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AIBU workaholic OH & always on phone

(39 Posts)
mumsurviving Sun 07-Apr-19 22:34:31

AIBU? Appreciate any advice on the below please...xx
My OH & I have two kids under 4. We are together 7 years now. When we met first we both had busy careers, in the same industry which kind of brought us together. We fell madly in love and it was all very exciting, we even used to go on work trips to the same events etc.. he was (and still is) extremely hard working and v driven career-wise, and that’s one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place. Fast forward a few years, 2 kids later, I’m a SAHM & my life revolves around my family and keeping house in order and also regularly looking after my elderly grandparents. My OH’s life has not changed v much since we met, he works as much, and travels abroad the same amount as he always did (approx 1/3 of the year away). He provides for us, and encouraged me to leave my job which I couldn’t manage to juggle with the kids while he was away so much and with his erratic work schedule (often gone weekends etc) I liked my job, but felt maybe life would be less chaotic and nicer for my kids if I stayed at home. It is better for my kids no doubt, but now I do 100% of the household chores/household management/childcare etc. with kids going to nursery in the mornings.
anyway, my post is really about my OH and AIBU to expect him to put us first and dedicate some time to us as a couple and family solely, for parts of the week, as currently he is ‘always on’ for work, always available when the phone rings or an email comes through, day or night 24/7/365. When out with kids at playground or out for lunch occasionally as a family he will usually take out his phone and start emailing etc or answering calls to clients/anyone work related about non urgent stuff. I have a lot of family stuff going on at the moment and finding it hard to cope with, and spoke to him about needing his support and that when he is here with me/us as a family he often is ‘here in body but not in mind’ and not really available to talk to properly. The other evening I was having a talk with him and was quite upset about family stuff, and then I looked over at him and notice he had taken out his phone to check Twitter which really hurt me.
He says he loves his job and it’s not really a job for him, but I feel it is a job and family is much more important. He says I’m the one with the problem so I should come up with solutions and write them down for him. I would rather go back to work and earn money for our family if I thought he would ease up a bit and be more available to us but I know he won’t and I end up running myself into the ground trying to keep all the balls juggling while nothing much changes in his life.
I really love him, our kids love him, I so want things to improve but don’t know how else to help. Don’t want to separate (coming from divorced parents really don’t want it for my kids) Any advice welcome thanks so much xxx

fc301 Sun 07-Apr-19 22:44:07

YANBU he doesn't have much respect for you does he?

I'd write down the problem for him then shove it up his arse.

fc301 Sun 07-Apr-19 22:44:53

Which is my impolite way of saying you are NOT the one with the problem here.

Shylo Sun 07-Apr-19 22:51:28

You’re the one with the problem so you should come up with the solution?

He doesn’t need to work as much as he is, not that I’d call looking at Twitter working, it’s his choice to prioritise it over his family.

I couldn’t live like this and I’d have to tell him so ..... probably after shoving the list up his arse as FC suggests

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 16:40:52

Thanks for the replies...I have some
Thinking to do. he is away on a work trip now for a few days and have time to myself when kids in bed in evenings to think anyway. xxx

PianoTuner567 Mon 08-Apr-19 17:02:55

Well, give him a list then.

No work calls/emails at weekends.
Home before kids bedtime at least one/two weeknights.
One night a week, dinner together as a couple, phones off.

Or whatever you want! But I’d be calling his bluff and giving him a damn list.

Yogagirl123 Mon 08-Apr-19 17:10:44

My DH has his own business, and loves what he does, always on the phone, email etc even on holiday, evenings, weekends been like this for 25 years, goes with the territory and the reason we have such a lovely home. It doesn’t bother me in the least.

