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If your DH works away, how often does he phone and what do you talk about?

(21 Posts)
Durab Wed 03-Oct-12 16:12:19

We've been married over 20 years and over the last couple DH has been doing a job which means 1-2 nights away most weeks.

He calls every evening to speak to me and DCs. The boys often don't want to stop doing what they're doing to talk to him, but more worryingly, I often find I have nothing much to say. Unless DSs have come home with some news from school, it can actually be quite hard.

Tonight for instance, I have only been to work and done some housework since I saw him this morning, so don't have any news of my own but if he was here we'd happily chat over dinner etc. It's just on the phone we have nothing to say to each other. Is that normal?

Hassled Wed 03-Oct-12 16:16:08

Some people just find it easier to chat on the phone than others - if your relationship is fine and relaxed when you're in the same place, don't worry if you find phone conversations strained. But talk about it (when he's home) - don't let it be a "thing". If you can joke about your crapness on the phone then you'll probably find it all becomes less crap.

DH works away all week every week and calls each night. Sometimes we have a lot to say, sometimes it's "How are you? Yes, I'm fine" and that's pretty much it.

madda Wed 03-Oct-12 16:18:52

dont worry, he's probably as tired as you when he calls, and apart from the mundane parts of the day, what else are you both supposed to talk about?

would you rather he called every other day instead, so you have more to talk about?

i am so used to his absence that sometimes I dont even need his calls or texts anymore, but I still love him, I just expect less if that makes sense

Cartoonjane Wed 03-Oct-12 16:19:34

I don't like the phone at all. my DP works away and used to phone every day but doesn't any more. Maybe once a week, not at ll some weeks. Suits me very well.

piprabbit Wed 03-Oct-12 16:25:17

When DH is working away he usually phones every night. If possible he will call when he can say goodnight to the DCs. It's usually a short "Hi, are you OK? Yep, Are you OK?" sort of exchange (unless either of us has specific news).

He often works in remote places with poor telephone coverage, in case he'll just call and leave a message as and when he gets a bit of signal.

Before we had DCs, he would usually just call to let me know he'd arrived safely and then at the end of the trip to confirm when he is due home (it can be a bit variable).

Itwillendinsmiles Wed 03-Oct-12 16:26:30

My DH and I live separately (due to his work/my studying and preference...) during the week and I go to his house generally Friday - Sunday.

We've been married over thirty years and the three children are young adults now and living independently. He phones if he needs something done or some information (usually IT related!). I phone him only if my plans change for when I'm traveling to his. Suits us both.

alarkaspree Wed 03-Oct-12 16:26:48

My dh was working away during the week for a few months recently. He used to phone about 9pm, when I'd just put the children to bed and was getting ready to eat. Mostly I didn't really feel like chatting by then, and I often didn't have much to say. But he was quite lonely and really wanted to talk. So it was worth making the effort to think of some topics. He was away for longer though so there was more happening that he didn't know about.

madda Wed 03-Oct-12 17:26:22

can i just ask, for those of us with DH often absent, is there anything you think that makes the absence easier to handle?

sometimes I get very self pitying and feel like nothing more than a single parent as he is working such long hours. We have a beautiful home as a result of all his work, but I do wonder if I would feel more sane and 'loved' if he was coming in the door at 4pm each day and cooking dinner for us all, putting kids to bed etc

as it is, I do feel often like a glorified au pair!

madda Wed 03-Oct-12 17:28:40

sorry OP thread hijack!

Durab Thu 04-Oct-12 08:11:54

Madda, I don't know anyone who's DH comes in at 4pm every evening, especially ones whose work provides that lovely home! TBH as far as DC are concerned (and help for me with them) it doesn't make much difference if he's coming home in the evening or working away, as they're pretty much ready for bed by the time he gets in anyway.

TBH, I think, if we want the life of the SAHM with a nice home, holidays etc, we pretty much have to accept that that's the price. The time when DCs are so dependent and such hard work is short though (although it doesn't always seem it at the time) and things do get easier quite quickly as they get older.

For me, when they were small, a p-t job was the answer. DCs went to a childminder 2 full days per week and although I worked hard at work, those days were like my weekend. When I got home DCs had been fed, all I had to do was take them home and put them to bed. All the headaches and running around were someone else's problem for those 2 days smile

delilahlilah Thu 04-Oct-12 08:41:35

OP I sometimes feel like you do, almost as if I'm pushing him off the phone as there's nothing much to say! blush I think it comes with time, that you don't need the interaction as much. DH used to work away, and we'd talk a lot, now he works away and it is far less. Just one of those things I think. I wouldn't worry about it unless it's the same when he's at home.
madda I found being at home with a baby that I felt as you do. When working p-t, (and having child free time and adult conversation) time definitely went faster. A couple of days a week made a lot of difference to me. Getting out and about in any shape or form makes a difference, staying in makes time drag and children get fed up too.

madda Thu 04-Oct-12 10:39:50

yes, i've found a balance here that works well for me, it's not all doom and gloom, as we have a lovely lifestyle and so on. Raising kids needs a balance as too much focus on them leaves me bedraggled, but I've balanced it with good friends, playdates, breaks on weekends, allocated time in the mornings for working from home and so on, so when I have the kids in the afternoons and evenings it's all flowing much better, whether DH is away or not.

still good to know those of you out there also doing a similar juggle with a largely busy/absent DH!

