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Advice please - Partner working away

(61 Posts)
Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 13:23:15

My husband has always had times when he is required to work away. A couple of years ago he spent 4 months abroad, but we had planned and talked about it and we managed it fine.

Since then it has only been 2-3 days at a time.

However in the last few months it has been becoming more and more frequent and unpredictable. eg; He said he would be away for 3 days, after 2 he told me there was a problem and he would be staying longer. It turned out that he wasn't even in the country that I thought he was in.

He came home on Thursday at 3am and had a couple of days at home, now he's leaving again to step in for someone who is off sick.

When he is home is amazing and makes a lot of effort with spending time with me and our young children and doing household jobs etc. He gives up on sleep because he wants to have as much time with me as he can.

But it feels as though when he is at work he completely forgets about us. Once he is in the 'work' mindset he doesn't think about anything else. I'm not even sure why I feel like that, because he does text or call when he can. I've had a lot of anxiety and depression this year and this situation is making it even harder to deal with.

I have spoken to him about it several times and he is very understanding and says he hopes things will improve again soon and that he will try to make more effort to keep in contact.

Anyway...

I talked to a close friend about it earlier and she suggested that maybe he was having an affair which really upset me because obviously that is not true and I honestly can't imagine why anyone would say that. It is making me doubt myself and then I feel guilty for not trusting. She must have thought it for a reason? She knows both of us quite well and it's bizarre that she would even mention the possibility that he was unfaithful to me. He isn't that kind of person at all.

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 13:24:59

I'm so confused.

pocketsaviour Sat 09-May-15 13:36:33

She probably said that because so many men do have affairs. It was certainly the first thing I thought when you said he's been rushing off without notice and he hasn't been where you thought he was.

in the last few months it has been becoming more and more frequent and unpredictable

Has he explained why this is?

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 13:49:46

It is the nature of the work his company is currently doing and they are short on staff.

I know many men (and women) do have affairs but most don't. And it's not something that I can even comprehend.

I can't believe I even made this thread or that I'm even thinking about this.

VixxFace Sat 09-May-15 13:53:44

I thought affair to.

Why would he lie about what country he's in? That's huge.

AuntieStella Sat 09-May-15 13:57:09

"It turned out that he wasn't even in the country that I thought he was in."

This is the only bit of your OP that would make me suspicious. Only you can tell if it was a one-off ridiculous omission, or if he is becoming less forthcoming about what he is actually doing.

"But it feels as though when he is at work he completely forgets about us"

Has it always been like this, or is there a change you can't quite put your finger on? Compartmentalising, beyond normal concentration on what you're actually doing, can be problematic.

"He gives up on sleep because he wants to have as much time with me as he can."

What does this actually mean? Could be a good thing, if he really is spending as many waking hours with you as possible. Less good if you mean he's avoiding going to bed with you.

antimatter Sat 09-May-15 13:57:47

What is the time difference between the country he and you are in?

I would make it regular and make very big deal about it.
This is the least he can do.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 09-May-15 14:00:08

It's difficult to judge with the information you have given here because it really depends on the type of job he has and why he didn't tell you which country he was in.

For example, when I travelled a lot with work, I could get sent abroad with only three days notice; and whilst there, I could have my trip extended by a few days. Usually my family would have known my eventual destination but I could end up working in a neighbouring country for a few days instead.

My point is that, depending on his role, it could be perfectly reasonable.

I would feel concerned about your friend leaping to the idea of an affair if she is a trusted friend and knows you both well. Some friends love to create drama. If she isn't one of those then I'd be asking if she knew something because leaping to the idea of an affair is quite a jump.

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 14:02:52

No, we talked about the country thing. It wasn't a lie, I think it was just one off miscommunication I think. It may have been me who misunderstood what he said, either that or he simply got it wrong or confused.

It's only within Europe so time difference is negligible +1 or +2.

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 14:02:52

No, we talked about the country thing. It wasn't a lie, I think it was just one off miscommunication I think. It may have been me who misunderstood what he said, either that or he simply got it wrong or confused.

It's only within Europe so time difference is negligible +1 or +2.

antimatter Sat 09-May-15 14:09:43

Why is there no regular Skype then?
What is his excuse?

SelfLoathing Sat 09-May-15 14:10:54

I think there are a number of different issues here that you have rolled up into one:
- the fact he works away at all
- the "compartmentalisation" issue.
- whether he is having an affair.

Is there anything you can do about him working away? For example, does he have to go or could he say he didn't want to? If the latter, what are the consequences - eg. less money/promotion chances damaged etc. Could he change jobs/companies so this wasn't a part of his job any more? Have you discussed this with him and how it is a problem for you? Could he lessen the time he is away?

The compartmentalisation issue is probably just how he is. You maybe could agree to a system where he always calls you at a set time or similar - but my guess is if that is how he is, it's how he is.

I have been an OW and I work in a male dominated world where affairs are very common. - even the men who appear to be "good guys/family men". I am a big believer (based on what I've seen) that opportunity is a big factor in men having affairs. To put it another way, it stands to reason in the course of lifetime marriage that a man will meet women who he finds attractive (on a scale of "yeah ok she's quite hot" up to "super sexual chemistry). The question is when that happens whether there is an opportunity to do anything about it and in circumstances where the partner won't find out. Jobs that involve long hours at the office, having to work at the weekend or extended periods in other parts of the country or abroad are ripe for this.

Personally, based on what I've seen, I wouldn't marry a man who does a job that involves extended periods away from home unless I was prepared to accept that at some point he'd have sex with another woman. That doesn't mean obviously your husband is having an affair right now- but it is a serious risk if he carries on with this lifestyle.

I would be very troubled about him being in the "wrong" country. How did this happen? Didn't you have details of the hotel he was staying in or a phone number to call him on? (tell him that a land line is cheaper if he just says use my mobile).

Another trick I've seen wives use it to get all the info of where they are staying and hint that they may turn up to surprise him. (Doesn't matter if you don't; the idea of it will flush out any dodgy reactions). Would it be an option for you? (could you get a grandparent etc to look after the kids and fly out for a weekend to wherever he is as a surprise?)

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 09-May-15 14:23:40

Personally, based on what I've seen, I wouldn't marry a man who does a job that involves extended periods away from home unless I was prepared to accept that at some point he'd have sex with another woman.

Seriously? hmm or you could accept that both men and women are capable of being away from home and staying faithful to their partner. Obviously as an OW you're coming from your bias but it's pathetic to suggest that the only questions a DP will consider are whether there is an opportunity to do anything about it and in circumstances where the partner won't find out Some people (both men and women) have better morals than that.

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 14:26:10

SelfLoathing - That is a really helpful post, thanks.

I don't like being suspicious and untrusting, especially of someone that I love.

He often does tell me where he is staying, but I have to admit I don't usually ask. And because he's done work with the oil industry sometimes he spends time at sea rather than in a hotel.

He loves the job and it allows us financially to have a better quality of life but obviously it comes at the cost of him being away.

afink Sat 09-May-15 14:28:38

Why are you so convinced that he's not having an affair? While I don't immediately jump to the conclusion that that is what's happening from your post, it is a possibility. It is much more common to cheat than people think (and no, as far as I know, nobody has ever cheated on me, so I'm not a bitter, cheated-on wife. But the key part of that previous sentence is 'as far as I know'. I fully accept that nobody is infallible and that a previous partner or my husband may have had an affair that I am clueless about at some point).

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 14:36:17

afink

I don't see him as the sort of person who would have an affair. Maybe I am being really naive.

I think he would behave differently when he was home. He is still loving and caring as always has been. I'm sure I would have noticed a change.

Hakluyt Sat 09-May-15 14:39:14

"SelfLoathing - That is a really helpful post, thanks."

It really isn't, you know. It's written from the point of view of "the other woman". Of course she thinks all men are unfaithful shits- all the ones she knows are.

Bloodwood Sat 09-May-15 14:43:19

It's always helpful to see other peoples points of view. That's why I posted here and asked for them.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 09-May-15 14:46:54

Hakluyt yy exactly.

Someone who wants to have an affair will do so whether they work at home, abroad or don't work at all. They will find the opportunity no matter where they work. Likewise you can put someone who is faithful in any situation and they will still turn it down. It's about self-control and respect, not about where you work.

Cabrinha Sat 09-May-15 14:56:59

I'm no longer married, but I was, and I work away a lot. With a team that work away a lot. Only 2 people I know have had affairs - with each other. One of their marriages is unhappy, and would be whether he'd ever worked away or not.
People have affairs, but it's not endemic.

The compartmentalisation... When I work away, I'm busy. I work long hours - partly so that when I'm home, I can sometimes work shorter days.

With my XH, I didn't like him so I never called him. With my boyfriend, we texted every day when I was away. We neither of us were bothered about calling. What level of contact do you want with your H? Tell him.

Cabrinha Sat 09-May-15 14:58:05

And YY to it being about the person.
I worked away, was faithful.
He didn't work away. Cheated all the fucking time!

peggyundercrackers Sat 09-May-15 15:01:48

I know a few people who seem to be away to different countries at the drop of a hat too, they also work in the oil industry. I don't think its unusual for that industry to expect it of their people tbh. doesn't sound like hes having an affair fwiw

AuntieStella Sat 09-May-15 15:01:56

"Someone who wants to have an affair"

Not everyone who has an affair does so because they want one and are seeking one out. Nor would they necessarily have had a different OW if it wasn't that one. The unthinking, 'baby steps' route to an affair is probably just as frequent as a deliberate philanderer. And opportunity is always a factor, and it's as likely to just crop up as to be sought out.

Lavenderice Sat 09-May-15 15:04:35

This thread is the exact reason that mums net gives me rage sometimes. The OP had no reason to believe that her DH is having an affair and it was only because a friend said that might be the case that she mentioned it at all. She has also admitted to suffering from anxiety and depression, yet posters here have automatically jumped to the conclusion that he is unfaithful, one instantly asking why he "lied" about which country he was in - he didn't lie, she admits it was a miscommunication.

From the sounds of it, he works hard to provide for his family, it just so happens that it's away from home, he's a great husband and father when he is here and a it rly sacrifices sleep to spend more time with them (but of course this means he's avoiding intimacy) Men cannot win in here.

SelfLoathing Sat 09-May-15 15:16:58

The OP had no reason to believe that her DH is having an affair

Not quite true. The wrong country is more than a little bit odd and remains so even in the light of the "explanation" above.

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