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 17:58:09

@pianotuner I feel I am craving those kind of boundaries and think it would definitely make my life, and in turn the kids, more stable and happy. But I know in reality he would never agree and never be able to stick to those kind of commitments with his job as it is. It’s an ‘always on’ type of job. In a way I feel so afraid to even push this with him as I’m afraid it will come down to him saying no to changing at all and more tension between us. maybe I need to be more assertive, really don’t think I could stick things out as they are for years to come. I might but would be miserable. Sorry I’m probably going round in circles here.
Thanks I appreciate the reply x

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 18:02:35

@yogagirl123 thanks for the reply, maybe it’s just me so. I am trying to get used to the way things are for a while now and just get on with it, keep positive, look at the upside that yes we have a nice home too/can go on a summer holiday/afford to eat out now and then etc..but he is definitely not bringing in so much money to offset his lack of presence/availability...

LannieDuck Mon 08-Apr-19 18:16:51

It sounds like it was his job that caused the original problems with childcare, not yours. So why were you the one to give up your job? I note he encouraged you to do it - did he even consider for a moment being the one to sacrifice his career?

Regardless, it hasn't solved anything, and his job is still causing problems. Tell him your solution is to go back to work, so you're on an even power level with him, and he'll then need to do half of all childcare and housework. That means half of all pick-ups. His damn job can be scheduled around that. This will solve your problem because your stress levels will plummet.

Or he can have a sensible conversation with you about the very real issues that his job has caused and is continuing to cause.

Just reading your post, I'm annoyed on your behalf.

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 18:40:57

@LannieDuck thanks for posting. I have my own anxiety issues ongoing for years, because of past family stuff and traumatic events, won’t mention here but I am trying to process a lot of things at the moment and working really hard to overcome things and move forward with the help of a brilliant counsellor. I haven’t really spoke to her about my oh much but probably will do now in more detail. I am annoyed at times, but mostly just upset as I really just want a happy fairly simple life!! but feel so lonely and alone as a parent at times, can see we are drifting apart and pretty desperate to make things better. OH seems to not have any issues and can’t see what problems I have/blaming me for ‘my problems’
Thanks again and it’s good to sound things out here anyway
And Yes I regret giving up my job, I don’t think I would easily get back a job like I had, they were fairly flexible and good money, near to home etc..but even with all of that I found it so difficult as when he was away for a week for example and it was me and the kids alone, and me working, it was so tricky to manage. Then if one child got sick (as small kids often do!) I would be the one to have to leave work, stay home, get up during night alone to mind them etc..
I really take my hat off to single parents, I think they are amazing, as I haven’t any family support available and don’t know how they do it

LannieDuck Mon 08-Apr-19 18:46:03

I would be the one to have to leave work, stay home, get up during night alone to mind them etc

Why? What happened when you said it was his turn?

christinarossetti19 Mon 08-Apr-19 18:57:24

Well, just because you left your job doesn't mean that you can't get another one.

Ultimately, the only person's life and priorities you can change here is your own. If DH is very driven, always 'at work' and finds it impossible to resist the 'phone twitch' then he has to be the one who changes this, if he wants to.

I would start making plans to return to work, probably part time. Check out local nurseries and childminders. Get your CV together. Network online where you can. Are there any industry related skills that you need to brush up on? There's lots of distance learning these days. What opportunities are out there?

Let your husband know this. Don't ask his opinion, just let him know that's what you intend to do. Ask him what his thoughts are about how you will organise childcare and go from there.

Yes, working with young children is very full on but it sounds like it will ultimately be better for you and your family.

christinarossetti19 Mon 08-Apr-19 19:02:39

That's the problem, isn't it? It nearly always falls to the woman as default to take time off work etc. These are broad social expectations.

When my children were little, we had an agreement that under certain circumstances when they were ill, dh would take the day off rather than me. So he got a day off work (paid leave or dependency leave) while I worked. He was generally regarded as a saint for doing this, although it happened about once a year.

All the other times they were ill, I looked after them then caught up with my work in the evenings when they were in bed. I worked harder, in other words while he did his usual amount of work. I was regarded as 'lucky' that I could stay up until 2am working after looking after a sick child all day.

lifebegins50 Mon 08-Apr-19 19:07:38

Are you married? If not then I think you need to assess the risk to you.
Assume he has a pension and you no longer have one? Is the house in shared names?

