In the middle of a relationship crisis, GF is thinking about ending our relationship, and all signs are pointing to it happening.

I am still performing at work, but generally I am becoming very depressed and withdrawn. Should I mention this to my boss? I am concerned that it will be used against me.

  • 4
    What do you hope will happen by telling your boss?
    – Kent A.
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:38
  • Just so that he is aware if I am not 'all there' from the stress of the relationship
    – bobo2000
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:39
  • I'd only mention this to my boss if it actually was affecting my work. It's a rough thing to go through, but it happens to people all the time. It's probably good enough to only talk about it if your boss has to say something about your lessening of productivity.
    – user44108
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:55
  • 2
    As soon as you mention it, anything you do will be seen as "well he could have done better but he has GF problems at the moment". I cannot see how talking about it at work will help in any way whatsoever, it will just make it worse.
    – PaulD
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:02
  • The company culture of your workplace and the country you're working in has a lot of impact on this along side personal relationship between you and your "boss" and co-workers. I've been in companies where I'd share this with my manager and I've been in companies where I wouldn't. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:11

5 Answers 5


Talking to your boss should have an actionable goal. Something your boss can do to improve the situation.

For example

Hey boss I have a sick family member at home, I may have to bring them to the doctor before work or fetch them on my way back so I may have to come in late or leave early on short notice the next two weeks. It would be nice if you could schedule accordingly.


Hey boss I have personal problems at home I may need a day or two off on short notice in the next few weeks. Can I team up with Jane and explain to her what I'm working on so she can take over even if I have to take a day off?

This is your personal problem, but your boss can act on it and improve the situation.

What you boss can not do (or should not do) is give you an allowance to lower your quality or quantity of work. So telling your boss about personal problems that may worsen your performance is nothing he can act on. There is nothing for him to do and therefor talking about it is of little value.

If you tell your boss your performance might be worse, in your boss' eyes it will be worse. You could probably do the exact opposite and get lost in work and work overtime all week to evade a confrontation at home and still, as you told your boss you might deliver bad performance, you boss will think you did.

So don't do that. If you can come up with something actionable that you can do and needs your bosses approval to mitigate the fallout, go ahead and ask. If you cannot, don't.

  • 2
    This is perfect. Yes, if you need the boss to do something then tell him. Personal relationship problems are not something that will get a generally pass if your performance is lower than usual. The only personal problems I have seen consistently given a pass on general performance are a serious illness or the death of a spouse or child. And then only for a short time.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 13:41

Generally it's a bad idea to bring your personal life to work in anything less than a positive light. So I wouldn't mention it if I were you. People are expected to handle their own lives separately.

A good boss will understand you're having issues if you mention it and may do their best to help you even, but it's a headache on their part. So you shouldn't make him/her have to deal with it. Other bosses wouldn't care what your personal issues are and would just look at your performance.

  • 2
    Totally agree. If you have family emergencies it is totally different but for relashionship crisis it is a lot different.
    – MopMop
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:38
  • 1
    My advice: Do not mention it whatsoever. Your personal life is your personal life. However, do you have any holiday due? If so take it now. If not, then you can ask for some time off when you may have to go through your personal reasons, but if at all possible, do not bring it up. It will count against you and also sets the timer, they will expect you to have sorted it out in a week or two and be back to full speed. In reality this might take months to get over, if not years, depending on the exact circumstances and how you personally can handle it.
    – PaulD
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:54
  • 1
    Kilisi is right, most managers will not really care, They might run through the motions but you are an employee, not a friend, and as an employee you are there to do a job. Do your job and leave the fluffy bunnies at the door.
    – PaulD
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 10:59
  • 1
    Do you not have an employee number? Yes you are a number in any job. The fact you also have personal relationships and friendships and team spirit is all built on that number. When financial problems strike, those numbers will be reduced. Even if they really, really like you, you will be let go when it is advantageous to do so. Perhaps I am cynical, perhaps I am a realist. Having employed many people myself, and having had to let go people I really liked because they did not perform.
    – PaulD
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:06
  • 2
    None of them, people need to handle their own families. Sickness or death is different. If your wife/gf/bf/kids/pet goldfish are giving you a hard time, that's your problem. You are my problem when your work suffers. I'd either give you time off to sort yourself out, or let you go.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:18

It is important to flag to your boss that there are some issues at home. You don't need ot go into detail unless you are comfortable doing so and have that kind of relationship with your boss.

However, the onus is on you to make every effort not to bring your personal life to work. In fact, think of work as your escape from home and you'll find the day much easier to deal with.

Finally, if you find yourself struggling, find a good friend to talk to. If you do sense that you are becoming depressed, speak to your doctor.


Personally, I don't bring my personal issues into the workplace. Unless you and your boss are on very close terms, then it probably won't end well. Honestly, sometimes I think work is a safe haven from everything else. You can go to work, focus on whatever your doing there and not really worry about anything else. I'd take that time to reflect and think about what you want to do when your off work but don't slack off.

Now, about your girlfriend and you going through a relationship crisis: I'm sure she is great and you love her but don't let her affect your work. You should just talk to her without either of you getting angry. Just work it out if you can. I usually ask myself, "Is this going to matter in a day? a week? a year?"

Good luck.


You should consider waiting to see whether you can still maintain your level of performance at work. If so, then your boss does not need to know anything about your personal life.

If your boss notices that you're struggling at work then you can let him/her know what's going on. They may or may not have any compassion for you though, as break ups haoen every day. Everyone has a private life outside of work, and regardless of what happens in your private life, you're still expected to do your job. You may be allowed a short time of underperformance, but they're under no obligation to carry you through a prolonged period of emotional problems stemming from your private life.

If your depression and withdrawal last more than a few days, you should consider visiting a counselor for some help coping.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .