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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.

EclecticWorkInProgress Sat 06-Oct-12 01:03:36

OP, sometimes you can't see it coming...but if your gut is suggesting it then it probably will come to pass.

My dh is a civil servant, so one assumes the grand sweeping generalization of "warming the chair for 8hr, then out the door". Not mine. He pulls the 10-12hr days regularly and says nothing would get done/on schedule if he weren't there driving the momentum. Which is probably true but he is not a department of one (does anyone know the word "delegate"?) confused

He would travel several weeks a year (out Mon-back Fri) and many times my daughter would notice about Wed or so that he wasn't "home".

Letty: All I can say is Wow. 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. That's exactly what mine says/and I feel. <<looks for manual of common domestic excuses>>

Thanks for the thread and responses, everyone. I'm in counselling and this is something I've talked about. There is no changing him, he has to want to change himself. The substitution of sisters/moms etc for connections is a workable solution, except 1) mom is deceased and 2) sis is toxic narcissist who I had to cut off-kind of in the vein that she was my only "friend" to I get the working spectrum of loneliness. ILs are 500 miles away...not really a bad thing either. wink

SmokyClav Sat 06-Oct-12 01:20:42

lurking, because my situation is eerily similar to bran's sad

mum11970 Sat 06-Oct-12 01:39:34

Dh works for himself, so works any hours he needs to (went to deliver car at 4.30 am yesterday as it was a long drive) but needs to be in the workshop when his employees arrive. I'm lucky if he takes a day off in the year but if he does the phone is always on, been 3 years since we had a holiday and he even checks his messages and email every day, if abroad, but I understand this is the only way we can live at the mo. even my step children say they had more quality time with him than our children do now as he wasn't working so many hours when they were young, mainly because he was an employee not employer then.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 06-Oct-12 01:51:09

DD and I have seen DH for a total of about 3 hours this week and yesterday (Thursday) she didn't see him at all and my limit was a bleary eyed 6am kiss goodbye and 11:30 bleary eyed kiss hello.

He takes off 1 week all year and in 7 years he's only taken 3/4 sick days and they were due to being in hospital. Our DD was born on a Friday, he was back at work on the Tuesday.

So I guess, yes I am! He is director of his own company though and works hard to provide for us and so we can live a comfortable lifestyle.

panicnotanymore Sat 06-Oct-12 08:33:51

My H is a work-a-holic. My father was too. It has always worked for me because I am someone who likes my own space, and I look forward to evenings on my own. If I didn't I would not have married him as I knew from the outset that work was central to who he is and ambition is important to him.

You should never marry someone with the intention of changing them, because that won't work. How would you like it if someone you loved started trying to change you because you weren't quite what they wanted? That would hurt, right?

If you want to be with someone with this issue, my advice would be to develop your own social circle, join evening classes, have regular meet ups with friends in the evenings, and make an effort to get to know his colleagues so that you enjoy work functions rather than regard them as a chore. It is much easier to manage this kind if relationship if you have your own life to get on with on the nights he isn't home.

SundaeGirl Sat 06-Oct-12 10:02:43

I am a bit depressed by the number of people who are happy to swap net-a-porter orders for their DCs having a close and full relationship with their father while they are growing up.

diamondee Sat 06-Oct-12 10:16:05

If I had my time again I wouldn't be in this situation. Dh works 90+ hrs a week through choice and it's dragging me down. We're away on holiday next week and I'm dreading it. We have spent so little time together in the last few years that we have nothing to talk about, 3 dcs of course but absolutely nothing else.
If I eventually get the courage to leave my life will be so much happier

BreeVanDerTramp Sat 06-Oct-12 10:31:10

sundae what do you suggest? Leave the bastard? All well and good but by doing so I would be uprooting DC from a home they love, where they are surrounded by family and friends, take DS1 out of his school? As I couldn't keep up with the life they have now - we would be in a 2 bed flat in a new area and they would see even less of their dad?

Do you suggest I go and meet someone else to replace him? Are there many eligible men looking for woman with 3 children under 5? Who would look after my DC while I hunt for this mythical creature?

