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Are you married to a workaholic?

(80 Posts)
gretagatsby Tue 02-Oct-12 06:12:08

Can you tell me what you would have done differently at the beggining? I've started seeing somebody who is a diamond but I think the work/life balance thingsmight too difficult to deal with. All advice really welcome.

PoppyWearer Wed 03-Oct-12 20:28:39

Oh and yes, earnings are relevant. I need lots of Childcare to keep me sane.

I need lots of online retail therapy to keep me sane.

I need a bigger house because I spend so much time here...and to store all this meaningless crap I keep buying when my DH isn't here and I am stuck in with the DCs again.

I would also rather have more husband time and less cash.

peterrabbitismyfriend Wed 03-Oct-12 20:42:27

I would rather have more husband and less cash too. I'm not sure I would have chosen this life if I'd known it would be like this. I have told DH that but it falls on deaf ears. To them, work and earnings are what it's all about. They only get true validation from work and the pay packet.

Once the box is ticked in the relationship area, that's it. You'll be put on the backburner. In my case it was 1 year and things went downhill as he upped his job to another level with more hours etc and it's gone crazy, now working until 11pm every night and out before 7am in the morning.

You will have to accept a lot of evenings alone, probably spent on Mumsnet grin unless you both don't have young kids.

Sometimes I wish he'd have a health scare, just to realise that there is more to life than work and earning good money.

What's the point of having money if your 6ft under?

Callmecordelia Wed 03-Oct-12 21:23:20

I left my workaholic husband. It took a good year for the realisation of what he has lost to sink in.

We are getting back together, slowly, as he is a changed man. It took a year of him being lonely to realise what he had done, and it is now 18 months since I left with our DD. I still don't live with him full time.

Run OP. Unless you are extremely independent, and don't need any support in any area of your life.

peterrabbitismyfriend Wed 03-Oct-12 21:28:52


Has he stopped working so hard?

I often wonder if this is something I may have to do.

Done 10 years with DH and no sign of any change. Tear my hair out most days.

Callmecordelia Wed 03-Oct-12 21:40:30

Peter - yes, it is better. I wish I hadn't had to take such drastic action, but we couldn't go on how we were, and I have lovely, supportive parents who have been my absolute rock throughout this, and have allowed us to live with them.

I'm only in the marital home two days during the week at the moment - but he has stopped working at the weekends altogether, and does get home in time to bath DD on the days when we are there. If he is at all late apologises profusely. This is massive progress, and he's kept it up for months now, so I am optimistic that it is a permanent change.

When we are not there, the workaholism resurfaces, but he is taking steps to reduce his workload (taking on more staff, delegating etc). It will come down over the next few months.

Early days yet. He's had to eat an awful lot of humble pie to get to this stage, and for me to even consider going back.

Callmecordelia Wed 03-Oct-12 21:41:15

Oh and we met in Feb 2002, so I left just short of 10 years. DD was six months old.

SleepBeckons Wed 03-Oct-12 21:59:02

I want to offer a glimmer of hope that a workaholic can change.

I was a workaholic. I did 85 hour weeks without complaining, without regard for the distress it caused in my personal life. I wrecked holidays without a second thought. When we moved house, the last thing out of one house and first into the new home was my laptop blush Why? Because I truly, truly believed that that was what I had to do to get the next promotion. Depending on what was happening at work, I would be logged on from 5am. Other days I was still working at 11.30am. I would wake up at 1am, get up and start making notes. I worked weekends. I was completely focused - if that was what it took, then I would do it. All objections from my spouse were simply brushed aside.

What happened? My boss moved the goalposts. I achieved an extraordinary amount, so suddenly - more was expected. It was made clear that what I had delivered wasn't enough, I still had "areas to improve on" before I could get the coveted and longed-for promotion. And I had a lightening-bolt moment. It came to me with sudden, piercing clarity, that I had been a fool. The expected reward had evaporated, and I could never get back that time with my family.

