Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Is dh a workaholic? Hope to cope?

(18 Posts)
yummymumtobe Sun 16-Jun-13 08:52:04

My dh absolutely loves his job which I know is a good thing - he didn't like his previous job and I know that having a job you don't enjoy can get you down. I just think he enjoys it 'too much' and derives all his satisfaction from knowing he is highly thought of at work and is indispensable. But work seems to be the only thing that's important. In this past week he has not even asked me about stuff that has been going on with me and dd, eg my antenatal appts, ds's parents evening, a meeting I had at work to discuss pay review. It's like because he is so busy and so important (and earns more than me) he is entitled to just forget everything that is happening with me and dd. the other thing is he spends much longer at work than he needs to. He could drive 15 mins to work but instead gets the bus which takes ages and so has to leave early. Needless to say e often doesn't see dd during the week. When I mention that he is giving too much to work (if you answer your blackberry within second every time and are never 'off' then of course your colleagues are going to take you for granted!) he gets really aggressive and accuses me of bullying him. In fact his whole argument whenever I mention about him needing a break, forgetting to eat lunch, not having his dinner until 11pm when he gets in is that I am the problem, I am bullying him, he gets treated so much better as work as he has everyone's respect etc.
I just never saw this coming (we have been together 11 years). I suppose even at uni he worked very hard. I can't help thinking its an ego thing though - he lows feeling important and I guess that me and dd don't make him feel as important as his job does.
We recently moved and stayed within London one o the reasons for me being that with his hours I wanted to lie reasonably close to his work as if he was commuting 1.5 hrs to somewhere nice a bit more rural i would see him even less. But now I think maybe we should have just moved out of London and got a nicer house somewhere pretty and then he would have more incentive to come back home as it would be more of a retreat? Though I think I need to realise that it's me that is stopping him coming home don't I? I am not enough of a draw?
Sorry for the rant but I think that maybe I just needed to write it down to see what is staring me in the face!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Jun-13 09:11:47

This isn't about work. This is about him showing zero interest and respect for family life. You're currently all just some annoying inconvenience that he goes out of his way to avoid, and 'work' is the excuse. Getting aggressive when challenged is totally unacceptable

I'd be laying it on the line to him that he either finds a better balance and starts showing some enthusiasm & respect or you'll all be moving out of London without him.

Jcee Sun 16-Jun-13 09:26:05

That sounds hard! It's most certainly not you and you shouldn't look at it in terms of you are stopping him from coming home or are not enough for him to want to come home - it sounds like this is him.

Is this a new thing? Or has something changed at work recently that has made him up the ante? New project, new manager cracking the whip or opportunities for promotion he is working towards?

Do you know how his employer/manager feels about this? Is this the norm in the organisation?

I ask as I am experiencing something similar with someone in my team who is putting herself under the most ridiculous pressure and is doing the things you mention, but me and my manager have identified this is most definitely not the norm and are currently working really trying to get her to calm down, take a step back and get a more realistic work life balance. We're in the early stages but things we've discussed are suspending her IT account out of hours or changing her tasks as it is having a negative impact on other team members who feel they can't measure up.

As cogito says its unnaceptable and he needs to shape up and get involved in family life. Is he normally involved in homelife, doing stuff with the kids etc?

You mention ego and he loves feeling important - maybe you need to treat home as work and just delegate accordingly so he can't weasel out of it - I find my DP responds to requests such as 'it would really help me/DD if you could....' or 'this needs sorting, please can you deal with it?'

yummymumtobe Sun 16-Jun-13 09:26:24

Thanks Cogito. The silly thing is that I am terrified of him
leaving me. I have barely any income of my own. When we started out we had the same jobs but now I only work 3 days and have moved out of 'the city'. I think he wishes I was more into my career too but not sure how he thinks the house would be cleaned, food bought, dd looked after if I was working full time too and getting in late?! We nearly broke up once before and so now I feel like I have no power to issue ultimatums etc as I am worried he will take them. (though to be honest how could he leave as how could he argue for any sort of custody or visiting over dd when he is always at work?!!)

yummymumtobe Sun 16-Jun-13 09:34:07

Thanks jcee. He is pretty senior at work so it's not like someone is cracking the whip over him. I think it's a status thing gone to his head. I know he is often the last person in the office - his manager though works 9-5 and often leaves early for unexplained 'meetings' (suspected shoppin trips, lunches!). I have tried to explain to him that the reason she is able to do this is that she is very secure in the knowledge that he is there doing the donkey work. She has successfully delegated and made her job very easy. He thinks that she is lazy and not committed enough, but which one of them is the boss? It's like he can't see that he is enabling her by making it so easy for her not to be there.
I have tried giving him 'tasks' at home but he just accuses me of pressuring him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Jun-13 09:48:50

"The silly thing is that I am terrified of him
leaving me."