My DC adore their dad, I'm the one who misses out but I get happiness from them. DS told me yesterday that we are a funny family, when I asked why he told me its because we laugh all the time smile
I'm not actually sure what net-a-porter is?

Things might not be perfect, but they could be worse.

SundaeGirl Sat 06-Oct-12 12:13:32

Bree, I'm definitely not suggesting that workaholics are 'bastards'. Or that leaving is the only answer.

I suppose what I'm saying is that lots of workaholics are enabled to be like that by their partners. Everything fits in with the workaholic - which he demands is only reasonable since he's working so hard for everyone else's benefit.

If they don't get it spelled out to them - This is not in our interest, we would prefer to have a father around - then they can continue to justify themselves. And when I mean spelled out, I mean not whinged at but written to if needs be.

Sooo many affairs grow out of the distance that both partners allow to come between them. I don't believe that quality time works, I think if you want to stay close to someone you need to put in actual hours.

whataboutbob Sat 06-Oct-12 18:25:00

Can i just say I wish i was married to a workaholic.

fiventhree Sat 06-Oct-12 18:37:28

Sundaegirl, I agree with you.

Of course, it isnt possible to change them, but we didnt all know what we were getting in to.

Frank Pittman, in his book on men and boys, says that workaholism is a controlling behaviour, and to do with over- competitiveness with other men.

I don think working hard for a short while/particular project phase is the same thing.

diamondee Sat 06-Oct-12 18:53:00

Why would you want to be married to a workaholic whatabout?

SmokyClav Sat 06-Oct-12 20:37:14

Sundae- he is not working hard for everyones benefit, he is working 20 hours a day for his own benefit.
I work full time, and earn enough to run a home, provide for my dependents thank you.

Why do you assume that a) workaholics earn shed loads (some do, many othrs don't) b) their partners do not provide for their family?

Singledadoftwo Sat 06-Oct-12 21:19:13

Good luck I don't think you can change him I was the same all work no play lots of money. She left. I thought she had a dream life doing what ever she pleased but I am now in the reality looking after 2 kids and working part time to keep to wolves from the door, I now know money does not make you happy, love does good luck

biryani Sat 06-Oct-12 22:09:55

I'm with one. He's out at work at the moment. I sort of understand because I used to be like it too, before DD. I know now that I can't change him, and that it is a part of his makeup. It doesn't make it easy, though - I think it's a selfish way to be. I know I am way down the pecking order and I have come to terms with it. Luckily for me, I have my own source of income and do not need to go cap in hand to him for money.

I have my own interests and hobbies, and get on with my life without him.

EverybodysSpookyEyed Sat 06-Oct-12 22:17:23

My DH is of the 'lives to work' breed

But then I found his drive and ambition part of the attraction. I married him knowing I would be a work widow!

On the plus side, he earns well and when he is not working he is 'here'.

On the downside, it can be a bit lonely. As with others, I just do my own thing.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing because the character traits that make him a workaholic are also traits that make him the man he is.

If you want to be a two peas in a pod couple then I don't think this relationship will work for you. If you value time on your own then it could be good for you. Only you can decide if you are compatible.

blueshoes Sat 06-Oct-12 23:04:00

Fine to develop your own interests and friendships outside of your partner, but what about sex? How can/do you compensate for the lack of physical companionship?

Mayisout Sun 07-Oct-12 02:31:28

Yes, it's difficult being married to one.
Funnily my Dsis and I are married to workaholic types. But our DF was an alcy who never had a well paid job so I spose, without realising it, we looked for hardworking conscientious men.

But you are free to develop your own life once DCs leave home. I spose my
DH never went to parent's evenings etc but as my DM had done everything in our household I didn't have a problem with that or expect much different.

DCs have turned out fine and we are well off so things could be worse.

Mayisout Sun 07-Oct-12 02:36:00

Mind you I didn't have that calm, reasonable attitude when I was stuck at home with screaming baby /fighting toddlers/ stroppy teenagers and no DH to help grin
But that's a long time ago now and we are still together.