I put my CV out that night, and a few months later I had a better job - significantly more salary, less commute, less hours. I swore to myself that I would never ever let my work-life balance get so out of synch, and I never have. Nowadays, I start to twitch if I'm in the office past 5.30pm, and if I do have to stay late, I apologise to my spouse and I make a point of leaving on time the following evening. Regardless.

The trick in dealing with a workaholic is to understand the motivation driving the behaviour. What is it that the workaholic expects to get, what timescale have they in mind? And then hold them to it.


LettyAshton Thu 04-Oct-12 09:21:27

These stories all ring so true. Perhaps we should have a workaholic widows support thread!

My dh always professes to hate his job. If I complain he says he's doing it for us. After twenty years those words sound so hollow.

It would be better if I had a close family. I know other women who are married to absentee husbands (and not just workaholics!) and they all seem to be very involved with their mums, sisters etc. I don't have any family to speak of so over the years it has been tough.

What is particularly galling to me at the moment is dh's complete lack of interest in the house. I have been having trouble with an unpleasant neighbour over various garden issues and dh won't even listen, let alone get involved. All I've seen of dh lately is a wet towel slung on the bathroom floor every morning.

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Oct-12 09:49:09

I was a workaholic and in my industry, the financial services in London, it is common place. I had a previous long term relationship (in my 20s) that I let wither simply because he wasn't as important as my career. Dh (been together 10 years) is in the same industry so we used to both be workaholics together. That changed with arrival of dd 3 years ago. I still work hard but nothing like the 80 hours pw of my "heyday". Quite simply the dcs and dh are more important than work. Dh has also eased off, although he occasionally has to be reminded about priorities.

So, I agree with the poster who said workaholics can change but only if its important enough for them to do so - and I say this both about my own behaviour and general culture in the City.

pennymixup Thu 04-Oct-12 13:52:51

I am married to a workaholic and honestly it is like he is having an affair with his work! My son says the same thing so it is no just me. He regularly leaves at 6am then hardly ever returns before 9pm, usually later. He works at home most weekends and don't get me started on the blackberry!... he's never off it really. Am fed up with it but he won't listen when I try to talk about it...

Callmecordelia Thu 04-Oct-12 14:43:32

Penny, I know exactly what you mean. I think you need to be an exceptionally strong person to accept that you always come second. It is heartbreaking. It made me so unhappy.

LettyAshton Thu 04-Oct-12 14:50:02

Dh on the phone this lunchtime, "Oh, just to let you know I'll be having to work really hard for the next few weeks..."

He already gets up at 5am and returns at the very earliest after 8. And needless to say at least one weekend day sees him closeted in the study. When I said that this was now really getting beyond a joke, I get the "I wish I hadn't rung now - can't you see I'm trying to earn a living?"


kday Thu 04-Oct-12 15:39:59

Poppywearer, I hope your DH will do better than mine with your upcoming operation. My DH disappeared on a 10 day work trip to India three days after I had a C-section for DC3. I couldn't move from the bed or lift the baby from his cot to breastfeed him as DH walked out the door.
What I struggle with is how to develop a full and meaningful life of my own, without work now and with sole responsibility for 3DC. Id love to go back to work but, like posters above, I know I'd be the only one dealing with drop offs, pick ups, sick kids, chores etc etc. Evening events where we live seem to be lovely couple things and although I've got lots of interests it's lonely not having anyone to share it with. Perhaps it would be better if we lived near family and close friends, but that's the other thing men obsessed with their careers sometimes do - move the family abroad in pursuit of the new promotion.
I wouldn't choose this life either - sorry, OP. It's terrible to feel you that you matter so little - 'wife' matters, but not you as a person.

crescentmoon Thu 04-Oct-12 17:17:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LettyAshton Thu 04-Oct-12 17:36:53

Mmmm, a good one from dh is that he can never go on a summer holiday because his boss is away. Then he can't go when his boss comes back either because there's so much catching up to do. hmm That one strikes me as really bizarre. Dh is the King of Presenteeism.

lateSeptember1964 Thu 04-Oct-12 18:07:14

I second those who say that you just get on with life and anything else is a bonus. I have a life away from him and one with him He rarely does the school run and I think in over twenty years he has only attended one parents evening. I never cease to be amazed that he is so tunnel visioned that the whole world could collapse around him and he would carry on out the door for work. I am just about to return to nursing and now as I get older I realise that much of the reason I lost my career was because I allowed him to work so much. That said he is a wonderful husband and lovely dad, although they are grown now and in some ways they have missed out. When they were younger and he came home they would often shout "Mum theres a strange man in the house".