He knows it & that's why he's treating you this way. If you've made threats before and not followed through you've weakened your position further. See how that works? When there are no consequences to someone's bad behaviour, that behaviour is very unlikely to change.

You're a married woman which means you have certain rights in the event of a divorce, including financial ones. I'm not saying 'LTB' but I think - given your fears about independence - you should get to know the score better, get some information on the subject & find out where you'd stand. You have to tackle him about this, fight your corner, demand change and for that you need proper information in order to speak with confidence. It's a power-battle and you don't take a sword to a gunfight.

Jcee Sun 16-Jun-13 09:51:32

I'd be doing what Cogito said then - he has a family and a house and it's not acceptable to opt out citing work commitments. There's things to be done and you asking him to do stuff is not pressurising him unnecessarily, it's asking him to contribute to family life, the family which he is part of and helped to create.

I understand the fear about him taking that ultimatum and where that leaves you, but it sounds like you are doing everything without him at the moment and its making you miserable so what would be the difference?

Jcee Sun 16-Jun-13 09:52:59

Oh and do what cogito said re: arming yourself with info - she speaks good sense...

aamia Sun 16-Jun-13 10:07:35

My dad is a workaholic. He's always been that way, and my mum knew that when she married him. He was out of the house 12 hours a day for work, had dinner then carried on working in his study/in front of the TV. More work at weekends, just at home. She was SAHM and did absolutely everything for him, he never lifted a finger even to get his own cup of tea. It worked for them because my mum did loads of social things outside the house, and had a dog (and me!) for company. He's now beyond retirement age but still working 4 days a week and doing an OU course on the other days. He is always a nice person to be around though, just focused on his work!

Will your DH engage in family things at weekends and you just forget about the weekday stuff? Some jobs are like that - I'm a teacher and my DH and DS don't get much of a look-in during the week as I have to bring work home. Do you think this obsession with work will settle after a while? Could you get his mum to speak to him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Jun-13 10:20:00

His mum? hmm What is he, eight years old?

Fairenuff Sun 16-Jun-13 10:49:42

This respect thing.

He might feel respected at work but he should remember that they are employees and paid to be respectful, amongst other things.

If he values respect so much, why does he not show respect to others?

I think that's a red herring. I think what he means is that he can have his way at work and that's what he wants at home too.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Sun 16-Jun-13 10:54:18

Why does he think his needs, wants, preferences are more important than yours?

yummymumtobe Sun 16-Jun-13 11:13:10

I actually hoped his parents could talk to him but they don't understand. They are impressed with his job and think he should be left to get on with it. His mum did and still does everything for his dad, even though his dad had a 'normal' job and could easily have done more around the house. They honestly don't think he has obligations at home. I imagine they think I'm a v bad wife as I don't do all his ironing!
I think that maybe he wouldn't mind if I left. Maybe I just should! He honestly seems to think another woman wouldn't mind as they would be grateful of having things paid for.

bico Sun 16-Jun-13 11:18:51

Does he have parking available at work? If not then that may be why he gets the bus. The only other reason maybe if he likes a drink at lunch. Unfortunately there are plenty of working environments where people (mostly men) think it is big and clever to boast about how hard they work and how little time they spend with their family.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Jun-13 11:33:50

" He honestly seems to think another woman wouldn't mind as they would be grateful of having things paid for."

There probably are women like that out there, like his mother, still re-enacting the 1950s.... hmm And what you're really frightened of is that, if you say 'enough', one will appear out of the woodwork to soothe his fevered brow in your place. Amazing how many misogynists are out there, disguised as 'modern men' until a baby or two comes along and they reveal their true selves.

If this isn't what you signed up for, find the courage to say no.

yummymumtobe Sun 16-Jun-13 13:09:33

He has free parking at work. He doesn't drink at all really let alone at lunchtime. I know a lot of women probably wouldn't mind and I suppose I do feel threatened. I just find it all so odd as my dad worked normal hours and was just there in the evenings and then doing the gardening, washing the car at the weekend etc. I feel a bit snobby but is it a background thing? His parents are quite lower mc and have a very different view of the mans role.

onefewernow Sun 16-Jun-13 13:25:19

No it is to do with his self esteem ie never feeling good enough, and chasing plaudits. Once you also kick in with the comsi ing and resentment - we all do- it adds to their reasons.

Your only choices are to accept it, get a busy life of your own, or tell him you are off.

My DH had this problem for years but the crisis which resulted fro
Me discovering online sex to boot sorted it out.

Fairenuff Sun 16-Jun-13 20:18:48

He is not acting as if this is an equal partnership.

What else does he bring to the table other than financial? Is money the most important matter for both of you, or just him. He is making all the decisions based on what he wants.

The truth is, you will probably have to put up with it or leave. It doesn't sound like he thinks he should even consider talking about this, let alone changing anything.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now