It’s pretty common knowledge that working long hours at the office, while probably great for our professional lives, isn’t the best thing for our social lives – and particularly, our romantic connections. But there’s actually good news for couples in which one or both partners work a lot: Apparently, it’s not as detrimental as we’ve been led to think. In fact, putting in long hours at the office seems to have little direct effect on the success and happiness of a romantic relationship at all.

This conclusion was drawn from a study published in the journal Human Relations, which was conducted by researchers in Switzerland and Germany who surveyed close to 300 couples where at least one partner worked late often. By analyzing the data they collected, the researchers found that couples who spent more time apart due to work obligations actually made more of the time they did have together to compensate for the time apart, creating a balancing effect in the relationship. They also discovered that career-driven individuals were realistic about what they should expect out of their private lives.

This conclusion is actually not all that surprising, when you think about it. It’s similar to when you are over at your sweetie’s apartment all the time as opposed to living together. I’ve heard many a time that living together is “the same thing” as spending a lot of time together, but it truly isn’t. When you live with your partner, it becomes a lot easier to fall into a comfortable routine and more difficult to make the effort to carve out actual quality time; the lines become blurred. Whereas if you’re going over to your partner’s place, it’s usually specifically TO spend time with them. Not much laundry folding, grocery-list-compiling, or cat-litter scooping is usually going to be going on in those scenarios.

The study didn’t expand on whether working long hours had any negative effects on a family unit outside of a two-person romantic relationship, but it’s good to know that there seems to be some truth in the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” adage! So burn that midnight oil, ya’ll. Just go out and do something extra special over the weekend. Work hard, play hard, etc.

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