BreeVanDerTramp Thu 04-Oct-12 21:28:29

Poor OP we have all taken over with our moaning grin

Do other work widows ever sit down? Quite often I realise when I sit down after the kids have gone to bed its the first time I've sat all day! Last week I went out for lunch with friends and forgot which hand I held my knife and fork in blush

DD is only 11 weeks do that could be the reason, DH still worked away every week night when I was overdue with her, he was a 3 hour drive away and I was st home with DS 1 & 2. Luckily I got induced as I had a 20 min labour!

After having DS2 DH had to go back to work in the Monday as his bosses wife had her baby so his boss was off - this was my fault apparently as he's planned his leave a fortnight earlier but DS was 14 days late hmm

zxcv123 Thu 04-Oct-12 22:02:51

God, so many of these stories are so sad and remind me (yet again!) how delighted I am to be divorced and no longer living that kind of life. I wouldn't live that way again for all the money in the world.

When my normally intelligent DS was 8 or so someone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "A mummy" he replied. He became completely distraught on being told he couldn't be a mummy but could be a daddy instead. The reason was because he believed all daddies hardly ever saw their children, which made him sad. Heartbreaking.

pennymixup Thu 04-Oct-12 22:25:02

lateSeptember yes I have made a life away from him too... my kids are older now but the youngest one suffered the most, when he was growing up his name for DH was 'email Dad' because in the week if he wanted to talk to him it had to be on email. And now that I am (almost) facing the empty nest, he is spending more nights away than ever and may get a flat in town for 2/3 nights a week. I just don't know if I want to live my life this way anymore...

Callmecordelia Fri 05-Oct-12 06:31:46

Yes! The no paternity leave thing - why do they do that? We went back into hospital for four days when DD was three days old. Apparently there was "nothing he could do", so he went back to work....

ancienthistrionics Fri 05-Oct-12 07:07:17

I'm in two minds about my workaholic. He works from home so is around during the day and will come out with us for coffee or somewhere during the day. But he absolutely thrives on, needs and loves the intellectual stimulation of his work. He says when he wakes up in the morning he's excited about getting started. If he's working on something he doesn't talk, just runs downstairs for more coffee then back up again. He's finding it harder now that DS is a bit bigger and can shout for him.

The holiday internet thing rings very true: before DS we went on a holiday in the Philippines where there is hardly any internet (no landlines) but don't worry, we found the ONE hotel that did!

Our situation is different because there is no boss, no office, not really a phone. He is a (successful) professional gambler he will say he has a position open and if he's not there 'we'll' lose money. He works every evening because that's when a lot of his stuff happens - I can't remember the last time we ate as a family.

Three years ago he brought his nephew to live with us because he needed a home. How noble of him! Yet he never spends any time with him and it's me doing everything with him, sorting out schools etc.

I can't get through to him how much he is missing.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 05-Oct-12 07:22:37

My friend's DH is a workaholic. He went back to work the afternoon after she had their 2nd baby, even though he is his own boss and could take time off if he wanted to.
I feel bad for her, she is alone with the DCs 6 days a week and on the 7th they hang about waiting for him.
He earns a shitload so she has a fair amount of domestic help, but the girls don't see their dad from one weekend to the next.

He will take time to go to the football though, which in my eyes makes him an arsehole.

My DH works long hours, but isn't a workaholic. He is very successful though and earns a good living (own business) We manage a pretty good balance.

Adversecamber Fri 05-Oct-12 08:36:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wandymum Fri 05-Oct-12 20:48:32

lateseptember love there is a strange man in the house! We have - "Daddy? what are you doing here?" Usually followed swiftly by "Go away we want mummy".


bigTillyMint Fri 05-Oct-12 20:49:35

No! grin

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