. People like to use the services of people they know.

It is especially important that Mary Ellen find a mate who not only loves dogs, but is willing to live among them. She is obligated to be home and available to care for these pets throughout certain times of the day. The free roam environment is also a key selling point to her job. Should she begin dating someone who is not comfortable in that environment, in the long-run it would mean she would have to make a significant change in her business. This change could negatively impact her income and possibly shut her business down.

If you have a job that has a requirement that will inevitably impact the personal life of someone else, then you must choose someone who is willing to accept that requirement. If you work for a world health organization and that means you spend months out of the country, it is imperative that you either find someone who also works for the organization and can travel with you, or someone who does not mind that you will be gone for those periods. If you are on call, then you have to find someone who will not mind when you slip out of bed in the middle of the night for the 100th time.  Whatever your thing is, it has to fall in line with your mate’s expectations.

Basically, what it comes down to is this…we all want to talk about the benefits of keeping work and personal separate, but the reality of that exists less than our society is willing to admit. It is best to find a mate who can accept all the aspects of what you do for a living. What you do for a living is more than just a paycheck, no matter where you work or if you like your job. It is a part of who you are.

If you love your work, it is embedded inside your soul. No matter how much you may like this new person in your life, when it comes right down to it, are you going to be willing to give up what you do to make this other person happy? If your answer is yes, then consider that you cannot give up a piece of yourself to fulfill someone else without leaving a hole in your soul. There is a time and a season for all things in our lives. It could be that this is the time in your life to move on to another career, but if you are making that decision out of fear of being alone, then you are not capable of making a wise decision.

If you love your job and you have no doubts about what you do, trust that you will find someone in your dating search who at least adores that about you. We are all given talents. As Steve Harvey says, it is important to figure out what your talent is, and then use it. If you do this, you will find success. That success will include professional and personal success.

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Lora Leathco

Blogger at; Mad Crocheter for Studio KLS; Nonstop talker about TV, Books, Sports, and Hot Topics

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