The issue you are dealing with is that he gets "more" from work than home and he is unlikely to want it to change. Imagine his life, its perfectly balanced for him. Dad and partner when it suits, work and trips away when he wants his ego massaged.

I think you might need to ensure financially you are not disadvantaged. Get agreement on pension payments. If you go back to work I doubt he will step up as it will negatively impact his work, he may end up resenting you.

Hollowvictory Mon 08-Apr-19 19:10:57

I imagine he must be exceptionally well paid but that doesn't make it easier

Questionaire Mon 08-Apr-19 19:15:02

OP, I could have basically written your posts word for word, except I’m 16 years down the line with 4 DC. I never went back to work because it would have been too much for the family. I couldn’t have even contemplated it to be honest.

I guess I accepted I couldn’t change DH. Some men are like this. So I worked around it. Got a cleaner in a few times a week. He barely notices. Focused on the fact we have a great lifestyle and the DC have opportunities they wouldn’t have if he didn’t work the way he does. So there are many benefits. DH is a lot to contend with though and does a lot of “offloading” on me daily, so I feel as if I need my “headspace” / downtime in the day, just to cope with him on a daily basis. I cook for him if he’s home, but when he’s away, the DC and I just do Deliveroo or something easy like pasta. I too am in therapy which has been invaluable. I have a problematic family, but focus on the great friends around me and DH and I have survived 20 years, so I guess something must be working. I’ve never really known it any other way, but just came on to say you’re not alone!

yorkshirepud44 Mon 08-Apr-19 19:18:41

You honestly could be married to my xh. It used to drive me insane. He'd return home after working away and take endless calls rather than speaking to me or the dcs. It became easier for him just to stay away.

We lost all connection, eventually split and he remarried someone he worked with, had a couple more kids and is just repeating the cycle as far as I can see.

LannieDuck Mon 08-Apr-19 19:48:12

I don't think he's earning amazing money...

but he is definitely not bringing in so much money to offset his lack of presence/availability

RobinHobb Mon 08-Apr-19 19:58:19


I actually could have written this post. Two under 4; gave up similar job to DH in the city etc etc
I don't know; but I'm looking to see what others are saying.

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 19:59:27

The money he is earning is a good salary and enough for the four of us to live well, eat well, have two cars, pay mortgage, but it is by no means a very high salary and IMO nowhere near what he should be on based on the total 24/7 commitment to work and amount of time spent away. To him it’s not about money, in his own words ‘it’s not a job’. But in reality it really is a job, it’s a means to pay bills and live, save a little away each month for future uni fees etc for our kids..
I have a tiny pension that wouldn’t even last one year as only paid in for a short time when I was working, DH has a fairly good private pension policy in place.
House in shared names yes.
I feel sick even thinking about things like this as I really just want to work things out and put some boundaries in place around working and family/couple time, and less intrusion with phone calls..
thank u all so much for help sounding this all out and advice I’m really grateful
I’m so sorry if I sound like a total pain in the bum & moaner

Quartz2208 Mon 08-Apr-19 20:07:06

Your solution has to be that it is more even - that he needs to make sacrifices as much as you for the family life.

And tell him that frankly his job is not one that demands that level of attention.

THe only way you can work this out if is he is prepared to

Londonmummy66 Mon 08-Apr-19 20:19:32

I had this - I basically told DH that the problem was his inability to organize his workload - anyone who isn't the CEO of a massive company or the Prime Minister can organise themselves not to be working 24/7 . Therefore he had 3 choices - stop behaving as if he was the CEO of a massive corporate on hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and learn how to control his workload, get a job on hundreds of thousands a year so that I had 24/7 help and wasn't by default doing the domestics and childcare 24/7, or get divorced with 50:50 shared custody as I'd be going back to work....

Time to get tough - failing that I suggest a relationship between his phone and a sledgehammer.

mumsurviving Mon 08-Apr-19 21:18:04

@Quartz2208 reckon you are spot on right about this:
THe only way you can work this out if is he is prepared to

Quartz2208 Mon 08-Apr-19 21:19:44

and that is your issue OP - are you happy to continue like this - are you prepared to give him a ultimatuim

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