EverybodysSpookyEyed Sun 07-Oct-12 09:31:18

I think it depends on their attitude to family

Dh works all hours but he will try and make time to take ds to school. Ds is only y1 but so far dh has made it to every concert and parents evening. I accept this will not persist, particularly when we have two at school

Someone else I know ended up divorced from her workaholic because he never spent time with the family to the point the kids didn't really know him!

crescentmoon Sun 07-Oct-12 20:11:03

this thread is a natural home to me. like you mayisout my sisters and i all married workaholic types as well, and i think it is because my dad wasnt very ambitious or well paid and we looked for the opposite too!

DH has a job that makes him move often and he's always wanted us to move with him so he could see his family everyday. sometimes i have wondered about staying in one place near my family and having DH come back and forth every weekend or whatever, but he's always stated its better we stick together.

iv just spent all weekend on my own with the kids as hes working, took them to town yday afternoon with my brother who travelled over to see me. today was watching cartoons and reading. but theyve all been in bed since 7pm and im just waiting for DH to get back. the nice thing about his working long hours is i have all day to get things done and im quite independent. i actually find it very hard to cope with him if hes home too long now lol, when he has more than a couple of days off im just counting the hours till he goes back to work!

NiniLegsInTheAir Sun 07-Oct-12 22:08:13

I've been reading this thread with great interest as I think I might be married to a workaholic and I'm wondering what you all think. I'm a regular on this board as 'D'H and I have other issues and he's EA.

We met when we were at uni so this is something he's developed over the last few years. It never used to be a big problem as I'm very independent, but it was a big shock to me when I was pregnant (DD is now nearly 2) and I realised I had no support from him - he refused to come to the first scan as he said he 'wouldn't be able' to get time off work. We live far from any family and have few friends so he pretty much left me to it and I really struggled. I struggled for months with newborn DD and fell ill when I went back to work as he just carried on as normal, he wouldn't even go to the hospital with me for my appointments. sad.

He works as much as he can (given that he has a long commute), but he isn't a big earner (only a few thous more than me) so it isn't like we have the lifestyle to make up for it. He leaves pretty much all childcare to me and has slowly withdrawn from doing housework over the years. If I ever complain he says he's doing it for 'us' as a family and tells me 'you don't complain when my wages/overtime go into doing up the house' (our house is a wreck so needs a lot of work which realistically we both pay for). He says he hates his job but it's all he has to talk about and he expects me to be interested too.

Part of the reason we're currently having counselling is because I can't handle it anymore. I work full time too and I'm exhausted. He just can't grasp that I need more help from him, as far as he sees it he's 'bringing home the bacon' so I should be happy, and keep him happy too.

As far as rolemodels go, his Dad was (and is) a real loser who has been crap at every job he's ever done, tries to live a lifestyle he can't afford and is shite with money. So I can kind of see why he is he way he is.

LettyAshton Mon 08-Oct-12 09:41:36

I think there possibly is some truth in the argument that workaholics put in huge hours and place such importance on work because they are afraid of failing, particularly if they had a slacker father.

Fil actually said to me once that he regretted that he had not done better in his career, but mil refused to allow him to spend an extra minute at work, go on courses and he had to turn down a promotion because it was 20 miles away instead of 2.

I would also say that workaholics are not usually the "affair" type (famous last words!). For a start they are too busy! And secondly I think they genuinely believe they are doing the best for their family. I know dh does. I think bored men with time and opportunity on their hands are far more likely to find extra-curricular entertainment.

Bigtrousers Thu 25-Oct-12 21:15:03

Glad to have found this thread. I love DH so much, but the hours he works are so hard. It was OK before we had kids, but the long weekday evenings spent alone are very difficult after several years of it.

TeaDr1nker Thu 25-Oct-12 22:57:38

I'm lurking, it is good to read all your experiences, not dissimilar to mine.

However, exDH was a lazy soandso. I wished for (and duly got) someone who has drive and determination.

I actually wouldn't go back, but as others have said I have made a life for myself. I work PT now, share school runs with other mums locally to me so that is how I can do it.

I will continue to read what others have to say, but I am glad it's not just me who's DP/H are workaholics

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