KittenCamile Thu 04-Oct-12 11:05:50

Its me that works away (around 5 days a month) rather than DP but I call him everyday, usally when I'm in bed and so is he so we can chat in bed for 30 mins like we would do at home.

I like him being the last person I chat to before I go to sleep. The calls are for me because I miss him so much and get lonely, he is far less needy than I am and would be fine with everyother day! We do text eachother constantly though, when I'm here or away, we always have.

I'm not really sure what we talk about, rubbish probably but it makes being away a little easier. I don't know about your DH's but that little chat, whether it be a 2 min 'how are you?' Or an hour chat, makes my day.

CotedePentathlon Thu 04-Oct-12 15:54:34

My husband has always worked away, albeit for shorter periods of time these days. We've been married over 30 years, and the children are, in the main grownup. If it's possible, he phones every day, and depending where he is in the world it can be daytime or evening. As for topics - yes if you've had a quiet day, just work/home/kids bathtime, etc, it can be difficult to think of what to say. However, I check out the news, or perhaps mention a tv programme we've both been following, and update him on that. The weather, boring as that sounds, is usually worth a few minutes chat, specially when it's horrible here and he's somewhere where it's nice and warm.

VioletStar Thu 04-Oct-12 16:06:15

OP my DH phones everyday just to check in. Often the DC have nothing to say (which disappoints him), and I'm fried after a day at work and sorting out kids clubs, dinners, lunches so don't have a fat lot to say either. It's just a check in. We talk more when he's home.

TheCountessOlenska Thu 04-Oct-12 16:15:33

DH away 3-4 nights a week. We don't speak to each other regularly, just send texts. I prefer to save our news for when we see each other!

madda - yes I find it hard, worst bit for me is the endless bath/ bedtime routine with 2 year old DD, then coming downstairs to an empty house and no dinner cooked for me! (he does this when he's here). I think that will get easier as DD gets older. I am lucky to have good support from my parents which helps.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 01:17:53

I work away a lot. At certain times of the year (not for 52 weeks of the year, that would kill me). At the moment I'm in NYC for a week, last week I was in Budapest, next week I'm at home but the following two weeks I'm in Italy then Spain and then, thank mumps, it tails off till the end of November (the travelling, that is, not my work) with just a few nights in London probably.

It seriously pisses me off if I phone home and DH or the DCs can't be arsed to talk to me. It doesn't matter whether that's the reality, they might have very legitimate reasons for not wanting to talk but it's quite hard to understand that with your heart, even if your head understands it, when you're far from home and missing them.

On the plus side, I'm actually reasonably happy to not talk if they are texting/imessaging me, and when the timezones work we can FaceTime which everyone prefers to just talking on the phone.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 01:24:33

Incidentally, our topics of conversation are always the same - firstly we each ask each other if we are still alive (so far, the answer has always been yes grin ) then he has a little moan about the kids, then I tell him what they are supposed to be doing the next day (memory like a sieve, he has) then we have a little mutual moan about either politics or footy or both and maybe talk about any telly or news story I've missed. We could probably stop after the 'are you alive' exchange though. I'd be cool with that. It's the main thing after all.

TheCatInTheHairnet Fri 05-Oct-12 01:34:27

We text each other numerous times a day and Facetime in the evening, if we can. And just accept that this is part and parcel of our lives, it's when we're physically together that it matters most.

GiserableMitt Fri 05-Oct-12 05:35:06

DH spends most of his time away and it can be anything from an overnighter to 6 weeks away. We don't talk every day. On a long trip it'll be every 3 or 4 days but I do expect SOME communication every day just so I know he's ok. I'm happy with a text/email in the morning and at night for my own reassurance, although sometimes there might be an 11 time difference so my good morning is his good night! It also makes it difficult to find time to talk.
Not speaking doesn't bother me (we did go 18 days without speaking once due to him being in the middle of nowhere). We find it difficult to know what to say unless there's a specific topic needs discussing. I find my day-to-day stuff just becomes a time-filler, he's working so has nothing much of interest to add, plus he hates talking on the phone anyway.
It used to bother me but not any more.

Slumberparty Fri 05-Oct-12 10:45:13

My DP often works abroad for days or weeks at a time. We used to skype everyday in the beginning, but it would annoy me sometimes as I wouldn't have anything new to say since the day before.
Now, 4 years on we talk maybe once every couple of days, or a few texts here and there unless one of us has something specific to talk about. If he's away for two weeks then a couple of skype chats too. Turns out he didn't really want to talk everyday either, just assumed I'd want to hear from him everyday! He likes that we don't HAVE to contact each other everyday and so do I - we are both quite independant and sometimes like a bit of time away from each other!
We do not have DCs though so I am sure this would change if we had.

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